Place the ring around your finger.
Let it spin. Pretend, for once,
that something can attain
perpetual motion. You drive back-
country roads to leave a life behind
yet miss the destined exit. Consider
the spin of the Earth, the galaxy,
the universe. At what point does
longing end? There are always
voids to fill, vast pits of fruit
you would savor if you could
stay still enough to love
(originally published in Cabildo Quarterly, Fall 2017)
pray to the clay
there are canyons
cratered in our hearts
not every landscape
is refined each is full
of fingerprints and colors
in her face you will find
who you are looking for
in any landscape the forests
your father the mountains
your mother the shifting
desert sand tombs
are caverns you must lose yourself
in memories and forget
the horizon no one
seems so far away
beside the ocean
(originally published in Uppagus, Fall 2017)
I want you to read this:
my night was the endless Niagara.
Love, flowing along sediment
of bones and thorny breathing,
ends on a brown couch of dog
and cat hair nice against my jeans.
I woke there next to a loaded potato gun.
Can’t stop writing dirty things
on the Buddha board
hoping you will read them.
If not you,
My bones’ silence
And the message always
(originally published in Serving House Journal, Fall 2017)
As the tide heartbeats forth,
my lovers return in salt.
Silver-winged seagull loses herself
Yesterday I thought
I would be in love forever–
today, whiskey on my tongue,
sand in my eyes.
I want to find every person
I ever loved within the waves,
how navy shuts
thin books of light.
The line between sand & tide
is awash with wings.
Salt burns my mouth
& I am drenched
in your foam, milking
the sea for words–
the sea swollen with stories
we never told,
(originally published in Common Ground Review, Spring 2018)
As I run hot faucet water
over the head of my electric toothbrush,
Jennifer asks isn’t it better
when we brush our teeth together?
This, of course, is redundant.
I have cleaned the spit
and foam from my brush alone
through the years,
watched clean water slowly spiral
down a clog.
I have taken better care
Flossed the plaque
tartar of bad habits,
in and out of you.
These I can withstand.
Thus I answer at all.
on my scalp
in your laugh
on our tongues
(originally published in Gnarled Oak, Summer 2017)
Do not forget me:
I have struggled to break
through my own absence
of field. Let a helium balloon
float to where it disappears.
We have not spoken
in years. The phone you gave
me I replaced to return
my sense of self-place. Still,
send me a signal you sense me,
and we will come to static
where we cannot hear
how we wish to be heard
but we will know
we are there.
(originally published in CultureCult Magazine, 2017)
After you invited me to your brother’s jazz
concert you said you liked me too much
and I couldn’t handle that, the thought
of our togethered trombone slide into an infinity
accompanied by spacetime’s deep sound.
I avoided you the only way I knew how:
my absence for your words a dangling CO2.
This, another failed online dating experience,
a week and (it was electric for a time) the zap
of each other in a cold January condo over and
over, a thousand volts then whole note rest,
a singed week’s limb removed by blizzard wind.
(originally published in Postcard Poems and Prose, 2017)
I want to fold the dog
into an origami pipe
and forget this
was ever a dog
later I will want
this dog nestled
next to me
out the cold
I can’t shake
but for what
(originally published in Succor, 2017)
You look around the room
and rate singles from one to ten
in terms of melancholy
but don’t know
how to rate yourself–
Pacific waves flow through
you almost drown
in the sea of your thoughts–
the scisms between pen and mirror,
heart and mind, these are thieves
who will lie to you ‘til the Greyhound
leaves for Cincinnati at 11:30.
Until then we watch superheroes do bad
stand-up comedy in the conference room
at the new Mikey’s, eating mushroom pizza
with too-hot sauce. Bass pounds from the stage
so loudly we walk to 16-Bit next door
to drink water and pretend we are drunk,
our mouths rocketships exploring the universe
of each other– the rotation of stars
confused with physics. In the end all you want
is chocolate cake. Your blue eyes curve away
in that soaring flyball-to-left way. The way
you sway me back to simpler times
when buying CDs was a holy act
of personal preference
and I stayed sealed on a shelf in plastic,
waiting to give the world my music.
(originally published in Zingara Poetry Picks, Summer 2017)