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My First Time

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Form was always a bad word to me.  That is, until my mentor at Antioch last
semester, Richard Garcia, made me see I could bring my own take to it.  This
is the first sestina I’ve ever written.  Richard made us use the following words:
Rancho Cucamonga, cajones, bugaboo, octogenerian, uvula, sheet.  This is
what I came up with.

The 909

In the lovely city of Rancho Cucamonga
where the heat cooks even the coolest dudes’ cajones,
lives the mysterious, elusive bugaboo.
Nestled in the San Gabriels, octogenarian 
legend has it he wails at night, uvula
rung by a covert Quasimodo under midnight’s murky sheet.

My grandmother doesn’t believe. “Sheet,
este pinche noise is just Rancho Cucamonga
wind, gurgling like chorizo stuck on the uvula.
Sabes when the scrambled cajones
go down the wrong pipe and you choke like octogenarian
putas giving tonguekisses to nasty bugaboos.

But the residents say Beware of the bugaboo.
At night he sleeps underneath blankets and dirty sheets
of unsuspecting homeless teens and octogenarians,
and blends in during the day with Rancho Cucamonga
sun, glistening rays: his dangling cajones
taunting our dry mouths like a juicy uvula.

The children’s’ teachers assign vocab words like uvula
when they should assign terms like bugaboo.
But the residents simply lack the cajones
to seek out the menace, sign an official sheet
of paper petitioning the state to declare Rancho Cucamonga
in need of help like “I’vefallenandIcan’tgetup” octogenarians.

It’s an unspoken scene, grizzly like octogenarian
foreplay, an elderly tongue tantalizing uvula.  
Who can help the residents of Rancho Cucamonga
capture the beastie known only as bugaboo,
this invisible criminal with a growing rap sheet
deeper than the canyons of El Cajon.

Cajonas y cajones:
I implore you to help weed out this octogenarian
myth. There is no hard data or spread sheets
providing statistics for this entity’s existence, the uvula
that hangs in the mouth of the 909, bugabooing
the San Bernardino metropolis known as Rancho Cucamonga. 

“Let’s snuff it out; stuff it’s cajones down its uvula,”
says my octogenarian grandmother about the bugaboo.
“Sheet. No damn ghost is gonna fuck, with Rancho Cucamonga.” 

(originally published here)


About Daniel Romo

Author of Apologies in Reverse (FutureCycle Press, 2019), When Kerosene's Involved (Mojave River Press, 2014) and Romancing Gravity (Silver Birch Press, 2013). I'm partial to prose poems. Alliteration. And fragments.

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