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Juan Manuel Sandoval

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30 A Little More Kick Ass

About Juan Manuel Sandoval

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    Chicago, Illinois
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    Poetry, manga, anime, education, music (pop, country, indie, alternative), baking, gaming

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  1. Juan Manuel Sandoval

    Life in Pink

    I. It all came to me in a dream I’ve had before Of a small little suburb in Texas where it’s warm And the long humid summers drag their feet across the dirt Where faces felt warm, they felt familiar, they felt known. The clouds would smile against the back of the sea And I could smell the salt before it ever burned me The bubble of my youth extended only as far as I could see The day was always rose and the night always pink. The hours would laze about the grass And I would share conversations with the robins ‘round the house Sometimes I even launched myself from my swing to the moon and back Where I saw all the world with eyes barely crystallized. I said to my mother in the late embrace of fall “I’ll wander the globe and reach for the stars” And she smiled as she tucked me deep into the arms of my bed As I closed my eyes I thought: What could be better than this? When I see rose I see pink I see the stars The ocean sings And the leaves play a harp that never loses the melody. Does it get any better than this? What else could be better? Does it get any better? II. Tragedy is a good for nothing freeloader Who gobbles up the happiness in my fridge And takes up the place my father left when he used to be a thing. Just when I’ve got him out the door with his bags He finds another way to drain the color off my skin And let himself back in. I wish you could’ve seen me in another time When I was hungry and I felt like eating But we’re in the midst of this present tragedy And death knocks on my mind persistently. When I sit down I think about how much I hate people And that’s a consequence of my mental health rotting in the freezer But I’m trying, I’m not lying. I served myself pessimism with sprinkles. My self esteem passed out drunk by the dining table Because she couldn’t handle how much I hate myself. My mother says it’s a phase of sadness When I’m arguing with myself in the mirror. There used to be a time when I could see color But after years of stabbing out my eyes so I couldn’t see Now the lenses of my mind are cracked And the whole world seems blurry. I’m such a mess I became a burden to be with. People married to depression are quite clever They find ways to mimic happiness and its shine So I built a pair of shades with two hearts That makes the world seem like sparkles and everyone’s drunk on rose petal shots. I guess I was just being who I really was And everyone hated it with their go lucky guts. Now I soak myself in a bathtub full of glitter So I can walk outside without being berated for being a bummer. I keep my heart shaped glasses near and a shotgun closer So that when this act becomes tiring I can give myself a naturally vibrant color. It might be morbid, but people like me now! All you have to do is draw a smile across your mouth. My dreams walk around on lanky legs that barely support them Because I’ve been so busy crying they’ve starved to death But I wish I could let my brain decide to end the pain Yet everyone tells me that’s all on me. What a beautiful life, in pink and rose gold And now that I puke lovely anecdotes Do you think I’m beautiful? Do you think I’m more human than I was before? A life in pink, is it worth killing myself for? III. Juan’s Lullaby Yo soy amor Ay amor, dentro de mi. No necesito quien me ame Con que sólo yo me ame a mi. ¿Que no es bello ser amado? I am love There is love within me. I don’t need anyone to love As long as I love me. Is it not beautiful to be loved? Yo soy amor There is love within me No necesito quien me ame As long as I love me. ¿Que no es bello ser amado? ¿Que no es bello ser amado?
  2. Juan Manuel Sandoval

    Poems in different languages

    Hi everyone! I’ve only recently joined the site, but it’s felt so warm and welcoming that I thought it’d be interesting to share something for discussion. I write poetry in both English and Spanish and only recently have begun to blend both my languages within poems. I was having in interesting exchange with a professor at my university this year where I confessed that sometimes I felt pressured to offer translated versions of my writing, while sacrificing the value of what a Spanish word or phrase was adding to my poem in order to please non-Spanish speaking readers. I mentioned I had begun blending the two languages without offering translations and he said I shouldn’t feel obliged to offer translations. He said readers shouldn’t force a type of language or culture censorship where the value of a piece is diminished because they can’t simply put the effort to translate words and phrases themselves or research the context of a piece. I’m curious if anyone else has thought about this dilemma of culture and language in your poetry and whether you share the professors opinion or have something else regarding it. It’ll be lovely to discuss!
  3. Juan Manuel Sandoval

