Month: October 2019


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the doctors told my mother
i needed to take Ritalin.
the boy was born with restless legs
and thoughts that ran a million
miles per second.

my mother, she rejected
all their counsel,
she was grieving ,
needing every ounce of Steven
to distract her.

i could have been a doctor,
or maybe an actor,
maybe a lawyer
or a science boy.
could have been the president
off the medicine.

could have grown up with thoughts like:
“mermermer and blahblahblah,”
and laughed at all the right times.
wouldn’t be such a mess
on the in and outside.

maybe i’d be in therapy,
talk about my father
instead of writing poetry.

i’d do all the doctor visits,
and i would trust the system,
find and label all my problems,
pop some pills just to solve ’em.

oh my god, i could have had thoughts
that sound just like the tv news:
“mermermer and blahblahblah,”
and watched as all your pupils grew.

who would knew
who would know
how i’d be
how i’d grow.

the doctors told my mother
i needed to take Ritalin,
but ma-ma-ma-ma-mama knows best,
i’ll stay a pyramid.
the tip is what i could be,
the bottom is where i have been,
the crawl is what i live for,
i’ll never be a has-been.

i have been looking forward,
my legs, they bring me elsewhere,
i’ve learned to love the beauty
of trading time for self-care.

i’ve learned the value of distraction,
it saved my mother’s life.
my legs continue shaking,
don’t think about it twice.
i think about it ten times,
distracted by the third.

the doctors told my mother:
“blahblahblah and mermermer.”

©Steven Cuenca


these are the days

gate 6

these are the days
of documented depression,
when we find
we move forward to get away
and any hesitation
is a step back


these are the days
we all become one color
just different shades
and it’s all so boring,
so we scratch ourselves red
and punch ourselves blue
until we’re the right color purple


these are the days
we can change our face
a million ways,
but we’ll never escape
from the sickness


these are the days
we forgive our transgressors,
because our minds
move faster than our body do,
and we figure out
we only hurt in familiar ways
and everything else
is a story told


these are the days
the angels arrive
and their light
ignites our flesh,
and the ones who survive
are the ones who dive
into the deepest, darkest pit


these are the days
we become alchemists
and we find a way
to create happiness,
but nothing comes without cost;
the high before the loss

“these are the days”
©Steven Cuenca

used to give

used to give more
when i had a lot less.
now i have a bit more
and give a lot less

i still help out sometimes,
but it’s like a Loch Ness
Monster sighting,
rare, unfocused, with shit lighting

think i need another tragedy
to get myself on my feet.
tragedy turned charity,
is that not the recipe?

now i just rest in peace,
got the world set up
to meet my needs.

i’ve turned into the boy that feeds,
shoulda been the giving tree

pity me, it’s the silly me
that wants to be
all the things
that imprison me

spent my whole life
trying to be comfortable,
and now i am,
thanks to the love
of helping hands

i should help back,
feel the sweat drip off my back,
or maybe i’ll just write about it;
duck the people in need,
quack quack

“used to give”
©Steven Cuenca

same songs

i listen to the same songs,
hope i hear ’em different

doesn’t matter what musician,
put myself in their position
and rock the fuck out

grab the mic and sing the same shit,
lookin’ out at my family and friends,
they’re screamin’.

every word that i say
reflects the mood of the day,
beat beat beating different meanin’

i be aggressive like,
grip the mic, scan the crowd,
“if you’re not dancing,
then get the fuck out”

they’d be impressed,
like, “this kid is the best”

encore encore,
open my car door,
drop the mic,
curtains close,
concert ends,
flowers thrown

listen to the same songs,
throwin’ different shows.
listen to the same songs,
hope i hear ’em grow.
listen to the same songs,
watch me sing the same shit,
same kid, same trip, same whip
same script

“same songs”
©Steven Cuenca



happy poems

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i need to get better
at writing happy poems
like when my cheeks
meet the bottom of my eyelids

like when i laugh so hard
it’s embarrassing
and i lose control
of my limbs

like when i can finally lay down
without a thought in my head,
because my body is elated
for no reason

like when i’m around the people i love
and it shuts me the fuck up,
that’s the happiest i think
that i’ve been

like when i’m so happy
my body wants to self-destruct,
“we’ve made it,” the goosebumps cry

like when i’m so happy
my body wants to self-destruct,
my body just wants to die

like when i’m so happy
my body wants to self-destruct,
and the demons bring
me back to one

like when i’m so happy
my body wants to self-destruct,
’til the happiness comes undone

“happy poems”
©Steven Cuenca