I was Digging In My Left Pocket…

Image by Ricardo Liberato. I was digging in my left pocket for my Zippo.

It was a deep dig.

A lady lawyer, walking past,

thought I was pleasuring myself.

All of this happened in an alleyway,

separating South Second and South First Streets

in downtown San José.

In a way, her reaction was just:

piss-soaked alley;

she, trying to get to her office;

I, looking sick, disheveled,

mucus-encrusted nose,

cigarette dangling from my mouth,

wanting to be lit,

digging through my pocket

like a junky looking for that one penny he picked up,

and the pleasurable sigh when I found

the intended object.

©2013 José-Ariel Cuevas


Fons Et Origo

Picture by Brocken Inaglory. I made the mistake, once,
of placing words on a page
in ways that seemed to quite indicate
that I had made some serious statement.
Since this little error,
it has been much to my chagrin
that people have forever, and ever have,
inquired to just exactly what it meant.
I said that these words,
in case they hadn’t heard,
were words that, just like birds,
could be released from a basement.
Were the people pleased,
by this plea for reprieve?
No, their questions haven’t ceased
and now I am left without a comment.
So before you beg and pry,
can you tell me is it just my eyes,
or is it raining from the ocean to the sky,
when she goes to him for the night and lies?


Important Announcement from M

For more info: Tommi Avicolli Mecca, Housing Rights Committee, 703-8634/ 361-2940, Marcele Wilson, 415-574-1468, Tenants Representative,

1049 Market tenants fight back against evictions set for the holidays

In the looming shadow of Twitter’s arrival in mid-market San Francisco, tenants of 1049 Market St. and 1067 Market St. face one of San Francisco’s biggest mass evictions in decades, with eviction move-out dates at set for Thanksgiving and Christmas. While the tenants’ campaign to stay in their homes has garnered crucial support from city officials, including the Mayor and Supervisor Jane Kim (who represents the mid-Market area) and the permit that provided a premise for the mass eviction which has been suspended by the Department of Building Inspections, the landlord still has not withdrawn the 60-day notices he issued in September and in late October, which now remain legally questionable.

A press conference/ tenant protest which will be held outside 1049 Market St. on Tuesday, November 12th, 2013, at 12:00 Noon PST to call upon the owner of the buildings to withdraw all the eviction notices.

“As encouraging as it is that the City is supporting us,” said Marcele Wilson, a 39 year old artist who suffers from Leukemia and lives in the building, “the reality is that the fight is not over, because the eviction notices have not been withdrawn. 1049 Market Street has long been home to artists, students, and senior citizens, who are seriously affected by affordable housing. With the looming evictions in the shadow of Twitter’s arrival, the city stands to lose important people from the city’s historic art district; many of us have been here for over a decade.”

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A tolerance is developed to the poisons
ingested by psychonauts who attack my
character with Molotov cocktails of love.
As Helios is brought to his knees
by the dystopian declarations of democratic conventions,
the surgeon general warns against the premonition of impulse.
Transcendentalist luddites examine the
eschatology of the Carolingian dynasty
while the children of Oden surrender to fatalistic notions
of gubernatorial supremacy.
Dean Moriarty chases the narcoleptic Eros
across the clouded eyes and the Leviathan
preaches the epistle of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Foreign investors return the exposition to eulogy Dorado,
for only there can the Goddess deliver us from the
precarious notions of pantheistic solipsists in the Waste Lands.
My freshly excoriated flesh
binds the Necronomicon,
and my soul is composed of the incantations of the recently dead.
My body is the epitome of hallucinatory dreams
at twenty-four frames per second.
I am the precursor to the Omega which begins eternity,
and the follower of my own shadow puppet government.
Reality is the veil placed over beauty of sobriety
as the sheep look up and over the shadows of the fall.
Ptolemy laughs to facilitate
Sappho’s record of the best laid plans of nine and ten.
Nero dances as bovine flames engulf Chicago,
while his eyes shed crimson fears and no one is safe from hypocrisy,
especially not the man on the mount with a sermon to shout.


Sein und Zeit (Free Radicals)

Anxiety is grasping me till I can’t see I cease to breathe would you believe that I deceive you when I leave and go outside to try and hide my mind I find behind the curtain of uncertain light I might then feel delight or fright the night of all my days is spent in ways the gods display for all to hear; I fear my dear it’s all so clear that nothing here is not all there or anywhere you’d care to go; I know you claim the same old show will flow just like a stream that’s in my dreams of my nightmares and yet you dare to straight declare that I just stare and all my fair weather friends at the end will pretend once again before the score is more than ill endure I can’t endorse but you’re so sure that all of this is just a game; it’s all insane so why complain when I will rain my doubts about why you pout and shout and let it all fall out then call the wall another motherfucker that suckers me in to waste my day the taste of hate’s so great I hesitate to debate the fate of the fall of the world with you my girl.

