Page 1

TREE. volume 1. issue 3.


Facebook Apologies Colt Laney

3 Cracks Shannon Aberle 4

Humble Dicot Cameron Switzer

5 Analogous, Autonomous J.P. Gonzalez 6 Facts Mercedes Gordon 8

Mermaid, Mermaid John Walker Beatty

8 Killing Cain Megan Bevis 9

Leonardo Aurea Bolanos

10 Take A Deep Breath Teena Fultz

11 From Green To Red Jason Liske

11 Pride Is Not Unchanging Sarah Milhoff 12 Breakfast Scandal Wesley Golangco

Anybody Wesley Golangco


Medium Melissa Eisner


Bloodlust Alison Rush


Get Through The Day Melissa Eisner


Lost Memories Mercedes Gordon


Sorry Daddy Missed Your Recital Devon Batey


At The Helm Devon Batey


Music 16

Constructive Comments


Contributor Collage 27

To Merced: Tree was first conceived at the Coffee Bandits monthly poetry night. Unlike more enlightened folks who can savor an experience as it lives and dies, I like to be able to revisit art over and over. The act of hearing a song live or seeing a poem read can be a transcendent experience. I was saddened by the thought that once poetry night is over, the poems are lost in the void. Hence, tree. Thanks to the Kickstarter, we can afford to print tree for another year! Words from Merced will travel monthly all over the US, from east to west, thanks to our generous backers. Thank you, donors, for believing in us and supporting the arts. Thank you, poets and artists who flood my inbox with beauty every month. Tree is compiled with love and care by 3 individuals, Jordan Cowman, William Benjamin St. Clair, and Melissa Eisner. We try our best to assemble a poetry zine that selects poetry and art with utmost fairness, respect, and quality. If you have suggestions, submissions, complaints, praise, hate mail, please don't hestitate to contact us through our website, Keep writing! Jordan Cowman

Tree Branches.

Tree Branches are blogs, record labels, publications, web sites, musicians­­ anything culturally associated with Tree. Contact us if you would like to add your project! ­ poetry blog ­ poetry blog ­ record label ­ poetry blog


Editors Jordan Cowman William Benjamin St. Clair Graphic Design William Benjamin St. Clair Cover Design Ursula Vasquez TREE. Logo and CoBa Ad 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 or visit

­TREE. editors

Facebook Apologies Facebook apologies as common as newspaper astrologies, With nearly half the truth, I chased her away with broken heart theology, Just put it down in the 'Tried Too Hard Chronology' Where she goes nobody knows, Don't search too hard you just might find her, And you shouldn't chase what you’re not really after, But... anything will do in the sweet pursuit of laughter, What does gender matter for a pair of flashing eyes, But you can’t ignore the difference in midnight cries, Not free but strained by the weight of countless lies, Pinched between desperate thighs, or lost between breathless sighs, You had it once, you played the dunce, Drove away and left him there to stay, in a town of dust, While you pursued a youthful wanderlust, The american boy, so playful and coy, And you Cali Boy, Full of hate and quick to annoy, But quicker you fell for this american boy, Until you left him to burn in his tinderbox toy, And onwards we go, you can’t stop the show, With a quick wit, and a crooked smile, That forked tongue will line them up a mile, Spin them a story, win their affection, Then cast it away upon further inspection, 1

Ashley's and Christines, a Kate and a Molly, Marcie, Justine, and don't forget Holly, You took their love and it wasn't enough, When you cast them away you told them that's tough, But the jokes come around, Pick yourself off the ground, You can no longer discern what’s real in this hell, The honest reality lost amidst masculine lies, The false front to mask my feminine highs, All you must do is drop the curtain, Vanquish the thoughts that leave you uncertain, But instead you pull the door tight, All progress lost in your fright, Chase one more unwanted memory, Just for the sake of another's company, And now we're back to͞ Facebook apologies and newspaper astrologies, With less than a grain of truth, One more lie just might cave the roof, In on my house built of masculine lies, Holding all my feminine highs. Colt Laney


