Published: November 1st, 2014
Cyndi Gacosta was born and raised in San Diego, California. She spent a few years of her early childhood in Sorsogon, Philippines. She studied literature at UC Santa Cruz. Her work has appeared in other literary journals such as The Walrus, Monongahela Review, The Toucan, Vanilla, and Skive Magazine. She lived and worked in Seoul, Korea as a teacher, but returned to the States for graduate studies in community planning and development.
On the Open Road
On the open road I take with me
Strength and courage, all I'd ever need
Whether traveling by land or by sea,
And whichever path be chosen, my heart will lead
As I sing, afoot and light-hearted, Whitman's verse
For all around me is the mysterious Universe.
Every place I go you follow
with a shade of you on my shoulder,
so light and tender and carefree
like a leaf that falls from a tree,
where underneath its summer awning
I sleep to dream of you beside me
feeling the deep breaths you take
and the soft sighs you make
Between midnight and sunrise
my friends and I stayed up
to witness the shooting stars,
a sight I had never seen before.
The boundless space,
the countless stars
suddenly made us feel
so very small.
The Finer Things in Life
You appreciate the finer things in life.
The true fine things that are overlooked,
brushed off as insignificant compared
to making money, things like poetry.
In it you see that it's as important as sciences,
without poetry a civilization can never survive
because there'll only be drones without hearts
who do what they're ordered to do because
their superiors whose superiors and their superiors
ordered them to do things and to just do it.
Don't think. Don't ask questions. Do as you're told.
Shoot! shoot! shoot! shoot! shoot! on command.
And don't stop shooting until your superior yells out
hold fire! hold your fire, boys!
As the screams die away the smoke clears away,
and it becomes apparent that underneath the rubble are
corpses on top of corpses with limbs torn apart, and
you walk around collecting and putting back the pieces.
You wipe off the blood with a handkerchief
and you see that this is the corpse of a common man,
but drones don't cry when there are wars to win.
You toy with a pen and draw scribbles on paper.
You ponder for a while then softly tell me that
poetry gives humanity a heart and opens its eyes
to grieve, to see its mistakes and its own hate,
and to beg on its knees for forgiveness
but forgiveness is never given.
It will forever be haunted by the ghosts of truth.
Truth is in the victims' blood and has seeped deep
into the earth from where grass and flowers grow.
Rome wasn't built in a day
a city scattered over smoggy skies
homogenous in culture
homogenous in architecture
the embodiment of the American dream
devours the open space like a gluttonous sinner
Utopia is not a solution to problems
Utopia exists in ecstasy, in visions on LSD,
in peaceful rests of heroin and meth, and numbess of cocaine,
and human flesh are sold on streets for cannibals,
for sexual devouration and moral degredation
a blur of distinction between public and private
so what's public? what's private?
strangers and friendly strangers
go and see see what works in the real world
walk the streets, embrace the energy of urban life
walk through the vaginal entrance of purity
a devotion to spirits of saints where animals
must be ritually sacrificed on the altar
or in slaughterhouses where we play like kids
in the blood pool on hot summer days
Inhumane and cruel, isn't that our world?
Our kind of human? Our kind of mind?
Only we flush it into the sewers to keep
streets clean but it's still there, that pungent smell
never leaves, always stays
I smell it on your breath and in the air
at late night bars and street whores
and backpacking wanderers.
Death and life eats into the city
like hogs face first in the trough of slop
which all boys had ejaculated into
like a rite of passage for them
to wallow like good pets ready to be grilled
and consumed off our dinner plates.
No escape from this city.
Go hide in the caves.
Swim in the springs.
Sit atop canyons.
Lay on rimrocks.
Trudge through the wetlands.
Die in the sinkhole.
but anywhere on earth
we're threatened and endangered.
We hide in the cave.
wait for our extinction.
Nature will reclaim our bones
and cover our cities in plants
and drown it in the seas.
Where will our souls be?
Off to planets or galaxies
as our shells are left behind
on earth buried with the cities.