Joie de Vivre!

‘I can’t believe I’m in my mid 30s already!’ she says.

I wish I could tell her how abandonable she looks when she’s frustrated, angry, upset, cynical, bored, self-destructive. Conversely, how when she’s happy she shines with this irresistible glow that makes me want to lick the insides of her mind. How being happy in spite of or even better because of the circumstances is the human ideal. How permanency is an illusion, beauty its temporary transcension. About everything they were afraid to teach us about dancing, or singing, or laughing, because if they did then we might find out, and we were so young, and they hoped we somehow would never find out or have to find out because we, unlike everything else in this world, would stay young.

‘I know, it’s crazy’ I tell her, because the best you can do in this life, I’ve found, is to approximate those sentiments with a hug.

Why Learn To Taste Wine?

I’m only a few years into my odyssey of learning about wine. But I realized something the other night:

Learning to taste wine isn’t just about learning to taste wine.

It’s about learning how to taste everything.


For my Uncle Carlos who died earlier this year.

There was always something unspeakable between Carlos and me. What was it? I don’t know for sure. Something from a rooty Mexico that celebrates its Days of the Dead. That staunchly MexiCatholic country where those weird/ancient Native Spirits – a ‘nother branch of the species! – are intertwined inexorably with a conquistador version of Catholisim, itself containing a fair share of hoodoos – Spain inseminated by old Arabia and whatever barbarian influences festered in Andalucias.

All of which is to say – this is my way of honoring those few moments Carlos and I had together. The mornings when he’d ask how I’d slept. The afternoons when we’d watch soccer quietly happy, indulging in an implicit luxury. The times we worked on my Spanish, some new word or phrase, and being scolded when I inevitably mangled the pronounciation.

tio y yo

over runny huevos
at mi tia’s breakfast table
tio Carlos squeezes my shoulder.
kneading my meat
to feel some me behind
all this talk I do.

‘¿cómo duermes?’
wanting to know how I’ve slept,
to sift those depths –
precious muds
that affix each crucifix
to Aztec Mexico –
Did I know those shadows?
yes I did.
a grin as he’d
squeeze my brazo fuerte.

Later, home from my
UOP library work
we’d watch el futbol
‘las novelas para las mujeres,
y los deportes para nosotros’
¡Cómo no uncle!
– in his undershorts and shirts
airing those varicose legs
on a Stockton December afternoon
winter light saddening the livingroom
occasional tinkles of aluminum
cans of beer we hid from tia
our church, our couches
watching Toluca play Pachuca.



they look like Paris market fruit
there among the perfect American produce spheres
rumpled, misshapen, green leaves hanging
like flags saying Winter, it’s Winter.

why do they numb my skull?
like novocaine shot between the folds of my brain
ripping into that sweet meat
the strings and sections say Winter to me.

the drives

the drives

we pulled the hard drives
prior to donating the systems.

they housed such histories –
Gilgamesh to Pericles to Plato to Cicero
to Aquinas to Bach to Galileo
to Darwin to Nietzsche to Foucault
sum of all we’ve done,
kernel of this animal –
the drives reminded me
of pickled brains in jars.

since solo these hard drives
are just slabs of scrap,
coiled & soldered minerals
some alien archaeologist might find
and mistake for paperweights.

missing entirely the insides
oddly magnetized
almost in a pattern, as if Entropy
wasn’t humming random’s dirge.


categories poetry