Month: January 2017

Elvin Hill

Have you heard of Elvin Hill?
So tall, every hateful inch
spreads blackness perverse
over cities, strangers, families?

Have you seen Elvin Hill?
Dead inside and out,
a blanket of grey-green misery?

Have you heard the stories?
How dangerous, jagged,
how it killed my father?

Have you?

I have.
I’ve seen him.
Just a lump in the grass,
confused and unexceptional
like the rest of us.

“Elvin Hill”

©Steven Cuenca





Chinatown mischief. Shout out to the Peak Organic Brewery.

“Drunk conversations and my boring life;” The tagline thing that sits neatly under my blog title. It’s clean, edgy, and has probably been used thousands of times before in different shapes or forms.

The ‘boring life’ bit is a self-aware defense mechanism I’ve adopted to place myself at an advantage. I’d rather be called [stupid, boring, ugly] and be surprising than, [smart, interesting, attractive] and underwhelm. I’ve actually attributed this mechanism to being the second child. My older brother, by two years, was my primary father figure. I had a sad, widowed mother, so he had to grow up quick. He was expected to be the man of the house. And he was well-spoken, and handsome, he was smart, athletic, and good with girls. He was also arrogant, still is. I grew up thinking I would never be a better man than he was, so I never tried.

He was well spoken, I’m well written. This digs deeper into how personable he is compared to me. He’s very much extroverted, so crowds feed him energy. He has a strong personality so he can easily made that crowd listen to him. Crowds affect me adversely, so of course I’d rather sit behind a keyboard. Doing that long enough facilitates a strong, written voice.

He’s handsome, I dress different. He’s also four inches taller, like why? My brother used to dress in what I’d call ‘preppy clothes.’ Which meant Hollister, Aero, American Eagle etc. So to take control of my life and carve a new image, I bought a skateboard and started wearing ‘skateboarder clothes.’ I was terrible at skating, but the clothes remained.

He was smart, I took to the creative arts. He was logically sound; some would say he’s math smart. Not that being math smart is a thing. I always thought it was an excuse for people to be lazy. “Oh, I’m not naturally mathematic,” or, “I just don’t have the math gene.” I can do math, and I do it very well. It was my decision to start writing, mostly to take my brain diarrhea and spill it on paper. I’m not a ‘natural writer,’ it took a lot of work, time, and solitude to be this average.

He was athletic, I played different positions. That can totally be read as homo-erotic and incestual, but I won’t change it. My brother and I played football and ran track. He was a cornerback, I was a noseguard. He ran the 400, I ran the hurdles.

He was good with girls, I’m uhh still not.

The first half of my tagline, the ‘drunk conversations’ part, has less to do with alcohol and more to do with my social competence. I’m introverted, I’ve mentioned that before and I’ll mention it again, but I shine in one-on-one interactions. And I shine the brightest when I’m drunk or very tired. It must be this energy thing (refer back to Steven’s Energy), because I’m very surface level when I’m awake and moving. I observe my surroundings, joke around, let my mind go wherever it pleases. I indulge on video games and television and food and sex. It’s like I’m punishing my brain for trying so hard. And I’ve never been one of these people who love hearing their voice. It’s difficult for me to talk without purpose so I’d rather stay silent. I can’t do the masturbatory intellectual monologues with the academic language and the closed eyes with the elevated chin. However, drinking hyper-focuses my mind on whatever is in front of me. I’m sure it does that for most people, but my mind is all fucked and it helps slow it down. When I’m drinking I can have meaningful conversations. I can care and listen and digest people’s thoughts and ideas. I can riff and raff and enjoy another person without wishing I was alone in my room, comfortable and safe. Drinking makes me love my voice. Myself even. And life and music. It’s fucked and I’m aware enough to understand that I use alcohol as a crutch. But so it goes.

This is more or less a drunk conversation, only it’s 3:17am and I’m sober. Hope it was boring enough to justify my tagline.


Steven’s Energy

Yours truly in Bushwick, Brooklyn

The Lords and Lordesses who created me decided that they wanted to give me a WHOLE lot of energy. Doctors told my sweet mother that I should be medicated to keep my jumpy jeans on. She told them kindly to fuck off. This was during a hard time for her; her husband had just been murdered and she was struggling with thoughts of suicide. My hyperactivity kept her mind busy. She thought my energy was a beautiful thing. A blessing even.

Well, the creators also made sure I was introverted enough that all that energy would be transferred into writing, video games, and masturbation. In no particular order.