You cure my torture with impure impurities, confusing me like insanity to the fifth degree: I seem to be a verb; do I deserve this disservice that’s convinced and evidenced by your intense immense and wicked tongue that comes undone when the sun has run its course of course the source of all this force is yours and yours alone; at home I sit and spit my thoughts at all I’m taught for naught I’ll never learn so I discern this burn is earned by the sunlight: belied a bright height of sight and sound that abounds and then resounds within my skull the pull of skin that’s stretched by dual didactic distractions that faction actions so thin that it begins to spin like gin and tonic supersonic antibiotic pills that thrill until they kiss and kill this boy the broken toy; do you enjoy your ploy so coy so much that when you touch the rush of air that I despair to barely share without a care and dare to pair with all of your smiles that my denial will last a while as I twirl into the world for you my girl?

The door for you is open more than ill endure my poor and twisted head has said all to be said instead of words I’ve heard in thirds of fifths of gin, the sin is in the thought and not the act of tact without exact impact, in fact it can be said my head will shed itself of all its wealth so in good health and bad I’ve had to stay so mad and sad for which I’m glad that seven heavens and nine hells are chiming bells and rhyming well with words that do not rhyme like parsley sage and time the stage is set; I’ll bet you’ll let another jettison like venison medicine and with the strong I long to sing a song of all that’s wrong with me and you but it’s not true that blue is your favorite colour and another motherfucker will uncover all the lies you try to hide inside the sign of the past: at last this fast and loose cannon will decide to settle down without a frown that’s upside down inside the right side up tied down by you my girl.

If this is just a test I’ll rest my weary head upon the dead man walking: he’s not talking only gawking at the rocking knocking locking door that I implore to open up one ropes enough to tie your waist the thrill is in the chase and not the kill; I waste my fate on hate and satiate my lust but it’s too late the rabbit left the gate I must have left the race too early little girly; why you’re crying when I’m sighing: because the hundred times this lime and lemon seven up is in the cup like triple sec now I’m a wreck; I’m just another speck of dust that rusts and fades a ways away; I must confess to pass this test then all the rest of the nine demons cease their screaming cause I’m underground and dreaming so I damn the man, his fans, his hands, Rodin, his plans and do the best I can with life its misery of smack and crack and whack and Mack the knife, so sister please help my disease just to appease the ghosts who haunt and taunt and mock and knock and shock me and all of mine including you: my girl.


Things built now stand empty

Photo by Tyler J. Clemens VIIIIt was all starting to look more appropriate, given the situation. Like I was now playing the part better than ever. Beer bottles, a pizza box, takeout plastic bags strewn on the table, invading atop the mortgage statements, insurance letters, earnings statements that had been occupying the space for weeks. In the kitchen, dirty dishes claimed the sink, a half-empty bottle of whiskey sat there in silence on the counter, pots here and there, an old iPhone, still functional but replaced by the newest and greatest, some months past.  My beard coming in as a patchwork of wiry hair.

A great glass carboy of beer was fermenting on the countertop, the airlock bubbling quietly about every second, having finally calmed down after bubbling frantically through the blow-off tube the first forty-eight hours. I still have that behind me, I thought, when centered that’s what I do, I create.  A broken, large umbrella sat propped up against the couch. Having hurt my knee, this umbrella was recruited as a makeshift cane until I could walk again unaided; the umbrella had been sitting out in the plastic bin in the backyard that had been turned into a container for random garbage. Dog food had been thrown into that container too at one point, leaving it a target for the raccoons to rummage through and disturb in the dead of night. 

Things can be abstract and pushed aside in your mind until something comes along to make it real. The cat sitting there merely watching a raccoon thrice his size rummage. When getting up to use the toilet, or to get a drink, or to go smoke a cigarette, I’d prop myself upright, hunched over to steady myself on the couch and/or coffee table, grab the umbrella cane, and take steps: left foot, right foot and cane, left foot, right foot and cane. It made it a whole lot easier, so long as you kept your rhythm and remembered to use the umbrella cane when you put weight on the injured knee. I could imagine I looked exactly like old men you see who need a cane daily, and it was different to feel it, not to only see it. 

