Calder Marchman is an English Lit major a CSU Northridge, where he is currently the Chief Poetry Editor of the Northridge Review. His own work has been featured in publications including Generations Literary Journal, and once in a blue moon he reads for captive audiences at literary events.
Hou N. Haung enjoyed the ocean.
Whenever there was a problem
at home or at work
he could always walk down to the wharf
and dive deep
off the end.
There was something about the force
with which the water pushed through his neatly parted hair
and how, submerged
opening his eyes
he could see the way out
with an omniscient light
shimmering at the surface above.
he swam farther away from the radiating orb
to see how long
he could keep his eyes on it.
he would breach.
And then take the long walk home
dripping with excitement.
His neighbors liked to tease from windows
Hou, you’re crazy, man! Just crazy!
To which he would smile
respectfullylike his mother had always taught him
to do when stepped on.
Resisting arrest is difficult enough
without the added challenge
of having no pants.
The cops don’t take you as seriously.
I mean you can run all you want,
and I guess out of embarrassment,
they don’t chase you at any pace faster than
a slow stroll.
I suppose it’s just another layer of absurdity,
but I can’t help taking offense.
Do you think it’s because they know
I’m not storing a weapon somewhere
on my person?
Or is it that they’re more scared than I am?
Before I realize it
I’ve hit a wall
but not quite figuratively
The man in blue is imposing
to say the least,
and he’s standing between me
and the only other exit
of the parking garage.
I would say I was scared,
at least ashamed
but at a certain point,
you really have nothing else to lose
and all you can do
is charge forward
screaming bloody murder.
The first week in high school
it was Thursday, I think
we all showed up to these words
emblazoned on the side
of the new
two million dollar gymnasium
FAGGOTS AT BENTLEY:
GET OUT QUEERS!
We had this big assembly
about what had happened.
It was held to help us
process the attack.
Mostly, the teachers were just
maybe a little shocked
that this had happened here.
We’ve always been forward thinking,
decried my social studies teacher
a man in his mid-forties
who seemed to have taken the stereotypical
All I really thought
was that I was glad it wasn’t my name
on that wall.
Misunderstandings like that
can ruin someone
before they’ve gotten a chance to start.
Who gets shot
at 7:34 AM?
You usually expect
that sort of thing
to happen at night
under cover of darkness
and all that,
but you’d be surprised.
It’s admittedly counterintuitive,
but most “targeted shootings”
happen in the morning.
Police and independent researchers
that this is because
with their victims’ morning routines
so they have the best
(no pun intended)
knowing where their target will be
This means the killers
the mundane activities
of the victims’
The making of coffee,
maybe kissing a girlfriend goodbye,
walking to the bus stop
in an effort to eke out an meager existence –
and they still somehow managed
to kill these people.
If you ask me
that’s the really scary part;
that these acts of violence
are so much more intentional than
we’d like to believe.
Your private lives have spilled over.
The gloss of your eyes reflects my friends
I stand a few feet away
hoping with keen desperation that the 72 will arrive
deliver me from being a witness, and participant.
So I ignore your muffled screams
that escape beyond his heavy hand
and I ignore the expression you make
as her long fingernails
coated with flaking, red polish
tear across your ear
because I am helpless against you.