The Robot Rejects the Notion

Metal and salt in my mouth
wondering at the biological sky
how the clouds would fit into my sockets.
I process love like rain: I stay inside
steel darkness and wait for it to pass,
my circuits sugarwater
and missed connection.

 

(originally published in 1001 Journal, Spring 2017)

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Bedside Light

fantasy world
castle door

sword glistening
at night

in this world
I love you nestled

on lumpy pillows
reading Tolkien

dim light
bed mirror glare

we must sell
everything

gloves
fingerprints

musty pages
grandma gave reading

buried imagination
rich with vastness

& escape

 

(originally published in Oddball Magazine, Summer 2017)

In Time

you wait for me
I imagine glass
the bent harp
wilted notes I hold

by your neck
your sheet music
part of me
you flow through

my words are not
chasms I am bottomless
a pit you didn’t get
to know

though once we stayed out
got matching pigeon tattoos
that’s something no one
no two else do

keep your feathers near
wing the ink trace
the path to fly to
I’m this close this close this close

 

(originally published in Street Light Press, Summer 2017)

A Prescription for Yourself

pills are your piggy bank & I know
you’re working on saving yourself
bit by bit every day, plastic bags
full of highs and highers but you
were hired at a Rooster’s you say
is good for your soul– congrats–
I’m at the Walgreen’s on campus
asking questions about your sugar-
coated drops of yesterday held
ransom by the holy words of
prescription papers circled with x’s
and your ex never saw it coming–
the resurrection of a person like
a monument erecting from sweat
and necessity then once you start
changing you don’t stop

 

(originally published in Slamchop Journal, Summer 2017)

Shifting Junes

I have convinced myself
all birds fly as soon as they see sky

I know each wing on each one
is different

Grounded I tend to speak aluminum
from the grand piano of my throat

It is a sunny thirty

The sun beams over a painting
of a palm supporting an oak

Believe me I want my tongue
to bloom good petals

I cannot get enough of being
alone

Imagine a single light
at the far end of a cave

so faint you must remember
you’re awake

Blow the dust
from the ivories

Play flat notes detuned
through my lips

I want the truth
yet spit loose gravel

into the chasm
of my lover’s ear

 

(Originally published in Poetry Super Highway, Summer 2017)

Forming a Habit of Light Jogging

I feel good about myself
for the first time in millennia.
I mean,

I’m running galaxies compared
to glacial workdays married
to a silver Hewlett-Packard.

Here’s the secret to love:
treat yourself like shit
until you find someone

who makes you not
treat yourself like shit (lotus
petals unfolding…)

There are worse pasts
than ones rooted in mud,
being one who never snorted

or crushed up little orange pills to
ride into the eternity of night. Each
darkness used to be forever. My feet

would walk last week’s scattered toenail clippings
in my small bedroom. Dad often said drinking water
flushes the poison out of your system. The light

of morning flushes each yesterday. Even my toilet,
now armed in the tank with self-cleansing blue
discus, reincarnates in purified clouds. But I am

half-lion, half-man, when sprinting Neil
Avenue, bleach seeping from skin
into my sensitive parts.

The rotation of running
makes me laundry-in-progress
inside this spinning rock. I won’t lie

and say I have forgotten each love
in all our small mutual failures,
how running through neighborhoods

caused us to stumble into intersections
like Flower & 7th or how, in sprinting
toward imaginary finish lines,

we never flung our bodies
through the atmosphere of believing
forever-is-our-rhododendron-garden. Instead

we’d gash our knees on concrete,
look into each other’s black eyes
and laugh, believing we may have fooled

ourselves for good this time. At home
we’d foam our cuts with hydrogen peroxide
from those cheap, brown, plastic bottles

and wonder why some wounds won’t bubble
while others form dwarf star whites
who sting, then fade, in time.

 

(originally published in The Indianapolis Review, Summer 2017)

Rotational Quantum States

We have so far to fall.

Excited electrons
weaken in descent.

Photons of longer wavelength
are fluorescence.

Do not wait for morning to end.
Allow its gradual mean to untangle

the phosphorescence
of a lover’s vine,
complex and intimate.

Coefficients teach us
probabilities for absorption
and emission are the same.

We take what we give.

The initial absorption
puts electrons
in a more stable state.

Hold light for as long as you can.

 

(originally published in The Write Place at the Write Time, Summer 2017)