A shadow figure outside the Ford’s locked door.
He jiggles the handle
hey can you drive me to Santa Clarita
I said no I have been drinking whiskey
which was a lie
he said let me in
I did not
When I wake for a walk in the middle of the night,
clothes bunched on red benches under streetlights
like someone had been there
I call my ex
I can’t stop thinking about you
shadows float from her eyes
understand: we lived
in the cave of each other
under orange streetlights
blankets hang from headrests
to drape me from the world
(originally published in The Nottingham Review, Fall 2017)
compartmentalized space the whole world
one way windshield window window
window window mirror mirror mirror
rush of speed then tangled road
slow for nothing nothing slows for you
(originally published in Stonecoast Review, Fall 2017)
Wish we were as patient as my car.
To drive four hundred miles not
needing to stop. To go seven hours
over grayscale roads and want
to talk to you still after.
We drove a long way but got
stranded on the side of
a southern highway, scared
from too many October horror films,
from lasting even this long.
(originally published in CircleShow, Summer 2017)
I argue with the music in my car again
those rock’n’roll pots and pans clanging
in the soup kitchen of my imagination
the Steel Reserve of my rumba rumblin’
stomach unfilled from Maruchan ramen
really I’m running from anything but home:
in the apartment of my car the desert’s
a sandstorm of faulty A/C and mountains
obscuring the view of my future and
there’s nowhere else to go but here
(originally published in Outcast Poetry, Spring 2017)
The only deals I actually found in Vons
were in clearance. Beers half-off per bottle.
They’ll be ready in a box in my too-orange,
too-granite Public Storage space when I am.
Bearded teens saunter by in lumberjack caps.
I will wait for more significant events in my life
to drink the harp whose tones keep me moving.
Think about teeth– among the homeless drifters
I probably consume the most peanut M&M’S,
filling my days with processed rainbows and crunch.
How do you stop? I was at the 7th Street Metro, one a.m.,
no one there and the halls echoed in perpetuity.
Purple line for purple folk. I’m purple
from dehydration. Mixture of gravel and headspace.
Play me some ukulele. The strings react to the roar
of coming trains, twenty minutes late.
This is what I hear: my name is Grace.
I want to direct, and these are my roommates.
I realize even in the city’s darkest depths,
no one is alone, even after the dream fades.
(originally published in The Wagon Magazine, Autumn 2016)
Paradise is worse than this. I’ve pissed
in the golden streets of Beverly Hills.
The stars depart their private cabs,
shoes on the ground. I’ve pissed in beach sand
with the waterbirds, the full balloon
at sunrise, wind swaying. The neighborhood
has my back. I spit fish fluoride
into grass. Splotches of next-day death
in circles brown and black. Windows fog. Yeah
I’m an airplane in a cloud. Should’ve wrapped that scarf
around my neck until my head fell off. The night is
a broken refrigerator, top shelf. Tell that to the rotting
trunk sushi. Still, some spiders creep through cracks and
keep the feet and urine smells out. Bent to a backseat
sockball and time is an envelope I hand to a stranger.
How his home stinks of sweat and mildew
and old Havarti. Fiona has crank windows
and that new car smell and floating dust.
I can’t spit enough. Blame it on the vermouth.
In the morning, I floss my coal moon fingernails
with flamenco strings. Neighbors run
past but who needs pants.
Say hello to the father and his
baby in the stroller. Say hello
to the fleshy whites. Say
hello to everlasting days
of luxury where the days
don’t end, the nights never
end, again and again
the fishing rod window
cranks, to invited crows–
the feasts of mud– say
hello and wave and caw.
(originally published in Prong & Posy, Issue 2)
You wanted to eat my face
just as seven A.M. south Oregon fog
conceals trees over a low valley.
I wanted the same of yours.
What you liked was the sky descended:
how you’re able to grip, fleetingly,
the mortal, shifting clouds–
to think, I have touched the untouchable.
Many pines, from a distance, can be held
by two fingers. We can choose to let them dangle
The fog consumes and rises
while we watch the sun burn slowly west.
When the rain begins,
the soft pattering against the windshield
mimics the sound of your jaw
fake-chomping my cheeks–
The speedometer oscillates
between sixty-five and ninety.
The hillsides change so suddenly
with every mile– shifting smiles hidden
by a fog you know will also fade.
(originally published in VAYAVYA)
*Nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Writing Knights Press in 2017