Page 1

TREE. volume 1. issue 5. Summer

Merced, CA


Merced, My First Month Steve Baba

Things That Didn't Go... Wesley Golangco

Summer Night Memory Cookie Laigo

Antony Dima Medvedko

2 College Town Garage Ella 3

4 Perched Fez Salvador Padilla

5 Dog Days Wesley Golangco 8

July 5 Elizabeth McMunn足Tetangco

8 At the End of Forever Kika Figueroa

9 A Lie Elizabeth McMunn足Tetangco

10 What Do I Owe This Pleasure? Chanel Weaver 11 Young, Dumb, and Strung. Shannon Aberle


A City Grounded Mike Plamann


My Little Shamrock Kwyn Alice Meagher


Kung足fu Magic

Go Mark Price


16 17

Contributor Collage 18

THEME OF THE ISSUE MERCED SUMMER : There is something special about the Merced Summer, both arduous and revealing, that calls for examination. In this issue, poems take the Merced Summer as inspiration. Take note of this as you read, let it flavor your insight!

THEME OF THE NEXT HEAT : Every Mercedian has their own techniques for dealing with the heat. Enduring the heat. Dodging the heat. Love in heat, cigarettes in heat, epiphonies in heat. Agua, por favor. The coolness of night­­of coffee shops­­ of ice­­relieves and spurs rejoice. For the NEXT issue of TREE, Issue 6, draw inspiration from the HEAT. TREE is online! Stay informed on all things TREE! Check out current and past issues of TREE! Submit to future issues! Read rare and limited edition TREE publications! All at:


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

Special Thanks.


Editors William Benjamin St. Clair Jordan Cowman Graphic Design William Benjamin St. Clair Cover Photo Jason Liske TREE. Logo and CoBa Ad Melissa Eisner

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're in Merced, and would like to submit to TREE visit

Everyone is welcome! You will be the last to know you're any good.

TREE. editors

Merced, My First Month i walk down main street

the beeping and bopping going on

smoke filters through the intense sunlight

the splitting branches wave to me welcome to merced! welcome to merced! i sip my tea and contemplate why he' s asking me for a cigarette long hair floats in the air when did i grow my hair long? leaves still left over from fall it has been three seasons now

i remember the song played when i was 17

hungry like the wolf! hungry like the wolf! Steve Baba 1

College Town Garage the sleep deprevation induced visuals make the poor lighting appear suspended upon a wire in a breeze. illuminating a patchwork of discarded laundry, the owner of some has already bounced out,

This garage is like the block, a sort of purgatory for the souls in flux that happen along. It takes a set of throwaway weights or a bike once a lifeline, now a burden as a student graduates and leaves this college town behind.

the cul de sac's cast are freshman or, just temporarily renting because they lost their own home in the economic plight of the year. In here you can occasionally find a dude curled up in his own little trip or some beatnik girl just trying to be hip,

there is lots of facebooking on the workbench while sheets are being dried, and spotify pondering of the world and why it lied, with an occasional stench as if something in someones gym bag has died but only for awhile before it's余 the loud and cluttered rental of a UC student, the first house of some towny trying to be independent, or just another rundown lot with no tenant Ella


Summer Night Memory I miss you... Since that night, that kiss, the connection we made has played over and over in my mind. Your touch, your eyes, your lips, break me down as if I were melting. I have a magnetic attraction towards you that I cannot understand or explain. You spark the art within me. Yet I feel that we must finish what we started, but I'm scared of the damage that can occur if we proceed. You stimulate my sexual urges. When I smoke, I think of you. When I drink my coffee, I think of you. Before I go to sleep, I think of you. Not knowing if I will hear from you again breaks me piece by piece. I just want you to know that I will always cherish the memory of that night. Goodbye Love... Cookie Laigo


Perched Fez If you've ever had a perched fez, you're aware of the awful noises they make at night. They look regal alright, but a peacock with a vendetta for fowl justice would make a better roommate than a perched fez. With its pretentious tassel and velvet coat, you'd be lucky to get invited to its birthday party being thrown at your own house. The perched fez is to be worn atop the head at all times that it is being worn, and it should be well足rested before being asked to be worn for long periods of time. You also need its blessing, two letters of reference, and a credit check before being allowed to touch it in the first place. Do not send more than two text messages without a response when trying to contact the perched fez余 it will manifest itself in your presence when it sees fit, and you'll like it! A perched fez would refer to itself in the third person ...if it wasn't convinced that it was the first and only person worth being referred to at all. A perched fez will also need you to pick up its dry cleaning, which, for a perched fez, is the perched fez itself. Salvador Padilla 4

