dante ocariz | four poems

The night I got Selena down from 400 to 200

The black girls charge
by the ass.
The white girls
by the face and tone of their voice.
And the Mexican girls
charge by a combination of all three.

And it’s always over too quick.

The erections
the body oil
the cheap perfume.

After peeling off 200 dollars
you find that there are still places
she won’t allow you to touch.

And you feel ashamed
that your tainted imagination
can’t make your penis
rise fully to the occasion.

there is a beautiful side
to memory loss.

I hate to tell you but…

Help is not coming.
You were sold a great line of soap.
And you still can’t afford the water or the gas.

You’re now sharing the front page
with a flu pandemic
and the face masks have made the general population
easier on the eyes.

the groceries have gone bad

the bullet
was really meant for you.

And if you survive this next round of lay-offs
the pay cut will be such
that the only sushi you can afford will be canned tuna
served over a soiled maxi pad.

One thing I learned from all those wasted days in porno arcades:
There are really only
two types of people in the world.
Those who take it in the ass
and those who take it on the face.
But in the end
they all must finish
with a smile.

Bad cockfight in Tijuana

Several pot-bellied cowboys stand over the dead body of a fighting cock
I had 50 dollars on.
A few laugh while others count their winnings.
The owner of the bird removes the steel spurs
and hands it to the winning team as a prize
then walks off.
the scene empties with the last of the spectators
hitting the bar for shots of mezcal.

I’m left alone staring
at a once tough
champion with an eye missing.
The wind mockingly plays
with his raised feathers
and covers his wounds
with the dust of the street.
The blood dries quickly
but the memory of his failure is fresh
in my empty pockets.

Shit .
I thought we both would make it today.
But it was luck,
pure luck,
not ours.
And they all leave
with whatever you gave them.

dead with a snapped neck
and me
lost in Tijuana
with no bus ticket home.


a bus
riding from El Paso to Los Angeles.
there is a teenage queer riding with us
who bounces from seat to seat
popping bubble gum,
striking up conversation,
and tricking when the road gets particularly dark
because nothing is promised
and those who sleep soundly
will miss the sandwhiches at the next stop in Willcox.

Nothing worth looking at so we look at each other.
What we see is fairly common.
Bad bets, everyone of us.

Our heart rhythms are failing.
Time chases us down like a bad husband and drags us by the hair
back to where we started
back to the kitchen.

At the stop,
everyone exits for a chow and piss break.
I get off to stretch my legs
and have a smoke.

An old man begins a conversation with me without an invitation.
He shows me a picture of a dead gila monster who, like his wife
would not let go
once it bit into its prey.
He says
the desert at night
brings out all the monsters
its too hot during the day to kill with any enjoyment
but at night you can be as hard and bloodthirsty as you please.
You have a blanket of dark to keep you hidden
and the moon is very good at keeping secrets.

back on the bus
most of the passengers fall under the spell and
vibration of the road while the six wheels float across the interstate.
the teenage trick is
having nightmares.
because all of his dreams have come true.

Not even the smell of dirty feet will bring him back.

Just like pigeons stuck to the grill
we are trapped in this rig until it stops

To go through this kind of life with a smile
would be like tipping the waiter
who spits in every bowl of clam chowder without prejuidice.

A statement has to be made
but I am not the one to make it

Dante Ocariz

was born in Los Angeles right around the time crack cocaine was getting off its feet. The music was getting worse. And the city would have to wait over 10 years for a decent riot to shake things up. After losing his ass in too many back alley dice games, he hit the road in search of forgiving pawnbrokers. After all the dust had settled he ended up in Arizona and began to write poetry. He is currently working on a chapbook entitled “Tinea Cruris: poems in heat”.

0 Replies to “dante ocariz | four poems”

  1. I love the feeling of place I get from the last two of these four, s’like I can feel the sun on my back and the dust on my chapped lips n’ tongue. It’s gritty!

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