Poetry: Selections from Facundo Rompehuevos

The time of monsters

it's strange to think there are millions
perhaps billions, of poets in the world
millions who stare at their paper or
screen and write about what they think is
important—i mean, that's all there is,
there's nothing else, nothing transcendental
it's not that big of a deal, like doing the
laundry or going to the bathroom, a driving
test, a last will and testament, it's both
serious and trivial at the same time, a unity
of opposites

they are bloodless, inorganic like the
mechanisms of a camera documenting with
precision the world around them
shutter-speed fingers typing and they take
good pictures—framing is key to any cage

they make a life out of it; they go to school
for it; they've invented degrees
professorships, courses and seminars
unironically; and they charge you money
straight to your face; woe is the tattered
scribe with holes in his pockets

they barely write and mostly scream with
broken mouths—their tongues were severed
in prison or childhood accidents—their teeth
have been knocked out—their throats
overflowing with bile and blood—ugly
violent monsters with little self-control
they fight, they fight, fight themselves at
times, because they can't see anything else
experts in experience—they taste things
ingest things and get sick: that's how they're
able to throw up so much, so violently

since people first learned to chisel on the
cave wall, they've always first had to break
the stone—there has always been a need for

Small noble things

my mother gave me sugar cubes
to calm me down when my dad
would toss over the furniture
and crack the bat on the walls
and kick the television and punch
the windows

sometimes it worked, sometimes it

but he also gave me a toy chainsaw
when i was in elementary school
because i didn't have anything
to bring to show-and-tell

my brother lent me money
when things were hard

my abuelita would give me pesos
to buy candies from the corner store
a sugar-tooth i never outgrew

the alcoholics and junkies at the
meetings sharing shameful
confessions—the valor of fuck it

the day laborers at the corners
sharing stories of breaking
the cabinets or the drywall they
installed when the employer
woudn't pay, que se vaya a la verga

a private and profound mantra
it is what it is, caí lo que caí,
así es, cuando te toca,
te toca, sí o no güey?

the families who fight and hide
from the cops, from dpss
from the landlord who would
call the sheriffs it it came down
to it, who they'd also fight if the
time came

the vendors who call you joven
even though you're not
and let you pay next time for the
bacon-wrapped street dog
no te precupes mijo

the ones who have dedicated
their lives, however bad
to noble things, however small

Ecclesiastes 3:20

the wound on his thumb had gotten so bad
and he had gotten so high that the combination
made him hallucinate chubby white worms
crawling in and out of his old, black and oozing

he scrubbed it raw, thinking it would get rid of
the worms but it only gave them more exposure
and enthusiasm

in a moment of half-lucidity/half-sobriety
and pure terror he finally went to the ER
where the doctors promptly kicked him out
because he was too high, rambling about the

dejected, he wept for the loss of his thumb
now certain it would either be devoured by the
fat worms or that it would just fall off like a
dried and dead branch of a tree

so he found a nice shady spot underneath a tree
in a nearby park and lay down, closing his eyes
and giving himself to the earth, hoping it would
have him and not reject him because of all the
fentanyl coursing through his polluted and ruined

Facundo Rompehuevos is an activist, writer, husband, father and recovering alcoholic and drug addict born and raised in the San Fernando Valley. He writes poetry, fiction and nonfiction. His work has appeared in independent literary and poetry journals, such as Unlikely StoriesRusty Truck and the political zine Red's Not White. He has two books of poetry: Irreconcilable Contradictions (2017) and Grabbing the Stars from the Sky (2021), both published by Fourth Sword Publications. His books have been sold at Stories Books & Cafethe Last Bookstore and Skylight BooksHe is currently working on his debut novel.


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