Cracks I used to hold you up on a pedestal Used to think you were the picture of perfection That you were everything I wanted to be But now I'm starting to see All the little cracks in your character The things that make you human Make you crash back down to Earth Crushing me Causing me to second guess the nature of our relationship To flashback to ex足lovers and ex足best friends To all the lies and betrayal they strung me along with I'm starting to see the symmetry between you and them And me Seeing the cracks in my own character In my own life My own mind So I close my eyes and shut you out Break down and cry Wonder why you couldn't stay perfect Couldn't live up to the image of you I built up in my mind You cracked under the pressure of my expectation Now you lay broken on the ground around me Like shattered glass at my feet With a few pieces stuck in my skin There to remind me you're just as human as I am Just as imperfect Just as broken With chips and cracks I can't unsee no matter how many times I blink I want to go back to believing But I'm not sure I want to take you back at all Shannon Aberle 3

Humble Dicot

I force my way out from a crack so small, a seed, I was planted sometime last fall.

A speck in the Earth I give it a shot, to grow and flourish from this humble dicot.

An immature twig is what they all see, stretched out so far yet barely reaching a knee. My first bud I am quite proud, the humans all gather as I center the crowd. What is this feeling a presence so new, they gasp in awe at my beauty so true. After the celebration they leave me to be, a future I forge of becoming a tree. Seasons have gone and children will go, yet all I do is sit here and grow.

I have cried and bled from initials and hearts, stupid young teens carving out my bark.

A lovers retreat is what I've known, passion and grace is all I've been shown.

At last, it has happened I have become quite old, a pleasure it has been with a history so bold.

The industry is booming and advancing my way, yet I will stand strong until my dying day.

A machine of yellow that expels black hate, has come with a message about my soon fate. But all of a sudden out of the blue, a group of lovers the ones I once knew.

Gathered around and protected my core, they fought back my demons to keep me years more. Because of my children the ones I watched grow, I am still here with their love at my toe.

I will shelter and protect you from the harshes of the sky, and love you forever until I wither and die. Cameron Switzer


Analogous, Autonomous Analogous余 Alike enough to hold hands余 We are gentle binaries, or Twin sets of information. Factual exposures, Collating toes beneath the covers, Perpetual association From the fever of skin on skin. Autonomous余 Sound identities in a disparate blur余 One of me, one of you, As two solutions authored to dissolve the Instability of wondrous experience. We hold ourselves in our arms, Lift ourselves high unto the Source So that others may rely on our operation. Analogous... Autonomous... Analogous... Autonomous... Us together... You and I. J.P. Gonzalez


Facts I find myself placing my hand on my chest to make sure my heart is still beating these days. The mirror has become my new worst enemy. Looking into my eyes, our eyes, slitting my emotion with a blink. But I keep staring until I don't know the difference between you and my reflection. I'm bleeding from the inside My father is dead. How dare that statement seem so simple. I tried to convince myself seeing those four words in plain text would make it easier to accept. I need to write it by hand 1000 times So that my mind will embrace it as a causality, Like newspaper headlines about world tragedies. Let the syllables sit in my throat until my body rejects the emotional waste. That's rotting at the core of my soul. My father is dead. Blood is blue before it's red. Zebras have stripes. Death kills more than the person who is no longer breathing. Just another thing to add to a long list of facts. Mercedes Gordon



Mermaid, Mermaid

Mermaid mermaid, Quick as a silent switch blade. Sings you to the hidden rocks, you lose your mind like Captain Hook, tick tock tick tock. Tie the sails, pull the ropes More dangerous than a lycanthrope. The siren's song is your heroine No one can resist, not a single one. Eric, love at first sight, or more like the victim? Ariel, ginger with a dingle hopper or really a vixen? Sha la la la la la la la don't be shy Tie yourself to the mast and sail on by John Walker Beatty

Killing Cain

I am stuck in my own apocalypse. In this war between "feels good" and "feels right" Between anarchy and dictatorships I find I must kill the Cain inside I betray myself like son against son My heart is at war like north versus south These thoughts ricochet from a smoking gun Haphazardly from my rogue mouth I have to kill the Esau inside of me That bastard twin would destroy everything I'm chained to myself, never to be free Unless I murder the source of of my sin The Cain inside will face eternal death I must murder him with my every breath. Megan Bevis


Leonardo I lay here thinking maybe the child wants to die. I lay awake praying “Let him sleep tonight. The parents scream. He covers his ears. Trying to put his pajamas on His fingers struggling while his hands ache with fear.

