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TREE. volume 1. issue 2.


“ Déjà vu Alice­in­Wonderland­like dreams; swearing I've done this before for I repeated in my thoughts prolifically as a child, as an adolescent, as a teenager mother, as a displaced homemaker, and as a single struggling mother.” excerpt from my poem Euphoric Sky I was about 5 years old when I began to write poetry. Right around that same time, as I started school, of course, I realized just how quiet I was. As a result of my mute­like behavior, I became a target for bullying, and instead of vocalizing what I was going through I began to internalize it. Writing, then, became an outlet, an escape, and a friend. Later, at 17, I became a teenage mother, but not only that; I lived a life with many mal decisions. Consequently, the earlier part of my motherhood was filled with much difficulty and, once again, journaling became a way of releasing the pain. I used poetry as a lifeline to save my life literally at times and obviously it worked, because, well, I'm alive, and I'm here. Where is “here”? “Here” is three years ago when I walked away from that dysfunctional lifestyle and walked onto an open mic stage and shared my life, my poetry. The path I have chosen to walk on, since then, has lead me to some wonderful opportunities such as sharing my stories for awareness causes, and of course, being able to perform at Coffee Bandits for Poetry Jam night. What I hope to accomplish through my poetry is change; change for the betterment of someone’s life; to show that overcoming adversity is possible and that hope and love resides on the other side of those barriers. I have to thank this community of Downtown Merced for embracing me with open arms and providing platforms for


myself and many other talented artists who need positive avenues to turn to. Places like The Partisan, and Coffee Bandits have been those platforms personally for me and I will forever be grateful! So there it is. This is just a piece of me. If you'd like to learn more then you'll have to listen/read my poetry at Poetry Jam nights at Coffee Bandits! As always peace and love, Marcy the Poet

TREE.

Editor Jordan Cowman Graphic Design William Benjamin St. Clair Cover Photo Juno Appleseed TREE. Logo, CoBa Ads and Back Cover Melissa Eisner

Special Thanks. Justin Duckham Marcia St. Clair

Ara Casey Omar Chowaiki Frank Cowman Loretta Cash Denise Burkhardt Jason Liske Adam Trelatsky Mike Burton Eleni Valas

...and everyone else who backed TREE. on Kickstarter!

If you’d like to submit art, poems, ramblings, to the next issue of TREE, please email Jordan Cowman at

jdcowman@gmail.com or visit treepoetry.wordpress.com/submit.

­TREE. editors


CONTENTS 1 2 3 4 5 6 6 8 9 9 10 11 12 13 13 14

Worth. Michelle Downer Haiku Two and Haiku 4 John Walker Beatty Oakley the Cat Vasilisa Crosthwaite Father and Daughter Alexandra Eifers La Catrina Oscar Torres Quietness of Memory w.b.st.c. (untitled) Elaine Sachs Hornitos Jordan Cowman I Know Why the Dead Skulls Smile Megan Bevis Honey and Blood Eleni Valas Love Arron Brian Febres (untitled turnout and paint) Elaine Sachs The Spice and Small Worlds Eleni Valas I Will Deny It Wesley Golangco

Seperated from the Sound and the Violence Sarah Milhoff Fucking Like Dogs Sarah Milhoff

Guidance K Chico Swallowed Whole Cameron Switzer (untitled vase) Elaine Sachs Lucidity: a Sonnet Rosemary Shultz An Unlikely Pair Alyssa Haynes Monster Evalina Hansen (untitled hourglass) Oscar Torres Alienation Sarah Abboud Dim足lit Bars Marcy the Poet (untitled eucalyptus) Elaine Sachs How My Energy Flows Marcy the Poet Pieces Veronica Cruz Don't Want To Get Up Veronica Cruz Swan Brood Melissa Eisner Engine I Mark Price At My Funeral Oscar Torres

15 16 16 17 18 19 19 20 21 22 23 23 25 26 28 28


Worth. We live in an age where everything costs more than we know. More than just money, nearly everything we use cost life, these things cost someone’s soul. Blood, sweat, and tears were poured out of the poor just to mine and manufacture the things we now see. The phones in our pockets, each page that we read. We exploit people to discover a "better" world. Exploring. Using justifications as explanations as we look down on these nations with exasperation. We pity their violence and their poverty, imagining them in their shacks while we're here with our liberty. Caught in our ethnocentric world views, we sweat corruption in our church pews, resting upon the bloodied and beaten backs of people we don't even hear of in today's news. There are little girls who think they're dirty, unclean, and unworthy. With parents who sold them for a little bit of earning. Sisters who beg for their siblings' virginity, screaming but silent as men violate their purity. Young boys with blistered hands and sunburnt skin. With new bruises every day, they become broken men. 1


