haiku xxi

snow 1

camo jacket greens
beat to shit with memories
in your stinky car

“haiku xxi”
©Steven Cuenca


fake fruit

we’re just fake fruit
in a basket.
i’m the grapefruit
made of plastic.
lookin’ bitter,
lookin’ thick.

you’re the peach,
lookin’ rich.
lookin’ sweet.

look at me:

i just wanna be
fake fruit forever, me,
you, and whoever
wants their truth
on the outside;
nothing’s on the inside.

i apologize,
i look better
on my bright side.
don’t take a bite,
don’t look any closer.
i am what i look like,
not what i’ve chosen.

i am the grapefruit.
i’m made of plastic.
don’t you dare ask why,
i’ve never asked it.

“fake fruit”
©Steven Cuenca



zebra 1

imagine squeezing blood from a stone,
or mud from a bone,
or love from a phone.

imagine digging through shit
for the beautiful.
imagine finding poetry
in a cubical.

imagine being afraid
of the things that will save me,
like doctors, and church
and biscuits with gravy.

imagine your mind
raced clean through the night
and not one good thought
was produced.
nothing funny, nothing smart
nothing strange, nothing musical.

imagine finding poetry in a cubical.

©Steven Cuenca

fist clenched

Spring 1

there are holes in my mother’s house
i made with my fist clenched.
i covered them in posters
of heroes in capes and
the boots and the belts
and their outer-underwear
with hair jelled with justice
and faces that say things, like:

breathe in, count to five
breathe out, you’re alright
your hand will heal tonight
it’s over, close your eyes

i have anger problems i haven’t faced yet.
knew i had issues when i broke the girl’s bracelet;
it had all this shit that it was engraved with.

something ’bout love,
and something ’bout forever.
i was tryna pick up the pieces
while she sat there in terror.

but some things stay broken.

i’d be lying if i said i haven’t
seen that same scared face since
on different people, usually coupled by
calling me a monster or asshole,
but i’m not evil,

i just have holes in my body
i’ve covered up with posters
of villains in masks with
their weapons and holsters
and big hair, and big heads
and faces that tell me:

breathe in, you know the drill
breathe out, shoot to kill
your fists were meant to fight
i’ll take over, close your eyes

“fist clenched”
©Steven Cuenca

mama will you

birth 5

mother will you kill me
the way you killed
all the other men
in your life?

i’m tired of playing dead,
i wanna go ahead
and try the real thing.

mother forgive me,
i’m being dra-manic,
the dreams i’ve been having,
i’m sleeping in panic,
and waking’s no picnic,
reality’s twisted,

a motherly whisper
is needed to lift this
curse i’ve been given.
since birth i’ve been livin’
in fear for the future–

so poems i write,
’bout the broken and brave,
and the bullshit and boring,
boracho y bobo,
a junkie for stories.

i hope that my words
deserve a plate, mama,
and merit a second.

a second ago
i was a good boy.
the boy who picked flowers
for his mother.
who picked hairbands
off the sidewalk
because he thought
you looked so beautiful
in ponytails.
the boy who wanted to take
all the stray cats home.

but he strayed from home,
and stayed alone
with all those voices.
the ones that pulled
at the corners of his pupils
and forced him to see
all the monsters between
the moments of Tragic.

but mama, you’re magic.
you conjure the feeling of
home in my heart
and i’m torn apart
every time that i’m blinded
by the sick, black, tar
in my stomach.

i know how you want it,
you want me to be
the best that i am,
but you’re better than me,
and there’s no joy
in being mediocre.

mama, tell me about
when i was a good boy.

“mama will you”
©Steven Cuenca


city 22

the last three years of my life have been waiting.
waiting to get out of my mom’s house.
waiting for a better job.
waiting to see if my pieces
are worth putting back together.

i taught myself to wait
in 6th or 7th grade,
with a dumb look on my face,
hypnotized by the thoughts
of food or girls.
back when the world
was simpler.

i taught myself to wait
with a straight look on my face,
sittin’ on the F train.
hypnotized by the rise
and fall of my stomach.
back when i was lonely
by decision, in a city
full of millions.

i taught myself to wait
with an apartment hardly paid
and a smile up on my face,
hypnotized by the rhythm
of the bright side, hidden
in my shit luck, bitten
by a stink bug.

waiting is the fun part,
also the worst part.
moments are a tease,
gone in a sneeze.

i taught myself to wait
staring at trees
fly by
on long car rides.

©Steven Cuenca

lost my mind in Brooklyn


think i lost my mind in Brooklyn,
learned that people can’t be saved.
saw some pictures of my father
that i know i can’t erase.
entry wounds and exit wounds,
his skin a tint of teal.
felt my face pour down my shirt
before my brain knew what to feel.

i’ve got concrete for my skin,
traffic cones for my bones.
the blood that’s running through me
is the train ride going home.

think i lost my mind in Brooklyn,
got too used to feeling lonely.
watched my family do the splits.
piss drunk, last stop, woke in Coney.
last night’s vomit on my shit,
morning crust up on my face,
checked my pockets, all was there.
headed back to my aunt’s place.

i’ve got concrete for my skin,
traffic cones for my bones.
the blood that’s running through me
is the train ride going home.

think i lost my mind in Brooklyn,
i had voices in my head.
every day i’d say good morning
to my uncle, now he’s dead.
two years before, his brother died.
it was tragic, so i’ve heard.
i’ve got angels all around me,
but a bird is just a bird.

i’ve got concrete for my skin,
traffic cones for my bones.
the blood that’s running through me
is the train ride going home.

“lost my mind in Brooklyn”
©Steven Cuenca