Headshots, 2013

Unrecognizable? I’m
the same bag of slime
swimming the freshwater
of time, but with a pinch
of salt. How to see
yourself without looking
through the mirror: the need.
Saturation. Angled flesh, aged
and tilted. The monotonous
color of landscapes. The same
itch, the same nose. These
days I photograph my cat.

 

(originally published in The Wire’s Dream, 2018)

Overlooking the Ravine

you practice the scorpion on your back porch
while your cat wanders about like she has
somewhere to go and we don’t

you stretch the sky darkens and fireflies
illuminate the fence the cat wants to scale
I ask what of your qualities you see in her
you say she’s an affectionate asshole

I drink another of your beers we have
talked for weeks about how I never
seem comfortable anywhere I go with anyone

you don’t think I’m a vine that has found
its wall to climb even cats want walls
they know their limits I’m not sure what mine are
how high or should I even try

then what?

 

(originally published in Roanoke Review, Spring 2018)

Winter’s End

Smoking, joking winter asking how to
                                         take things slow.
Drinking, sinking field is thinking about
                                         to let spring go.

Laughing, baffling cold front having one last
                                        frigid kiss.
Slicing, striking freak-snow lightning– go on,
                                        make a wish.

The cherry blossom knows there is a chance she’ll never bloom.
                             Wish for her, dear poet. Wish she’ll flower soon.

 

(originally published by Toe Good, Winter 2018)

Baggage Claim

Planes fly in circles
all day, all night.

You traveled alone, again.

There’s always one bag
no one claims on the belt.

Movement stops, you wait
in the airport’s clinical lights
while conversations blend to a drone.

Beach bracelets and t-shirts in tow,
others wait for rides in the river of cars.

Passengers from other planes filter in
and tend their incoming sheep.

There are destinations,
but don’t rush.

 

(originally published in 50GS, Winter 2018)

We Will Pour and Pour

In our Euripidean illness
we thought the apocalypse belonged
to no one when, in fact, the tragedy was
collective.

A tethered shoestring at the feet of all the boys
here– a long intestine packed.
                               And we were a puddle drinking
rain past the lips of cement until we sank into sleep

and how what we hid in our hearts was money,
blood pulsing green through shadowy veins
the cardiovascular surgeon broke his fingers trying to fix.

 

(originally published in Cabildo Quarterly, Winter 2018)

I Forgot I Was Drinking

beer half past noon listening reading
to sam sax’s on alcohol poem

after the final line in one hand
a bottle to my lips my body a future
compromised

i promised mom i’d outlive her
& it’s going well so far

but these low-hanging clouds
are moving fast and there are drips
of sky becoming foggier

sara says we shouldn’t have drank last night
a monday
but the beers at woodlands are bargain $2 drafts

o genie whisk me to an open field
with flask construct a crumbling house
at the center where i lay drooling the day’s
indiscretions

my mouth a volcano
concrete spat into my palms

the heaviness of me
drops

 

(originally published in Flypaper Magazine, Winter 2018)

Zen of the Clattering Ceiling Fan

These Tinder dates and hookups.
Teeth kisses and unfamiliar homes.
You count cold days and they are circular.

There’s a blue hue from the window.
M snores in unison with the universe
of her bedroom. I can’t sleep, so

I become the fan. After some time,
transcendence is the blade that cuts
through stale air, makes the room breathe.

 

(originally published in The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Spring 2018)

Brisk Walk

do not miniaturize the bicycle torso between blue wheels

nor the twig tree broad-shouldered nor yellow-trousered man
walking the candy cane

coming shapes myself an igloo of time contracting

mirror view hot pyramids the tips crumble so reaper crows
confuse for wheat

the sculpted falsity in the curving sidewalk

those pickled legs just churn and churn

 

(originally published in Cafe Aphra, Winter 2018)

Dead Whale

Upon the gum’s shore,
a body beaches–
abscessed tooth of
sand.

How the mouth learns
to chew
diamonds–
the glint
of blood.

Soon, this is ritual.

Don’t confess
your ailing–
let bleed from morning
into next.

The dentist says
don’t drink– so
consume the ocean
of the night
and float
yourself to sea.

 

(originally published in former People, Winter 2018)