around here. Every
three months then
you forget about it.
I’ve been off and on in love
with my roommate since the
day she moved in. November
rain, the red-bricked road,
I look out my window–
no cars on the side
of the street I parked on.
I scramble from my room,
her boyfriend in the hallway,
and I yell street cleaning!
His eyes bug up
and we race down
stairs to beat the tow
trucks but I open the door
to see cars parked around mine.
I tell him I’m going anyway
to check the signs–
which I do in my blue
flip-flops, waddling out into
wet grass to find
next week’s the sweeping–
and don’t we always
wait yet another week
to cleanse ourselves of what
we fear we don’t need?
A bad job
or incompatible lover.
For months they have fought
about necessary changes
neither of them will make,
and just last week
she told me
the cycle of her life
goes in years by threes.
The job, the lover,
the house, the dust.
There’s a chill. I’m not wearing
a jacket, so I go back inside
and tell him it’s next week–
but he’s known this for weeks.
(originally published in Columbia Journal Online, Winter 2018)
microphone in hand
the gutter of volumetric gain
to finally sing gin (out of the system
sky an ocean of lights)
the star made of you-matter: gold voice hot collision
where bar’s empty souls listening clink glasses
then rise in song to celebrate your living
From oneness: two, three, four.
Shadows through doorways.
Breath from water. Surface
bubbles, rippled sighs. The ocean
dried, became a city. Marine lights.
Pearl buildings. Skyscrapers so
old you can see the way the
world will end.
No one knows the space they occupy.
We fade in water. We fade
in air. We fade in living,
drown in life.
(originally published in Zany Zygote Review, Winter 2018)
(originally published in Typehouse Literary Magazine, Summer 2017)
The potential is sunrise & I refuse
the window’s jewels
I scalp the earth
for my own voice
I feel full of shining & sun
& so, money. I am envy &
the clock, gales of fingers
no longer keeping time,
rustling through my formal shirts,
wondering which will suit me best–
whichever will shatter
my edges & begin
at the origin of roses, from where
they were abandoned
the why I’d never give.
(originally published in Light: A Journal of Photography and Poetry, Summer 2017)
(originally published in Bop Dead City, Spring 2017)
The days when we would lay
on blue towels by the beach
combing through our Merriam-Webster
holding every fascinating word by the stems in our mouths,
our vibrancy was inseparable from gardens
full of hyacinths and rhododendron and zinnias
and, yes, forsythias, all these flowers in our hometowns
we never knew the names of
until we saw the words on sand-shorn pages,
said the names out loud, grasped endlessly
for petals in each other. No, we bloomed
laughter from our throats, planted seeds
into pits where absence grows in ensuing Aprils.
We never knew what words might appear
on Scrabble nights hunched over grids of possibility and–
strings of letters string surprising words together.
Marionettes, spider webs, violins, shoelaces,
your hair among the rules of nature, and nurture,
here nurturing the garden, here the home
where we tend other flowers– all my love,
I repeated. Forsythia, forsythia, forsythia.
But those beach days were distant, the tide slurring
softly alongside my returns from long unexplainable workdays–
all my love, I repeated. For Cynthia.
Wooden tiles tornadoed to the floor, slapping
the carpet with words we had not invented yet–
there is no remedy for lost trust. The flame
already sleeps in the bed of the mouth.
Cynthia, Cynthia. I did not know a Cynthia–
but I had never been able to name a forsythia
in the wild. The next time I see one
will feel like cheating. Nothing too-known is magical–
there is wonder in inventing nomenclature,
that a word like forsythia can only be made
in moments like anesthesia, with darkness descending
like the cigarette clouds of a severe storm when, in the drift
into a new consciousness, a lilac floats your mind’s pond–
a lilac, maybe, though that’s not what you want,
and maybe, in the distance, you see the blossoming
yellow that accompanies spring, the air golden around it–
the beauty that’s grander than words.
You wish you never learned the name for it.
(originally published in Sheila-Na-Gig Online, Spring 2017)
It was Maxwell
can be extended.
My theory is
it is possible
if we are infinite
strings of numbers,
if an unknown
of remaining days
makes us immortal.
as I can
just to feel
does the universe
with the heart’s
The night sky’s
(originally published in Columbia College Literary Review, Spring 2017)
I have started a long-gestating project:
The Mantle is an online quarterly journal dedicated to compelling, contemporary poetry, committed to publishing the most memorable poetry we receive and will nominate for both Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize.
Send poems that are odd, poignant, beautiful, or oddly poignant yet beautiful. Send poems you’re proud of whether raw, refined, or jagged.
Check out the full submission guidelines here and consider sending your work!
Waiting in the airport and the ceiling fluorescents
are arranged like a runway askance and I know
I am running from what cannot be salvaged:
a week ago we soared through the sky
with all parts intact and fully functional.
I didn’t need to look out deep, endless windows
of fields and plane-paved paths and houses and wonder
where I belonged, how an engine could so quickly find fault,
how its parts could rust in her thrust into eternity–
we will never have the biology to fly, no matter
our construction, no matter the fantasy of the air–
and the air is a fantasy you breathe easy and pure
but the higher you go the more lungs constrict the heart
and light breathing becomes impossible in the heavy beating
that feels like so much excess baggage it will encumber
the great invention and bring it tumbling to earth,
where we begin and always end–
where, in the vast expanse of land I have no choice but to
stay bound to, I stare up toward the full, cloudy sky
and watch the great, miraculous wings of blackbirds
descend slowly on telephone lines beyond reach
to know what I am made of will never be enough.
(originally published in Rust + Moth, Autumn 2016)