Margaret Elysia Garcia… Negotiations



I put on the red dress
and the leopard fur collar
and I know already
it’s for me, it’s not for you,
but it’s Friday night
and Mom is watching the kids
and we’ll go through this charade
of working on it
whatever it is that’s suppose
to keep us together
to keep us a family
for how much longer
til they have diplomas in their hands
and resentment in their hearts.


We keep looking to make it work
but the engines are running
the wheels are turning
the lights are glowing
it’s just that no one’s home
it’s just that no one’s here.


I meet up with you and you’ve
showered and cut your hair.
It looks romantic and sexy
and the dinner won’t be bad:
We’ll eat from each other’s plates
and pay from each other’s bank account
all things equal; all things fair
all things sleepy; all things square.


I want to tell you that I quit looking
I want to tell you to keep on—
You might find her yet,
whomever she is that can look
you straight in the eye and sigh sweetly.


My love is tainted;
but you should have known that
a decade plus,
you should have known that.


If you wanted to find
the good time
the good mother
the good lie
the good truth
the good house
the good home


well I’m your woman, I suppose.
But you want the heart, the wife,
the everything I can’t.


Pushcart nominee Margaret Elysia Garcia is a fiction and creative non-fiction writer and poet based in Northern California. She’s a contributing editor for the newly relaunched Hip Mama Magazine. She also does private writing coaching as well as a memoir writing workshop in Quincy and Chester, California.

Copyright © 2014 by Margaret Elysia Garcia







The Mariachi… by Margaret Elysia Garcia


The Mariachi

He used to played guitar
with other grandfathers
who had been young men
in dance halls in the 40s

before and after the war.

The doctors had said to keep playing!
It will keep you alive.
The grandfathers played
up and down the cul de sac,
in each and every garage,

before memory failed and arteries clogged.

There were nine of these part-time mariachis
in a row of strings and brass, a retirement band.
Soon there was seven, then five, then three
and now just him playing solo

on this side of the heaven’s divide.

The doctors told him to make new friends
but by that time the dead were living with him,
And the living were just as dead
And the house was filled

with people who were not there.

He rocks back and forth now
in the living room rocking chair
Pedro Infante and Mariachi Vargas CDs
Crooning, blowing, strumming their tunes.

They are there with him, welcoming him.

He has forgotten how to play guitar now.
His eyes close and his hands raise up
from the arm rests,
hit the dead air around him
he fingers chord progressions and he smiles.
He remembers just this.
Asks of whomever is there
I like those songs you are playing
—did I ever know how to play?


Copyright © 2012 by Margaret Elysia Garcia