Jacqueline Mantz Rodriguez

          Jacqueline Mantz Rodriguez’s commitment to self exploration through writing is an artful devotion. A devotion to clarity, a raw devotion imbued with awakening into one’s bounds & boundlessness.

— Maureen Alsop


Juarez, 5002

Lee, my sister, now mother of two, was one of those girls. Women
who haunt people in their own faces:  Sisters, Fellow
Writers, Women, all those women.

Cecilia, journalist with a Ph.D.
looks like those women.
Her hair straight and long,
dark skin, walking the streets pausing,
as men both young and old whistle.

Searching for a key or clue to Esmeralda’s desmise,
who was saving for her Quinceanera.
“I want to pitch in mom.”.

Cecilia looks like those girls,
no station or education
may recreate color-
Everywhere Juarez

Where would Reina and Patricia, Lee’s little ones be if,
on such a drunken night in Tijuana,
TJ to all who go to play,
Lee and her older sister had never awoke?
Death instead of a shameful story?

Nude arms grasping dirt and air,
cuddled together.
Instead of
Tiptoed steps out the door past snores of drunken boys met two days ago at
Mr. Js Nighclub  El Monte, CA

Everywhere Juarez brims
while women and girls
sit with heads bowed.
“I am not those women.”


Write about five moments you would like to do over…

Moment 1 flashes by in a space saucer shaped cloud.
I want to time travel back, back to that point when you said, “the dog is walking you.”
I should of laughed, smiled at the very least or just, at the very least stayed dormant.  I did not, cannot it seemed pause when agitated, with you.

This is how it goes, we all know these are the moments, that define the worry
lines on our face,

That force pens to fall from a clutched hand on a signature line.

Moment 2
Another moment, another cloud this one God.  I screamed, “I hate you, I’ll never forgive you…
once it seems so long ago you said you read, “A happy marriage is made up
of two good forgivers.”
I did forgive you but I’ll spend eternity trying to forgive myself.

Moment three
Moment three
Moment three
Three clouds pass by and I think, hope
If I say it three times fast a chant of desperation maybe I’ll get a do over, a rewind.

I looked at you, frowned and put you down rather than listening.  I snatched my hand away and dove into the arms of another, even if it was my dog.  I let pride push,
no hurl me away.

Moment four
I don’t want to see the clouds anymore, or remember.  Do not
Make me remember, God.

I left, left you to cry alone out of sheer stubbornness even as I saw your tears well up; I still left and now I am gone now far away, and I cannot, cannot get back to you no matter
how hard I try.

Forever Moment Five

I swallow, eyes still shut as I float on a cloud.  I never did get back to you that day.  Accidents just happen, how was I to know?  I should have known, so I could Still be there with you watching as you rub your eyes.  I would then get to reach out and hold your hand to comfort you one more time.


Jacqueline Mantz Rodriguez was born in Great Falls, Montana but immigrated to the Inland Empire as a young child growing up in Ontario, California. She resides in Palm Springs and works as a special education teacher at Palm Springs High.  Jackie is currently working on her novella “Coo Coo La La Love and Other Tales I Tell While Doodling” while preparing a documentary on her special education students. Jacqueline received her B.A. in literature and creative writing from Cal State San Bernardino and her Masters degree and teaching credentials from National University. Jacqueline’s loves are her husband Joe and her Boston Terrier Elizabeth Barrett Browning.  Please visit Jackie’s blog on Word Press to read her collection of poetry, movie and restaurant reviews, and memoirs about the joy of teaching, marriage and dog rearing at: Love2writeandrelatetoworld.wordpress.com Any other questions or comments please email Jackie at jmantz (at) psusd (dot) us.