By: Anthony Aguero
Sometimes I Feel Like a Fraud
During any horror movie in a theater
I clamp my eyes shut
And tell myself the noise will say everything.
Of course, I am unafraid.
I told the first guy I have had sex before.
There are things I’d prefer not to say:
I masturbated three times yesterday,
Or that I slept until 3 PM
Which forced me to not exercise. Sorry.
I mean: it is what it is.
It’s hard to acknowledge the lone-
Liness that follows closing your eyes.
All that emptiness
Comes flooding back in and suddenly
I am back to figuring out which group
I should talk to
during a daunting lunch break.
In late elementary school I was caught,
Stealing a video game from K-Mart.
Sometimes I wish it had been directly
My doing, my fault, my hands.
In retrospect, I become the villain,
But the Michelle Pfeiffer version with a whip
And all that excellence in one take.
20% of People On Welfare Reported to Use Some Form of Illicit Drug
Before I first understood a rose
I understood the effects of THC,
Hash, weed, marijuana, or was it coke.
My Tia says I can use her EBT card
To get us both some sweets at the
Circle K around the corner of Olive St.
I have used some form of an illicit drug
With twenty-percent of my family
Who live in the surrounding area of my home-
Town. I’ve used their food stamps to
Get us all some sweets at one point or
Another. My father seems most celestial
When he concocts a mechanical cloud.
My father seems most familiar when
Pulling a tourniquet from a stranger’s arm.
I love my body most when I don’t feel
I must be snuck into a world where twenty percent
of people on welfare are dying.
Someone Says They’d Take a Bullet for You
You’re too much.
That shirt is too loose.
That shirt is too tight.
Fix your smile, a little
Hold my back, it hurts.
Too much identity.
You sound so alone.
Take me serious.
Crack my ribs,
Watch what grows.
You’re too much.
Self in stone.
Anthony Aguero is a queer writer in Los Angeles, CA. His work has appeared in the Bangalore Review, 2River View, and The Acentos Review.
Interview with the Poet:
Cathexis Northwest Press:
How long have you been writing poetry?
I’ve been writing poetry for about 12 years now.
Can you remember the first poem you read that made you fall in love with poetry?
The first poem I read where I thought I want to express my thoughts like that! was “Admonitions to a Special Person” by Anne Sexton
Who are your favorite poets? Any specific poems?
Two poets that immediately come to mind are Morgan Parker and Natalie Diaz.
Specifically, Morgan Parker’s, “I Told My Therapist I Tried to Meditate and She Laughed”, and “How to Go to Dinner with a Brother on Drugs” by Natalie Diaz.
Can you share for us a little bit about your writing process? Any specific rituals that get you in
Very rarely do I write a poem not provoked from listening to a certain song. So much as I replay that song over and over until I finish writing a poem I started while listening to said song. As for the process, usually I begin with the title or first line, and the concept is usually never too far behind. I feel as a person who has struggled with drug abuse, the impulsivity is recognizable in my process.
How do you decide the form for your poems? Do you start writing with a form in mind, or do you let the poem tell you what it will look like as you go?
Generally, I allow the poem to tell me what I want it to look like as I go along. Unless I am challenging myself with very specific poetic structures and form.
Any advice for poets who have yet to find their voice?
I didn’t find my voice in my writing until almost 10 years after writing but I kept at it knowing I’d eventually find it: just keep writing.
What is your editing process like?
I begin with sending the poem to 2 to 3 poets and get their thoughts. Then I’ll reread once I’ve sent it and find typos or grammatical errors. The editing process terrifies me a bit because I feel like what I intended to express is lost in the edits. I can’t speak to confidently on my editing process.
When do you know that a poem is finished?
When it feels right after about the third rereading of it.