Micah Tasaka

i am riverside

After Jayne Cortez’s “I am New York city”


i am riverside

take my brain of buses,

of gunshots, of siren screech

take my heart of foggy tap water

my hands are dying orange groves

my buildings are choking on smog

look at my coyotes, my homebums, my tumbleweeds

approach me, mountain lions

on my camp outs in Box Spring Mountain mineshafts

approach me, empty pizza box

at parasite infested river bottoms

i rub my fingers through the traffic at the 60 split

sting my palms on smashed beer bottle glass

i lick the slime from barred windows in the east side

i am riverside

here is my mouth of black sidewalk gum

here is my nose of train track hum

legs apartface between knees, faded

watch me vomit in alleyways

drunk piss behind a tree

i am riverside

look i sparkle heat steamed blacktops

and midnight bike rides to liquor stores

my shoes stomp petals of cigarette butts

my eyes bleed graffiti filled gutter walls

touch my guts of rotting Baker’s ketchup packets

smell my lungs hacking tar, sucking meth

hear my clanking Cobra 40’s and

no sleep, all night dreaming –

and under-freeway tunnels:


smoke crack with me.


Micah Tasaka is a queer biracial poet from the Inland Empire exploring identity, spirituality, gender, and sexuality. Their work seeks to make a playground of religious myths while de-centering the patriarchal god of their childhood for queerer deities. They have performed throughout Southern California and have featured in Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Palm Springs. Their debut chapbook, Whales in the Watertank, was self-published in 2014.