Election Year

do you believe in demons
it is an election year
which means half the populace is terrified
more than they usually are
half of us believe you can cast hell on a ballot
without holding your breath
cloaked and mortared
to cast bombs into the future
always parachutes
forthcoming days that glide like saliva
we argue until our tongues hurt
and our minds are worn from fire
that we build organically
rubbing sticks together
and the whole nation burns
cold and lifeless
what America needs
is for fewer people
to preach what America needs
and to follow the strays
who wander the streets
to see where they go

 

(originally published in Black Elephant Lit)

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Alley Walk Into the Dark Park

ambled through snow to my bowl of ice

my calloused tongue on her cold
the bowl’s organ

shriveled
I was a white door
textured and crumbling
in that manticorean dumpster

buds of teeth and name
the mane
where that doorknob would have been

the park on a picnic
her triangular table limbs

white oaks unhinged

the thunderstorm
and her cold drooping javelin wings

 

(originally published in Peculiar Mormyrid)

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
imperfection

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)