M I N T

We wandered the meat-factory-
turned-art-gallery, white wall to
white wall, wondering when to
dispel our abstract selves–
positive, negative, we followed
lines from canvas to grate where
blood of cattle used to drain,
where old concrete holds imprints
of feet. My hand sank into yours
that first time. I still see it there.

 

(originally published in Cold Creek Review, Spring 2018)

Canton Central Catholic

My high school was ninety-nine percent white
classmates without filter said you’re a bit off-kilter
what are you I mean what are you I mean
all I am is me my whole life everything I know
half-Filipino half-West Virginian so you mean
like half-Asian half-hick I mean like basically
I don’t have the ear for Appalachia and must
be good at math and I said neither they said
solve this solve this these equations flicked
into my ear shoved into my eyes but my
coping mech was laughter
is there another term for that?

 

(originally published in Cabildo Quarterly, Winter 2018)

The Stewardess

California leaves in smoke & flame
cigarettes you never touched

the burning
bristle

but your hands
on steel made a home
in airplanes

soaring over the evergreen
we outgrew

you called a bottomless lake
drowning

monsters deep in murk

in the way of work
was love &

understanding this
you left the city
became the sky

 

(originally published in The Inflectionist Review, 2018)

The Employment of Dreamers

                                                        After Gray Clark

I need to quit my job as the caretaker of people
who surrendered art to come home from work
and watch television. I can imagine acrylic
burning a canvas for eternity. Giving up
mattered to me a year ago. It will
matter again in a year.

 

(originally published in Flypaper Magazine, Winter 2018)

Kimmy Granger

The green blanket over your head–
Kimmy Granger gets fucked
by a fake photographer
on your iPhone in my hand.
Meanwhile, you ride me, moaning–
it’s snowing– December’s waning
autumn days– awaiting a kind of fate
under flicked-off lights
in the gray of afternoon.
Before this, we reminisced about
the early days– laying in bed my hand
in your hair listening to music.
Then late July laying in grass saying
the ways we make each other happy.
Which is why I must rewind this clip
over and over to the part where Kimmy
is smiling and laughing before
the whole thing starts and
I pine for the blanket, your
green thread and lint.

 

(originally published in Ghost City Review, Winter 2018)

Umbrella

In the lips of thunder, we never feel full
as rain slips from our mouths– the brick
streets are slicked with histories we will
not yet slip. Sediment lodged in the curb
will displace in time. Our tongues slicken
in the dry we create so we thirst for the
wet we tried simply to shield from ourselves.

 

(originally published in The 1932 Quarterly, Autumn 2018)

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)