Athens, Ohio

The city was dead when we went
so we intended to fill ourselves
with black magic found
in skeletons on the street.

Look how roots of fallen
trees meld with earth.
Go where lines still meander
on your palms–

we did not share with ghosts
when we reached the end,
no words whispered into steam
of dim lights and Darjeeling,

no further graffiti for your blue
telescope eyes peering through time
to the origin of your cosmos, when
your essence poured from your sleeves

but carried less starlight than it does now.

 

(originally published in The Stray Branch, Spring 2018)

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Animalism

Listen: the Earth’s siren wails
in tones only animals like us can understand.

We are pretending we do not caress ourselves
on the bed of feather blankets.
Wings– and we call them feathers.

Our weightlessness is contagious.
A broken Bob Dylan vinyl.

Tender was the night until the day absolved it so.

If a wolf sleeps through whistle
has he lost his lust? The life

of choice. We are obese with wrong decisions
and our belts contain the weight dribbling
past our buckles.

Kentucky Fried Chicken. Kentucky annexed
by memory. Junebugs live there in relative obscurity.
Junebugs. June bugs.

 

(originally published in The Oddville Press, Summer 2017)

Existential Ketchup

got a heinz bottle full of regrets
but it’s dried up as the crust of red’s
lost its use     you try to squeeze something
from an old heart and look how flappily
it beats sags and wheezes    yet I got a cold bag
of wendy’s to share salted and soggy
on our porch in december rain    I said
to go to be tax-free    and carefree yes
but on the swinging bench white-bagged I see
your face in wendy’s and your eyes some
sad fake black     pocket’s full of lint and loose change
and can’t stop sliding my hands in to feel my legs
burning with desire to get up and build trash
cans from scrap at the edge of the yard
then wait for the passersby
to throw their guilty pleasures in

 

(originally published in FLAPPERHOUSE, Fall 2017)

Reading Through an Old Journal

Work. Sex. Tacos. My everyday experiences
recorded in detail. Life now is a notebook
in which I don’t write anything down.

The callus on my middle finger used to be
stained with 2 A.M. ink after my days fluttered
vividly into pages before sleep. In one entry,

I recount a dream with my friend Alyse where
we’re in a forest digging morning soil
shouting, save the earth! save ourselves!

Today I sit with laptop at the mantle
of my past, sipping hot coffee to thaw
the winter-frozen ground of yesterday.

 

(originally published in Ginosko Literary Journal, Summer 2017)

Polyamory

we walk parched lips from downtown
to the jazz & rib fest you tell me
you love too many at once

I count the number I love at the moment
but we lose track of headlights
following the other’s every move

neither of us know how to get there
how to make music & when we arrive
jazz is faint & we don’t listen to sporadic notes

choosing to walk the bridge over the river
under spotlights of webs of moths
between railings & you say insects

are the most important creatures alive
the more of something there is the better
all these millions of arachnids spinning

webs to eat the hearts of bugs they always catch
we stand away from the railing because we
don’t want spiders to creep onto us & start

the work of eating through skin to dig to heart
we don’t look at each other because
you can be in love with so many at once

but not the ones who want it most

 

(originally published in Edison Literary Review, Summer 2017)

Lethargy

A butterknife has potential.
Voila! Cream cheese

on an everything
bagel.

The microwave beeps.
The ceiling fan spins.

Onions brown
at the bottom of the fridge.

Throw out the bag.
Then throw out that bag.

Swiffer shoeprints
off the floor.

Take your shoes off
next time.

Catch the mouse before
it multiplies

though you know
that means to snap

its neck.
So don’t.

Summon all the light
you can.

 

(originally published in DMQ Review, Summer 2017; featured later as a Verse Daily “Web Weekly Feature” the week of July 24, 2017)