One Day in the Life of

Feature / Christopher Soto

I write every morning from 8am-10am. Then I take a train into Manhattan for work at 11am. I write and read on this one hour train ride too. For a while, I thought about adjuncting but the university system is treating adjuncts like shit right now. I don’t want to live in poverty because of poetic dreams.

There’s an interview with Eileen Myles in Lambda Literary where they say, “I really thought I was going to college so that I could have a career. It’s true, I did. I majored in English so I could become a poet. It was a career decision. As a person in the working class, you’ve got to be practical—and I am a very practical person.” This quote by Eileen explains my current career decisions.

I work at Stonewall Community Foundation, A LGBTQ philanthropy in Manhattan. The staff there is amazing and it feels good to be working for my community. This job allows me to pay my student debt, live in a neighborhood I like, wear fancy cloths, take vacations, and invest in savings. Sometimes I think about teaching or doing a PhD program but it doesn’t make sense to me financially. I wish academia didn’t exploit so many talented young poets.

Give adjuncts healthcare, job stability, a decent wage.

That being said, I work A LOT, so that I can afford to live in NYC and continue participating with the poetry community as well. I wish there was more funding for young creatives. Capitalism kills. Where are the grants to support the lives of young creatives? Art is so often undermined as labor. For a year, I demanded to be called an artistic genius. I wanted my labor and art respected. My friends then lectured me about race and eugenics.

During lunch time, I answer poetry emails, take phone calls about tour dates, and do interviews or editorial work. It feels like working three jobs—working on my manuscript, work for the queer community, and then doing publicity / editorial work for the poetry community. Basically, any moment that I have free (outside of my day job) I am writing or contributing to my life in poetry. I’m not sure how this happened but I can’t stop thinking about poetry: editing Nepantla, supporting Undocupoets, finishing my manuscript, reading, and promoting my chapbook Sad Girl Poems.

After work, I will attend a poetry reading in the city, catch up with friends, or meet up with my boyfriend. There are a lot of people in my life and so I forget faces often and shy away from meeting new people. My alone time feels so fucking precious. Most days, I would rather be by myself writing and reading than making small talk with strangers. So, sorry if we ever cross paths and I’m a bit standoffish. People tell me that I’m nice but I don’t always believe it.

Feels strange to have not mentioned people I am reading yet. Currently, I am reading Ari Banias’ debut collection and returning to Rukeyser’s collected. Also I just got a hold of Tiny Spelunker of the Oneiro-Womb by Jackie Wang. I love her with all my heart, she knows that. I miss Eduardo C. Corral and Ocean Vuong and Yusef Komunyakaa more than I tell them too, but they know it. I return to their poetry and the poetry of all my friends when I miss them.

At night, I sleep 3,000 miles away from my family. They are in Los Angeles and I’m in New York. If I weren’t queer then I probably would not have made this move so far. Or maybe the move had more to do with daddy problems and intergenerational trauma. I think about going home sometimes, or maybe doing an artist residency there, but I don’t want to do an artist residency. Am I being difficult? I have a lot of needs.

I’m Aquarius. I’m in a weird mood today.

Christopher Soto (aka Loma) is a poet based in Brooklyn, New York. His first chapbook Sad Girl Poems was published by Sibling Rivalry Press, and is currently working on a full-length poetry manuscript about police violence and mass incarceration. He founded Nepantla: A Journal Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color with the Lambda Literary Foundation and cofounded The Undocupoets Campaign. He interned at the Poetry Society of America and received an MFA in poetry from NYU.