Gallery Hop

Walking through the galleries on High Street
absorbing art, the watercolors bleed together–

a blue-green pond carries the weight of ducks.
The familiar arches of the Short North beneath

gray clouds, strokes of paint whoosh cerulean
onto wall, a window with its subject unmoving.

I wait stock-still for the art to understand me,
as if a painted cloud could somehow awaken

within something akin to the sound of wind
on the lake in the presence of trees who long

lost their leaves, age marked by a reception to
desire. With whom will I share my barren age,

those outermost rings which mark the end


(originally published in ‘the vacant hinge of a song‘, courtesy of Origami Poems Project)

Al Jarreau

In Spain I did love and adore you. I did.
But in Spain, it is easy to love and adore anything–

the paella, her rabbit flesh and beans;
even the sidewalk– acera.

With her language an aphrodisiac,
you do not wonder why you fall, or sustain, in love.

We spoke our ugly language around beautiful tongues
which filled the air with matrimonial vows.

In the beginning, we were the sound of stars, the language
of kisses. I can fall in love with anything skybound

and I do.

Those moon-colored nights were our yesterdays,
and tomorrow we return to our familiar,

where love is not wordless
nor as easily presumed.

(originally published in Memoryhouse, Spring 2016)

City at Night

When the city stops buzzing, streetlights
invite reflections onto storefront windows.

Finally, the distortions make us young,
removing cigarette burns and ash.

What love is reserved for the old? The bridge
seems sturdy in winter but more slippery

with its blue-streaked ice– and mouths of
gravel seem ageless. Time rescinds her reach

toward the cradle of sleep–
maligned shoes end on a cold porch,

slathered in a salty grit. Snow on
the doormat waits for extinction.


(originally published in “the vacant hinge of a song“, courtesy of Origami Poems Project)

Long Beach

from a high rooftop after rain,
headlights lead their drivers
to safety in a grid of electricity;
slick, mighty towers surround
and glisten from orange streetlights;
the harbor, an unending cascade
of dreams painted
in reflected, rippling stars–

you can hear, from outside the metro,
a shrieking man in an aureolin raincoat,
several hurried severities of shoes
clopping on sidewalks

still I will tell you the city is beautiful
when far enough away to never see

and I’ll hold you close,
hands clasping your ears,
our own static to block
distractions which, for the beauty
of this moment, do not matter–


(originally published in Random Poem Tree, February 2016)

Brazilian Music All Around Us

We danced to the Pandeiro

Struck, shaken palms
thumbed words in metal
places we could not fit into

In Rio how the wind would drape
whatever we were hiding,
blonde wind strangling the
açaí palms, cavaquinho in hand,
your rabbit cheek strummed,
wonderland don’t worry
about whatever worries you,
whisper this dream with me
in syncopated beats
until we get it right


(originally published in Revolution John)

Glass Chess

I showed you how pawns function
on a glass chessboard

they sacrifice themselves to protect who they love

and what rooks and knights risk
in the modern age

there is a hierarchy in how to approach things

cigarette smoke permeated the wooden air
a phonograph streamed Brahms
I could never quite understand complexity

we sat on couch crumbs with our jeans touching

your friend gave me a rare Bahamian seashell
mottled with beige and caramel
I could not hear the ocean
no matter how hard it pressed against my ear

but with my head against your chest
I remember the beating tide

back then I was composed of sand

scooped whole by strangers hands
learning the gravity of myself
before dissipating

one day
I will build you a castle


(originally published in Walking is Still Honest, Summer 2016)