Day 4

7 Apr

Sometimes you want
the backseat
fade upholstery
and dead yellow jackets
and a spider web
sans spider
and old seat belts
that might work
that might not
Sometimes you want
the backseat
with the sweet smell
of crushed dead
pine needles and
last month’s mud
you want the danger
of youth with your age
the knocking on the window
of a baton the move along
move along the excitement
of our poverty
our bereft spirit
takes too often a hold
of our clean linen senses

Day 3

3 Apr

Soft blankets
threadbare smooth
see through pillowcase
my skin my hair
butterflies land
eyelashes meter out taps
our electrical fire

i think about our years
this way sometimes
when we are this close
to the edge of our time
this close to the walking away

Day 2

3 Apr

Happy Birthday, Stranger
For 11 years we shared the same
apartments, houses, cardboard boxes
parents that only sometimes wanted
to be there —
we shared the same
rolling of the eye
the tip toe quiet
the bitten bottom lip

Every time I remember you
I remember it all
I sometimes remember
that you don’t like to
remember the way I do

Like me , you’ve built
your own history
Like me, you’ve moved
on and away
Like me, you are
an only child,
my brother

Poetry Challenge A Poem A Day for April 2014

2 Apr

It’s April again and time for the one a day poetry challenge for national poetry month no matter how shitty they turn out. Here’s April 1st:

Day 1

It has taken
this long for me
to turn to mush
for you to reach
that last corridor
that last hallway
where the path gets
longer and longer
and you cannot reach
the door knob
nightmare woman
they say, you say
you knew when you
took this job
that there was nearly
no heart to break left
that you’d be working
with pieces
not whole muscles
not taut muscles
just what was left
and isolated
and at the end of that
hallway boarded up
with nails and boards
and a half ass guard
but you stay on like
a saint like a man
who doesn’t mind
past lives and rusted nails
my type of man
you say, one who takes
years to whisper
i love you
years to ask if there’s
enough to this thing
this mess of tissue
and discard and perhaps
yes that’s where we are
and while I’m not
taking down the boards
or making the path shorter
if you want
I’ll open when you get here

Restraint is in Order

21 Mar

On Tuesday, I’m supposed to go to court again.

If I go, a student who threatened me and threatened other students in my classroom will be there, possibly with another student to help defend himself against me.

I requested a temporary restraining order and received one so that I could teach my night class in peace without worrying about whether said student was going to comeback and either try to kill us or harass us. That was a month ago. I needed the restraining order because since the student in question wasn’t brandishing a weapon other than his fists and his history he could not automatically be kicked out of class.
NOt that a piece of paper does much.

I wrote one of the powers that be at the school and she wrote back. “I’m sorry you felt threatened.” Every bone in my body raged against that sentence: I didn’t feel threatened–I was threatened.

I’m sure the school thinks I’m slightly nutty. I would like to tell them why they think that and why I’m not but it won’t make any sense, just as it won’t make sense before a judge either.

I know this student. He has one of the most over reaching senses of entitlement I’ve ever witnessed. He refuses to work. Basketball will save him. And if I know what’s good for me? I wouldn’t fail him. He rocked back and forth in a chair not one foot from me the night he went crazy, chanting under his breath like a mantra I better not get no F/I better not get no F/You give me an F and you see what happens…” he’d trail off and then get back to his point again.

I used to not mind joking around with him. He had a sweetness to him, even if he was ridiculously inept at basic understandings of stories where the basic meaning was not hiding.

Not too long ago, we’d read an essay by Lidia Yuknavitch talking about male violence and male silencing of women in our culture. He summed up the essay by saying ‘she survived bad things and has a family now so she’s over it.” Ummmmmmm that wasn’t the point? But that wasn’t the point was the point of everything he did.

And then in February, he went, as they say, postal in my classroom.

