A Poetry Showcase from Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozabal

The Pond

The pond is filled with quarters,
though they are in the bellies of
fish, and the alligators have both
of them in their bellies, and there
are dimes and pennies that no one

wants. The water is deep. There 
are wishes and hopes attached to
those coins. They never come true
when you do not believe the wish
will come true. I fish for quarters

when I am fed up with life. I hope
for wealth to buy me alligator snake
boots; the ones who inhabit this 
pond. The ones that eat up our hope.

Ice Box Kids

My kids are in the ice box.
It was too hot outside for them.
Take my word for it. If you want
some ice cream, you can check.

They will be better off there.
All they do is sleep anyway.
I can put them on defrost in
the microwave a little later.

They need to stretch their legs.
They can’t pretend to be ice
cubes all day. I am sure there
is a community waiting for them.

These kids get in all sorts of
trouble when they play out in
the sun. They need a little cooling 
off in the ice box for their own good.

You can take them if you want them.
I need space for the twins I am having.
I can tell they will need cooling off.
They are kicking up a storm inside me.

Answering Questions

Drink a little water.
Live in the forest.
There are things I need.
A house with rooms.

A house with walls.
I need everything.
The eye needs glasses.
I need everything.
I can say this place
needs a bomb.

Drink a little water.
These eyes need glasses.
The house needs windows
and beds and chairs.
I need bread and butter.
Who is going to help me?

Feed on Life

Feed on life 
as long as
you can
before death
feeds on you.

Those hungry 
worms await
with the
of vultures.

Life has its 
terms and it
It does not
care less if

you are weak
or if you 
are strong.
It will come.
It will go.

are out there
to feed
on you as
you are down.

Feed on life
while you have
the strength.
It is all
I can say.

I Used To Know Everything

I put people to rest in my sleep.
I send them to the dark side of the moon.
I have a powerful mind brain.
I burn paper and with its ashes I make gold.

I used to know everything.
I don’t know why I am best at forgetting.
I sit in this sidewalk all alone.
I watch the firemen put out fires all day.

I am in need of cigarettes.
I smoke them to relax myself and to
fight cancer mano a mano.
It gets awfully cloudy where I live.

Bio: Luis lives in California and works in the mental health field in Los Angeles. His poetry has appeared in Fevers of the Mind, Kendra Steiner Editions, Mad Swirl, Unlikely Stories, and Venus in Scorpio Poetry Ezine.

all drawings by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozabal

Poetry from Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

photo from unsplash.com (Kelly Sikkema)

Shadows and Darkness

I trace life 
with a poem.
If I die, 
my poem 
will live on.

The shadows 
will recite it.
Darkness will 
commit it to 

Swallow Your Mirror

Swallow your mirror.
Digest your vanity.
You can do it.
Let it enter and exit
and flush it down
the sewers of
darkness and rats.
Somewhere it will
sparkle, the vanity
of your own making.
Let the crystals shine,
the shattered pieces 
all around. Who has
been down there?
Will anyone find
all that remains
of your mirror,
of your vain face,
and who will care?
In the sewers
where the dream fades,
where blood and glass 
flows. Who knows?
Are birds there too,
with lost songs that
drives one to tears?
There is no light.
Crazily, the deeper
you go down the sewer,
symbols are everywhere.
Suddenly, a road 
appears in the
shadow, and it must
be a wrong road.
Vanity stops
and asks if it is 
alright to die.
When it is no more,
when it stops,
you can hear the lost
songs of sickly birds.
The sewer ends here
with the lost songs.
You taste the blood.
The mirror repairs
itself and you see
the vanity fade.
The eyes are
open, not blind.
After awhile,
you exalt I am alive.
The mirror becomes
your best friend in life.

Plant a Tree

Be the mind
that turns words
to honey.

Be the eyes 
that bring fire
to the page.

Make it sweet.
Make it burn.
Make it live.

Do something
never done.
Take a risk.

Or plant a
tree that will
outlive all

the poems
you wrote in
your whole life.

