Category Archives: Relationship


We walk together in an uplifting mood cause of our closeness. He discusses his day at work in a more serious tone of adults. Me on the other hand, feel the giddiness bottled up inside.  Like a child, I want to skip and sing outloud, but  do not in this professional setting. I keep a lid on it and do good by staying quiet.  I imitate his mood. I answer, “uh huh” and say, “interesting” at the right moments. It seems to get brighter outside, and I put on my sunglasses. I become cozy again with my giddiness.  Silly thoughts with strings that go to funny places play through out my mind. His words go on in my background  until he  says something playful about my sunglasses. He pulls my silly string…

I become sillified by his certain single statement sidewinding to my sternum.  His words hit dead center and release me. My giddiness bursts into the open.  It shoots up into the air and burst into fireworks.  Glints of falling sparkles come down and settle on my crown.

My exhale heaves out a hearty laugh.  Finally, my surroundings are in sync with me, and we are one.  I get to be silly and silly I become. Playfully,  we make each other smile.   The pace of my words pick up speed , and I say whatever I please.   They are my silliest of thoughts and dreams.

When we are together, and you look at me, know that I am wishing for you to sillify me.

Barrio Rules

Barrio rules take care of you, when for whatever reason, you not able to care for yourself. Perhaps you caught up in a heated relationship, partying too hard and cannot think clearly, gambling too much and out of control or just not taking good care of yourself.  Your being.  These type of passionate ways that set you off the rails.  Off the rails in a good way and sometimes bad.   It foolish to not listen to the barrio rules.  There is gratitude for the existence of such rules because ultimately they give comfort, when comfort cannot be found, and set you right when you run aground.

I was raised in one of the oldest neighborhoods in El Paso, Texas, where Spanish was the first language.  A huge white Catholic church was at the end of the street.  I use to walk to church every Sunday  with my Tia Ramona and cousins.  The corner bodega had a mural of Guadalupe with flowers laid at her feet.  The statues were omnipresent in front of houses, inside the homes, and in the stores.  I was raised in a neighborhood where generational gangs like Los Fatherless dominated the night.  It was a poor area with multiple generations of families inhabiting the homes. The people came from humble beginnings. Most were immigrants and still had family members working in the fields.  My father was not a US citizen.  You do not have to be a particular race. Just live in the barrio; a place where barrio rules reigned supreme.  This was my world.  I no longer live in the barrio…I have come a long way.

Barrio rule #1 is that I have your back.  It means through all the grit of existence I will not do anything that will make you feel uncomfortable.  I will be there for you.  That whatever agreement we are in is safe with me. It not an agreement of homage.   I can still disagree with you, but in the end,  I will not burn you for those who have done something personally and intentionally negative against you.   Each person had stricter forms of rule #1 and this was known up front.  You could bow out of the agreement and still stay friends, but do not be surprised when rule #1 does not apply. Everyone had a different degree that worked for them.  The tougher agreements meant if your friend got jumped and you had nothing to do with it, you still had to jump in. I have upheld barrio rule #1 to this degree a few times.  It realist politics played out in the street.

Barrio rule #2 is that you have my back.  It the same like #1 but the other way.  In the reverse it was the agreement of what made me comfortable or the things I did not want you to do or expected you to do.  Again, I expect you to not burn me for someone who did something intentionally bad against me.  In the extreme agreement, it came in handy when I got jumped for being too pretty or unintentionally taking the affections of another guy.  I have seen barrio rule #2 in the extreme applied a few times. I have been jumped twice, and one of these times was by three cholas at once.  I held my own until barrio rule #2 kicked in.  Literally.  Barrio rules can save your life.

There were no surprises.  That what made the barrio rules so comforting.  Expectation management is what we call it in non barrio world.  Depending on the relationship, more barrio rules applied.  Expectations always vocalized in the beginnings of a relationship.  An understanding and agreement between two humans.  They were intimate.  I apply barrio rules with my lovers.  They still form the basis of my oldest friendships from El Paso.  We even discuss the difficulties in life with, “what about barrio rule # whatever it was?”  When in need and discussing life with my old friends, and they know I cannot think straight their words of the barrio rules will permeate the air.  As if to say, we understand life’s constant changes, and we understand but remember the few constants.  A reminder of the simpler times in life. The strength in simple is that it can forge a constant in chaos.  It gives you a grip.

We rarely change from our base no matter what life hands us.  The barrio rules know this.







Hot then Cold

Hot then cold

Just uncork the champagne

Let it flow

Shake the stars

Make it storm

Hold me naked

The warm winds blow

My name across your lips

Swirl in the waves

Touch down below

Where my beg is

Full of playful

But you

Hot then cold



To Die Like Mildred

No one has personally taught me a more important lesson in life then Mildred. Mildred taught me how to face death.  Everyone else has taught me to run.  She taught me how to look at death and adjust my collar and fix my hair ever just right in death’s presence.  How to look at death and invite her in for tea.  How to look at her and smile from the knowing that we will be together one day.

