I blamed the smog first
for chronic bronchitis,
then for each of my failures
breaking into Hollywood.
My last time
in the Trader Joe’s
parking lot, BMWs
I wore smudged sunglasses,
saw pigeons gather
before the same small gods
I wanted to become.
(originally published in Neologism Poetry Journal, Winter 2018)
the weight of an axe sleeps
between us in bed.
we dream of horses
wanting to whip us
until the stable
lives up to its name.
the pawnbroker’s hunched shadow
further crumples into shadow.
there it is, a black apple–
and your pupils, telling truths into the dark.
(originally published in Pudding Magazine, 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)
I listened, during that foggy morning stroll
on the Golden Gate, when you alluded
to what it must mean to jump,
how it must feel to fall.
The foghorn blared every five minutes
from some ship we could not find beneath us.
We peered our heads over the low railing
and inhaled the gray.
Red telephones rang in our heads.
I can still hear the ringing
from the hotel’s broken phone–
thin wires dangled into lines
on our palms, curved and infinite–
an atlas to guide the whispers
we cupped into our hands
I feared faraway screams
or the deafening sound of cymbals, shards
of metal launched from the hinges
of what was thought secure–
I did not expect
in an instant, without percussion–
I did not expect the fog, how sterile
it seems, like the afterlife, how it turns
the familiar into silhouettes–
to make this any easier.
(originally published in riverbabble, Issue #28, Winter 2016)
(originally published in Guide to Kulchur, Issue #6)
nights cold near the ocean
whispers reclusive invitations
Andrew Bird’s Q-tip acoustic fills the ears
the long voice pizzicato plucks cluck pluck
scratching, say, the sand munching feet,
the seashells and their blue-moon breath
breathe into your ears the eternal secret
of the ocean, quiet all these sleepy years
How do you leave the wet sand after that?
(originally published in Loveliest – Issue #1)