Dog Days when given the choice between civility and a hole in the ground, the fool chose the hole in the ground. “it’s cooler in here”, he yapped, “i can stretch my legs. i have room to roll around.” “out there,” he snarled, “it’s hotter. it’s stuffier. it may seem dark and cold in here, but it’s comfortable. it’s familiar.” when asked to show some dignity, to stand up straight and walk with pride, the fool choose to walk as dogs do, on all fours with his face close to the ground and his tongue lolling about. he jumped and barked and scratched at the floor, and played fetch with the neighborhood dogs, as to mock and annoy those who he defied. but they simply chose to treat him as he wanted, and gave him biscuits and boiled pork bones left over from stock. they left him bowls of water and kibble for him to eat. the fool, not realizing what a fool he was, continued his charade and pranced about, barking comically and mockingly, accepting their gifts ironically.


but soon he became the dog he pretended to be. his hands grew calloused and his nails grew long, his bones changed and formed to his movements, he grew fur and a snout and long floppy ears. last of all, he lost his words, unable to speak except for barks and growls. and so he spent his days running through the brush, wide eyed and wild, running like a cow colored comet, hunting cicadas and digging holes to his heart’s content. kind strangers would walk up to him, pat him on the head, rub his belly and fish foxtails out of his coat. the fool, now just a dog, dug his home into the ground, and lived his life as dogs do, in simplicity. when given the choice between civility and a hole in the ground, the fool chose the hole in the ground. “it’s cooler in here”, he yapped, “i can stretch my legs. i have room to roll around.” “out there,” he snarled, “it’s hotter. it’s stuffier. it may seem dark and cold in here, but it’s comfortable. it’s familiar.” Wesley Golangco


July 5 Firework pellets all across the street, Flat like cigarettes, their edges burned to black. Hard as callused fingers. Smoke rolls through the air; the fires are out. Steam staggers. A neighbor lost a hand, one year – went Inside his house and shut the door. The lights from the police car stained The bedroom red and blue. Elizabeth McMunn­Tetangco

At the End of Forever At the end of forever, Where i can finally exist, At the beginning of nevermore. Where i can finally exist. The universe keeps me here, At times i find it hard to resist, The tempting views of memories past, I become a slave, to the ghost of yesterdays lust. A slave, To the possibilities i shouldn't trust, somewhere beautiful, Where i can finally exist. Kika Figueroa


A Lie I stayed in a motel room, And the door faced toward The east. In the morning Light rose, white as scabs. Its bones made silent Piles along the floor. They Fell apart. I Would leave each day And drive, looking for work, And find the heat – Or burned out mattresses, Or men riding old bikes, Their beards locked tighter than A lie. You could see light through them. There were mountains to the east, They twisted there, like things we’d Killed. Elizabeth McMunn­Tetangco


What Do I Owe This Pleasure? One step in front of the other Again and again sweat covers Every surface of the skin The sweet smell of oil The concrete has a name The brief honks and the long wails Surround every corner The light reflects, Squinting eyes Nothing but hot sun A breeze that doesn't exist Blocked out, by the scrap metal Of almost a hundred years Trying to find a suitable resting place But nothing but asphalt, and slowly dimming daylight The city smog, brings the sunset beautiful colors But even filth can beautiful Sirens in the distance, And the sound of glass breaking The orchestra of all, Slowly draws my attention from the aching feet The sun almost down, The park bench in your sight The misfits and the outcast, the creepy and crazy Cover their playground Parading in the blinking city lights Chanel Weaver 10

Young, Dumb, and Strung. 1. Haven't been here long But already I can see This is all bullshit 2. You say I know not What my mind's capable of Far more than yours is 3. I'm so over you I guess you didn't want me Like you said you did Shannon Aberle

Things That Didn't Go the Way He Planned his first thought was

"that is perfectly fine with me." Wesley Golangco


A City Grounded I take my time on these long walks evading rays of sunlight lack of hamsters on the wheel leaves the public slow and tongue tied but its pretty watching leaves pick out there clothes for the winter weather just to be buried underneath the feet of extended staying fire fighters making shadows now seen as comfort when searching for a way out open the fridge removing skin just trying to find the ice house and so the solace that we find is in the dark out of visual indication from the stars or daytime angel sharks speaking minds constantly battle stubborn failing fortress walls hoping a spark will ignite and spread over plague infested linen dolls but they only play with the ability to create life over time they come to realize but by then they've spent their time to ride but in the near distance i never cease to hear the cries of those fighting to push forward and never to be left behind not the monsters under beds or noises feared in the night but blissful paintings drawn in the mid足summer light Mike Plamann