I understand how we got here, and perhaps that's the hardest part. We elevated success and twisted money­making into art. We've forgotten our treasure, and we've forgotten our heart. Always looking for the next step, taking that next leap for human kind, seeing all of our problems as the things we leave behind. Saying that we're smart enough, that we will find the solution. But we usually don’t, we just move on. Evolution, we call it­­as if we have grown. When since the beginning of time, all we've done is reaped what we've sown. Seeds of deceit, of violence, and fear. Shown in their faces; in their bruises, in their tears. I was once warned of ivory towers­­places where men seek and find comfort in power. So remember this, next time you sit where I'm sitting, banging for release from these walls I keep hitting— remember the cost of the lives that we're living. Michelle Downer Haiku Two

Haiku 4

Facebook makes me sad. Coffee Is a Drug I do not like your dumb post. You withdraw and she saves you Forgive me, unfriend. Coffee Heroine? 2

John Walker Beatty


Oakley the Cat Gray tips swift claws Fierce smile at one's prey pale blue are her eyes like the light of our day she perches on tree tops pounces roses and poses would cackle and challenge the old Mr. Moses avid ankle scratcher frequent cuddler and love biter talkative and witty but also kinda ditzy like her ancestor, “has an eye for the prize� and will catch you by surprise. Vasilisa Crosthwaite

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Father and Daughter Together we learn lessons my earthly daddy never thought of when he stood in the heat of the desert in a world that is now beyond our reach We do our best to bridge the gap between years lost to us forever and years to come that hold dreams of a father and daughter two different people, living unique lives set apart from one another, yet we are one and the same sometimes in the sense of stubbornness to change Looking back, I try to repent the ways I saw him to be wrong for a little girl doesn't always understand the love of a father the prayer I thought he'd prayed shortly before my birth was wrong indeed it was only a depiction of my inner calamity Not a reflection of his love for his daughter and his desire for her to be like him but oh so much more than that Harsh words wrapped in truth 4


of how he longed to understand raising a daughter he never expected to have in a family dominated by men I did the same shaped him into my image without understanding, we were both trying to define my role in this family filled with love! So misunderstood by me especially, this daughter's heart beats furiously waiting for her father. Alexandra Eifers

La Catrina

Oscar Torres

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Quietness of Memory There are some things that arise more frequently than others.

we can only know which when it happens.

at least there is structure to our universe.

and by what? who knows.

it is these patterns that allow by probability structures to form.

we only know existence as memory assumes too much.

structures form because some things persist because they never experience the things that would destroy them.

w.b.st.c.

yet existence is not meaning. structures advance because while they are not destroyed, they may change into either: something that will be destroyed less or something that will be destroyed more. 6

Elaine Sachs


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Hornitos Ignition, poison fumes comfort shaky at first brashly showing speed Sunset hills of golden dead grass blind spots make the heart jump throwing caution in the wind Pure Exhilaration Tap squeeze pinch Throttle Farms and melting streets blur in sight Scent remembers forever Intoxicating smells devoured A whiff of the archetypal nowhere drive Greedily inhaled Becoming necessary drawn from nose to lung from desire to need Rusted iron gates lead to nothing unable to care about understanding I can only savor the moment. Jordan Cowman 8


I Know Why the Dead Skulls Smile I know why the dead skulls smile though their humor's out of style. I know why they bare their dentures: Laughing at the living's ventures. Is it odd the dead are laughing at the world's choreographing? Chicken足like we run our races, never slowing breakneck paces. We all die余 it's life's common goal It's people's fate pole to pole. I know that the skulls laugh at us who can't accept death without fuss. Megan Bevis

Honey and Blood Both sweet in their tangy sultry taste tongue and cheek sees no difference mouth to mouth knows the distance For sweet red lips may find that they are one in the same kind Eleni Valas 9


Love It's what we all chase after But no enthusiasm to find The ones who truly succeed Are one who use their heart and not their mind Those who use their mind Destroy the beauty of affection Watching their physical attributes Using their looks for attention Those who use their hearts Can distinguish truth from deception They don't care so much on looks And work more on the mental connection Truth is what binds The attachment of two hearts But broken trust Is what can set them apart Seeing is believing And believing is seeing Until this is understood That most are mindlessly thinking No one will understand loves true meaning. Arron Brian Febres

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Elaine Sachs

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The Spice Oh the spice! Of warm wet Indian nights. A tingling in the air spreads to ........everywhere Where sweet nests grow and sigh, Their hot bodies ignite for in the morning light Dew drops cover what would have been lost and lonely lovers. Eleni Valas

