Office Job (August 18, 2017)

the cat purrs, content
on his own, clawing my blanket
that rests peacefully and soft.

meanwhile, I entertain fantasies
about quitting my job again–
every day, the drab walls

say nothing to me.
the squeaky chair says
too much. another paycheck

arrives, not enough to sustain
me past the day’s bills. I work
for the grim reaper, ghastly

and gray, worm-smile rotting.
there is a scythe to my head
when I sleep that I set the night

before but I can’t even sleep
long enough to meet it.
the cockroaches share my bed,

and I know they will make it
out of this alive, whether
nuclear war or work.

 

(originally published in EgoPHobia, Winter 2018)

Lemons

Since finishing your fruit-themed chapbook
you claim to have squeezed every sour
word yet zing. You say all you wanted
was to keep in contact. Tonight we try
to unpeel these last lost months
with talking but instead halve
ourselves dry at the table. I thought
our juice would stay fresh, purify
water all that time. At least, you said,
that would have made this easier to digest.

 

(originally published in Ink&Nebula, Spring 2018)

Every Movement of the Sun

I seek a way to meet heaven without living it
in my excess the money and green, the love and sex

the sexes intertwined like vines and twigs
and doesn’t faith have nice legs? the priest

would ask from afar in this tall wooden structure with
our congregation crooning a Godsong that couldn’t

bring them any closer to God but wasn’t what
we wanted the whole time each other?

in that way I’m still religious

 

(originally published in KAIROS, Spring 2018)

 

Reviewing Geometry for the GRE: First Lesson

As if you could find exactly
the base of a triangle–
one long, unsure line.

I am looking for an exit
sign pointing, pointing, pointing.
Outside that red door

wilts confused leaves.
You say there’s a way
to quantify this? That

equations explain everything?
It’s 30 degrees today,
90 yesterday.

What’s autumn’s angle?
A 180-degree spin.
Math. I don’t trust it.

How Catholic school
assured me the trinity
would save me.

I’ll learn whatever
to warm myself.

 

(originally published in petrichor, Spring 2018)

Macaroni

we’ve run out of money
again so cabinets

are stacked with Kraft
mac and cheese

familiar blue and orange
taken for granted

like in photos
sunshine a steaming pot
our brighter days

we seek heat
somewhere

outside the kitchen
the water boils

and it’s twenty degrees
outside

I see wings
in the steam
rising

we have been
powder and sugar and milk
you know these basic elements

a simplification
all

we have to do is
call a food nostalgic
to love it.

 

(originally published in formercactus, Spring 2018)

Shut the Freezer Door

I am frozen in a block of ice
stuck in the absolute zero
of time how it’s rushing
water slowed down into
frozen eternity I mean it’s
my birthday today yesterday
& tomorrow being young
within universe expansion
transient in desire to shift
across continents & eras
what I want is to be known
past murky ice the good parts
melted out into a messy bowl

 

(originally published in Visceral Uterus, Spring 2018)

Advertising

I have been inside
a marketing firm
with its own basketball court.
Uninspired employees huffed
then daggered meaningless
the hoop, hoping for renewal,
but no one kept score.
I could relate:
attending Catholic school,
I found it necessary
to ask for forgiveness
in the shower.
I had come to fear
a red-fanged Satan
sporting a porn ‘stache
waiting by the mirror,
covering himself with
a towel, fork in hand–
and me, behind childhood
curtains covered in soot,
water rushing, my body
seal-like from ablution.

(originally published in Sooth Swarm Journal, Summer 2018)

Morning Reflection

I walk waiting for the clarity of nature to upend my core
having forgotten again another grand idea I had the night before

the rain-soaked sidewalk
& deep dent on a passenger door

a two-story house I think is too tall
too wet       bricks and white columns

each window a translucent universe of past
raindrops & the universe everything ahead of you
                                                                     out of reach past the physical

the American flag waves in the wind
black sedans drive to a hair studio

talk show hosts spit they just
spit

& my dream once was to be on television
& in Los Angeles it happened
                                                                    my face on mom’s television

but otherwise forgotten
still signals invisible waves

here I am a field the scribbled wandering
eyes & a blue jay makes a home in a tree

& me in the days I become
when I look in any mirror

 

(originally published in Botticelli Magazine, Spring 2018)

Blendoku

We can work on puzzles all day,
watch the patterns move
from one color to the other.

Block colors twist in gradients
until blending into something else.

The sun removes itself
from the scene, shifts
behind a cloud,

creates a change in light,
a block of bricks on a building
slightly darker than the rest.

 

(originally published in SOFT CARTEL, 2018)