There’s a vast swath of land infected by the living
dead. The desert, the plains, the cities– all beheld
by glow of screen, and we’ve dug holes too deep
for bodies. Just pray there are no more casualties,
no gunshots, no cars striking crowds, whether in
the USA or Spain– all of this is beginning to look
universal, the hatred of our own. How we pay
for the debt the nation’s entrepreneurs designed.
There’s an endless spate of horror
films upon which to feast our eyes but look
at the people walking down your street harboring
the fears society cannot afford. There is still
ample land to lay graves– land founded on holes
we placed bodies in yet we distract ourselves
with everything, looking for the next lark
to keep us living. Under blankets in living
rooms with lovers, under stars aglow through
open window, we watch the drama unfold.
We know the protagonists will always
find a way out of suffering.
Those through the window never do.
(originally published in The Rising Phoenix Review, Winter 2017)
The taco meat I seasoned
gets drier by the day. I add ghost
pepper though I do not do well
with high spice. I have no self-
control– four, five, six tacos
at a time– dry beef, cheddar,
heat– the ghost eventually
haunts, tongue in flames.
Last week I drank Long Islands
with a former lover and ended
in a park of hills at 2 A.M.
I lost my glasses in the grass,
but she called me baby one last
time. Everything was blurry, dark,
when I kissed her goodbye
in her apartment, slept in my bed
to the whir of the ceiling fan.
The next morning I called
my girlfriend, told her I loved her
but the words burnt my tongue.
(originally published in taxicab magazine, 2018)
to cut immigration
is to cut me half
-Filipino I am already
halved quartered diced you take
a knife to my mother she keeps
a knife at her neck we both are
American in the blade of the word
I used to pretend to be more
my more-accepted half
to have to choose
is to have nothing
(originally published in Serving House Journal, Fall 2017)
a horse runs
on a long treadmill
at first we say this
is not normal
but the horse runs
on the long treadmill
we normalize it
there’s that horse
on the long
(originally published in The Neglected Ratio, Spring 2017)
out of wisdom / out of want / so many / things / to not believe /
whether or not / you or I believe / you will end things / with your boyfriend /
I have seen your tattoos / just the surface / of your skin / understand I /
cannot chase / the gilded raven / with closed wings / I press into /
your hair / black against my mouth / the warmth of your ear /
in the back / of the room / holding /
so laugh quietly / whisper / don’t hold onto / anything /
be far enough away / from intimacy / that it feels like / intimacy /
a secret / a terrible secret / the way our mouths / don’t cling /
to each other’s / my hand / on your leg / your head /
turned away / in the back / of the room / we listen / to words / want to fall /
asleep / with each other / we want to / drift / from reality /
the blinds / and the gathers / Monday rain / fog / rain / I’ll help you / dry /
wielding an umbrella / for both of us / to stand / under / where we can / lie /
to each other / more intimately / watch the whole thing / fall asleep /
as the world / puts her weight / on the black / handle / in my hand /
and drains / with a whisper / into the gutter
(originally published in Birch Gang Review, Winter 2017)
dishes are an exercise in repetition
why do we go through our days so quickly
we must be unhappy with material possessions
how we sustain ourselves
I am amazed I have sustained myself for so long
teenage years of french fries and ice cream
adult years of french fries and frozen pizza
there is nothing that greases my heart
more than eating macaroni and cheese
naked at 2 am
when I am bloodless
pots and pans hang on hooks on the kitchen ceiling
the landlord says our water bill is exorbitant
I think it is extraordinary
the parts of ourselves
we must pay for
steam billows out of the dishwasher
when it is done
we pay for that too
in august we chopped heads off of asparagus
rinsed our hands of the green bits
blue antibacterial bubbled white
champagne bottles cling to the wall
someone please set them free
so we can keep that bent and dying orchid
on our kitchen island
(originally published in Eunoia Review, Autumn 2016)
We stare at stars until we feel
the cavalcade of stones shift beneath our shoes.
There is an entropy to the universe.
What melody does the rail hold in her ivories?
Do we listen for an engine to ignite
while we tangle in the grass, in the cold,
in the tremble of tracks? Where else to go?
We tremble, too, waiting
for a song from the vulnerable rail
and her sharp of distance.
If the train will not move I still want
to create landscapes with you
and callous ourselves hurtling
past engine content in her still
into worlds where I become wind,
and you, fire–
with a palm on your cheek,
we’re the mountains,
playas, beaches, moors.
All a blur. A quiver.
(originally published in Isthmus, Winter 2016)
As I move further from you, whiskey in hand,
the thirst seems to pile like distance in the miles–
my shape roasted under Pacific sun.
Our sunglasses clinked with wine glasses.
The dry sponge. Run me under the sink.
Or run with me. You could be a ghost, too,
a phantom unfurling before me, haunting
each town I pass. Every morning, I am gone.
For a while, your blanket was warm. But chill the air
long enough and someone will notice. No one
likes the cold. Everyone prefers the summer river,
her water’s blue in the ice of winter, the clear
of July. I dig for you in the dirt. Then myself.
My shapelessness. My tendency to drift
so far away that I never fully return.
(originally published in Jazz Cigarette, Autumn 2016)
rust– my heart’s jigsaw
exhaust– speaking’s black smoke
skid marks– don’t stop
steppes become sycamores
lakes become deserts
lips– sun-dried song and stale reed
saxophone– barren of sound
you– between the dents
the sun– unforgiving
(originally published in Ghost City Review, Autumn 2016)