aaa 2

Superbrown, the superhero,
gained his strength from people’s fear.
he was super brown, Superbrown,
and he gained his strength from people’s fear.

but he was made weak for
every brown in prayer.
no prayer to a god,
but a prayer to the kids
that walk at night and never come home.
a prayer to get out of the hole.
a prayer to find the kind of love
you wake up warm with.

but fear is stronger,
and Superbrown gained his strength
from people’s fear.

a woman holds her baby closer,
a car door gets locked,
a hateful whisper is muttered,

fuel to the flame,
Superbrown felt it
flow through his veins,
through his arms,
tingling a restless tingle.
his fists clenched,
he punched all the bad guys
he punched all the bad guys
he punched all the bad guys
and destroyed them.

but Superbrown was made weak
with the scent of food, the spicy kind.
the kind that plays music in your ears
and brings families together,
and shares itself with different colors.
the kind that tastes of love,
the kind of love
you wake up safe with.

but fear is stronger,
and Superbrown gained his strength
from people’s fear.

the president speaks,
and hearts are turned,
and fingers are pointed,

Superbrown felt it all in his chest.
all that power flowing through his nose
and filling up his lungs,
moving up towards his mouth,
he vomited up a supersonic scream
that shattered windows
and mirrors
and demanded to be heard.
a scream so powerful
it turned back the hearts of the misguided
and those who resisted were destroyed.

but Superbrown is made weakest
by smiling brown faces.
smiling brown faces on the
tv screen,
at the bodega,
in our hearts and in our minds
when we hear a name, country,
food, sound, language,
that doesn’t sound quite like ours.
smiling brown faces made Superbrown the weakest,

but still, fear was stronger.
and Superbrown gained his strength
from people’s fear.

a child-sized chalk outline,
prisons getting filled and filled,
and children taken from their families,

that fear translated to power vibrating
through Superbrown’s heart,
’til he could take no more
and the pressure built up
caused him to explode,
and rain all over you and me,
and everybody,
and his blood permeated through
our pores and became us.

and as he flows through our veins,
Superbrown reminds us that there’s a time to
be strong, at the face of fear,
there’s times to be strong in your heart.
there’s times to scream, to demand
to be heard.
and there’s times to use your fists with purpose,
but there’s also a time to be weak, to be vulnerable,
to sing, and to dance,
and to paint, and to write,
to give, to love
to smile.

Superbrown was made powerful by people’s fear,
but more than anything,
Superbrown wanted the kind of love
you wake up weak with.

©Steven Cuenca




beach 2

i love the smell of your hair before i sleep,
but i can’t sleep with hair in front of me.

i love the feeling of grass between my toes,
the yielding of sand underneath my weight,
but grass makes me itch, and sand gets
fucking everywhere.

i love the smell of your hair when we’re in bed,
even though it tries to suffocate me dead.

i’m in love with sours and sweets.
you can see that passion
through the holes
punched through my teeth.

i love the smell of your hair
when you toss and turn closer to me,
and i notice because
i’m wide-the-fuck awake
thinking about how i love the smell of your hair,
but i hate being touched when i’m laying in bed.

i love the feeling of falling in love.
i love when it’s in my face, suffocating me.
i love when love tosses and turns
and corners me on my side of the bed.

i love being in love before i sleep,
but i can’t sleep with hair in front of me.

©Steven Cuenca


acid 2

we were fucked off the dragon
i remember you saved me
we stared at the night sky
3 seconds from crazy

with my feet on the clouds
and my head towards heaven
i think that i saw him
all covered in linen

he saw me. embarrassed,
i turned away quickly
my pupils enormous
the clouds began shifting

i reached out to grab him
i fell and i’m falling
i think i heard music
or was it him that was calling

i fell in your arms
not surprised that you caught me
the dragon had landed
not sure what he taught me

©Steven Cuenca

shy to sing


drunk moments seem to mean more
(more mean)
and the arguments are opera.
(opera fiends)
my monsters are shy to sing,
(fuck do they sing)

shake ’em up
shake ’em up
watch them pop
wake ’em up

sing along
sing along
you’ll never outsing
a monster’s song.

they know no rules,
they come from hell.
i’ll play the game,
i know them well.

they’ll say i’m right,
they’re quite convincing,

but i know them better
than they might think.

and i know i’m never right
past 5 drinks.

and i’ll wait for moments
when they might blink.

to apologize
for what’s inside.
i know i’m less love
than cyanide.

give it a night,
they get tired.

give it a night
to remember
what you admired
about me.

“shy to sing”
©Steven Cuenca



Amalia, el nombre de mi ma-
mama, i’m sorry for falling short
in the future,
i’m sure you’d do well without me.

seen the dirt and the demons,
know they’re thirsty for beauty.
if they try you, i promise,
they’re gonna have to get through me.

Amalia i love you,
you’re gonna be someone special.
it’s gonna make life much harder,
when they see your potential.

but, like a rock to a pebble,
or your heart to a devil,
watch your love shine so brightly,
watch it blind them and tremble.

Amalia, i saw you
in a dream; you were perfect.
drove across the whole country,
held you close, it was worth it.

It was worth the frozen toes and the broken down car. It was worth so much, the country was hardly far enough to merit your beauty, Amalia Sophia Cuenca.

You hold my mother’s name, and she’s the strongest person I know. I know you’ll wear it and make it your own color of excellence. I know this because you’re surrounded by people who love you, and that’s really the goal in this little life. All that’s left is doing what you do best and we don’t know what that is yet, but that’s the fun part; that’s why you’re here Amalia, to be yourself and show the world how amazing you are.

©Steven Cuenca

i met J.C.

sadboy 1

i met Jesus Christ,
or rather He met me;
it only lasted a moment,
but it was a moment indeed.

i remember that day,
a little more than a haze,
His hand on my shoulder,
the heavenly rays.
He lifted me up
and walked me with purpose.
He borrowed my voice,
He figured me worth it.

i sang praise to His name,
they all sang it back.
didn’t believe a word that i said,
He must have known that.
the heavenly rays disappeared,
and so did the hand on my shoulder.
never felt that warmth again,
my bones have only grown colder.

i guess i should think myself lucky,
lucky He touched me.
lucky my voice was enough;
there’s enough me
to merit His time,
the, ol’ “Son of Mine.”
He used my voice once,
and He left me behind.

used the same voice to say,
“i’ll love you forever,”
used the same voice to say,
“fuck you”s and “fuck off”s,
used the same voice to lie,
to scream, and to cry,
used the same voice to sing,
spill everything inside.
used the same voice to sin,
whisper pleasurist things,
used the same voice to laugh,
it’s almost all that i do,

used the same voice to write,
write about You,

and it’s a little easier now,
believe it or not.
now that my bones have iced over,
my blood burns so hot,
and my eyes have gotten
used to the dark,
i can kind of see
why You touched me that day,
why You believed in me
whilst i didn’t believe in You,
still don’t know the truth,
but i’ll voice it when i do,
i’ll voice it when i do.

“i met J.C.”
©Steven Cuenca




heartbeat poetry

sc 4

it’s hard to write
when you’re right
next to me,
and your heart is
thumping poetry
through the rest of me.

the best of me
can’t compete
with every beat
with sleepy heat
from your chest
to your feet.

i’d rather lay
dead and dumb,
bummed out,
without a pen
in reach.
just you and me
making heartbeat

“heartbeat poetry”
©Steven Cuenca