Small Words Small words turned to smaller thoughts and rough nights Smoothed over harsh punishments As supple sweet as she appeared she was sharply lined With piercing eyes pointed inward Perfection unattainable Love illogical Peace a scary thing She knew the answer A calm serenity surrounded by whirling frustration. Eleni Valas

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I Will Deny It but no, that definitely did not happen. I will deny it forever. you may try to twist your words, shape them into colorful balloon animals, playful swords, fanciful hats,

but you will only speak lies, like marbles in your mouth that turn into pennies when they hit the ground, sparkling and shiny like the sweat dripping off your forehead. your brow twitches and look, behind your ear! a quarter, no wait, a Sacagawea dollar coin. except that it’s a fake, Sacagawea never existed, she was just a fairy tale your parents told you so you wouldn’t cry yourself to sleep. Wesley Golangco

Separated from the Sound and the Violence Separated from the sound and the violence The ocean at night, my mind’s tide Constantly losing myself in surroundings, in people, in never ending music I fell asleep and dreamt that everything was the same Sarah Milhoff

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Fucking Like Dogs You were so deprived You said with your devilish eyes The light behind them dimming as you imagine yourself fucking her like a dog I am a dog I want sex only when I have this melting itch, like sinking into sand My skin is tingling and your touch makes my body hum with the surrounding vibrations If they are even there I turn over on my side, I am vibrating and my mind is numb You ask if everything is alright Of course it is You made me melt like a past lover I spoke his words out of my own mouth My hands upon your solar plexus, his solar plexus No one makes me come so fast Do I make you feel comfortable? I embrace your sins and make them mine You drift off to sleep as you whisper, “I’ve done so many fucked up things” Sarah Milhoff

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Guidance One grandmother taught me, When I was small, Mija, life is balanced, And say Bruja with respect. One grandmother taught me, As I grew tall, Girly, life is unfair, And boys will do you wrong. One grandmother taught me, As I grew strong, If you must harm, Do it well.

One grandmother taught me, As my hair grew long, Never care for a man as much As he cares for you.

One grandmother taught me How to bring back the unfaithful, With red string and a chicken foot, On the night of the half足moon. One grandmother taught me A lady keeps her eyes down, And her voice low, So people listen when she speaks.

One grandmother taught me Which plants made good sauce for the family, And which roots would make me a widow, Whenever I wanted. One grandmother taught me Always be a little overdressed at a party, But wear rags if they suit you, And how to make a quilt with the scraps.

One knows how to stop a cut from bleeding, The other how to wound for years with a word. One knows how to cast spells and curses, One knows how to check pearls' quality. One grandmother lives in a small hovel, With cactus and orange trees and strange plants. One grandmother lives in a grand house, with stone floors and a pedigreed dog. I am my grandmothers. K Chico

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Swallowed Whole Swallowed Whole as I plummet down darkness' depths, Like Deep Sea Diving I struggle for breath. Eternal Twilight No struggle to survive, No will to live No reason to strive. These were the thoughts that ran through my head, as I lay here quietly alone in my bed. Depression sets in as the cold night bites, thinking of you and all of our fights. The hurt, the pain, the regret and remorse, the sight of my heart as if trampled by a horse. I can't take it anymore as I breathe my last breath, slowly close my eyes and wait for sweet death. 16

As I slowly arise my body behind, the weight being lifted the freedom of mind. though life is painful and dull at best, the spirit lives on happily long after we rest. Cameron Switzer

Elaine Sachs


Lucidity: a Sonnet I am floating in a cloud of balloons

I see rooftops of ice and brick chimneys

Ended up here from dark, wet, cold room

Sickness. Sadness. Countess with her torn knees. I am flying in a flock of mad geese

The air is thin, I can't stop to rest, breathe They blame the victim saying I am a tease

They must not known of the gold, black man's eve. I was shaken awake from my four post

Strapped to a cold, a dank waterpipe dream

I don't know why I am trapped here, no host Alone perhaps due to my hate of gleam.

I was once a rich one with friends and gold.

