east texas
Jorge B. Valdes, Jr.

The July Editor's Pick Poet is Jorge B. Valdes, Jr.

Please feel free to email Jorge at:




The weather ran across the yard in quick cool spurts.
The dogs were sleeping under the bushes by the fence.
A lizard had crawled down the electric pole and curved its head almost horizontal as if looking up at the sky.

The summer months were well on their way.
I sat quietly in the front yard underneath the porch.
I had a cold beer in my hand.

Nothing moved except for the soft gusts pushing against my face.
The wife was getting her hair done by the same hairdresser she had as a child.

We were getting ready to go out of town.
She wanted her hair shorter for the summer

Which felt like it was going to be a long and extra hot one.


The clusters of patrons visiting the stores have changed.
Now they include bewildered students who are coming down of their structured existence and into the loneliness of reality.
It is interesting to see the strange people they become, now that they cohabitate the street, like everyone else not in public school.
Taking time off has confused me, too.
Scared me a little.
Too much time to contemplate.
Is that bad?
After school kids are strangers to a 2 pm dollar store.
School is out for summer; the kids are disconnected from routine.
And even more so if they have strange parenting.
Or estranged parenting.
I see that most of them are a product of a new generation struggling to break in to reality.
This supposed upbringing is developing an entirely different but similar copy of past choices concerns, but not entirely thought-out raising.
I see a family with lots of children, a cheapskate dad, tired mother, festering around an old mattress.
The old mattress is on top of the old Ford Explorer being carefully tied to the top.
It is visibly beaten, worn, and frayed.
Black Hefty trash bags carefully tucked around the hogtied old thing.
The children also help to cover the old family heirloom.
For many it may seem like a tired old and nasty bed but for these people, the parents and all it represents hope.
The place where each of the kids was created with such care; those same kids helping to protect some sort of Holy Grail.


The warm summer rain is falling on you but you do not care
Real cars jump in your way as you majestically roll down your street killing beasts and keeping death out of your home
Summer boredom defeated by vivid images of adventure and victory
The adults do not see what you see
they are too busy life-ing away but you see the evil lurking around every tree
Little Mexican boy with his deadly broomstick-sword gun
With a neon green tip with which it can be hung
You are outside ‘cause you are rich in imagination but poor in video games
but that does not matter; neither does the rain matter
We pass each other and you on your bike pretend your gun is a broomstick, again.
The wet handle squirms quickly away from your hands as the road gets bumpy
Damn the pot holes
Your wheels twists and you lunge forward as you try to catch yourself
Your body is transported back to a new battle
You, the broom and the ground.

Jorge B. Valdes, Jr. lives in East Texas with his wonderful wife Angela. They have two dogs that make them laugh. In his free time he likes to write and think about life and its mini-miracles.