Fortune Cookie (May 9, 2017)

You have good reason
to be self-confident.

After all, this is what
the fortune cookie said.

After a dinner portion
of greasy lo mein
from New Peking.

After CNN reports
the president’s firing
of the FBI director.

This is a gross abuse of power,
and there is a gross amount
of noodles inside me.

Despite that,
I have good reason
to be self-confident,

I suppose.

I am reasonably certain
I still have a job.

I am reasonably certain
I am not under investigation.

There was no backdoor
deal struck with the restaurant
to ensure this would be

my particular
fortune.

All I did was order
the noodles via telephone.

Then I drove to the
restaurant to pick it up,
face-to-face.

I used my credit card
to pay for it, but
I will pay the bill.

In the plastic bag
they handed me,
there was a brown bag.

In the brown bag,
there was a white box
with my food in it

as well as chopsticks,
napkins, a fork, and
the fortune cookie.

That’s it.

All I’m saying is
if you don’t believe
me, investigate.

Anyone who says
differently
is reasonably suspicious.

 

(originally published in Landfill, Fall 2017)

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Getting Sober

If I don’t watch it, this lake
is vodka and I won’t care I don’t
know how to swim. Getting sober
is like that. I go out into the world
and look you in the eyes and say
I’m fine. I’m having a good time
and you go on never knowing
I was half-underwater, that
there was a monster trying
to make its way to the surface
and I had to push him down.

 

(originally published in Rattle, Winter 2018 – nominated for Best of the Net)

Facts

I don’t believe a word you say. The stairs
separate us because you’re on another

level. Gravity is what pulls us together.
& absence of death. You talk in spirals.

I want to follow. A wind-up rotor wheels
his way back. Intransient movement.

I believe in higher planes
when looking to the sky in airports.

 

(originally published in The Stray Branch, Spring 2018)

Simple Machines

Force plus distance creates the want.
Machines make work easier to do:

pick up the phone and call her.
A sloped surface can move the heart

from one peak to another by decreasing
exerted force per beat while increasing

the distance over which the want
can travel– a simpler way to have

without the work of wanting.

 

(originally published in Randomly Accessed Poetics, Spring 2017)