As I run hot faucet water
over the head of my electric toothbrush,
Jennifer asks isn’t it better
when we brush our teeth together?
This, of course, is redundant.
I have cleaned the spit
and foam from my brush alone
through the years,
watched clean water slowly spiral
down a clog.
I have taken better care
Flossed the plaque
tartar of bad habits,
in and out of you.
These I can withstand.
Thus I answer at all.
on my scalp
in your laugh
on our tongues
(originally published in Gnarled Oak, Summer 2017)
The alley is paved with old bricks
blackened by rain. I used to want
conformity, that tidal hope gripping
your gut. You must have a family soon.
Everywhere babies are sprouting
but garden sprinklers are off because winter
is near, crackled dirt longing for storm–
how long since the rough of gale and rain?
Seasons, in these frigid airs. And my seedling
heart stopped growing soon after its first beat.
(originally published in The Coachella Review, Winter 2017)
was the memory–
booming in bloom
With mist lifting
off Lake Dardanelle,
what it means
to be new–
so young was the fog
the mind’s cleaver sliced.
(originally published in The Quiet Letter, Summer 2017)
I used to find joy in little things.
Like luck on the head
of a penny.
Or a tire chained
to a blue wall
in the subway.
Or two bullets,
Or your glance
on long drives
beside the ocean.
I feel ill. I declare this heaven’s day.
No fool was a folk legend tragedy.
No fool a fish on a hook
reeled from the lake.
Tomorrow my hand leaves
Your name, claws
on the four-drink ignition.
White rose– consider
a wing. Next, a thumb.
Voices, skies so blue…
I’d find your eyes play music.
(originally published in Eunoia Review, Winter 2017)
After you invited me to your brother’s jazz
concert you said you liked me too much
and I couldn’t handle that, the thought
of our togethered trombone slide into an infinity
accompanied by spacetime’s deep sound.
I avoided you the only way I knew how:
my absence for your words a dangling CO2.
This, another failed online dating experience,
a week and (it was electric for a time) the zap
of each other in a cold January condo over and
over, a thousand volts then whole note rest,
a singed week’s limb removed by blizzard wind.
(originally published in Postcard Poems and Prose, 2017)
The last time I lost someone was autumn.
The leaves were auburn.
My nose, clogged with symbols,
blew wind into tissue into bin.
became broken fingers–
piles of laundry across the bed.
The city needed new clothes to wear.
(originally published in OVS Magazine, 2017)
I’ve written the last
I can about you.
No more spirits in this blue-and-gray
jacket with the familiar coffee stain.
Out of poetry and time to spare.
Like December’s brisk spit of snow.
The lack of wonderment.
(originally published in Corvus Review, Fall 2016)
You look around the room
and rate singles from one to ten
in terms of melancholy
but don’t know
how to rate yourself–
Pacific waves flow through
you almost drown
in the sea of your thoughts–
the scisms between pen and mirror,
heart and mind, these are thieves
who will lie to you ‘til the Greyhound
leaves for Cincinnati at 11:30.
Until then we watch superheroes do bad
stand-up comedy in the conference room
at the new Mikey’s, eating mushroom pizza
with too-hot sauce. Bass pounds from the stage
so loudly we walk to 16-Bit next door
to drink water and pretend we are drunk,
our mouths rocketships exploring the universe
of each other– the rotation of stars
confused with physics. In the end all you want
is chocolate cake. Your blue eyes curve away
in that soaring flyball-to-left way. The way
you sway me back to simpler times
when buying CDs was a holy act
of personal preference
and I stayed sealed on a shelf in plastic,
waiting to give the world my music.
(originally published in Zingara Poetry Picks, Summer 2017)
hang a horse
watch her body pale
I want a California girl
skin smooth as shale
my gallop from
(originally published in The Blotter Magazine, Summer 2017)