Now I soar up where sun and rain grow old. Rosemary Shultz 17


An Unlikely Pair To want too much is my crime. Never satisfied, I rein in my temper when it doesn’t work out right. Again, I ask for your patience in abundance. You’ll walk the tightrope from here to France. Hah! You’re too good for me And I’m certainly too much for you. So, wait a second while I laugh at your attempts to quench my thirst… I don’t need much, But I want everything. A lot to say, little to do. Don’t judge me! I’m just high maintenance Simplicity is for the simple. And I detest the plain. Boring is your name on a good day. Ah, but what am I as I lay around with nothing to do? I’ll try not to complain too much, But your silence is driving me insane! Silence and quiet are two 18

different things. My quiet despises your silence. So what are we to do? You need nothing, And want only what you need. Then how am I to give you anything, Even if it’s a part of me? I think too much. You think… I still don’t know what you think. Your dry wit makes my head hurt. Of course if I had wit, it’d be far from dry —I like things wet. Why are you here? We hardly understand each other, “There is no one quite like you.” Should I take it as a complement then that your reason is so clear? Alyssa Haynes


Monster It all happened so fast. The move of your lips, The softness of your hands. I realized it was you I've longed for all this time. It was you I've lusted after, Only you ended up not being my dream, But my nightmare. Your lips turned rough, And your hands turned hard. And that's when I knew, That when I knew you were the monster living all around me. We were one in the same. Evalina Hansen

Oscar Torres

19


Alienation Tears of melancoly streak down my chilled face. They turn to

ice as my frigidness takes over. Arms are stiff as well as my legs. I cannot walk, let alone speak. Standing in a paralyzed trance, I feel the warm breaths of those around me余 yet I cannot hear a word. My ears are clogged with the angry fists of neighbors.

Neighbors that I thought I knew. People who live in walking

distance of my welcome mat. Just like a rat who had it's tail cut, off they squeal incomprehensible things in the thick fog足filled

air. Not being able to hear, I stand in awe at what is going on. I

have not the slightest idea of what is happening. I am the one in the corner with the dunce hat forced upon my head, labelled as an outcast. Under the cone足shaped hat ratted hair and dirty

ears are tear washed as hate is imposed upon innocent children transforming them into more devils. The world is confused just as I am. The world has no idea why it hates or is crying. The world has been corrupted by the devils that were once our neighbors.

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Sarah Abboud


Dim­lit Bars Giggles, smiles, sweet whispers in her ear Pheromones appear, gliding in the air Without a snare. Warm kisses, flirting eyes, embellishment, lies To create those ties; those ties, that creates Whatever it buys: A one night stand. A fling. A strand; a strand of incredible nights Of making love with no fights. A crush, with lust, passionate thrusts. Impatient reactions to romantic glances. Pulling you towards their strong advances. Like soft French kisses and body to body dances. Searching hands, feeling naughty Finding lands upon your body. Tingles dancing on your skin. Blood rushing, warm touching, euphoric sin. Long stares, deep glares, continuous romantic affairs. Appetites for lust­filled feedings. Make out greetings. Glasses of wine, with no­forever­mines No crossing those emotional lines. And in time the hunger subsides The infatuation dies. 21


You then recall the embellishments足the lies The ones that created those ties Adding another wound to your scars But yet the following night Youre right back at that dim足lit bar. Marcy the Poet

22

Elaine Sachs


How My Energy Flows Passing by, running through under and above, ahead one, back two Emotions of different hues, painted in colors in harmony with my moods. From the beginning to an end. To the start of something. Seeing joy in my view feeling pain with it too.

Living and loving with the strength of my mind. Instead of being blind. This time like a mime. With no crying, in due time I shall find piece of mind. With my will I shall be! Marcy the Poet

From a square to a circle. Things coming to a close. From high to lows From comes and goes From certain to "who knows" Thats how my energy flows. Pieces

Veronica Cruz

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24


Don’t Want To Get Up I’m lying in bed, alone. It’s freezing outside, don’t want to get up.

There’s just something about this morning. Maybe it’s the extreme coldness or maybe it’s the fact that even though the warmth of his body against mine is gone the pleasant sweet scent of his body still lingers in my bed. I don’t miss him. At least I don’t think I do.

I do however miss that chill I’d feel down my spine every time he’d caress my face, that feeling of being whole and fulfilled every time I found myself embraced by his arms, that sense of comfort every time he’d look over at me and say, “everything’s okay.” But he is gone and everything that was no longer is.

