Shelter in a Moonlit Temple

My third eye’s the only one that doesn’t need corrective lenses,

And I’m betting that I’m spending a little too much attention

On the rocks thrown at the church of my creations and inventions,

But I’m in the last pew just trying to focus on my blessings.

And I don’t fully believe, everything the priest proclaims,

And the rock throwers outside, no, they’re not fully to blame,

Optimism clashes when another stone thrown crashes with the doubters throwing rocks, breaking windows during masses,

I know its all a vision I see through my clearest lens,

I built this church from the ground up, it is mine to defend,

And if it’s all in my head, I focus less upon the doubting

and the shouting from outside my inner spirit’s sacred housing,

In my mind’s temple the lights-go-out, in an instant-silence;

No more broken glass falling, no more riots, no more violence,

Just a silent harmony between my eyes and moonlit-panes

Now the rock throwers are gone, stained-glass all back in their frames,

Then my other two eyes opened, focus, breath, peace of mind maintained,

I’m no longer in a church, but I’m on my couch,

I unfolded my legs, stood, then I blew the candle out,

turned off all the other lights, and smiled at the bright moonlight,

Shining through my kitchen window, like a vessel through the night. -RSM



Our own lives don’t seem THAT long, to us, anyway,

until you quantify your living time different ways,

instead of 29 years and 24 hours,

that 5-digit-long title is my age, in days.

We measure long stretches in years, Earth revolutions,

but how much different would it be, how confusing,

to measure our age in Earth rotations,

adding 1 every day, through all our trials and tribulations?

“New day, new me!” Not a bad way to think

as we wait to turn 7,665 to have our first legal drink

and then later on when you hit 11,000

it’s all about marriage and babies and houses.

And before you know it, your youngest just turned 700,

and 36,500 is a celebrated summit.

Time can play us hard with so many tricks,

it’s easy to forget that its all measuring sticks,

An illusive quantifier that compares and contrasts

the duration of all things that have ever come to pass.

So as long as time rules, and charts up our existence

I don’t mind undermining it’s norms and pretenses;

I’ll keep the whole ‘new day, new me’ thing in mind,

cuz tomorrow I’ll be 10,595. – RSM

10 ‘Token New Yorker’ Moments in Chicago

It’s been fun – and annoying sometimes –  being ‘that guy from New York’ every time someone asks me where I’m from (It’s even more fun being the first person they might have met from The Bronx).

These are some of my favorite New Yorker moments** I’ve had so far since moving to Chicago this past summer:



Literally everyone: Oh you just moved here? From where?

Me: New York.

Literally everyone: Omg that’s so cool!!! I went once like 10 years ago, but all I remember was Times Square. Did you live near Times Square?! Whose pizza is better – Chicago or New York?? What’s riding on the Subway like? have you ever been to Central Park? Have you seen the ball drop for New Year’s? Have you been to the Statue of Liberty?  Have you seen the tree lighting at Rockefeller Center? My cousin’s cousin’s cousin went to NYU…




Co-worker from the Burbs: Where you from, Ruben?

Me: I just moved to Chicago, I’m from New York originally.

Co-worker from the Burbs: You’re from New York?

Me: Yeah.

Co-worker from the Burbs: … so why’d you come here?




(At a friend’s birthday party)

Birthday friend: Ruben, this is another friend of mine from New York, she’s been living here for a few years now.

*NY Friend and  I exchange pleasantries*

NY Friend: So how long you been in Chicago?

Me: Like a couple months so far.

NY Friend: Yo deadass I been here like 3 years and I still miss having a real baconeggandcheese.

Me: Wordddd  I’ve only seen 3 bodegas out here…

NY Friend: I’m sayin’! And they actually have ALLEY WAYS out here in between buildings!

Me: I know! Like damn instead of throwing mad garbage on the sidewalk twice a week… and the Ventra card is dumb smart…got me mad disappointed in the MTA.

NY Friend: I knoow it’s crazy! MTA is slackin’ OD.

Me: Word like always.

NY Friend: Facts!!

*Me and NY Friend laugh together*

Me: Where you from tho?

NY Friend: From The Heights like 178 and Broadway.

Me: Oh word I used to be right off 152 and Amsterdam!

NY Friend: Oh shit my cousin’s right off 148 by the train! You always been there, or?

Me: Nah I grew up in The Bronx, on 233rd by the 2 train.

NY Friend: Ohh okay I know where that’s at I got you. You know what’s crazy. tho,  the other day I was like–

*Chicagoans near us are completely lost*




Chicagoan: One of my favorite rappers is from New York.

Me: Oh, which one?

Chicagoan: Tekashi 6ix9ine.

Me: ————_____________________————-




*Literally whenever the words ‘New York’ are mentioned in a group*

Everyone else: *Turns to me slowly, smiling, creepily awaiting my reaction*




Co-worker: Hey Ruben, I just booked a flight to New York a few weeks from now. I was wondering, what’s your experience with LaGuardia Airport?





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Co-worker: So have you always lived in Chicago?

Me: No I just moved from New York.

Co-worker: Oh, that’s awesome! I have a friend who lives in Manhattan!

Me: Oh nice!

Co-worker: I should ask you – do you know any good fusion restaurants in New York? My friend was telling me he was looking for anything that’s a real mix of different cultures, anything that’s really different?

Me: Well… there’s a place called Mama Sushi in upper Manhattan he could look at. It’s a Dominican and Japanese sushi place, I loved it there.

Co-worker: Oh wow! Thanks! I’ll tell him to look it up.

(A few days later…)

Co-worker: Hey Ruben, I’m sorry, I told my friend about the restaurant you recommended and he said he didn’t want to go there… he said it was in a dangerous area, too close to The Bronx.

