Michelle Gonzalez

Workshop Feature: Inlandia Creative Writing Workshop – Riverside

Workshop Leader: Ruth Nolan



Getting on the 215 to San Bernardino meant
we were going to grandma’s house.
Passing the 5th street exit,
then getting off at Baseline
meant I would be
making fresh flour tortillas on Saturday
and walking to St. Anthony’s on Sunday.

Going on the 60 meant
a trip to the drive-in movies
right by Rubidoux mountain
where you can see the truckers pass
on the freeway as they honk their horns.
I climb into bed at 1 am after
trying to stay up for two movies.

The 91 freeway to Riverside meant
possibly going to the mall,
getting new shoes for school
or maybe even a long trip
to the sandy beach.

But at the end of the day,
I was always glad to be home
where I have my new daybed
and flower bed set
that matches my sister’s.

Midnight Drives   

On the third of our many dates,
we drove down the 60 freeway
around the midnight hour
to see the glimmering meteors.
We talked about how
beautiful the sky would look
once we got to the badlands,
small, but still beautiful.
I imagined it would look like
a brighter version of the moon,
glowing in the darkness
all alone.

We passed the exits with the stores
and other signs of life,
until we reached our destination.
The headlights lead the way
to the dark hidden spot.

We got out of the car and
sat on his dusty hood.
Looking up, all we saw were
the shadows of clouds
covering the dark sky.
There were no meteors to be seen,
but somehow, that was fine with us.
We decided to stay and talk awhile.
He asked, “Have you ever made a wish,
on a shooting star?”
I lie and say, “No.”
It’s too early to tell
all my secrets.

Michelle Gonzalez is a longtime member of Inlandia’s Creative Writing Workshop in Riverside. She earned her BA in English from the University of California, Riverside. She also received her teaching credential from University of Phoenix and MFA in Creative Writing from National University. For the past 29 years she has lived in Riverside and has no plans on leaving the Inland Empire. Her poems have been published in National University’s literary magazine and other local magazines such as Slouching Towards Mt. Rubidoux  Manor and 2011 Writing from Inlandia: Work of the Inlandia Creative Writing Workshops. Recently she has published her book of poems, Morning in the House by the Field.