You scared the shit out of me– I am
creeping on influencers. They buy
stock-tank pools and place it in front
of suburban blue skies of suburbs.
There, the saturated grass. Watch
the rubber ducky floating in the face-
book blue water, preternaturally still.
(originally published in Erothanatos, Summer 2021)
I thought by now the whistles would warp us
to a future in peace jump me ahead of this dark
underground level Mario I have crushed
enough Koopas to keep my genocidal ancestry
whooping from their battleground graves didn’t
feel much sanctity from Arlington Cemetery
sorry when they buried my brother at Ohio
Western Reserve gravestones orderly as pill
bottles on the shelves of corporate pharmacy
what rings in my brain are the gunshots
of old white veterans fired during Clinton’s
final ceremony bullets whizzing up the sky
just to land on the dirt covering
graves of my genocidal ancestry
(originally published in Impspired, Spring 2020)
My face pressed to the window screen– black pick-up trucks
pass. A little bit of breeze is recommended to ground yourself.
Such violence in a chicken nugget. If I think about vegetable
intelligence, I will allow myself only to eat white mulch. When
becoming grass, nothing happens to the soul. Clumps of earth
inside my fingernails when I scratch at the dirt, and still I weed
myself to the idea that beauty is ubiquitous in nature. At the sky
I choke on the concept of air. That my lungs work all living
hours, ununionized, is betrayal. My desk chains me
to the dark, and still I have the heart to look out a window?
(originally published in TRIBES, Fall 2021)
I read that gun store
sales have surged, that
they have lines around the
chopping block. So we
decide when shots
rupture our street,
we’ll drive to my mom’s–
far from any city–
instead of hiding in a
closet in our basement
Should we go there now?
No, we should wait it out.
We uncork a white wine
and play twenty games
of Trouble. Hours of
moving plastic pieces in
circles. Though trapped
in a bubble, the die
dictates our every move.
(originally published in Capsule Stories, Spring 2020)
Hands are raw from cheap soap
and scrubbing. We’re jobless now
so here’s the sink full of
better times we’re rinsing.
Let’s rearrange the living
room, drag the couch
from the side wall
to the back wall,
place the coat rack
in a different dusty corner,
treat the TV like
the god it wants to be.
There will be many
forms of worship,
Finally, I have time
to make music
and poetry but
I can’t put my phone
for each cog of society
as it breaks down.
should we hang
art on the walls?
I ask, what art?
(originally published in American Writers’ Review, Summer 2020)
Nothing to start conversation with
but the glow of television, hors d’oeuvres
the crowd devoured and I could only stand
and gape at the electric wiring strung along
the ceiling that led to the hanging light
fixture, a metallic apple dimmed. I wanted
to talk about architecture but felt wildly
inadequate due to the bricks missing
in my brain, hammers clanking where
words should, my mouth full of nails.
(originally published in Poetry Super Highway, Summer 2020)
The dirt underneath my fingernails!
When did hands
become so large
and so filthy
(originally published in Cough Syrup Magazine, Spring 2020)
partying was the new
beginning growing up how birdlike
I rose from the ash of a suburb
to learn a new suburb how limiting
to be alive in a time of bubbles
floating in a happy blur
days to pop
(originally published in Erothanatos, Spring 2020)
When my father retired, he could not end
the work– sunrise blurred to sunset
sculpting trees within the canvas of our yard.
Soon, he said, you will wear my work
on your hands. But after he passed, my hands
would tremble leaning ladder onto tree,
snipping branches off the living
(originally published in U-Rights Magazine, Fall 2020)
last night I slept in your bed
white sheets disheveled
I plucked an orange scrunchie
off your pillow and placed it
on the dresser
like an uneven staircase
dresses streaming out
onto the floor
(originally published in In Parentheses, Spring 2020)