Victorian Village / West Adams

Walking over paved bricks
under sunlight in January,
it is quiet enough
to hear the earth shiver
from her breath, far
from the Los Angeles heat
I grew used to– a hundred
police cars wailing down
Vermont past blurs
of fleeting sidewalks,
boarded-up businesses
adorned in graffiti,
and dead black bags
full of not-Autumn
leaves.

 

(originally published in Home Planet News Online, 2017)

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SpaghettiOs

The bowl is where
the howls come from–
OoOoOoOoO!
A broken-record werewolf
in this microwave-boiled,
tomato-red September.
I have been trying to form
the words to say to you
with only a vowel.
When you left
for some knockoff white-hat,
greasy Chef Boyardee
I went to the zoo
to study manatees,
but they, too, are a migratory
species. I saw the first of its kind
take on a mangrove but emerge
fish-in-mouth. She floated to her
friend or brother or lover
and squealed syllables
until the other swam away.
I guess no one communicates
with each other the proper way
anymore. All these sounds
these OOOs and Os
processed uneaten

 

(originally published in The Oddville Press, Spring 2018)

The Garbage Disposal

still buzzes but won’t grind
or drain despite our care.
We have exhausted ourselves
doing what we can– futile breaker
flipping and extracting the rot
from its murky-watered past.
O Landlord, faraway California
God of Condescension,
give us guidance or an angel
of plumbing! Repair blade
with your word or void
ways we toss our scraps.
Where, now, will our food go?
The universe is a pipe
organ black hole we can’t
explain so flashlight pointed up
we sprain muscles turning
allen wrench into the compact
under-sink cabinet hell of unused
Kroger bags and soap and roach
killer straining out
from this situation
worth we will not
waste.

 

(originally published in Jokes Review, Summer 2017)