    Top of the World

    I. I remember the cackles from the bottom of the sea. Sunken, my heart, in sediment and pillows of sea anemones. All they did was laugh as the sunlight filtered, scattered until only the scraps of photons could reach me. I remember the darkness, the isolated trenches of the deep. Bruised, my ego, dented by the mounting pressure above. All they did was sail on white clouds in sweet liberty with the spring wind while I remained battered by the frosty gyros of the Atlantic sea. I remember the anger, the boiling bitterness of the toxic sea vents. Burning, my pride, fueled by the gushing magma of shifting tectonic plates. All they did was ignore the floating bubbles of gas, but they would not get more warning than that. I remember the moon, her soft gaze that pierced the eternal night. Glowing, my tears, I begged her to allow me to walk! She gave a small smile that split the sea before extending a hand and I shivered with hope to take my chance, to breathe. II. Burst! My blueberry hand stroked by sweet moonlight skin shimmers strong caramelized by dawn. Gasp! My lowly lungs greedily gobble oxygen guzzle on the western wind lips darkened with life. Shout! My mangled cry vomit slabs of salt black strands parted eyes, exploding, emerge. I see! I see! III. The forest was a bright, emerald expanse that stretched as far as the mind could imagine. The pines were tall and ancient, but when I put my ear against their bodies I could hear their deep breathing. It had been centuries since my life at the bottom of the sea and I now sprouted oats from the black grass growing atop my head. From the thin branches of my fingers, short stalks of wheat dangled and fluttered with the delicate breeze. I wore a gown of sunflowers and tulips, sewn by the little robins that lived here. Their little beaks braided a crown of blueberries for my head and small charms of cherry blossoms for my wrist. The tears of the myriad new moon nights had finally crystallized on my cheek and stopped their continuous flow. A strange quirk in my lips remained plastered on my face and it couldn’t be stopped. I am… happy. The soft, lively grass that tickled my bare feet felt so warm and light. The darkness was not eternal here for even after the day had died the moon kept shining until it was revived. The wind didn’t sink its teeth into my skin like the ocean currents, it greeted me with a warm hug like a long lost friend. I could run! I could run along the rows of pines with the refreshing openness of the air no longer trapped by the skull aching pressure of the sea bottom. I am happy! Drunk on the sight of noon clouds. IV. Something was different. The loud silence The crashing whispers The quaking rustle of pine needles. Something was off. The smell of fish The torn petals of tulips The bubbling beginnings of growls. Something was here. Something that hadn’t been here before. V. Over here! Over here! It’s over here! I could smell them. The rotting carcass of a trout by the river bank. Stale summer air that was drenched with the salty sea. I could hear them. The wet groans of a wolf salivating at prey. Licking its chops for the feast. Snap. Crunch. Gasp! Black eyes that had no depth and no glimmer. Breath that burned bright with a forest fire. Oh, what horror! I must run! I must run! I crawl through the underbrush toward the warm glow of the moon. The break of day will be coming soon to chase the prowling beasts away. Snatch. Slap. Crack. No! No! Their paws grab at my ankle and drag me back into the dome of the evergreen. They cackle, their voices clawing against bark. I can see their snouts sniffing at every inch of exposed skin. “Pretty fairy. Pretty boy. What a meal men. What a treat. Tearing apart this skeleton of a beast.” One jaw snaps onto my arm, another my wrist, and gleaming white canines rip apart the flesh. The big one watches over me before taking its long, purple tongue to taste the nape of my neck. A sudden shudder racks my bones and I lift trembling hand to witness my death. The long wheat stalks dry, the blueberries gobbled, the oats fall like an April shower. I scream out for help. PLEASE STOP! They all cackle. They all smile. Blood streams down their jaws and stains my sunflower dress until all of the yellow is colored red. Claws slice through the drooping heads of my friends and a familiar cold hugs close to me again. Their fur stands with a trees stature as they gather round with saliva dripping from their black lips. I am naked, bleeding, with no shred of light touching my skin. “What a beast! Am I right men? All the prey has fallen from him. Bloody and kissing death, how much more beastly can he get?” What monsters. Men. VI. where when the distance grows from which I came. bones ache the blood is dry and the tears are wet. skin dead nothing sprouts in a body that’s decayed. why how will there be a recovery or nothing at all. VII. I awaken to the gentle voice of the moon. Her sobs rake across the shy pulse of my heart. I am sorry mother. From your celestial imagination I was born and under your gaze I shall perish. A hand outstretched, I caress the delicate contours of your sorrowful face. A more maternal beauty there isn’t. Do not cry mother. With your delicate smile I shall be satisfied, and I shall soon dance above all else. Soon enough I will discard form, shape. There will be no beast to contain the blossom of my legs. Wish me quick voyage mother. A shell is all this body is and it will become the dirt from which all else is. Do not look on while I am in this state. Only the proof of my fragility and weakness remains. Farewell mother, do not distress. The stars have never shone brighter at night like this. My eyes close with a long awaited heaviness. I sink deep into the soil to rest. VIII. Five feet taller. Every year. Patience. I tower over all of you. Far too easy. To quash. Mercy. For the shadows still lost. I was less. Now more. Purpose. I’ve given life to something new. Sunflowers, blossoms, oats. Grow, flourish. Feminine. Strength in acceptance. From the emerald canopy everything is clear, different. I see! I see! I am happy.
  4. Juan Manuel Sandoval


