Frozen Summer – Guest Artist Ben Cabrera

The grungy green Tercel carried my brother and I for ten hours.

Rows of corn whizzed by,

the stink of cow-city clung in the car,

Mother broke out in show tunes, our legs cramped

on the trip to San Francisco.

A month of clothes dragged from the car

to the familiar stranger’s paint-cracked apartment.

Crooked fingers of unkempt bushes grabbing as we walked through the doorway.

A welcome pancake breakfast. Tradition. Denny’s.

Off to work. But I go surf with the remote

tight in my clutch. Unfamiliar channels

blinking by. The green tile floor stealing

the heat from beneath our feet.

Six o’clock he’s back. With another stranger insisting

I had met him years ago. They turn to each other

Foreign words, unheard stories, the flash of the television

incessantly sucking away my tan.

Boxed cereal breakfast. Bagged, fast-lunch.

Dine-out dinner. Tradition. Leftover.

We wince in pain as we step out the apartment.

The evening sun blinding and relentless.

The rest of July to go.

Presents presented for a presence resented

The summer month gone by

I eagerly await the grungy green Tercel.

The show tunes and leg-cramps forever

more favorable than a frozen month

at Dad’s.

Oops 2This is one of my beautiful children having fun as we sang “Man in the Mirror” during one of those long road trips to his dad’s. Co-parenting with somebody who you know is neglectful and will probably break your children’s hearts leave you with the feeling of a pitchfork being stuck in your gut as you walk away from them. Still, you have to step back with prayers and hope that somehow the other parent has learned to self-love and thereby love his children.

I am eternally grateful that, despite many things I lacked myself as a parent, I gave them enough love and security and had a hand in them growing up to be self-aware, strong-willed and unique individuals. They are most certainly their very own selves 🙂

With love,



6 thoughts on “Frozen Summer – Guest Artist Ben Cabrera

  1. What an eloquent and evocative piece by Mr. Cabrera! I can picture the journey, and sense somewhat the surroundings and the feelings of that experience. It may be very healing for a lot of people to read this.

    As for your role, I think there are two main components which put one on the road to overcoming/recovering from neglectful or abusive treatment. First is love-while one can never “make up” for love and attention denied or withheld by someone important in our lives, love, real love from others is healing and empowering. The second is liberation-knowing by someone else’s example and treatment of you that you can make your own path-you are not doomed to be like the one who neglected/mistreated you merely because you are bonded to them by flesh and blood.

    You have clearly given that (and much more) to your sons, and that is no small thing-no small thing indeed.

      1. You’re welcome-it is within your heart that much of your strength lies.

        Sent from my mobile phone-please pardon the brevity


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