California leaves in smoke & flame
cigarettes you never touched
but your hands
on steel made a home
soaring over the evergreen
you called a bottomless lake
monsters deep in murk
in the way of work
was love &
you left the city
became the sky
(originally published in The Inflectionist Review, 2018)
In Kathleen’s apartment in Oregon,
I ask her where even is home?
maybe never knowing.
I see my mom’s mown lawn
in the green fields our baseball
team travels through, my friends
in tweets spitting scores or stats.
These, I don’t care about,
but I join in discussion.
Blue hands to high-five,
then to put my phone down.
(originally published in Hobart, Winter 2018)
The chairs we sit in are steel
horses, sad and dead. What you said
at the gallery in the warehouse was
to you, I have only given death and cookies.
Or corpses confused with candy.
Your cheeks puff, withdraw.
You’re silver in ceramic.
If I were a romantic I’d say
you belong in the painting.
Longing, always. But I am
a romantic. When we strolled
the botanical gardens we found longing
in the plants deemed poisonous.
How close I get to each sweet thing.
How close each is to death.
(originally published in Pif Magazine, Winter 2018)
(originally published in Parentheses Journal, Fall 2017)
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)
(originally published in SHANTIH Journal, Fall 2017)
we walk parched lips from downtown
to the jazz & rib fest you tell me
you love too many at once
I count the number I love at the moment
but we lose track of headlights
following the other’s every move
neither of us know how to get there
how to make music & when we arrive
jazz is faint & we don’t listen to sporadic notes
choosing to walk the bridge over the river
under spotlights of webs of moths
between railings & you say insects
are the most important creatures alive
the more of something there is the better
all these millions of arachnids spinning
webs to eat the hearts of bugs they always catch
we stand away from the railing because we
don’t want spiders to creep onto us & start
the work of eating through skin to dig to heart
we don’t look at each other because
you can be in love with so many at once
but not the ones who want it most
(originally published in Edison Literary Review, Summer 2017)
it took reshaping the lawn
into something a family could admire
to hack through the underbrush
of silent years–
sawdust in grass
a dull branch brown
(originally published in The Borfski Press, Spring 2017)
After the breakup, our phone conversations
become space debris, steel pieces hardly
discernible hurtling haphazardly at five miles
per second. Where do the scraps go?
The gold taste of summer will impact the brain
and puncture, enflame. We wish to assist
the start-ups who seek to construct
machines to eliminate wayward spares
of satellites trapped in the gravity of a body,
propel its dust into the atmosphere to burn.
We drift wary of small artifacts
from failed missions to emerge
in the distance of night to strike
and make split into fragments
we will never assemble again.
(originally published in Allegro Poetry Magazine, Spring 2017)
to leave water would mean I suffocate
so I wait for orange pellets to fall almost
like rain you and I are alone most
of the time pooled in a little world
aimless from place to place
in a bowl peering through glass
to see what moves around us
swimming feels like drowning
when you come to me and I press
my face to glass trying hard to break
it to come meet you
when I flap my fins it means I am starving
not for food but to end these
lonely days punctuated by when
you surface through the waters of that
more colorful other universe like magic
my sky becomes kaleidoscopic orange
and I nearly believe I belong
(originally published in Perspectives Magazine, Spring 2017)