Two Nightmares in My Car on Rosewood

I.

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

II.

When I wake for a walk in the middle of the night,
clothes bunched on red benches under streetlights
like someone had been there
and disappeared

III.

I call my ex
I can’t stop thinking about you

shadows float from her eyes
into mine

cigarette smoke

bats

understand: we lived
in the cave of each other

IV.

under orange streetlights

blankets hang from headrests
to drape me from the world

 

(originally published in The Nottingham Review, 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)

Victorian Village / West Adams

Walking over paved bricks
under sunlight in January,
it is quiet enough
to hear the earth shiver
from her breath, far
from the Los Angeles heat
I grew used to– a hundred
police cars wailing down
Vermont past blurs
of fleeting sidewalks,
boarded-up businesses
adorned in graffiti,
and dead black bags
full of not-Autumn
leaves.

 

(originally published in Home Planet News Online, 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)