*Not your average publishing company


I remember that Spring, my friend walked the streets of London
with napalm in his heart. (I half-a-stride behind). He was
too blues for school, too rock to hold down a job.
In the dark of early mornings, he insisted we separate the body
from the mind. That was the horizon of desire.

One May night a daring young woman asked my friend
to take her back to Tucson. Her eyes too wild
for my friend’s imagination. Her hair flaming
the brown pub. Her Joe Strummer t-shirt sleeves
rolled up showing her red guitar pick tattoo. My friend terminated
the final pint, missile-delivered a kiss
on her lips that took the room to the encore of catastrophe.

Some afternoons he napped on sun filled park benches. I imagined
my friend’s dreams of planes going down, rushing
in a mad crush up to the stage to hear the band, riding trains
on tracks that vanished.
He was the beauty before the tragedy.

Often in the country, waiting in drizzle or heat, for a ride he sang union
songs his mother had taught him. Or he listed streets from his old
neighborhood: Lester, Ball, Tatum, Shea.

In a Florence Museum he yelled, in a subway voice from hell,
to a group of English tourists “The sun will be late tomorrow.” I smiled, because
two bored old men wearing argyle, agreed.
Embracing my friend was like riding a river
after a winter of record snow fall.
He was a pioneer without a frontier.

Christopher Rubio-Goldsmith was born in Merida, Yucatan, grew up in Tucson, Arizona and taught English at Tucson High School for 27 years. Much of his work explores growing up near the border, being raised biracial/bilingual and teaching in a large urban school where 70% of the students are American/Mexican. A Pushcart nominee, his writings will appear in Drunk Monkeys, Sky Island Journal and have been published in Allium Journal, Book Of Matches and other places too. His wife, Kelly, sometimes edits his work, and the two cats seem happy.

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