Friction underneath California tongues,
Walking in Bakersfield heat brittle against dry ideas.
I’m a crux forced into a smoke world, we lost the best of ourselves,
Smoking out of chimney lungs, pressure put us down, called it a giving in.
I keep thinking how that Tuesday slaughtered all my old vices,
Tempted me for a shapeshift,
Stoic at best, cost myself my heart,
Emotions stagger out like a drunken 5 a.m. lust,
I stagger to understand all these points,
Stutter in an attempt at peaceful finish,
Where I am disfigured in love, what it could do to the insides,
As a shapeless entity in your veins, what was gay but happiness in bloody veins and charred hands,
Tracing, perforating fragile edges of hold me and take me with you wherever you go,
It’s not for the faint of heart,
Irony embedded itself into my core when I came to a country of emotion-less,
Where emotional is a neon sign in my abdomen,
What did die will resurrect itself from a burning pyre of who we were, who I was,
In the sunset right at the shore of some dirty Golden State beach.
Be real, baby, this what we call: heavy lifting, while appreciating a brief aesthetic,
So briefly you forgot what you came around for.
I’m proud to be a case of senseless lust,
I’m proud to be a hollow circle,
I’m proud to be a tender display of expression,
American raised in a lilting possession of bad culture,
Mexican taught to claw the demons of old history,
Where these words are deeper than your wishing well,
And I look at you, all fire-lit, explaining what this means in one sweeping phrase,
As it captures agony in a mason jar.
We could dance and makeshift, make a hard-burning note of it.
But I can’t describe where loyalty lies between this new world I’ve built,
And the one I’ve left to ruin,
It keeps adding up, meaning something.
Mateo Lara is 23-years-old, working toward a degree in English Literature from California State University, Bakersfield. He is proud to be Mexican-American,queer, and chaotic. He’s learning to embrace and find who he is inside its history, language, and culture. His collections of poetry, La Futura Tuga and Bones, are available on Amazon, and his poems have been featured in The New Engagement and Orpheus.