Models

You cut my face
from a magazine,
pulled tanner grass
in L.A.– how you
lose your sense
of color with nothing
but blue sky and sun
and sidewalk cigarette
stains, everyone dead
in their own way.

 

(originally published in Califragile, Fall 2017)

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Gunshots

On one of our nightly walks
of less and less talk,
gunshots punctuate the air,
puncturing our silence.

I hold my palms over your ears
when an ambulance passes us,
its siren shrieking into our void,
lights turning us red

like there’s any lust left.

 

(originally published in The Blotter Magazine, Summer 2017)

In a Mouth / In a Pool

there’s nothing but teeth
and sky and sharp wind shrieking
out until slapped / skin and sunbreak
risen water suspended after a cannonball
plunge / eyes closed we split
through chlorine like we’re chemically
bound / to renewal but how artificial
we fill ourselves with air and float / eyes
up at the clouds and a single plane
descends / toward LAX and we know
how it ends: a little shake / in the landing
and diminished speed recalling
the turbulence / that dove
from glass mansions

 

(originally published in After the Pause, Fall 2017)

To Never Return to L.A.

I hiked through the backwoods of Yellowstone
wondering why my life did not change
with every step. That beauty could
become so manufactured. Looking over
another massive canyon– my third in the west
in three days– what’s so good about it?

You could fall into adventure, sure.
You can fall into anything.
Love, of course. Art.
Self-loathing.
Escape.

I drove aimlessly for three months,
watched landscapes lose their painted strokes.
The bristled edge of sky inside me turned
and dried, brought me back to deserts I camped in

on the side of the road many freezing nights,
my breath the hot air on windshield,

blocking my sight of stars,
those lost things guiding me
that smog made me forget.

 

(originally published in The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Summer 2017)

I Used to Film the Ocean

& I’m talking to this
video student at OU
who still dreams

but I’m jaded
& her boyfriend is jaded
‘cuz we both lived in L.A.

& he’s the type
I tried to avoid
that sneering type

who is “always correct”
supreme confidence
& cockiness

he shows me his art
a painting of a blue
stick figure hanging

on canvas
the best thing I’ve ever done
he says

but in no way does this
represent
my finer works

 

(originally published in #thesideshow, Spring 2017)