& part of her phrase of course is
if you can’t handle me at my worst
but there’s a left turn into darkness
no one wants to take &
the signal’s jammed so no one knows
the direction anywhere anymore
just a mirror of the night
reflecting night, a ninety
degree warming sadness glued
onto a body. one silhouette
low into evening, a heat repenting
unknown sin, a snake slithering
out from its hole into you
(originally published in Gyroscope Review, Fall 2017)
pray to the clay
there are canyons
cratered in our hearts
not every landscape
is refined each is full
of fingerprints and colors
in her face you will find
who you are looking for
in any landscape the forests
your father the mountains
your mother the shifting
desert sand tombs
are caverns you must lose yourself
in memories and forget
the horizon no one
seems so far away
beside the ocean
(originally published in Uppagus, Fall 2017)
I want you to read this:
my night was the endless Niagara.
Love, flowing along sediment
of bones and thorny breathing,
ends on a brown couch of dog
and cat hair nice against my jeans.
I woke there next to a loaded potato gun.
Can’t stop writing dirty things
on the Buddha board
hoping you will read them.
If not you,
My bones’ silence
And the message always
(originally published in Serving House Journal, Fall 2017)
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)