Roberto Carlos Garcia









A dream about my Pop


I dream my way to Washington Heights,

visit my Pop.

Celestial paisanos give me head nods,

I step in the bodega, clear Pop’s Secret Service.


“Oye! I need to go upstairs.”


“Coño man, you look like him.” The owner replies.

He picks up the receiver, dials the number.


Viejos watch, eye sockets empty,

they slam dominoes, doubt

I am my father’s blood.

No mystery son has shown up

to grant their reprieve.

The owner waves me away,

doesn’t hang up the receiver,

I become mist going out the door.


At apartment 42, a woman I will meet

in the waking world calls me in,

Mamá Pastora, my paternal grandmother.


Era tiempo, te están esperando.”


Bedside, Pop gasps for air, reaches for my hand,

we accept the dream’s tenderness.

Awake we don’t know each other, he says as much.

I’m an unknown man gifting

forgiveness to an unknown man.


Pops, what can you do?

Life is like that sometimes.

Rest easy, I say.


He died like the sun breaking clouds

on 161st & Broadway.



I Keep Dreaming


I’m a guerrillero,

standing on a milk crate

in Times Square,

shouting into a microphone

face streaming on a Jumbotron

                    Car bomber or Dirty Bomber?

                    Dissident or Seditionist?

& it grows dark,

heart becomes a punching bag

as Secret Service descend on ropes

& take me away

to see the President.

                    Water boarding or Palestinian Hanging?

                    Sleep deprivation or Face slapping?


We shake hands like old friends.

His command: Be cautious,

when seeking change,

as an enemy combatant

you have no rights.

                    Guantanamo Bay detention camp

                    or Poland, or Romania?


I’m here to do what Office

prevents you from doing, I say.

What about the bullets? He asks.

                    The sound of dry wings

                    in the shadows,

                    bullets like locusts.


President grabs me—his eyes

like a child’s.



The dead send dreams


Mamá Ana arrived from the island

a few weeks before her mother would die,

urged by her to leave the deathbed

& come care for us.


She died on my birthday.

I’ll always remember

the phone ringing so early

it could only be bad news.


I’d been dreaming

I was standing on a crowded sidewalk

with my little cousin Josh.

I looked across a six-lane highway

at another crowded sidewalk.


We attempted to cross

but Mamá Ana’s mother,

screamed from the other side:

No, no cruzes! 

& I grabbed Josh’s arm.


A week or two later

he’d be mauled by a Rottweiler

& survive.


She crossed over

& kept the ferryman

from others in our clan.


Mamá Ana cared for Josh,

both of them healing

from different wounds.



*A different version of this poem appeared in Adanna Literary Journal















Roberto Carlos Garcia’s work has appeared in Connotation Press- An Online Artifact, Adanna Literary Journal, Istanbul Literary Review, Poets & Artists Magazine, Metazen, Atticus Review,  and The New Gnus Literary Review.  His fiction is included in the anthology « The Lost Children », a book of 30 short stories to benefit children’s charities PROTECT and Children 1st U.K.

HIs chapbook, « Amores Gitanos (gypsy loves) » is forthcoming from Cervena Barva Press.

Roberto is a member of the online writer’s community Fictionaut.  A native New Yorker, he now lives and works in New Jersey where he is pursuing an MFA in Poetry and Poetry Translation at Drew University.  You can follow Roberto Carlos Garcia on Twitter at @thespokenmind. His website is

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