Summer has arrived in Los Angeles. 

We had a cold & semi-rainy June-August, and now, we are paying for it. 

On October 25th, the highest temperature inside my car was 99 degrees.

It fits my usual 99.9 body temperature. 

My air-conditioning is broken, so I sit inside a sauna and meditate as I drive to VONS while listening to my ratchet music on blast.

The week before last, I came back from the desert, my husband and I went on a mini vacation since he’s been working two jobs while I’ve been unemployed. 

But I rise—I am once again part of the system. 

This time, as a freelance contractor with a bookstore. 

I am blessed.

I didn’t even know I was qualified for this type of work.

As an uneducated poet, with only “some college” under her belt, I tend to feel this way more often than not. 

I’ve been on the verge of tears and on the verge of a breakthrough all week.

Something is dilating.

I have stopped that constant chatter of self-doubt and embraced the faulty insides that I can usually taste in my mouth. 

“Rubber dipped in ammonia.”

Self-doubt is pungent, don’t you ever forget it. 

There are wildfires in the desert, by the 14 freeway, where the Joshua Trees are scattered like small trinkets from some long ago pilgrimage. 

I am wheezing.

I am coughing.

I am fragile.

Always reminded of my precious life.

When we live alongside nature, we must endure whatever truths it throws at us.

It feels impossible lately, to not feel guilt about the food I eat and the privilege of having the time and space to question and treat my mental health while the streets of Los Angeles are infested with homelessness. 

The forgotten flowers.

On a walk by my work, I watched a homeless man eat from a trash can while only feet away, a family enjoyed a three course meal.

My husband works at a food catering company, and he comes home with atrocious stories about the wastefulness of each and every job. He also sometimes brings home the flower arrangements that were on the tables. Everything has its place, even the wilted flowers at expensive catered events for Reagan supporters. 

The rent needs to be paid and food needs to be bought.

We must survive in this, yes, I’m privileged but I am also burdened. 

I come from a third world country but live inside a beautiful mansion of 400 square feet where the hallway smells heavy of urine in this heat.

I am blessed.

I drink water without giving it much thought.

I eat and pay for it with a plastic card that has money in it because I work and my husband works.

I pray that one day I’ll be able to change shape, come back as the possibility of another chance for the masses. 

In the meantime, I have poetry.