Meditation on Muscle Memory

If I had musical talent
I wouldn’t write poems.

Guitar-grown fingernails.
Nimble strings.

There’s no need
to lie. I couldn’t bring myself to try

when my parents thought
it’d be a good idea for me
to take piano lessons.

I had Game Boy eyes
and the Final Fantasy theme on repeat.

My dad had already explained
the difference between basin wrench

and torque. Wasted an afternoon
taping leaking pipes.

Like many of his time
he knew plumbing, mechanics,
home improvement

then brought me into rooms with broken
machines. My mind was Mickey Mouse
spelling words and song,

not the kind to vivisect
a bird to learn the function.

All I knew were not even stories yet
and still my hands
sing few callouses.

 

(originally published in Pirene’s Fountain, Spring 2018)

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Cooking Potatoes

The longer potatoes taste air, the more
they rust over time. We strummed
guitars with calloused fingertips
(melodious incision). The pot

overfills from the weight of boiling.
We whistled unfamiliar tunes through
afternoon orgasms. My teeth cannot chew
the raw. Steam will temper the room

enough to sustain our songs in my head.
I always liked to mix vegetables
into the mash, the music, but the days
are already too easy to cry. The onion

remains sheathed in its flaky armor.
Bunches of corn are never shucked.
Even the cheddar stays in plastic past
when these potatoes soften enough

to feed. The chords are always
harsh. We could never eat our fill.

 

(originally published in The Wagon Magazine, Autumn 2016)

The 2 A.M. Pacific Retreat

nights cold near the ocean
whispers reclusive invitations

       Chautauqua, Chautauqua

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)