And a couple of weeks ago, in a courtroom, he appeared with one of those aging hippy types we get up here that sees the good in everyone, so much good that she can’t see the snow job before her. She’s along as a character witness to prove to the judge that he’s a good kid and I’m a bad teacher or maybe somehow that I deserved it. Deserved some kid to stand up a foot from me, screaming at me that if he gets the grade he deserves something will be fall me. Slashed tires? Slashed face? Do I need to wait around to find out?

It was a threat. He is a threat. He’s got testosterone poisoning running through his veins. I have aging hippies saying hey man, he’s just being a kid. Chill. I need to chill. I need to feel sorry that he reads and writes on a 6th grade level. And I did feel for him until he threatened me.

But see, I got kids. Two kids. Two kids who need a mother in one piece. And I’m Chicana. I have no white guilt running through my veins. I don’t stare at my students and think about their shitty upbringings any more than I stare at myself and think of mine.

And what did I get from this experience? I got a classroom of local kids being supportive. I got a nervous look over my shoulder as I’m getting into my car at night. I got a campus full of nervous administrators hoping I don’t press the matter and that it all goes away.

I want it to go away. I want him to go away. I moved to the middle of nowhere to get away from this. I don’t teach high school so I don’t have to deal with this. And yet it’s all here on my doorstep.

The student never apologized for his behavior. Not once. Nada.

On Tuesday he wants to stand up in court and call me a liar and pretend he didn’t go postal in my class. I don’t know. Maybe he’s a meth head. Maybe he honestly doesn’t remember his violence. Or perhaps he is so entrenched in America’s culture of violence that he doesn’t recognize what violence looks like anymore. Perhaps to him? It’s just like breathing.

He wrote something telling in a reflection on an essay a two months ago. Between the third grade syntax and the text slang of contemporary American students’ papers there was a line about Yuknativich’s “Explicit Violence” essay where he praised the author for ‘moving on’ and not dwelling on the violence that befell her first thirty years of living. That is essentially what women are asked to do. It is our job to ‘move on.’

That’s what I’ve been asked to do by him, by the college, by the nice aging hippy liberal social worker chick helping that student with his case. I am being asked to move on from his violence and forget it happened. He gets to walk around the school chest out like a rooster with nothing resembling an apology on his lips.

The culture of violence. It continues.

Robot T-Shirt Sale

16 Mar il_570xN.577308291_41kh

The son is about to produce a new line of Robot tshirts and bags and as such is having a clearance sale over on my etsy site of last year’s robot designs. While the photo quality here online isn’t that great, these are some pretty sweet one-of-a-kind t-shirts that are left. They include:

2 Robot Buster Keaton shirts in a men’s XL. One shirt’s neutral with black design and the other is black with white silkscreen design.

1 Large Blue Robot with a heat in men’s L. Shirt is neutral; ink is blue.

1 Large Red/Orange Robot in women’s v-neck L. SHirt is heather gray; ink is red.

2 Robot Day of the Dead Skeleton shirts in men’s L. Shirts are black; ink is ghost white.

He’s selling all of them for 9.99 a piece (down from 15).

Diego’s Robot Designs on Sale Here!

SadGirl the Comic Super Heroine!

9 Mar il_570xN.569156414_jw6h
A heroine with real boots.

A heroine with real boots.

Debuting at AWP Seattle last week was Issue 1, Volume 1 of Sad Girl. First run was 50 copies. We have 10 left and will be doing a second edition. What is Sad Girl?

Sadgirl Comics is a zine by Margaret Elysia Garcia about a Mexican American super heroine named Sad Girl who goes around saving other girls from bad life choices and low self-esteem. BASED on a true but sometimes metaphoric story and illustrated by Paloma Garcia-Couoh, age 9. Paloma thus far has had a relatively happy childhood so her innocent drawings coupled with her mothers dark writings is sometimes jarring and creepy but always interesting and … heroic.

SadGirl is a super heroine for the rest of us. Instead of stiletto heels, she has chunky heels she can run in. Instead of bustiers that no woman could run in , she has a decent sports bra on under her cool t-shirts.


The last remaining copies of SadGirl issue 1, first print run are available here: Sad Girl Comics. Stay tuned for issue 2.


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