“Leslie Doesn’t Believe in Love” by Daniel Valdez

Daniel Valdez


Leslie takes her liquor straight
and her cocaine as pure as it can come.
She takes her men however she pleases,
but never keeps one around for long.
Maybe in some other time
or some other place
she could have learned peace—
but her head is full of gnats
now, so she doesn’t think much.

I tell her I love her
and she tells me the same.
But she calls me too hopeful,
too optimistic.
I say she’s too macabre,
too nihilistic.
She prefers, “realistic.”
I say, “If that’s reality,
then you can count me out.”

She says, “Life is pain.”
I say, “Your meaninglessness is
too easy, it takes a brave soul
to want to suffer the realness,
not your fabrication.”
I am called a fool
and left in a parking lot
at 2 a.m.
staring into an unlit void of


from Rattle #61, Fall 2018
Tribute to First Publication


Daniel Valdez: “I write poetry because it contains beauty, honesty, and reality. Poems don’t always have to be true or emotional, but I believe they do have to capture a certain aspect of the human experience. Some poems can be meaningless and absurd, but even then they contain certain realities. Poetry is free and can be freeing, it is vast and encapsulates various concepts. I write poetry for its freedom and its transparency.”

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