first meet

first meet

I can hear my heart beating.
I can hear myself laughing at his jokes.
I can smell the curly fries from Jack in the Box as we walk to my house
I can feel our hands shaking, as if we were very nervous.
Oh, wait… we are.
It’s the first time he’s coming over for dinner with my family.
I open the gate to my house, slowly and lead him in.
As I slam the gate, leaves fall down from the tree as if like snow; but sadly, it doesn’t snow in LA.
We stop and turn to each other when we arrive at the door.
I can hear my breathing.
I can feel him shaking.
I look into his eyes and say to him, “Ready?”
From where we’re standing I can hear them laughing from the other side of the door.
I squeeze his hand and he squeezes mine.
I pen the door, as I walk in first.
I smell the sweet apples that are in the basket beside the entrance.
And it started with a “hello.”

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First Meet by Angela Hernandez from Before There Were Bars, POPS The Club

the double life

I know about things

I am a new person, I may not be the smartest, but I know what’s right for me. I know my value.

I know the feeling of being alone
I know how it feels to have your heart broken
I know how it feels to lose a parent mentally
I know the feeling of always watching your back from every angle
I know the feeling of being handcuffed — being shoved into a cop car and being treated like a criminal
I know the feeling when you feel the rush in your fists and face but step back because you know what you are capable of doing
I know the feeling of carrying drugs in your backpack and hoping you won’t get caught
I know the feeling of having your own mother cry, and you’re the reason why
I know the feeling of punching the wall
I know the feeling of crying at night and picking yourself up the next day and pretending nothing ever happened
I know the feeling of hopping over the fence fearing either you will get your jeans caught or be chased down
I know the feeling of hitting rock bottom.
I know the feeling of living that double life.

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Excerpt: I Put My Life Together by Katherine Secaida from Before There Were Bars, POPS The Club

the 10:00 a.m. poem

pops the club

Sunny day, roses bloom
Two more hours until it hits noon
Light beaming, dogs barking
Blue sky, day starting
Students running, buses stopping
Stomp the yard, bags dropping
Teachers screaming
Students dreaming
The day’s rolling
Feels slow it’s still morning
On social media, all just scrolling
We all wanna have fun, just go bowling.

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Jesse Rodriguez, Pops The Club