Diamonds in the Rough

written by Ricky De Guzman

A diamond left out in the open turns back into oranges and kids kissing the sidewalk, 
or spreadeagle before the plutocracy made babies crawl into a shooting range, 
the cry at zero is what made adults. Out of everyday target practice comes a measure of calm. 
I have no spine to spin, today I trapped out cultural address 
for five dollar fan service. In the middle of a heatwave came the hammer and the rock 
that cured my neighborhood of crime, just a few paychecks ago. 

I saw the glory days teach a generation that firewalking was never to be done before breakfast 
but rather, a phone call to remind me that confessions on new methods float on the airwaves 
and avoid a Penrose triangle with thorns by its sides. A problem worth the laughter or worth a two-faced 
who is really three sides of the same coin. Which means, pennies weighed down by dreams 
become a fountain that will overflow into pillars of salt. On the table is an inner-city crossword puzzle, 
proof enough Los Angeles is fleshed out, an apple that crawls back into the tree and always will be 
a surrogate of an art gallery, a rift habitat pretends to be a cheap publicity stunt. 

The best mask cost nothing more than the soul of two tears that punched a hole in the wall. 
That still invents itself, the city of angels, another major city of the removes who are only found 
in the never-will-be of the soul. A new urban environmentalism is the backstory I figured out 
from a thousand paintings. Still life drips along the edges, still along the gallery walls 
and along my spine. 

The half-step away from a sound mirror. Where I find myself, beneath lifestyles and property values, 
more threat than comfort, more of the sun at night and the sun as satire on a plastic dinner plate. 
Chewing on fungus is how I stand on a new generation. This sound bite on my shoulders is how I 
convinced myself 
of myself. Rare footage of a colosseum where a fugitive and a vagabond 
are not puppets of the crowd, but my favorite sidewalk attraction for the paperless radio masses. 

I found a one word reality to dream in—lungs the color of sleep and satire. 
Car keys lost on the beach five years ago. The fusion of cultures was perfect, 
to bottle up the suburban Socrates who lost. The only wager on Earth 
for saliva and satire. Unholy alliances I bet my life on 
the message in the bottle, some contemporary critics smelled oil as well as incense 
that floats on the body of storytellers who can tell you what color your dinner is. 
From a mile away, there is a mission on the rim of the world, a fate map where the laughter still breathes 
smoke from people who will find a way to revolt against density, 
pulling apart the lips of a painting, not from the forgotten ones, 
but towards the city burning the diamonds in the rough. 

Born in Manila, raised in Los Angeles, Ricky De Guzman is a graduate student at San Francisco State University. He makes paper airplanes and hopes they can float upside down. 

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