my little piece of Utah
feels like 15 degrees

the stoop kid turned
sweater boy

and the summer’s
so summer,
and it lasts 27 months

you can’t get away
from the sunlight

my little piece of Utah
is like living
in the elements

i gotta get used
to going outside

taking a hike,
enjoying our

gotta tap into
my white side

my little piece of Utah
feels like my
brand new, used chevy cruze

i just payed
nine hundred to fix her

i’ve had nothing
but car problems out here,
but i’m blessed

i got queso
in the banco chancho

my little piece of UTah
is my own 800 square feet
i get to fart all over

where i could sit on the porch
and listen to Salt Lake City

and you can’t see the stars,
so i stare at that beautiful
pink glowing smog
and breathe it all in

my little piece of Utah.

©Steven Cuenca


i’m laden with laziness,
my life became biblical.
i’m cursed with this leprosy,
i’m waiting for miracles.

i drag feet,
and drag ass,
i’ll get there,
just half slow,
and half fast:

the latino slowbro

i’m worried
at all times
’bout the things
that i skip,
like showers,
and eating,
and doctor’s visits.

i’m the worst
kind of lazy;
i work my
whole ass off

and get home,
and get lost,
and act like
an asshole
when i’m asked
to do shit.

i thought i was working
so i could act stupid.

i lost the person
i forget i was,
or was too lazy
to become.

cuz i’m laden with laziness,
my life became biblical.
i’m cursed with this leprosy,
i’m waiting for miracles.

©Steven Cuenca


used to be
all about the
crushed cans
and rushed plans,

but liquor works
quicker in the
worst way.

i learned that Redbull
gives you wings,
so we mixed it into drinks–

i flew away with
my cousin on a thursday.

beer tastes better,
i just need a bit more now,
and there’re no bodegas
out here, i just get robbed
at the liquor store now.

four bucks for a
bottle of beer,
just to get bloated
before tipsy.

and let it be noted,
i don’t know how
to pace myself,
i’m still learning
how to drink these.

i’m better at making
plans now, got a couple
in the works. the trick
is staying drunk enough
to watch it all reverse,
invert, submerge;
watch them drown away.

i used to be
all about the
crushed cans
and rushed plans,

but liquor works today.

©Steven Cuenca


i think i get it now.
work all day,
get home and try
to forget it now.

move with the
hum to the
think i’ll add
some drums to the

i think i get it now.
stack that cheese,
get home and get
shredded now.

move with the
hum to the
think i’ll add
some drums to the

i think i get it now.
knead some dough,
the goal is to
get breaded now.

move with the
hum to the
think i’ll add
some drums to the

i think i got it now,
i focus all my energy
on checking boxes now.

and the list keeps
getting smaller,
i check 4 boxes now.

i work, i eat, i laugh, i sleep
and every second counts
for all of thee above.

the boxes i struggle with:
to live, to smile, to love.

so i get it now.
nothing’s more
hypnotic than that
deadened sound.

the one that
makes you

move with the
hum to the
i think i’ll add
some drums to the

©Steven Cuenca



pine tree scented candle

had a poem
about Christmas
but i never
got the spirit
to write it

something ’bout
the fake tree
and the pine tree
scented candle
we lighted

something ’bout
how family
used to feel
like family
back when gifts
still got me

i would fuck
around with metaphor
and tippy toe around
what i wanted to say

like how my
plastic tree
felt more real than
family, the one that
had forgotten me

it’s probably my fault
or the divorce

just feels like
it’s my fault
when i talk about it
instead of hold my breath
and walk around it

’til it builds up
in my chest
and burns hotter
than the candle lighted

the one that vaguely
smells like Morristown
and the Christmas tree
we slept around
before presents
and after dinner.

“pine tree scented candle”
©Steven Cuenca

rice with my spaghetti

rice with my spaghetti
i was raised
brown brown brown

my brother adds some
hot sauce, i think that’s
brown brown brown

danced to Suavemente
i would get
down down down

i used to do this
secret move, i spun
around ’round ’round

we had a dog
named Benji.
he shit the
house house house

so we straight up
just got rid of him,
that might be
brown brown brown

the ruler or the belt?
my mom smacked me
down down down

lord knows
i deserved every

only been to
when i was four

to bury my
father and
mourn mourn mourn

lost my language,
lost my culture,
don’t make no Spanish
sound sound sounds

yet i got the highest
grades in Spanish class,
perks of being
brown brown brown

it’s strange having deserted
my culture, my language,
religion, and my homestate,
my best friends, my workplace,
traditions and my family.

sometimes it feels like
it’s all deserted me.

if i had a child,
what would they inherit?
a couple thousand bucks,
a chevy cruze,
the power language?

no spaghetti wit the rice,
no sounds of Spanish
in their home, they won’t
even know to love New York.

just a father
with a screw loose.
i would have loved
to have even that.

he’ll have the
brown brown brown skin,
and learn to live with that.

and place importance
or the lack
of where he comes from
and where he’s at.

“rice with my spaghetti”
©Steven Cuenca

write better

i would write better
if i read more.
or read at all.
have one voice
inside my head
and he’s said it all.

used to read
a book a week
on the train.
Queens to Brooklyn
rinse, repeat.

i would write better
if i wrote more.
or wrote at all.
i would write for hours
back in Idaho.

had the blog
’bout the superhero
comic dog.
traded sleep
for Tumblr posts.

i would write better
if i did more.
or did anything.
spend more time
in front of screens,
started as a kid.

started off with
a Christmas gift.
i was twelve,
got vanilla Warcraft,
it became my world.

funny you can feel
when your brain
begins to melt.

mine has been
a puddle,
think i need
some help.

think i write better
when i need some help

“write better”
©Steven Cuenca


the legend of Brickface

there once was a man,
he stood 5’6,
he lived in the Queensbridge projects.

his face was mangled and bruised
from all the bricks that they threw;
they called him Brickface.

and people knew him.

they screamed,
“i see you 3E!”
and they always had bricks
and they threw ’em.

‘cuz Brickface was an outsider.

he didn’t look like us,
he looked like someone
who ate bricks
on the walk to the bus.

it made him tough.

he learned to love
the pain and thuds
of a healthy, hearty
brick to the jaw.

one day Brickface disappeared.

they said he probably
died of brain damage,
but i know the truth.
he was bricked so much
he became a brick.

just another brick
in the Queensbridge

“the legend of Brickface”
©Steven Cuenca

high socks

high socks on my legs, rock the
high tops on my feet, beat the
street, treat it like a drum, hum your
mother’s favorite song

three different colored jeans, wash them
every 3 or 7 weeks, watch them
wear out ’til they’re worn out, walk them
to your mother’s home

large shirts and the sweaters hide your
inner demons, help you slide by
without a workout, watch you white lie
like you did to your mother’s face

have a hat for every fit, fit your
thoughts and demons into it, flip it
back for doing business, i’m too
old to be the cool kid

i grew wings
saw myself
and flew to it
new to it
grown up shit
never thought
i’d own some shit
imagine that
imagine this

moved around the country
got away with it

i can still hear my mother’s hums
she’s a 15 minute walk away
and a two minute drive.
i’ve told all my lies
and they’ve gone away

i put my outfit on today
i dressed myself today
i wipe my own ass
and i’m too old to write about
my mom today,

but she’s here to stay,
it’s nice that way.
i’m dressed to live
that life today.

“high socks”
©Steven Cuenca