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)
I watched us turn into centipedes,
not butterflies– tiny legs to run
pushed out of us, not wings.
In half-moon light we crawled
the hollow ridges of our bodies.
Someday, we thought. Children.
But it was true: neither of us knew
how to bloom. We kept scratching
at the other’s skin digging
for the beating heart
but only exposed the blood.
(originally published in The Quiet Letter, Summer 2017)
my body is at war against my mind
the soldiers are pleased
they feed at a nearby Wendy’s
if my body the inherited god was a temple
it is no longer
and if I am the only existence I believe in
the war is warring against the concept of self
antibodies against anti-bodies
from one end of the universe
to the other
I am no longer
(originally published in OVS Magazine, 2017)
can be severely detrimental, but don’t panic–
salmonella can be killed. You must know
its internal temperature. If not fully known,
your risk of distress increases. The dark tunnel.
The bones. If you suffer from adverse effects,
you will know within seventy-two hours.
Chills, fever, fatigue. Hallucinations.
If there is blood in you, inform your doctor
immediately. He may request a sample
to determine if you are alive, if symptoms
are what you’re even there for.
(originally published in The Blotter Magazine, Summer 2017)
on my scalp
in your laugh
on our tongues
(originally published in Gnarled Oak, Summer 2017)
Do not forget me:
I have struggled to break
through my own absence
of field. Let a helium balloon
float to where it disappears.
We have not spoken
in years. The phone you gave
me I replaced to return
my sense of self-place. Still,
send me a signal you sense me,
and we will come to static
where we cannot hear
how we wish to be heard
but we will know
we are there.
(originally published in CultureCult Magazine, 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)
my own advice: treat every gift
like you’re nine in ninety-seven.
rip the heart out of your parents’
wrapping jobs. don’t notice
the hanging phone calls,
the coils of collection,
the foggy snarls at the door,
the stay-in-bed allure radiating
from big, red boxes hidden
behind the couch for after
we opened all the other presents,
for after we grew up,
after we got jobs.
(originally published in The Drunken Llama, Fall 2017)
If I had musical talent
I wouldn’t write poems.
There’s no need
to lie. I couldn’t bring myself to try
when my parents thought
it’d be a good idea for me
to take piano lessons.
I had Game Boy eyes
and the Final Fantasy theme on repeat.
My dad had already explained
the difference between basin wrench
and torque. Wasted an afternoon
taping leaking pipes.
Like many of his time
he knew plumbing, mechanics,
then brought me into rooms with broken
machines. My mind was Mickey Mouse
spelling words and song,
not the kind to vivisect
a bird to learn the function.
All I knew were not even stories yet
and still my hands
sing few callouses.
(originally published in Pirene’s Fountain, Spring 2018)
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)