What We Talk About When We Talk About

Pepper burned my mouth
and all I could think of
in that salivated flame
was you telling me your tongue
no longer felt the heat
of a moment: meaningless
sex– bite and garment
here between the green
walls of your zen room
your small goldfish
swimming in circles–
submerged flame and hunger
for love so intense
I flicker poems to you
thumbs on lighters
waiting for the matchbook
to catch– combed pomade
hair, designer jeans, and wit–
what I want is origami
and fire– instead
we talk about love
but unlike Raymond Carver
we have nothing
more to say.

 

(originally published in Words Dance, Summer 2017)

Advertisements

“A Man Bears Beliefs as a Tree Bears Apples”

 -Ralph Waldo Emerson

pleading with a red delicious begging god for good
even though I cannot process Jesus I still chew and
spit seed and you walk over the guts of me with your
shoes on sidewalk in the sweltering August of laying
in grass whispering love between dandelions so much
we’re sprouting from dirt in ugly ways all thorn
and bloom overgrown with each other there are
no gloved hands around anymore to pull us out

 

(originally published in Bluestem, Spring 2017)

So Find Meaning

in the blue diner
we laughed
made something meaningful

but how you puckered
your lips
didn’t mean you need
communion

I am
trying to make my way
down High street
without kicking every red hydrant
I walk by

without drowning in wish
without
finding meaning in every stop
sign
every green light
turned red

I’m finding out greasy fries
aren’t made to be shared
they clump
onto the salty plate

every intersection
is just an intersection
avoiding cars
strangers

every passing honk
is for you

I was not made
to philosophize

words
mean nothing
until spoken

 

(originally published in Nixes Mate Review, Winter 2017)

Warehouse Beach

The warehouse art gallery could never be mistaken for the beach,
even as curators charade sand across the dancefloor,
make us remember desire. Violins strike the throbbing air
with an electronic pulse, a horsehoof beat activating

the summer IPAs we drank beforehand to create
our summer selves. It ends. You end. At home later on
we watch documentaries where owls hunt forests for prey.
I pray we will soar but never hungry above branches.

Mostly I pray for our hearts to not be plucked raw, how stranded
and helpless we can feel in a new town while the world whirls
a thousand miles per hour– we stumble through sliding landscapes–
sand on concrete wails for sun, for sunset wind to whip

through industrial, unfinished interiors. We dance, or run,
until light draws herself from the ocean’s muted stone.

(originally published in Crack the Spine, Winter 2016)

Monday Night Rain

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)

Magic

If you bought me a wizard hat,
I would learn magic

–to easily complete these blue pajamas
adorned with white stars, the soft and safe.

In the day we glimmer. At night–

let’s make sleep a spell, a slow
slip into lullaby, a cradle free

from disagreement, a glass of wine
to forget we inhaled the wind.

We almost floated
into the squeeze of dark. In bed

I watch cartoons in my head: Fantasia fireworks. Flames
that frame the bitter sky. Neon daisies in glowing eyes.

I dream hours researching the best tongue
to learn. The world may need a hero to

vanquish evil through fire, or ice, but all I want
is the kind of magic that keeps you warm at night,

far removed from my cold touch. The kind
where we whisper warm enchantments,

recite words which will not conjure ice.

 

(originally published in Switched-On Gutenberg, Summer 2016)

What I Want

Your limb fingers pressed
on the stairway keyboard,
wanna see you move like
you used to, feel your breath
close to mine in new places, say
the same words we said, even if
it was a stupid Sunday,
hear the words,
hear them again, pink erase
the drinks
and listen, hear the words
in my head, I want to feel
the air shake again electric,
the clacking marimbas, I want
your fingers, all of them, pressed
again like whispers
I like to explore,
want the minor chords
out of my head, want your blonde hair
in the ridges between my teeth,
strands in my curled tongue,
tell me what the stars are like
in your own words,
want to hear them,
want to hear their twinkle
in your voice

(Originally published in Linden Avenue Literary Journal, Issue Forty-One)