Fast forward, I majored in Media Literacy (fancy for Communications) and minored in English at CUNY Queens College. I eventually dropped my minor because I wanted to graduate quicker. I shoved all of my required classes into two semesters, and was left with a final semester consisting of three 300 level writing intensive classes. “That’s a big no-no,” said my advisor. She said a lot of things.

I ended up having to write 3 papers a week for 3 months. I’d stay up all night, muster up all of my superhuman energy and jerk off to keep the lust demons away. Then I would write. I would write and I would write. I earned a 3.9 gpa that semester (humble brag). While I was writing, I also worked and worked out at the YMCA. I did that while finding time to run around Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens to take pictures of my pretty city. And I’d do that while finding the time to tutor the YOUTH in mathematics for food, or money if I was convincing enough. On top of all of that, I spent the remainder of my energy on trying to maintain my dying long distance relationship of almost 5 years, such a great investment that turned out to be.

Graduating was a strange thing for me. A lot of these kids do it the right way and intern so that they have a job when they finish. I couldn’t bother myself with all that. So I graduated and moved back upstate with my mother. I bought myself a car and have been trying to find a job. All that energy that helped me excel in school, run around the city, work, tutor, etc etc. is now unspent. That’s why I’m writing again, because video games and masturbation were getting a little tedious.



Will I Be a Good Father?

ig: @snapshotsteve


will i be a good father?
i ask the lord,
my father.
he won’t answer,
he’s busy answering better questions
from better people.

will i be a good father?
i ask mi papá,
my father.
his answer is silent,
as cold as his tomb in machala.

will i be a good father?
i ask my step-dad,
my father.
he might text me an answer.
he loved with his pockets
and when his arms grew tired
he loved with his legs when he
ran to the bronx.

will i be a good father?
i ask my mom,
my father.
she’ll say yes.
she sang:
duérmete mi niño,
duérmete mi amor,
duérmete pedazo,
de mi corazón

my father taught me.

my father taught me how to plead
my father taught me how to die
he died
he died
he died
my father taught me how to flee
my mother taught me how to love

will i be a good father?

duérmete pedazo,
de mi corazón


“Will I Be a Good Father?”

© Steven Cuenca

Brown Boy

ig: @snapshotsteve


Where do I fit in the conversation? I’m not White, unfortunately. I don’t identify with Black people. I’m straight (enough). I’m healthy, college educated, young, incredibly handsome. I’m not Mexican. I’m versed in Standard American English. I don’t claim a persecuted religion or culture. I’m Steve the fucking gringo, first generation Ecuadorian-American who can’t speak Spanish to save his life.

This puts me in an interesting position. I don’t look the part of the Privileged White Male, but I share more in common with this archetype than any of the others. My voice is a White one. Somewhere before my creation I traded White Guilt for the occasional racial gaze. Go me.

My position in the conversation becomes even more interesting because of my deep connection to the freedom of speech. I fancy myself a writer, a free-thinker, and a competent communicator. I don’t believe in silencing speech, with very few exceptions (child pornography, for example). I don’t believe in silencing people, or removing them from my life because of what they believe to be their truth. My generation has a knack for this mass censorship of ideas that are contrary to what they believe is “right” or “forward thinking.” It’s all very boring. I believe that people can learn from anyone. The racist you’ve dismissed might be a mathematical genius working on more efficient, cleaner methods of producing energy. That homophobic Mormon might run a soup kitchen for the less fortunate. Etc. Etc. And that Social Justice Warrior with the apologetic White Tears might touch little boys on the weekends. Who knows, who cares. The point is that if you’re looking for truth, look for it. That racist really bothers you? Open dialogue with him. Keep your mind open and learn from him. Maybe he can learn from you too. Whatever you get from that interaction will be far more meaningful than dehumanizing him. Also work on yourself, what the fuck makes you so great?

My generation loves censorship as much as it does labels. “I’m a SJW cis male feminist.” Or “I’m a Brown Boy.” Labels are so inaccurate, so limiting, so boring. Do I really need to know you’re a feminist? It’s 2017. What does it even mean to be a Brown Boy? Who’s mans is this? We label because it’s efficient. Why take the time and effort to get to know somebody if you could just make a generalization based on appearance and turn the other way? And why bother putting the effort into being interesting if you could just write HARDCORE LIBERAL on your forehead and wait until you find a matching forehead to speak to? I have a good idea that labeling is a product of evolution. People labeled dangerous animals and plants to know which ones to avoid. Now people are using that same instinct on people wearing “Make America Great Again” hats. It’s all very silly. Everything is silly. Nothing matters, the world is dark dark dark.

Know the pieces. Play the game.