The boy wishes he would die. I know because between his sobs he mutters and wishes he would die. Maybe he doesn’t understand death the way I do; The way you do. Even Death doubt he knows what she is; For there is nothing merciful about Death – She simply takes what she should and what she shan’t she leaves alone without mercy or woe. I can hear the boy beg for forgiveness And I can hear him pleading to Samneric to be well. But he isn’t and he knows that all too well. After a few minutes the room becomes silent; The night aches near. I lay awake listening to the boy sneer in reproachment. In his own way sheer. I lay tired listening to his parents argue and cry; the mother says he’s stupid. The father wishes this would stop. I restlessly lay my ear on the wall and whisper “Everything will be alright.” But the child doesn’t hear me And the screams come back to kill.

Aurea Bolanos


Take A Deep Breath Take a deep breath. What do you feel? Is it just a breath? No, it’s life. You, are alive.

Can you feel it? Can you feel the calm? Can you feel the love? Can you feel the hope? You, are alive.

You are in this life. You are feeling. You are living. You are breathing. You, are alive.

Do you feel it now? Do you feel the strength? Do you feel the will? Do you feel the wisdom? You, are alive.

Do you feel it? Do you feel your body. Do you feel the air around you? Do you feel the sensations of your senses? You, are alive.

Can you feel it now? Can you feel your dreams? Can you feel your heart? Can you feel your life? You, are alive.

Can you feel it? Can you feel your life? Can you feel you emotions? Can you feel your thoughts? You are alive.

Teena Fultz

Do you feel it? Do you feel the pains? Do you feel the burdens? Do you feel the sorrows? You, are alive. 10

From Green To Red From green to red, and red to green, my day finds you at the center. Needs and wants are abruptly arrested, smashed and trounced, off the center. I remember the place that forms you, the utter chaos, spring, in the center. A hand stretched, one up, one down, eyes ahead, searching, for the center. Jason Liske Pride Is Not Unchanging Pride is not unchanging余 It adapts to your constant degradation until you are shit I will be defined externally and internally I will be a whore and a virgin But I will not be tamed I will not put myself in a cage, and I will not be caged by others I will fiercely tear at the flesh of life As it has torn into mine And we will degrade together until we are dirt For the next bleeding girl to sink her fingers into Sarah Millhoff 11

Breakfast Scandal There’s no use hiding that bacon smoke from me I can see through this breakfast scandal. is that egg on your collar? I heard you with that English Muffin grinding her coffee beans poaching her eggs. You low life, you wretch, I’m the most important person of your day. Wesley Golangco

Anybody And when I was with you, I wrote of love. And when I missed you, I wrote of emptiness. And when I forgot you, I wrote about everything. And now the “you” is anybody, and I can write about love or confusion, about emptiness and fulfillment, about anything and everything. Wesley Golangco


Get Through The Day

I am writing a poem a stupid insignificant lousy poem with no purpose at all it seems I’ve been writing this dirty stinkin’ useless poem for so many years. Melissa Eisner

Lost Memories


Unnoticed but not Ignored …tragic, so forgotten, so discarded, so Reminiscent of me. A fingerprint on A dusty chair in an empty room Alone …tragic, so average. Melissa Eisner

Ticking clocks, Words flown, Babies Crying. The world around shattering into a million pieces. Protective instincts kick in with only seconds to think, the Father paying no attention to his self but focused on the youth. A voice like a siren shrieks and the running begins. Not till the world stops shattering does it seem to cease. Thoughts of the youth dwell in the growing adult inside, Memories once lost are remembered one day, Hidden deep inside so one doesn't have to think. The curiosity of an event happening to two very similar people. Is it remembered the same way or not at all, One day I will have to go and ask. 13

