Night falls yet clematis retain their violet.
O overrated light please save our dying
breed of seeing. X-rays. Monocles.
To me you are a single stem breaking
from the dark. And I, the hand stenciling
jittering petals under jetstream.
(originally published in The Wayfarer, 2018)
static tethered to words
back-of-throat now wandering
(originally published in #theslideshow, Winter 2018)
Between floors I meet calm–
meditation when firefighters
arrive. Frank O’Hara might
be proud though there were
no red lights streaming in how
one can wedge one’s own ideology
in a wavering tower halfway to
clouds but the building shakes on
bad foundation though a soul is
structurally sound in one way
how it rises a few floors
a crease in the rope to stop
movement how could an elevator
even stop why wouldn’t it if I were one
I would rise only being this lonely
and quit too in the in-between of
sustaining love or faith forever
but interstitials demand warmth
around mind with winter jacket
how such claustrophobic space within
you can force yourself to blow
air into your fist then float away
(originally published in Literary Yard, Winter 2018)
I need to break the association
this first day over forty in January
sun wicking everything orange
and melting snow which had mountained
around Columbus this past year’s been
climbing an unending goal since I gave up
drinking through a Lent that lasts forever
I stopped believing in God early on
and instead chose to believe in sacrifice
first my health now my vice the nights
when I lose myself in another religion
in rapid ascent up blackout mountain
waiting for the harness to snap
(originally published in Edison Literary Review, 2018)
these angled wings of black toxic piranha
triangles and sometimes yellow is diode
connecting spark to sky– open your mouth
raw fish skin and wet I will wait for something
new in the feathers of ripped jeans and we will
sigh about the weather the snow and cold want
of July’s salamander tanktop days and reproduce
downriver toward industrial cities of light
and tall structures of billowing ominous smoke
(originally published in The Wayfarer, 2018)
too cozy walking autumn sunshine
creepy crawlie park time dusk
windy waving weeping nights
moonlit musk and tone
misty writing personalities
hard ego ergo wiring
impatient dollars dining doling
drinks to wine’s slow timbre
crowds working loud writing
sheets of many selves
(originally published in Neologism Poetry Journal, Winter 2018)
around here. Every
three months then
you forget about it.
I’ve been off and on in love
with my roommate since the
day she moved in. November
rain, the red-bricked road,
I look out my window–
no cars on the side
of the street I parked on.
I scramble from my room,
her boyfriend in the hallway,
and I yell street cleaning!
His eyes bug up
and we race down
stairs to beat the tow
trucks but I open the door
to see cars parked around mine.
I tell him I’m going anyway
to check the signs–
which I do in my blue
flip-flops, waddling out into
wet grass to find
next week’s the sweeping–
and don’t we always
wait yet another week
to cleanse ourselves of what
we fear we don’t need?
A bad job
or incompatible lover.
For months they have fought
about necessary changes
neither of them will make,
and just last week
she told me
the cycle of her life
goes in years by threes.
The job, the lover,
the house, the dust.
There’s a chill. I’m not wearing
a jacket, so I go back inside
and tell him it’s next week–
but he’s known this for weeks.
(originally published in Columbia Journal Online, Winter 2018)
sharp turns for the hospital’s worst
left left left.
sometimes the beeping
(turn my bed)
or the yellow window birds.
looking for cardinals
through interstate belt loops
or rings of cigarette smoke.
some days are asthmatic
others are just right.
the warmth of a blanket
this hole no one will lift you out of.
(originally published in Gyroscope Review, Spring 2018)
On the back patio, a cricket chirps beneath
the dirt of graying leaves– September’s chill.
Most days, dust becomes the clouds, this habit
of years knowing you, gone. The blue crickets
strum the cold death of summer– violins. I walk
the perimeter of fence to hear your heartbeat,
shrill– a shiver in the search for permanence.
Childhood: the crickets cry. A car door slams.
Footsteps twist through the crackle of leaves.
The old house hides the light, dips me in
worry: when crickets stop, ashes become
wind– the hymn. The lament of sparrows,
the creak of a gate, the thrum of a plane.
The unbearable passing of another year.
(originally published in Furtive Dalliance, Winter 2018)
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)