I worked as an in-home caregiver and Mildred was one of my clients for 14 months. She was a 96 year old lady who had been born in North Dakota long ago.  She graduated from college and then made her way to Colorado where she earned her Master’s in education.  For most of her life she had been a middle school teacher in home economics.  She had been a trailblazer in her younger years.  Not many women had achieved their graduate degree, but Mildred did.

When she met me, she liked me right away.  I was very hands off and did not talk to her in that sing songy voice that people like to use with very old people.  I spoke to her using an even tone and with great respect.  Mildred had been firing caregivers because she felt they treated her like a child.  Upon my visit, she could have sent me on my way; instead, she told me she looked forward to seeing me the next day.

Mildred was a very old human with the aches and pains that come with achieving such a privilege.  Most people die in their 80s.  Here was Mildred moving through life still and still looking beautiful.  She was about 5 feet 6 inches with good posture.  Her hair was curly and solid white.  It had the wiry texture of an old person.  She kept it neat and combed.  Her skin complexion was very pale white and full of deep wrinkles.  Her white skin and hair set off her transluscent light blue eyes.  She was beautiful.  Her voice was confident.

Mildred did not want to live anymore.  She felt she had lived long enough.  It worried her that she came from a long line of women who lived to reach 100 years old.  She could not bear the idea.  She was ready to move on.  We talked to her family about her wishes and they agreed to let Mildred move on with her life into the other.  Transition.  That is what we call in in hospice care when we want to be clinical.

However, she could not be considered for hospice since she was not terminal, but Mildred said her age and with it the aches and pains made her terminal.  The doctor told her the terminal window was within six months.  Mildred decided with the Doctor’s supervision that she would stop taking her thyroid medication and all her vitamins and supplements.  She did.  As her health deteriorated, Mildred and I continued to live our lives as all people do.  I prepared her meals and tea.  We kept her home clean and read the paper.  We did not listen to music or watch television because they made her agitated.  She felt like she had heard and watched all she wanted.  These types of arts no longer soothed her.  She missed gardening, hiking and driving.

During the last month of her life, my care for her intensified.  She was approved for in-home hospice care which meant that when death was near, her morphine would be delivered.  I moved in full time to care for her.  To her satisfaction, she was getting weaker.  All was going according to her plan.  I have never seen anyone mentally preparing for death like this before.  I bathed her and kept her hair groomed.  She always looked neat.  Our conversations changed to her experiences and the good life she lived with her children, husband and friends.  She was not lonely for her young life.  She spoke about them with laughter as stories of long ago.

One day, I stopped by my work office to fill out forms for other clients and had a discussion with the more seasoned  hospice workers about dying.  They told me that a sign that means she is close to dying is when she starts talking about her parents.  She had never talked about them before.

One week before her death, Mildred told me about the dreams she was having about her father and all the goods memories of him.  Right then, I new death was among us, and it was an honor to be around her.  Mildred taught me that death is part of life.  It is the Ying to the Yang.  It is not to be feared when it whispers, “Let it go.”

Later on that week Mildred started to experience excruciating pain in her back, and I would massage her through the night until she fell asleep.  She would wake up through out the night and call for me.  I wanted to be sure I was there for her so I slept on the floor right up against her bed holding her hand.  One night, she woke and sat up again.  She had been doing this every hour for a few days and was wearing me ragged.  Yet, I never complained.  Whatever she needed, I was there.

She sat up frustrated that her back hurt and that the pain would not go away.  Again, I sat on her bed and massaged her back in the dark with moonlight coming in through the window. I had bags under my eyes and my hair was knotted up like a bird’s nest.  She was moaning in pain out loud.  She said, “oooh I can not sleep!” and I answered in the dark, “ok, scoot over, and I will sleep in your bed” and she laughed uproariously.  There we were in the dark laughing together at death.

Later on that week, with the help of morphine,  Mildred moved on.  I packed up my belongings and walked out to my truck.  The heels of my boots clicked on the cold cement of the sidewalk that echoed solitude in the grey winter day.  The trees were bare of their beautiful leaves which were brown and scattered around the sidewalk and all clumped up in the snow.  It a shame I thought, that the leaves were not able to die like Mildred.

{the image is my favorite of the Angel of Death from American Horror Story}

From Your Grey

You want me to be grey

To display a muted being

You want to mood me black

Then attack the thing that I love

Which is you

Your strokes paint me into shrink and fade

Like beige

But I will not believe your false story

For hope is my crowning color of glory

So do not look away

From my palette of love and creativity

That paints our canvas with tender sensitivity

My love for you should not be held in scorn

Everyday is a new day for life to be reborn

From your grey