    In the sweltering summer of his eyes the landscape was hazy and dry and the only way to quench the stems of prairie grass was to allow my body to sway and moisten with time. I let him run amok with his ashen hands sifting fervently through the river reeds and his lips suckled on peaches and I fed him with the long corn stalks of my fields. He laid me across the bed of hay with nothing but the summer breeze keeping us from meeting. I am free. Yet the world would tell you something else, the pinkness of my blood the ripeness of my skin they create notions of boxes to fuel an unfounded nature of what makes us man and woman. They detest the way we melt dripping over the rim because the heart is muddled as is the winding river so better, they think, to seal it within. They despise the openness of the meadows spreading their seed wildly through the wind because blood is passionate as is the quiet dusk so necessary, they believe, to dry up the veins. This is what they'd like to believe but none of it is true. We are the river with many forks and depths. I choose to tend the fields and await the fall harvest. We are the wind delicate and savage. I choose to be the waiting moon praying to the wise barn owl. I listen to the eagle with his sharp eye and the path laid has led me to my lover's arms. I want to get hot and sweltering toiling the earth with a man to have my blood run down my head to pool in the inner sanctum of my thighs. I shall lay patiently adorned by oats and wheat in the brown branches of my hair for him to wander by to smell the harvest of the air. I am not fragile nor am I weak. I am simply presenting the thin, Black Forest of my skin allowing him to gaze into the swirling storms within to ask if he has the hand that would tame what none could do before him. I will not be ashamed for I cannot control how it manifests. I will not be confined for I cannot control its boundaries. He laid me across the bed of hay with nothing but the summer breeze keeping us from meeting. I let his breath sink in his lips dampen whatever he kissed and all I felt became manifest. I am free.
  5. Juan Manuel Sandoval

    I Love God!

    I love God. I do, I do! I talk to him every night in whispers at the stroke of two. Hold his head over the fire and scold his ridicule I beg him to paint me in pixels when I die like Sailor Moon. He lives inside my blood protecting the vast space of my heart so why is it then that they say love God I do not? I skip along a stone's watery path with a smile lighting my way to His house of light. Bust open the doors I do with my happiness, but I am greeted with mutterings and sidelong glances. “How dare he how, how!? He comes to see Him when he has shunned His most holy love!” Confused I am. Confused I remain. For what have I done that shuns His grace? They say it is my wandering eye, my wavering body that seeks warmth from bears and not the nectar of honey. What is that to do with anything I ask, what really? I hold strong and steady. In Him I leave my entirety. Head above the clouds, I walk with a crown through the pews. They throw pamphlets full of sharp words and throw roses with thorns that bite. Lord I shall not, I will not! Though they hate my shadow before they hate my heart I shall smile. I shall smile! For you have taught me to be humble and proud. They cling to idols when I cling to your guiding hand. While they slam their hammers of righteousness into my knees I gladly will sink. Fold my hands and sing. Yes I shall sing! I love God and God loves me!
  6. Juan Manuel Sandoval


    By the tulipanes, drooping their heads in a long sigh. You held my hand close to your heart and it followed a beat different to mine. To the cries of gansos, hauling back the distant spring. I listened to what you had to say without ever hearing a thing. You had me recall the smell of tamales hirviendo within the sweet steam of a pot and your labios traced my labios turning them as indigo as the new night. You had me remember the whispers of the pinos who spoke of the secretos of time and I began to cry to think of the tulipanes by our side. It's ok Pablo, it's alright. No me tienes que dar razones you don't have to gift me an explanation why. Pablo, really I'm fine. Just march through the tulips déjalos acariciar te. Pablo don't worry, I'll be fine. La primavera ya termina and the tulipanes begin to kiss the night. By the tulipanes, craning their necks to sing to the moon. My heartstrings strummed along and I knew the lyrics to an ancient tune. To the cries of gansos, searching for each other's voices in the night. My voice claws against my throat and melts into the melody of the wild. You had me recall the light scratch of your dedos sifting through the black tinta of my hair and your rastrojo rubbing against Mexican caramel. You had me remember the night of the luna llena who spoke of her amor for the sun and I began to cry to think of the bleeding cielos reflected in your eyes. It's ok Pablo, it's alright. No me tienes que dar razones you don't have to gift me an explanation why. Pablo, really I'm fine. Just march through the tulips déjalos acariciar te. Pablo don't worry, I'll be fine. La primavera ya termina and the tulipanes begin to kiss the night. Pablo keep walking please no mires para tras! To see the tulip in the morning, sumida en la cama de la tierra. Pablo no! Stray you eyes! No mires para tras! El tulipán besa su cama it's ovaries swollen under the moonlight. Pablo, I'm fine.
  7. Juan Manuel Sandoval