Precious Lives

Street cat crosses my path
Precious nine lives at risk
Heat rising to one hundred
Precious life needs a drink

Kicks a can just for kicks
Precious time ticking fast
Bricks are dropping on the street
Precious has no need for shame

Wanna file a complaint?
Wanna make a federal case?
It won’t make it better 
Mean streets make mean cats

Avenue fills up with cats
Precious lives need saving
View it from every street corner
Precious days, precious nights

Hip cats walk on by
Precious time on their side
Slip up and things will change 
Precious luck could go away

Wanna file a complaint?
Wanna make a federal case?
It needs to get better
Suck the poison and spit it out

Way is the end of the street’s name
Pavement is the cat’s bed
Baby cat is out there too 
Night falls along with the rain

Ethereal whispers fill the air 
Precious voices drowned out
Imperial folks hoard their wealth
Precious like Sméagol’s gold ring

Stayed with the cat as it walked its 
precious life across the street
Made a left on the way home
Precious time ticking fast
Off work on Friday makes me

wanna go home and pass out
Wanna file a complaint?
It will not make things better
Mean streets make mean cats

Night in My Eyes

Salt in my tears.
Night in my eyes.
Faucet with drips.
Sea without waves.
Cautiously, I 
walk like the blind.
I settle in
my grave, alive.

Bio: Born in Mexico, Luis lives in California and works in the mental health field in Los Angeles. His poetry has appeared in Blue Collar Review, Crossroads, Mad Swirl, Unlikely Stories, and Yellow Mama Webzine. His latest poetry book, Make the Water Laugh, was published by Rogue Wolf Press.

Poetry Showcase by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal : Grave Concerns

Poetry Showcase by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal : Grave Concerns

bokeh photography of person carrying soil

photo by Gabriel Jimenez

Grave Concerns

I have grave concerns
as I dig up my past
a thousand miles below
and all I find is more dirt.
I say this with a grain of
salt and sweat like rain
thicker than morning dew.
I have no uplifting tales
to tell. Birds in flight do
not sing for me. Stars do
not shine for me. My grave
does not want me to die.

Rules and Regulations

I feel much more
comfortable at
skid row. No one
tries to shove pills
down my throat
I never asked for.
I can choose all
the things I want
to put in my body.
I never been one
for rules or silly
regulations. I do
not need a room
or a roommate.
At skid row I can
sleep in a tent or
a box or just lay
on the sidewalk.
If they say I am
mentally ill, I am
probably the most
sane mentally ill
person in here in
comparison to
every person in
here, including
the doctors, nurses,
and social workers.
Best believe me.

Good Boy

These chicken wings
 look like cockroaches
with wings. I rather
dig through the trash
and find something
much more appealing.
You would not believe
the things people toss
in the trash. There are
treasures there. No
diamonds or pearls
mind you. But what if?
Look, all that really
interests me about
this place is the poetry
in which the patients
speak. I want to stay
just to listen to them.
The voices I hear are
far from beautiful. They
are not kind at all.  I
am a good boy when
they are not getting me
in all sorts of trouble.

The Longest Day

The longest day never ends.
Everything is a grind.
The miles are longer than usual.
There is no right way to go.
Suddenly, day becomes night.
The beautiful moon shines.
and a woman catches your eye.
The scattered stars twinkle
and the woman disappears.
The night drags on.
This is your life’s longest day.
The stars will not fade away.
The moon is full like never before.
Tomorrow seems so distant.
The moon is betting against
the sun never shining again.

An Ode

We are the readers of word-makers.
We read their dreams.
We wander where they wander.
We make time for their words
And worlds they bring to life.
We take voyages to desolate lands.
We get our feet wet.
We sing and die,

With every flip of the page
We go forth searching
Finding our way through
A wilderness of words
And of the imagination.
We learn new songs.
We search for the truth
Between every line.

We look to the past, where word-makers
Howled, wept, and walked
Alone. Many lonely days
And lonely nights they wove
Their tales of woe and wonder.
We are the readers of word-makers.
We share their dreams.

*An Ode appeared in the defunct "remark."
in Issue 35, July 2005. "remark." was a
poetry journal founded by Justin Barrett.
This issue was edited by Kathleen Paul-Flanagan*

Bio: Born in Mexico, Luis lives in Southern California and works in Los Angeles. His most recent book, Make the Water Laugh, was published by Rogue Wolf Press. His work has appeared in Blue Collar Review, Kendra Steiner Editions, Mad Swirl, and Unlikely Stories.