Static Routine

1. Wake up and stretch
2. Drink room temperature water with lemon
3. Open Instagram and marvel at the glam lives of strangers
4. Shower while daydreaming of luxury vacations with random celebrities
5. Notice that time is slipping away and jump out
6. Get dressed and check Snapchat for new filters
7. Grab lunch and head out the door
8. Stand too close to strangers on the train daydreaming of a chauffeur
9. Smell a breakfast sandwich as the conductor yells”train traffic ahead”
10. Walk into work and hope the hands soon read closing time

©Esther Valencia


Everyday Hustle

The bus pulls up to the stop and everyone clambers on. Most of the blue seats are filled with a mixture of young kids going to the elementary school by the bridge, teenagers possibly skipping class and adults on their way to work and other responsibilities. The light turns red and the driver leaves the door open for any stragglers. A small boy with curly black hair, no older than seven drives a red toy convertible up and down his legs while the older man with a thick gray beard next to him taps his foot in frustration. The light turns green but the doors stay open. Two minutes that feel like ten pass and the bus still hasn’t moved. The bearded man begins to mutter under his breath. A young woman with a bright red mohawk sitting on the other side of the boy taps her fingers on the pole. One more minute trickles by and a teenage boy with a canary yellow bomber jacket yells “what’s the goddamn holdup?” The doors start to close like a four person crew of three inch high people are pulling levers and pulleys to bring them together. The bus slowly eases away from the curb as the light turns yellow and the bearded man sighs in relief. The small boy keeps making vroom vroom sounds. The hustle continues.


©Esther Valencia

Flower Sessions

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Let’s go get
Garlic bread and barbecue.

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
I made some bread
Just to share with you.

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Let’s cuddle in bed
And eat some fondue.

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
This waterbed is perfect
For a screw.

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Your skin is so fresh
Like morning dew.

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
We’re newlyweds
Time to bugaboo.

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
On my deathbed
We’ll share a brew.

©Esther Valencia

An Unlikely Dad

     Cruz Glass had just finished giving Hawk his morning run when he saw Elías coming out of the stone ranch house his great-great-grandfather had built. This was the first time the boy had been outside since he’d been dropped off by his mother a week ago. He watched tv and asked when his mom was coming back. Looking at him, Cruz could see his father in the shape of his eyes and nose but the rest was all his mother. Cruz still couldn’t believe that Melanie, Elías’ mother had dumped him at his ranch because her new husband wasn’t a “fan of children”. 

     As the boy walked towards the stables Cruz could only wonder what his best friend had ever seen in Melanie. Isaiah had been crazy about her and so excited to be a father. He’d only had a few months with his son. They’d been deployed for a covert mission targeting a high ranking terrorist leader in Yemen. It should have been easy in and out op for their team. Too bad the intel had been compromised. The terrorists had been waiting for them. Isaiah was gone along with three other brothers in arms and Cruz had a limp and limited use of his left arm. Now he had to figure out how to help Elías. 

     Entering the stable with Hawk nickering, Cruz looked for the boy and found him in front of Pixie’s stall. The boy was petting the two year old filly that had a smattering of white spots on her back legs while the rest of her body was a dark rust color. He was talking about his room in Brooklyn. 

“Hey Elías how are you today?”

“Hi Mr. Cruz, I’m-”

“You can just call me Cruz.”

“Oh, okay. I, don’t want to umm get in uh the way so I’ll…”

Elías started to turn away but Cruz called his name.

“I want to enjoy your time here. You don’t have to leave right now. I was also thinking you could learn how to ride. What do you think?”

Elías just looked at his feet without saying anything. Cruz sighed and decided to give the boy more time. 

“I’m going to feed and rubdown Hawk if you want to watch.”

He moved past the boy to Hawk’s grooming area and noticed the boy hadn’t left. As he removed the bridle and noticed him watching from a distance an idea came to him. He started narrating what he was doing out loud.

“After removing the bridle, I take off the saddle, girth, and saddle pad. I place them on the saddle rack. Then it’s time to brush him. Elías can you go inside the tack house and grab the brush case that has Hawk’s name on it?” Cruz watched the boy go to the tack house and come back with the brush set. He took out the combs and picked up the curry comb. 

“We use this comb first. Do you want to try it?”

The boy nodded and took the comb. Cruz slowly walked him through the whole process and together they walked Hawk to his stall. This was a beginning of sorts and Cruz would always remember that morning fondly as the start of the boy becoming his son.

©Esther Valencia 

Love Gap

Sitting in the window seat 
Clouds and sunshine mixing 

Creating light, joy, weightlessness 
Turning to see him kissing her

Wanting someone of his own 

Coveting the feeling of belonging 
Closing his eyes and imagining 

Her silken curls, bright eyes 

Velvety lips whispering of home 
Fingers entwined and hearts bound 

Growing together in good and bad 

Creating a glowing connection 
Sun sets and clutching the armrest 

Emptiness fills him as the dreams 

Tendrils dissipate in the screens glow 

©Esther Valencia 

So They Say

“Angels we have heard on high” so they say,
Haven’t seen any signs as my energy darkens.
Bitterness and frustration drip down
Smearing makeup and staining clothes.
Haven’t felt any strokes of grace to counter the
Pall that conceals a light that falters
Choked by fear and defeat.

If angels are out there, please heed my call.
Show me a sign,
Touch me with your grace,
Give me something
To hold on to.

©Esther Moreira

Ladies Night

I stand alone as people run one way and slither another.
All dolled up, brimming with confidence.
Tottering in 6″ stilettos sharp enough to slice away
at my confidence and sense of worth.
Some are stunning and others have acquired just
enough shine to glitter in a room full of gems.
The evening has just begun and the girl in the cherry red heels is hobbling.
Her cousin with the blond Afro is leaning on the wall
taking weight off her nude platform thigh high boots.
The bouncer across from me smiles and waves at the
petite cognac hued beauty with weave down to her cute bubble butt.

So many women and I feel alone, adrift, not enough.
I hope my “friends” arrive soon because my spirit light is dimming.
I want to feel special
and important
and beautiful
and worthy
but right now those are just words on a page.
They aren’t me or at least not the me I see.

Glad I wore flats and my loose t-shirt dress.
Even if I’m not the belle of this ball I’m comfortable.
That’s a lie.
I’m far from comfortable.

©Esther Moreira

The Aftermath 

Bewildered, hurt and afraid.

Mind filled with nightmares of tomorrow.

Not sure who to trust or believe.

Trying to keep hope alive inside.

But that light flickers in the vortex.

Cupping my hands around it to keep it alive.

Have to believe “we gon’ be alright.”

©Esther Moreira

Orange Eclipse

The man in the business suit and red tie,

Showed up one day and said things,

Spoke with no filter or propriety.

The man in the business suit and red tie,

Surfaced with a message for the people who,

Shipped intolerance with hostility.

The man in the business suit and red tie,

Shined a light on the hidden radicalization of,

Sullen people unwilling to embrace the “others”.

Trump took this maelstrom of negativity and won this hand. 

©Esther Moreira

Street Talk

He spoke to me, said
“Hi, beautiful.”
Chose to believe him
Stopped, smiled in response
Wondered where this could go.

He spoke to me, said
“Pants don’t belong on my woman.”
Wondered if anyone believed him
Stopped smiling, tried to respond
Wondered if this ever worked for him.

I spoke to him, said
“Luckily I’m not yours. Have a nice day.”
Turned away as he spluttered something
Straightened my shoulders, smiled
Walked, swaying my jean clad hips.


©Esther Moreira