And then one day, I killed them both. The bizarre thing is, I am not the kind of boy who kills. You know me.

I remember blood dripping on the carpet, originating from my white tee-shirt. Obviously, the occasion called for more appropriate apparel. At that exact moment, I made up my mind. There won’t be a third victim. I read somewhere that after your third kill, you’re officially a serial killer. I am not a serial killer, just someone who killed. I’m a proper person. And yet, here we are.

*writing while sheltered in place

Fear, Beer, and Cigarettes

The fear began in his gut, twelve seconds before the universe gave birth to nineteen-seventy-four. It paused at six seconds, like a dud firecracker, before reigniting. The explosion shredded his synapses. At two-seconds, he saw the bonfire dance and smirk in his direction. A new year and a cold sweat skated up his budding frame.

Midnight. A canvas of camouflage secured him in place, and an intimate whisper landed in his ear, “Happy New Year, Mijo.” The recognizable scent of Schlitz malt liquor and Winston cigarettes resurrected Tony.


Why is Tony fearful?

What is Tony’s relationship with the person smelling of beer and cigarettes? 




I’m worried, don’t feel like eating. That is a problem. My stomach is calling out to me, and my brain is backing it up. But, I don’t feel like eating, which is different than not being hungry.

This is a bad sign.

In the past, when this happened, I would get in the car and drive over to my sister’s house. The meal started with a donut or cookie and ended with last night’s leftovers. I can’t do that now. Thanks, COVID-19.

It feels odd, being in this situation. I recognize the problem, know the solution, yet, refrain from action. Sometimes, I think my life amounts to nothing more than footprints on ashes.


The naked young man’s scream caused a few diehard hikers to freeze in place. After about a minute, an athletic woman sprinted for the emergency phone by the cinderblock bathrooms, dropping her backpack on the cold, wet grass. A younger girl dashed towards the young man at the edge of the cliff. She stopped some six feet behind him, embarrassed at his nakedness, yet took in his bronze skin tone, broad shoulders, and thin waist. He could not be older than twenty-one, she thought.

The almost-man stood with his legs closed, and his hands extended, crucified against the cold Pacific Northwest wind. He tilted his head towards the charcoal sky, letting out another scream. The young girl shivered at the sound, or maybe it was the cold, brisk wind that makes her react. She noticed the salty spray of the Pacific Ocean caused the young man’s body to glisten and sparkle like diamonds.

Becka held out one arm, her palm facing the sky.
“Um, hey, what are you doing?” she asked.

“Becka, stay back, help will be here soon.” The woman who called for aid whispered from somewhere behind her. “They said not to make contact.”

The wind caused the woman’s words to swirl and fade in Becka’s ears.

The young man turned over his left shoulder, slowly, and when he did his face, his face.


I should have waited to see

if you could find you in me

I thought you might

but you turned your back

you found me with her

and the past is the past


Now, I’m all alone

in a world of unknown

with questions to spare

and crosses to bear

unsure of my life

And too close to the knife


I thought I might survive

show you that I’m still alive

but I’m wasting our time

by holding the line

so, goodbye


Six Feet

Six feet is too tall, too far, and too lonely.

Your lean body sways and your head bobs up and down. I try to match your disjointed moves to my best guess at what is blasting through your iPods – Spencer Elmer, probably. When we met at the start of the semester, I thought you too tall – six feet. I felt unsafe besides you, not that you ever gave me a reason to fear you. But, we look ridiculous, I complained.

The sidewalk and adjoining street are practically empty. The occasional driver flashes a weary smile when they see us walking six feet apart. Or maybe they feel sorry for us. Or perhaps they try to figure out why two boys are taking a morning walk together and yet apart. Six feet is the perfect height for boys unless they’re out of reach.

I’ve forgotten the last time I touched the back of your neck, shared a latte, or spent the night at your place. I am so lonely, and afraid my depression will come back and stay. It visits, you know. If I sleep six hours a night, I consider it a victory. And, food could just as well be cardboard.

Six feet is too tall, too far, and too lonely.

The Great Adaptation

The great adaptation robbed me
of your unruly black hair
swinging playfully
on your forehead

…of the dark circles around your eyes
that somehow were no match
against their brightness

…of your smile,
the smile you offered
from across the classroom

…of the sweet anticipation
of our next meeting.



Your licentious voice cold and abrupt,

fills an emptiness deep and below the gut.

While the blue in your eyes allays my

objections and whines. I’m prone to rapture

and crimes.


And then,


You ask if I dream of red satin ribbons,

of stealing sharp objects straight from the


Of floating in pink and bathing in mercy

for all my faults and misgivings.


Of regret for falling so far from the rostrum.

Landing on headlines and fifteen minutes of


For working so hard, trying my best

to outlast the game.


Of passing red and blue lights

reflected on neighboring glass.

leaving a mess and having them


for the answers.


And then, I say,


The door to the temple, you’ve torn.

But my mind is my


so save your penchant for fake


and vile trauma




“It’s like buying condoms,” I said

My teenage nephew spewed Big Red all over his mom’s tablecloth.

“What are you saying, Tio?”

You know, like when you need condoms. You want to be responsible and if you want to get with your girl you have to have them. But, you find yourself meandering the drugstore aisles waiting for the right moment. When the coast is clear of the bible-thumping old batties and you’re sure the a-hole counter guy won’t give you crap, you make your move.

“And how is that like telling someone you take anti-depressants? he asked.

Well, I know that before I get serious with someone I need to tell them stuff about my mental health. They have to know what they are getting into. It’s not easy cause you never know how they are going to react. Some people can be a-holes and run away or get all judge-y and shit.

“Well, I don’t have that problem. With the condoms, I mean. I get mine from Amazon.” he said.

“I can’t just order other people’s reactions from Amazon dude. Well, I’m gonna go thank your mom for dinner and head out.”

He gives me a hug, and while I’m passing by his mother I casually say, “Thanks for dinner and oh yeah, your kid is having sex.”

As I open the door to leave, I hear, “Nicholas!”