Street Trash: Poems
by Celeste Gonzalez
Illustrated by Allison Strauss

Street Trash

The girls from Kauffman…
watch ’em grow

Into teenage moms
onto adult brides
Babies adorning immature hips
hungry toddlers chasing
the tamale man
pushing the shopping cart
calling him “Papi”

I ain’t dropping anchor here



Locked and confined in a cheap room in Vegas
a hooker offered me her silver stilettos to dance
she said
“click your heels and you’ll be home again,
there never was a thing such as ruby slippers”
I’m still not home, not inside your arms

The windows only open half way and I can’t breathe
I can’t hear the lights or feel the coins off winning slot machines
I only see Elvis marrying off girls daring to be women
and men singing for a lost dream
on the porn paved sidewalk
where the tourists flip their nickels at fancy
hotel water fountains

There’s no one knocking at my door
not even the maid with clean towels
no one offering to turn the bed down
since I sleep alone with the telephone book
at my side in order to feel something, some
name next to me



Tough guy, don’t get angry
Great walls, dead ends
It’s getting expensive
I know it’s all being told to you
Xander, disconnected
I still got connections
if you still want it, if you can’t get off it



Growing up doesn’t stop
at scraped knees
and tangled braids
Everyone knows
what they will
never say
Bruises on your breasts
spit on your lips
that isn’t yours
even that shade of red
won’t dissolve the taste


Diner Talk

You hide your face in crowded places
hoping you’ll blend in
Turning into someone you
never wanted to be
Dried up from ambition
sitting at the table unable
to hold a conversation
when all you want
is to say
just one



My waistline took
a long break
so I don’t weigh 120 pounds
or am a size 4
I eat donuts
Boston cream pies
without regret in each bite
If you want to find me,
I’ll be standing in the
buffet line
for seconds



I’m told many stories about your wild ways
but all I want is to take your knife
because I miss you
they’re not just words
when you’re slamming doors
and downing Jack Daniels

On that October night
You locked yourself in the bathroom
threw away the key
waiting for me, demanding love
You were 14 years old
carrying secrets
going full speed
into a premature O.D.
Adrenaline shots
right through the heart
Unhinge your jaw
it’s only a side effect


In the Lion’s Den

Ocean blue dress ripped to shreds
Everyone took their piece

Little Miss Borderline
I’ve been crawling down these melting walls
full speed without the help of medication
walking fine lines everyday
Borderline for the rest of my life
Dragged in, pulled out, beaten through
I’ll take you down
I’ve been battling my psychosis
before I’m pawned away
looking for the needle to patch it together
but you can still see the stitches
and I can’t show you were the soul itches
I only know it’s there
detaching me from my own reflection



Yeah, I saw you lay down when the sun sets
and not get up for days
I’d make you swallow pearls
just to let you know you’re beautiful

I remember
you were going through some shit
and you didn’t know you could fix that yourself
when the ribs have been kicked in
and the boots stomping on your neck
Yeah, I tasted those nights with you
all jacked up on the drugs
and the men
and the booze
and the cries
but you ain’t thirteen no more

You rolled yourself down through the marrow
I heard your prayers too
well your pain won’t mean shit to the whole world
when they got a 9-5 and deadlines
and all you want is someone to appreciate your rhymes
You got to nail it on or so they say
believe me, girl, you ain’t alone
You’ll still rise up and not for me or for him
I know your strength


Rare Jewel

Promises, promises
we all done it before
I once knew a man who
promised me a pegasus
Oh … and I’m still waiting
I once promised a man change
and when I came up short
many a times
He took his vows and said,
“Hey, it’s been nice but I’m done”
and I wonder if I can send poetic signals from
here but I just might set fire to this city

Couldn’t ride out the mood swings
through the invaders and the traders
along with the pirates and the lovers
through all the years
leaving the mermaid stranded
and the almost woman abandoned
Oh and he let me go…


The Apartment

The apartment is so much bigger since you’re not around
I count the hangers where your clothes used to be
And I took all your favorite posters down

The locks won’t change and you can keep your keys
You might come back for your Elvis style microphone
And maybe for me but I know it’s for the money you loaned me

There’s no need to remind me and throw your stones
About ignoring the issues since you went along with me
It’s bad enough that being lonely isn’t the same as being alone

We haven’t spoken intimately since the surgery
Unable to conceive the words we break into screaming matches
Kicking holes into the walls of the unfinished nursery

Winding up with tears and flesh full of scratches
You would reluctantly head for the door
Before I’d take your Jack Daniels and smash it

I’ve cleaned the broken glass from the floor
and plastered all the walls myself
But we can’t fix ourselves anymore


Tales of a Prostitute

Times were different back then
Virgin maidens were raped
by all the gentlemen
It was hard to escape
the life of a forced bride

Lucy, I’ll testify
I never wanted this
I’ll never tell my kids
I cry of shame at night
of believing a man
being taken and sold
to a high class brothel
the beatings of my pimp
couldn’t say where I lived
I was fifteen years old

You helped me cross over
where my sin can dry up
in Californian sun
Lucy, you see my face
worn down from all disgrace


Sandee Marie

We were delinquent youths
tumbling down Hunt Avenue
and I’m here now knocking down your door
asking you if you wanna come out some more
and escape the city of
South Gate
I never liked being contained

I’m sorry, Sandee Marie, where could you be?
The advantage you took of me
though you said it’s something we could mend
you’re not bringing me down again
I protected you while you were breaking me

I let seven years wash you away
Who the fuck is protecting you now?
And I still wanna knock you down for treating me the way you did


Pink Tea

Here are the women with their lit cigarettes
and double-edged words on hand
Roaring glories when they bring you down
a socialite’s delight
when they get their hooks in
Do you wanna go home now?
Do you recognize what the mirror’s telling you?
You’re not high end couture
even with chiffon scarves and delicate lace
You’re just a girl from the streets
drinking your denial



If you need me
Me, Sylvia and William
will be hanging out inside of
Picasso’s blue period
and hold hands while doing
Sylvia says she’s just depressed
I signed up with Billy as a binge drinker
Who loves incomplete women anyway?



The Venice of the North
Jump off the water taxi
and walk through the Red Light District
smoking marijuana cigarettes unrestricted
Lost the hotel key and my meal ticket
Haven’t planned far enough to give a damn
Too distracted by the bridges
that don’t burn when I cross them
Someone will speak my language
but I don’t know if they’ll understand me
I’ll just bum a cigarette
Pretend I’m not a tourist