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I don’t believe in everything
I won’t believe in anything
I can’t believe in government
            Or god
            Or love
            Or death
            Or pain
I don’t believe in sex
            In happiness
                        In sorrow
                                    In now
                                                In past

I don’t believe in them
I won’t believe in me
I can’t believe in these
Dreams I cannot see


In the World of Letters, Poetry Is the Ghetto

Picture by Rufustelestrat. I traffic in poetry, 
and in the world of letters,
poetry is the ghetto:
the east side of town,
the other side of the tracks,
the urine-soaked alleys
of downtown nowhere.
Storm drains are clogged
with printed-out dead-ends
and rejected manuscripts.
The moon hangs at a distance,
its reflection of sunlight
resembles half-burnt out
neon signs of ghost town taquerías
and hourly rate motels
that dot this cityscape.
Dive bars are a dime-a-dozen,
where soused Bukowskis
drink side-by-side with debauched Baudelaires,
and a dead-end Kerouac
ruminates over the choices he has made,
while his stool neighbor, Bolaño,
orders another Negra Modelo.
Ginsberg stands alone outside,
reciting some lines he just wrote,
while cigarette smoke wafts around,
draping his syllables with nicotine and menthol.
Octavio Paz walks by,
dressed and looking
like a powerful hacienda owner,
and gives a look of disgust
at this bearded homosexual
spouting stream of consciousness thoughts.
He has no time to listen,
for he will see what he once was,
and he has no time for that.
“Last CALL!” shouts the bartender.
The denizens of this free-verse ghetto
shuffle, amble their way out;
their eyes drift northward,
to a distant moon
shrouded by drifting clouds.
They all walk to that taquería,
turning a ghost town
into a city full of mumbling life
(semi-drowned out by the buzzing neon sign.)

©2013 José-Ariel Cuevas


Can I Get A Witness?

She stands there facing him, holding his hands in hers.  Her blue eyes stare icily into his; searching, deep into his mind, into his darkest thoughts and fears, she scans them quicker and quicker as she analyzes his soul.  The shimmering gold clothing she wears provide a bright and stark contrast to her pale skin, raven hair, and ruby lips.  The corners of her mouth flick up for a moment in an almost sadistic grin, which itself turns into a true smile that anyone looking at the lines in the corners of her eyes would recognize, but quickly fades again.  She frowns momentarily, then her mouth regains its position of neutral beauty and brutality.

With her holding his hands in absolute silence, her stare invading his core, and the blood in his ears already pounding, he begins to get nervous.  His breathing begins to grow slightly faster and his hands begin to tremble even more than usual.  Quicker and quicker he can feel the tension building, the dam ready to burst, the bomb about to explode and him at ground zero as his fear is overwhelming his thoughts and he doesn’t know if his mind can survive the wait for her final judgment when the whole world will die or explode into light and all of the answers of his life will be discovered.

She squeezes his hands tighter.  Not to reassure him that everything is going to be alright, but rather to hold hers still, because she hasn’t completed her final judgment yet.  None of the potential witnesses are aware of what is going on, nor would they have understood if they could have seen just how his nerves are beginning to act.  She keeps him that way, just as she always had, with the power that was granted unto her as his judge, his jury, and his executioner.  She doesn’t, yet in this moment, take joy in knowing what her silence is doing to him, but she already knows that as the years add to themselves, she will always look back with a laugh and the same ice in her eyes.

He forcefully suppresses the urge to begin dancing back and forth on his feet as his nerves are now screaming in anguish as the anticipation grows the anxiety to a near fatal rate.  His heart is pounding so loudly he is afraid that if his body doesn’t fall apart first, then the walls of this ancient wooden building will surely shatter from the sound and they will both be crushed under the weight of the air and all above them in the very next moment.  He tries so hard to calm himself down by telling himself that she isn’t done yet; she, the jury, has not yet reached a verdict of death upon him and he still may be able to walk.  The tears just in the back of his eyes are ready to flood out in Biblical proportions and the bones in his legs have long turned to dust and the only thing that is keeping him standing is her holding him up with just the slightest of touch of her fingertips on his palms.

Finally, her lips part, and softly, out fall the words:  “I do.”


Southern Cross

Image by Till Credner. The sun stolen.
Moon followed with alacrity.
Stars: all but gone.
Thankfully, darkness tells no lies.
Flesh and bone thrashing in ether.
There is rage against the poet.
A mote in the eye.
You would drown given the chance to breathe.


Sweet Lady Añejo

Photo by Antonio Morales García. I stare at my third tumbler full of tequila,

looking at it like I did the other two,

with reverence at this golden,

earth-bound ambrosia,

aged a year or more in old whiskey barrels…

That is, I stare at it like I stare

at the most beautiful women in the world,

while my friends see a whore in clear heels.

My friends’ bodies shudder, convulse

at the first whiff of this agave elixir,

as many nights of drunken lapses of judgment

all come back, all at once.

Sweet lady añejo has never done me wrong,

and she’s all right by me.


©2013 José-Ariel Cuevas