Other co-workers: *Chuckle*

Me: *Laughing louder, obnoxiously* I was born and raised in The Bronx. I was raised on baconeggancheeses, cuchifritos, and tostones mashed with a plastic cup. I have a pet pigeon. I know how to say ‘deadass’ in 16 different languages. It’s just sad that the people who are scared of going there are the one’s who’ve never been and just believe what they hear… anyways, rant over, sorry about that.

Co-workers: *Nervously avoid eye contact*

One co-worker: *Checks his pockets*




Chicagoans: Can you pass the bottle of pop?

Chicagoans:  Has anybody seen my gym shoes?

*Hears strong Midwest accent*

Me: *Shudders*




Chicagoans: Wait… so you’re telling me… that some people… in New York City… don’t HAVE A CAR?!?!

Me: Yep. I didn’t get my license ’til I was 26-

Chicagoans: *head explodes*




Midwestern dude : So where are you from originally?

Me: New York, I just moved here recently.

Midwestern dude: Oh, cool. What part of New York?

Me: The Bronx.

Midwestern dude: *Tries to restrain his face, reflexively contorting in disgust*

Me: …

Me: … *awkwardly changes subject*



Nevertheless, the Windy City has been lovely.


**Some of these may not have been a little embellished. – RSM

Keyboard Rapper Vol. 4

A lot of the time I feel locked into old rhymes

Of the days when the ‘Golden Age’ of hip hop shined,

And I try to stay open; I minded my bias,

but young artists in 2018, I don’t buy it.

I try to branch out, but it gets so annoying,

every xanax rapper is so disappointing,

I already used more words this far along

than some trap artists have in their whole damn song.

I don’t really get how their fans got got,

and when I give them a chance, my brain cells rot.

I just get annoyed at the sliding scale

at which rappers are less inclined to rhyme a story, tell a tale,

Paint a picture with your words, make people wanna listen-

instead of simple REPetition-REPetition-REPetition (SKUHRRR)

Kill the noise and convey some real substance,

It gets old to hear about a whole lotta’ nothin’. -RSM

Life is just screens

I, apologize in advance,

For, the health of your eyes and your hands,

Thumbs, are busy, they’re doing their dance,

On the dancefloor of our touchscreens, and,

The river of time has eroded the borders

when it wasn’t social, it wasn’t normal

to just stare at multiple screens everyday

with a record of what I type-browse-do-or-say!

Life is just screens, and digital records,

with so much detail, it just leaves me breathless.

Smart home assistants are listening in

and so is your phone, so sophisticat-ed.

Radio signals, LED lights,

gentrifying the air every night,

I don’t resist it, just keep in mind

the way that humans keep bending space and time.

Our bodies react, pupils retract,

Whatever you post on the internet, you can’t take back.

Convenient and fast,

built to cost you money, but never to last.

“Nowadays, tech is so great! World at our fingertips,”

or so they’re saying.

But upgrade your knowledge and just keep your guard up,

And don’t substitute something else for your brain. – RSM

Nine Haikus.

Reality shows

remind me that there are worse

ways to live my life.


Demetri Martin

is a good comedian.

he is so damn weird.


Haikus are world known.

Same format, content changes.

Haikus are like memes.


Somewhere in this world,

dial-up internet is

connecting to porn.


I bet you I’ve slept

more in the last month then all

of this year combined.


Clouds before the storm.

A warning of the intense

onslaught to follow.


Fire breathes with air,

wind carries flames across land,

and rain ends it all.


Haikus on nature

are so extremely cliche.

I really just can’t.


The universe has

karma. A boomerang, with

a sense of humor.

Déjà vu and The Checkpoint Theory

I don’t take déjà vu lightly.

Every few days, or more so, it tends to be a relived memory

of the present moment. What? How can that be?


Non-sensical, yeah, but I know what I see and how it feels to me.

Déjà vu – ‘already seen,’ that’s what it means,

When it happens to me it reminds me of something I saw

and forgot, almost always from a recent scene in my dreams.


It’s been a lifelong thing –

random, no warning, gone after 10 seconds, it seems,

It could be anything – significant, mundane, forgettable, serene,

but it stands out to me, because somehow I know

it’s something that I’ve ‘already seen.’


Here’s the thing, though,

I tend to have more often of a frequent déjà vu occurence

more often during eventful life phases, or moments

where I know something big in my is life occurring, and

whether I’ve dreamed it and forgot, or not, I know that

I’ll remember these times – the unique, the important,

the very good and the very bad, the celebrations, and the burdens.


I’ve been seeing things happen more so that I’ve already seen,

but haven’t yet occured, and it hits me all at once as the scene

unfolds – the lines between reality and dreams get blurred,

and no matter how absurd,

I’ve started to think, maybe these moments mean something,

like, if important things are like rain, then déjà vu is like the fog,

and if life is a clock, then each déjà vu moment is a little cog.


Each moment relived as it happens is a benchmark, a passed test,

a little piece of the story along the way to the next day and the next,

like a checkpoint in a video game, where you can save from,

knowing you’re on your journey, further along,

and you still know where you came from; but for some reason,


that song you just heard for the first time sounds so familiar,

and that time I walked past that house on that street,

and looked at it for the first time,

that feeling I got almost knocked me off my feet,

an overwhelming, mysterious truth – like,

before I got there, I already knew what it looked like.


It’s always a little freaky, at first, but after the moment passes,

I just take a deep breath, clean my glasses, and feel at peace,

that this is the next step in life that I’ve just reached.


The powers that be, the forces we can’t see, it feels like

they’re showing me I’m in the right time and place,

my body, mind, and soul, traveling in a harmonious space-

perhaps just an instinct I have, but I see it as a hand to guide me.

I don’t take déjà vu lightly. – RSM