Daniel Romo


Daniel Romo teaches high school Creative Writing, and lives in Long Beach, CA.  He has recently been published in Forge, Monkeybicycle, Underground Voices Magazine, and Poetic Diversity.  He is an MFA candidate in poetry at Antioch University, and thinks gray sky the utmost inspiration.  More of his writing can be found at Peyote Soliloquies.

Two Poems (May 20, 2010. Issue 17.)

Four Poems (February 20, 2009. Issue 14.)


Two Poems (May 20, 2010. Issue 17.)

Dear Doogie Howser,

When you came out of the closet in the wake of your not quite middle-age newly regained prime-time success, I finally stopped believing in the notion that teenagers actually could be doctors. Even though I don’t know you personally, I take offense to you keeping your true sexuality a secret from me all these years. And what about Wanda? How must she feel learning her adolescent onscreen boyfriend faked kisses that gave credibility to teenage love? I believed in you Doogie. Every Wednesday night at 8:30 you gave hope to guys like me, not the best looking or coolest, but nice guys who stood for something. And now you kneel for something else. I remember in one episode you were about to get your ass kicked after school by a bully, and before he was able to throw a punch that would’ve broken your face, you slapped his ear dropping him to the ground causing trauma to his cochlea; I should’ve known then. A straight man couldn’t have been so adept at slapping in a fistfight. And now I question the validity of everything else I learned growing up: Does distance times rate actually equal time? Are tomatoes really fruits? Is the Pythagorean Theorem just some Greek code invented to satisfy some fancy pants’s fetish with the alphabet and redundancy? You lied Boy Genius, all the way into 90’s sitcom lore and Emmy award show host today. Don’t t you see, I can’t forgive you. You broke my heart. Because Doogie Howser, is gay.

Former President of your fan club,
Daniel A. Romo

P.S. Was that signature I got from the letter you sent me really yours?

Dear poetry lovers who also love soap operas,

The flavor of the month twins had some nerve telling the poet in unison, “Your poem at the Presidential Inauguration sucked. Yeah it sucked!” To which she responded, “Well at least my biggest mark on the poetic landscape isn’t simply being identical. Can you guys say gimmick?” They faces were Xeroxed sadness, and each twin shed a single tear from the opposite eye.

The accessible poet stepped in. “Now wait a minute. There’s enough room for everyone on this Love Boat to people’s hearts. Talent is overrated. It’s all about finding your audience. Don’t write such abstract stuff. Let them understand you. Like I always say, The secret to being understood, is not having any secrets.”

“Hold on good man. I beg to differ,” said the esteemed Slavic poet. “Without the surreal, the words lose their power: like two gypsies forgetting the art of persuasion in their mothers’ womb. Like malnourished mice marching off to fight a forbidden war in a lost country. Like... “We get the picture,” echoed the twins. “Wait. Like what?” asked the accessible.

“It really wasn’t that bad,” chimed in the voice belonging to the Plain Jane-named sensual poet. “After all, it mentioned taking out your pencils, tongues, fellatio. Or, was that filial? And of course love. What’s more beautiful than the human body?”

“Well, I didn’t really mean it like that, but if that’s what you got from it. Gr… Great.”

“We still say it sucks. Yeah. Sucks!”

“I wrote a few poems about sucking.”

“If I may,” began the new voice. “My poems are critically acclaimed. I teach in one of the finest MFA programs in the country. I’m included in virtually every English Literature textbook. My poems are what all of yours strive to be. That said my sistah’, you go with your bad self. If the president asked me to read, shoot, my Afrocentricness would be front and center, and I wouldn’t care what anyone else thought. You feel me?”

“Yes. I feel you. Thank you for your kind words.”

The younger self-professed All-American twin leered at the national figure, shook his head in disgust asking, “Who invited this dude?”

“Bro. That’s a chick.”

The new poet shook her head and simply said, “You’re such a dick man. And so are you.”

—Tomorrow’s episode: Why my barber, dead grandmother, and even yoga instructor were all nominated for a Pushcart.

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Four Poems (February 20, 2009. Issue 14.)

So We’re All a Little Fucked Up

It ended poorly. She told me I lifted
weights too much and to get past my

I was never completely honest with her,
neglecting to say the sand kicked in my
face wasn’t metaphorical, but wrote its
way into my life nonetheless.

Though I did make it known I was tired
of tasting vomit-strewn kisses. “If this is
what a size 4 does to you, go back to being

And that was that.


“Do women know about shrinkage?”
—Jerry Seinfeld

He tried to convince her
it’s like that in winter,
especially in the morning.
Just look at the Birches.
Defiant cold not conducive
to merriment;
a festive hall void of guests,
the breath of a stranger
the only reminder
of the living.

It is not June, and he’s withdrawn.

Her heated hand snaked
between apologetic legs:
a nub of existence
sensitive to the seasons.
Sexy, slithering, long lost ember,
as if trying to revive April
in December.


They offered kids like me an invitation to play each day, where
clouds were swept away and friendly neighbors met yet continually

asked if I could tell them how to get there. Perhaps so engrossed in
their sense of community, lost was their sense of direction. Can you

tell me how to get to that familiar street to meet multi-ethnic, highly
literate orphans who appreciated man’s differences, never giving

second thought to Burt and Ernie’s relationship, or questioning if
an orange, hairless man playing with rubber duckies in the bathtub

is merely metaphorical. They taught us about conservation and
the environment, even though we learned it’s not easy being green.

Each episode was always brought to us by a number and letter.
Just once I wished they would’ve devoted a show to the number 2

and letter squiggly n. Stick a giant, felt cutout on Maria’s clingy
blouse like a Latina superhero. I can picture The Count pointing and

narrating it now— “Children, this is the Spanish N, also known as
eñe. Au! Au! Au! Au! Aauu… And those are a pair, also known as 2.

I shall use them in a sentence. El niño dreams of Marias’ 2 spicy
jalapeño breasts. Niño. Jalapeño. Breasts. Count them. 2 breasts.

Au! Au! Au! Au! Aauu…” Mr. Rogers would walk by and instantly
get a chubby, conservative khakis on fire, sweater buttons popping off

like spontaneous combustion of the conformist, envious he’s not a
resident of this zealous zip code. But now our children stand too close

to the TV playing Wii, absorb nonsense from a witty sponge, yet still
find time to lament the absence of their fathers. How I miss the simplicity

of public television, static naïveté, where I could always count on Linda
who spoke sign to give a thumbs up confirming everything, “A-ok.”


The results of the paternity test on the morning talk show that only focuses
on baby momma’ drama and transgender makeovers were obvious when the charismatic host announced, “You are NOT the father!” Turns out, neither was
his brother. And the young unwed mother (who upon first glance looked like a resident of Bedford Falls, but whose deliberate urban accent claimed Westside Bedford Sty) cried as if every DNA test thereafter would be rerun reminding her
of reoccurring failure, and bad decisions made. “You do NOT have the job!”
“You can NOT buy the car!” “He is NOT the father either!” Sometimes it’s necessary to change the channel, make the decision to get off your ass and search for the remote, rather than subject yourself to infinite daytime drabble
and what you are not. Because who wants a daily dose of that shit? Not me.

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