    Sonnet 1

    My knees buckle and break Silence snaps my teeth while I kneel before God to speak, to air a grievance of pleas. I beg him to spare my heart, to have compassion for the lost God stares while he fails to share his part. In silence, he mocks you as he melts into cross. I'm left with the words burning in my throat, the insignificance of my last held hope. To have my faith sink like a lonely boat, to have it take its own life with the noose of a rope. While I lose my last breath hailing at me, God keeps laughing.
  8. Juan Manuel Sandoval


    The sky had a long fight with the sun. Out of anger it cast a misty spell that painted the world in a dull hue and it seemed to charm us humans too. In the morning, there was a soothing voice out my window that softly strummed the glass with delicate fingers and my eyes grew heavy, but I had things to do! The room was dark in the light of day and a sudden sadness swept over me when I looked out to see the gray. People dragged their feet along the sidewalk and they looked lost, low sunsets in their eyes, but a soothing song kept echoing around. My legs were so heavy that I decided to sit down.
  9. Juan Manuel Sandoval

    Love is the dry dirt

    Love is the dry dirt from which nothing sprouts but it is also the fleeting bloom of the tulip in late March. I am the gardener who can barely work a hose and who sits with clenched, fistfuls of soil frustrated and wilting - resolved and willing for there are more seeds to tend for there are more seasons to spend in diligent toil and diligent hope. How indeed could we find beauty in the dying whisper of Spring if not for the cherry blossoms gentle cough almost lost to the wind? That accentuates its delicate form as it lays its body against my skin. While I clutch onto its arms - legs - waist with hands colored green and sprouting leaves, longing and scared - crying and prepared for there are more seeds to tend for there are more seasons to spend in diligent toil and diligent hope. But it is also the fleeting bloom of the tulip in late March, Love, the dry dirt from which nothing sprouts.
  10. Juan Manuel Sandoval

    Route Venus

    The door remains wide open to the trail of stars above. Please hurry through the gate of the heavens, but save me one last kiss to part. Lift your eyes to the sun and I shall bid you farewell into the dark. Truly, the solitude of the moon is biting as I look out for your form. My heart caged by my body as I cry out in silence for you. It was destiny that our eyes should eclipse and clear with daybreak, the stars have decided it. The white route extends into the night with the future looming over the horizon. Don’t lose your way! The twinkling stars open wide Gravity loses grip of your heart Nothingness surrounds you, do not falter now! Run forth with head held high You, the one I love most of all Keep sight of who you are! Even from the dark side of Earth, I clutch my tears and look on for you! That window of yours, throw it open to see the beauty within your reach. The universe glitters within your brown eyes so burst out running and never stop. Pull me close for our final kiss of the night and then never look back. Truly, remember the lingering burn of my lips as the sky crumbles down. I cannot halt the showers of cherry blossoms fluttering to greet the ground. It was destiny that our paths should cross and continue their flight, the stars have decided it. The blue route extends into the night with the future looming over the horizon. This, the path I have chosen! Hearts begin to stir with the coming death Of the sparkling planets to the waking sun It might be frightening, but keep marching on! Run forth with head held high You, the one I love most of all Do not forget me as I wave you along! Even from the dark side of Earth, I clutch my tears and look on for you! The twinkling stars open wide Gravity loses grip of your heart Nothingness surrounds you, do not falter now! Run forth with head held high You, the one I love most of all Keep sight of who you are! Even from the dark side of Earth, I clutch my tears and look on for you!
  11. Juan Manuel Sandoval

    Waka 1

    In the sea of fall everlasting the green pine who awaits winter’s call. What scorn then befalls the pine who dresses itself in ivy?
  12. Juan Manuel Sandoval