Antony if i stood on top of mt. athos, would i see a better sunset than from the heart of a city? if i was a physicist with a ph.d. thesis written on quantum mechanics would i see a better sunset than a janitor with a mop at a hospital? would i see the same thing? could i call both a sunset? perhaps if there was to be a solar flare i could try to predict it, being a physicist or i could be instantly incinerated while mopping the floor. or i could weep as prophesies came true while kneeling on the top of mt. athos so, as the sun moves and the sky changes color for everyone, i wonder who sees our world turn the way it really goes? Dima Medvedko


My Little Shamrock

I wanted you to buy me a teddy bear without me asking.

Then I realized I didn’t really want that poor stuffed animal, poached in the name of consumerism, grown in thin soils bought out by Monsanto in some third world with plants that can’t reproduce in the illusion of economic aid. I wanted you, and the warmth from the anger burning in your gut you use to fight this war against the patriarchy that tells us to consume, tells us how to look, what to see, how to live, what to feel. Shames us for our sex and for our bodies and for our gender.

I just wanted those beautiful freckles you refuse to hide to shine back at me under the moon light in the middle of the night, like a constellation of meteorites about to fall through the sky. I wish upon everyone, but I don’t wish for you, 'cause you are my luck, my shamrock, and you’ll always find your way back to me. I’ve always believed that it’s not lucky people who find shamrocks but people who are in need of luck, because they’re constantly looking down and you found me when it was so hard for me to see the sky because of the weight of this cissexist society that just kept holding me down.


You lifted my chin like you lifted my spirits and kissed my disbelieving lips. “You look grateful” you’d said. “Don’t be grateful, Don’t be thankful I love you. Be ungrateful. Be on your very last nerve, that most people won’t see you as woman, won’t see you as wonderful, won’t see you.” Took my hand in yours and in the other picked up a book, or was it a sword? then whispered in my ear with a smirk. “they’ll never see whats coming, keep fighting.”

And I took my first steps into a war I wasn’t sure I was ready to for, but we don’t get to choose our wars only our battles and you gave­­ no rather you showed me I had the courage to fight more and gave me the luck to choose the ones I could win, and even when I don’t I will always call you my little shamrock. Even though, I left you in the ground so that you may grow and eventually find someone else, your luck stays with me, where ever I go. Kwyn Alice Meagher


Kung足fu Magic

fighting for, at least, something to hold on to That's what I know. I'm about as alive as I can remember, and, for now, I can't seem to remember very much.

Quarter, to half, to competition violins crying over a cracked bridge in the back of a church for old, bitter Olga.

I learned bass because I dropped our new, It's not that I feel, what, without life red, Mexican fender, It's more like strangely bigger The barriers of memory and heavier confine to my uncertain what and how 8 year old hands. I think of myself my life can be told with music, For instance: yet sometimes I forget. there are times that I forget music. Not just sometimes. Strange, because We're not being fair, though. I've been It's not really playing music the same thing as longer than I forgetting can remember. it's that sometimes, like earlier, I mean: really. the thoughts we have are just not including... Some of my first memories are playing my mother's grand piano, and... bought fresh from the admiral's wife, it's not included. with higher strings Who am I? slightly rusted What have I done? from the belly Oh, god, what have I done?! of a cargo ship, I'm fighting for myself, that drifting Italian, against the boundaries of toward our Chesapeake. our totally context sensitive lives Slammed for drama, kung足fu magic. keys pressed like "the day Abraham Lincoln was shot." that's what I named it. 16

Go First it was All Then, We Now, I remnants / fragments / segments how we


by ritual and tradition, he sa falling falling unto d

u s


slowly ys

. . .

Such things he spoke an


brella word



an umbrage for his lie a shrine for his truth


go, then

go without shelter Mark Price

From left to right, top to bottom:

Steve Baba, Chanel Weaver, Cookie Laigo, Salvador Padilla, Kwyn Alice Meagher, Dima Medvedko, Mike Plamann, Mark Price, Elizabeth McMunn足Tetangco, William Benjamin St. Clair, Shannon Aberle and Wesley Golangco. Not Pictured: Ella and Kika Figueroa.

Thank You!


Tree Issue 5 : Summer  

There is something special about the Merced Summer, both arduous and revealing, that calls for examination. In this issue, poems take the Me...