I guess that’s alright though. Things were never what they should have been and now there really isn’t much left. I’m cold. The sun is coming out. I’m still lying in bed alone… I better get up. Veronica Cruz

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Swan Brood I would not share God with you that's why I cut your hair into the trash can. My crime was spasomatic and the workyield was catestrophic. Cimmerian fists sprung from loose sand and caught us, warped you: your limbs yielded to the sea. nothing remained but white foam and driftwood and the smell of saline in the wind足足 I saw the light of the World reflected There was the shadow of God reflected I was left in frothing water with a donkey's head and asses' hooves and canines (sharp and hollow) to suckle of blood. My final act of Guilt was to unhinge my jaw and consign it to your waters. In later musing, and in reflection, I suppose I fancied God a liar: I watched His shadow glisten upon the waves while He stretched His long neck, preened, and murmured low he had a long chain on another man done gone. I His became, bodily in heart. How could I refuse? gazing (as I was) at that brilliant shadow. 26


A lion's bloted carcass bobbing next to me beasts all around, me alone merciless humanity in my Empusa足Delilah state. come Sunday He created a shell around me comprised of bric足a足brac cell phones and stones and various twines warm honey too sweet and painful to eat so I kept quiet contained, content brittle, hot, smooth & round not to see. not to sense. instead, to meditate on anti足perception on Godbeast, on mebeast and wait for interjection. ten years brushed me a third transformation in the gut of an egg the salt of your waters eroding the white shell of my church and decayed the temple's without If I had my way O wicked world. His walls, my castle keep You cracked with a soft ocean breeze and out like Helen I launched a thousand affections commenced You, though only a whisper still warm and salty to taste. Melissa Eisner

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ENGINE I inhale Air intake driving, beats moving I Heat internal, push pull churn thump Towers aloft via calcium buttresses Waters cooling enigma apparatus crack Gases swirling, pressures holding Fluid sacks pooling in places gurgle Under surface spidering, pulsing Circuitry impulse in pillowy grey wheeze Sinewy struts shuddering Engine I ambles forth exhale Mark Price

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At My Funeral

Oscar Torres


unreal bios fabricated by Jordan Cowman and Melissa Eisner

Michelle Downer Best

friends with Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and F Scott Fitzgerald.

Vasilisa Crosthwaite

Cherish the time you have with her余 a soft breeze wafted her into town, and another could blow her away at any moment.

Alexandra Eifers The art of

Alexandra is broad enough to encompass the range of human mystery, but specific enough to elicit the most subtle emotion. 29


William Benjamin St. Clair

Rescuing animals from the shelter isn’t enough for Ben; he has a well­established resurrection machine in his garage.

Jordan Cowman

Funky­fresh freaky­free floating­flying flutter­flop fantastic­foraging friend.

Megan Bevis The wacky

events of Megan’s life are being adapted into the next hit Mike Judge show­ coming soon to Fox.

Arron Brian Febres

His IMDB page is largely NSFW, but it’s still worth hours of entertainment.

30


Eleni Valas If you look closely,

you’ll notice Eleni floats an inch or two off the ground wherever she goes.

Wesley Golangco

Sarah Milhoff Secret’s out!

Wesley Golangco­brand Kitchen Appliances are there for you whenever you need a Specialty­made Chocolate Milk Stirrer or a Stove­Top Hard­Boiled Egg incubator. When you think bizarre unitask kitchen appliances, think Wesley Golangco.

During the full moon, Sarah can fly. Ask her to show you sometime.

K Chico Everyone in K’s

family is named by a single letter­ her family tree spells out a recipe for a very nice chicken stew.

John Walker Beatty Studies

show that John Beatty is 99% as effective as the leading brand.

31


Cameron Switzer Fun fact: the Mamas and the Papas actually wrote “California Dreamin’” in anticipation of the birth of Cameron Switzer.

Rosemary Shultz

Unbeknowest to her, Rosemary is being tracked by a highly advanced race of Martians as part of an intergalactic environmental documentary series.

Alyssa Haynes The most

fashionable woman in Merced has a tesseract closet that is bigger on the inside.

Evalina Hansen

Evalina makes crafty hair bows, as well as the bows Cupid uses for his love arrows.

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Sarah Abboud While most

people are made out of science and proteins, Sarah Abboud is made out of fairy dust and magic.


Marcy the Poet Marcy was

once a second tier character in the beloved comic strip Peanuts. She and Peppermint Patty had a falling out in the ‘80s.

Oscar Torres In secret, Oscar is a genius billionaire playboy philanthropist; he stays in Merced to keep in touch with the common man.

Elaine Sachs If you dare to

look her in the eye, be careful it isn’t the bionic one; that thing don’t mess around.

Veronica Cruz Her

Melissa Eisner Once had a working, magic princess wand until Jordan broke it. Tragically, she can't find ‘em at the Goodwill any more. To make matters worse, this ain't no joke.

infectious smile is a carefully planned tactic to spread peace and goodwill throughout the Merced County area. She is not to be trusted.

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TREE Issue 2  

Poetry from Merced, CA. TREE is fueled through a monthly night of poetry at Coffee Bandits. It emerged spontaneously, is community funded, a...

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