    Sights on a CTA Orange Line Train

    The night had finally conquered the sky but it was halted at the horizon by the smile of neon lights. I laid my head against the cool glass and glanced out into the black seeing the beating of traffic veins and echoing laughs of cars. It felt magical, this old Orange Line train. The metal wooshed through as easily as a knife sunk it's edges into cake. The moon swung around while the buildings melted into strange colors of oil paint. A mother was scolding a child with wagging finger as he tugged at her blonde hair A silent man stared down the car lost somewhere Two boys with uniforms chatted loudly giving life to the dead air And I sat here, by myself. A bubble, an island, a distant meteor. I turned back to my window and saw myself staring back into the dull yellow glow of the car. Oh no! What am I doing out here? The northerly night wind whipping at every inch of exposed hair. I tap at the glass but who will let me in? Who's there? I'm scared. I'm scared. I don't understand. But just then the small child hits my arm I'm back inside. Sorry, he says. Sorry. It's okay, I say. It's okay.
  13. Juan Manuel Sandoval

    The Baker

    @AC Benus Como Agua Para Chocolate was a heavy influence for this so you definitely caught on well! I’ll have to look up and watch Fresa y chocolate which I haven’t seen. I’m happy you felt the Spanish bits and portion as well ❤️.
  14. Juan Manuel Sandoval

    The Baker

    A cup of milk served cold. Broken English that taste like batter, the long madrugada of Spanish flour that bakes up worries y cuentos and hopes. I wonder if this place is home. I am risen by yeast and the tears of leche I cry from the melting chocolate of my eyes. My whole life is inside la cocinita, baking. I wonder if I’ve gotten it right. I’ve got no recipe. The sugar that glazes my teeth lasts entre el dia but it's the lonely moon that melts my sweetness away. No more rosey frosting, no more flan. Just my naked loaf of a corazón, wishing for someone to knead it by hand. I’m a baker, a tiny little panadero juggling borrowed cinnamon and caramelos. But when I miscount the bubbles in the batter, lose la forma. When I drop the pan and scramble to eat the migas off the floor Always always, a set of hands Wrinkly and caramelized by heart, The chef of my heart, is there. She sings so softly that the batter sings back. She guides my shaking manos with her small, sure, manos, cracked caramel over smooth. We etch lace rosettes as not one, pero two. After all los pasteles hundidos, my milk tears dry, and her mitten hands hold my face. To me she whispers this: “Lo dulce es rosa, Lo dulce es harina, Pero también hay que llorar para llenar el frasco. Con tu dulce concha y tu leche fría de tristeza Ayi tenemos la receta de la vida.”
  15. Juan Manuel Sandoval

    Gina & Katherine

    The mothers of my letters maiden's of the English tongue. Two women who mean the world who inspired the ink of these words and the strokes of my hand. Gina, the very first she was such a character, quirky the center of her classroom. When she read it was like she had stepped into different shoes be loud and pompous before her voice became in an instant delicate, and rung in a soft croon. Wow!, I thought. Is this what English could do? Give life to the unknown characters inside of you? Go Gina! Go Gina! I wanted to be unabashedly me like you. Not the i, but the I-I and so I studied. I could see the beginning of a passion I hadn't knew. Gina, she scolded me once with a sharp, warm eye. JUAN. Be proud, be loud! Be humble, yes but don't be afraid to hog the mic from time to time. How useless would it be for the ink to not bleed off me? True, I agreed. Is this what English could do? Push me past the box where I stood? Thanks Gina! Thanks Gina! I wanted to have confidence like you. Not the backdrop, but the foreground and so I spoke. From then on, no one could ever keep my mouth closed. Katherine, she was the second she was such a ray of sunshine, perky the heart of her classroom. When she read it was like she strummed along the heartstrings an outstretched hand that touched your aching shoulder warm, and coupled with smile. Lovely, I thought. Is this what English could do? Help me sift through feelings I hadn't been able to? Go Katherine! Go Katherine! I wanted to understand the heart like you. Not just I-I, but We and so I studied. I could see the beats of the heart hidden in the margins of books. Katherine, she told me once with a cheerful, serious note. JUAN. You are honest, you are kind. I can see where your writing goes and it finds quaint home in the analytical eye of a confessional. What would I be now if I hadn't had discovered the name of my pen? Yes, I replied. Is this what English could do? Give you a supapawa! and teach you to use it for good? Thanks Katherine! Thanks Katherine! I wanted to have eyes like you. Not the ominous clouds, but the sun hidden above and so I laughed. From then on, no one could chip the smile that never left my lips. I am a storyteller I am a son and I will tell the story of you, my two English moms. This is what English can do And I’ll show everyone.

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