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Christopher Rubio-Goldsmith


Many of those nights I felt like a parenthetical

for your chants about our

crowded with pins and nickels drawers,

faded sheets and overplayed Eagles albums.

Taking it to the limit again and again

just made the day a toothache.

My identity craved the wind through the

front door run-on sentence

the wander up the arroyos and chart the sky

at night adventure.

The turn off the noise in the room

and dance into the bar and claim the stool

in front of all the dance move juke box action.

Not the comma splice which was an old shoe

not the three-word interrogative which was the

stale empanada, but feel this, the Jack Kerouac run-on

the wild scream into the woods that scares the

small rodents into their holes.

I walk outside and look at the street signs

maybe that will make it all seem right. One

night the church across the street burned

down like a short declarative you kept stashed in

the freezer for big times. You yanked

it out to let me know I could leave any time

like when the song ended or the period

closed the final sentence of a story where

the boy stands on the edge and thinks of his first

good deep kiss that made him feel the sky was his.

I knew the door opened both ways

into the desire and out to the silence

of a boneyard. You were from someplace

with big windows and clear syntax. I just

wanted to understand who else shares this story?

Against The days

Nothing was open that late.

Just slap my face and then

take out the disinfectant wipes

and clean the plastic tube.

Pack up the bowl. You know our

fingers cannot be trusted to roll

anything so delicate ever again.

This has started fighting against the days and all

that good time. This is what was

before the radio and television began

to go on

to go on

filling the room with sounds and sounds

and more sounds.

Turn off the volume and the images

are just full of what you can break.

What you wan to break: a lamp, the old

stool you always trip over in the dark,

the rooster made out of red peppers.

Now, we can’t help it but when is it too late

to be out? Waiting for the event to run

around the tree, throw its cap

into the street. Bring us the

churros, new huaraches, and a hand full

of tired faith. The faith of the mystery

and warm menudo on Sunday morning.

Gratitude, Hold My Beer

Even the holidays, lately seem damaged, dragged

through melted sticky expectations, then

leaned up against a wall, and blindfolded. The pinata

ruptured into a pile of colors, and then lit up.

Is it still meditation if done with two scoops

of chocolate ice cream and no pants?

And should the yoga be completed

before or after the IPA?

My wife and I adventure the barrio

jive step waltzing surprising the neighbors,

just trying to chill the smeg out.

Striding and speaking out our gratitude to each other,

the house protects us, the novels distract us,

the new stereo infuses the house

tunes jazz blues volumed up near college party sound.

But I do not share my gratitude for

my zoom and booze boys. My friends are geeked

in conviction, Joe Strummer riffing chingasos,

Roberto Clamente firing home, two meters

in front of the sitting pato baserunner.

Can’t worry about what may happen

with a lighter and a pinata full of expired happiness.

But when did the future become a threat? A mean

skinny white guy who is crazier than an outhouse rat.

My friends are not this and no that. This is

our power. We still want

to behave like our days are a circus. Bears

wearing tuques on bicycles. Some clowns spilling

out of a small car with flowers that shoot water.

I want to imagine in this world of dream jumble chaos,

daily consuming too much processed food,

that listing gratitudes may overcome

the mass-produced pirouettes of grief.


Christopher Rubio-Goldsmith was born in Merida, Yucatan, grew up in Tucson, Arizona and taught English at Tucson High School for 27 years. Much of his work explores growing up near the border, being raised biracial/bilingual and teaching in a large urban school where 70% of the students are American/Mexican. A Pushcart nominee, his writings will appear in Drunk Monkeys, Barbar Literary Journal and have been published in Sky Island Journal, Muse, Discretionary Love and other places too. His wife, Kelly, sometimes edits his work, and the two cats seem happy.


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