By Victoria Rivas

I have been there...

That man there, with the health

spa tan, Star Trek necktie?

He used to wear a headband,

tie-dyed, and remembers that

hit of acid,windowpane,


with the one night stand, when they

went insane, the motel room

melted, the girl named Noel

licked his cock, transformed into

Grace Slick as White Rabbit rocked.


See that grey haired woman, thick

in the middle, with teenage kids

in toe? Did you know she marched

against war? She burned the flag.

Policemen dragged her to jail,

where she drummed hard on the bed

and led "We shall overcome."


When the guard joined in, she knew

they would win, peace would end war,

they would send our boys back home.

I can't convince you, I know; I've been there...

That teacher who averts his

eyes at the sight of students

with pierced skin: nose, eyebrow, tongue?

He hitchhiked to Woodstock. He

helped tear down the fence. He mucked

naked in the mud, felt strange

flesh and fucked while Hendrix played

the daw's early light. He found

god in a psychedelic

revelation and lost her.


It happens. It will happen

to most of you. The Ghost will

haunt you of this life you want,

taunt you out of reach, but each

of you is most likely doomed...


a normal life, husband, wife

dirty dishes, diapers too,

hyperactive kids will call

you mom, dad, as you wonder

what happened to times you had.


I have been there; I should end there.


The first time you take metal

from your flesh to get that job,

settle for less, need before

desire, when you rob your pierced

tongue of words to stay employed;


the first time you style hairs so

adults smile, the first time you

donŐt dye it--yellow, green, blue...

the first time you compromise,

then you will remember me


I have been there.


By Victoria Rivas

I sat in the fourth floor window, six weeks old

infant boy who cried with colic for days, rocked

in my arms. And I with the knowledge that

if my arms opened he would drop. It would be

over, easy as a farmer downs a bag

of kittens who would not survive anyway.


"It's the same," she said. "I take care of my cats."


Life grew from bulges in my womb to people

I cannot recognize as parts of myself

except around her mouth, sometimes from her mouth,

except around his eyes, a foot above mine,

grown different each day, shed their yesterdays,

eight thousand days, more or less, every day.


"It's battle scars," he said. "makes you different."

I picked her up from jail, barefoot, dark circles

under eyes that stared resolutely past me,

mute witness to distance between us. Those

cold wars can sometimes outweigh the many nights

she spent with her head on my lap as my hand

stroked her hair and I watched my teenager sleep.


"I miss nothing," she said, "not having children."


She was three first time she went missing, wandered

off to another trailer park. He was in

high school last time, three hours late before we found

he was missing. He came for Christmas. She moved

to Texas, showed her boyfriend photos of her

as she grew, took a few more snapshots and left.

Volume 8 Index