Mercedes Gordon


If you're afraid to love me I can't tell you that you're wrong Is it the trail of dead and disappointed Still clinging to the gory sinews I used to string them along? I never meant to wound them so To maim them with a word I thought I was too kind for that A conviction, in retrospect, just as absurd As a cannibal renouncing flesh Evicting the part of her soul That made her so uniquely unspeakable Replacing something holy with a hole And so it begins I'll wean myself off the bitter blood Of my careless consorts I'll no longer chew on fingers That aren't attached to my own hands The praying mantis has a point But that straightforward headless horror Pales like skin after the blood has drained Next to the dread of losing you I'll be better, I swear I'll be better I'll walk the blizzard barefoot with no sweater Your warmth to thaw my brittle spine when I come back Together we will fight the lethal white and gentle black For we are savage gods We made ourselves this way Transcended chaos only to become it Let our entropy drive us to the summit We know what we will find there But that's hardly the point And it is far too late to save the others anyway I love you, I love you, I love you Perhaps if I repeat it, saturate the air with it Until my tongue groans like a rusted prayer wheel It will take on that glow it has as it pounds in my veins And even that is just a dim approximation of you‌ You, you, you.

Alison Rush


Sorry Daddy Missed Your Recital Learned the steps which waste knows. Tumbled from cans to cans. Pas de duex and high kicks for yesterday. Never sway back. The parties and coke Danced a pungent green, lollipop stick Exhausted and feeling frayed Clinging to the tin. I Pirouette, spin And both my toes bled. never could stand To breath it all in, just dancers In a line sparkling white余 My garbage man wails, "That's my baby." Welling up, alive. high Tours en l'air until I came back down, Hit the bottom in a mound of trash To bag, tie, to drag gutters, Mind wringing out the rest. Streams of bin足juice light The path to my home. Soubresaut The mess, Sure I'll keep flying on forgotten until the day she wishes my death. 15

Devon Batey



auditory experience visual experience body experience

we control ourselves, through our claw, a spine, with nerves which send for muscles to contract (and organs). we feel our body as we have fingers with our neck as our wrist. dancing with our fingertips we glide throughout life.

auditory experience visual experience body experience

why does my hand care, whether I live or die? whether I live or die? whether I live or die? they are cells that do what they do and because they do I give them food

my pastrami sandwich gives them life and giving them life gives me life and for that... I am thankful.

auditory experience visual experience body experience oh, no. music.

did you ever think of music? as sound? a dynamic? we're a dynamic. a big fucking disco. a big fucking disco. a big fucking disco. a big fucking disco.

... phew.

light. moves faster than waves. I mean, pressure waves. it gives us the most information and that!足足the fastest. ... what we see足足 what we feel, is what we say is happening. auditory experience visual experience body experience

but happening... that's happening at coarser time scales cause single cells don't know love. don't know love. cause single cells don't know love.


At The Helm Calling all worlds like an Epoxy lighthouse, An estimate of this that shines Calling home, our es oh es On the furthest shores­­ Echoed es oh es on Walls of our milk crates Caging planets of id and spun light Refracted outward, (spun light) Calling all colour, Approx­ what is real in that case? That is, Es oh es­­ what cage is As claylike, as fragile as The light of the way home. At the helm of all self Constructed card houses Are tables turning. Everything in outer­space is (dryland) Calling itself a center, Even the dryland at the edge Of the universe, with our es oh es At the helm of it, Pleading across the fog. Devon Batey


Constructive Comments % write code here. % it should say: % hello. I am awoken! % in a language % I can't understand.

From left to right, top to bottom:, Jason Liske, Colt Laney, Melissa Eisner, Sarah Milhoff, Mark Price*, Cameron Switzer, Alison Rush, Teena Fultz, Wesley Golangco, Teena Fultz, Megan Bevis, Aurea Bolanos, Devon Batey, Mercedes Gordon, J.P. Gonzalez, John Walker Beatty, Shannon Aberle, John Walker Beatty.

Thank You!


TREE Issue 3  

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