Two Guys, Two Gallons of Yuengling, Two Plastic Jugs, and a Third Arrives Later with a Six-Pack of Yuengling

I call it renewal
a friendship vow, any vow

though I’m just as lost
as last time, in the playground

climbing green dinosaurs
to shouts of no, don’t, you’ll hurt

yourself but we didn’t, taking
photos of the dirt by the river

from the top. Held our jugs
like the Stanley Cup to declare

our air and crawled back down
through time and space to lumber

outward through the neighborhood
to eternity which is one warm drink

we have in our hands. To accomplish
nothing is something special. I have

felt the lukewarm heat of tongue last
longer than this. I waited years for

something extraordinary to occur.
In my memory we last eternal.

In my memory we are whole, sober,
on the cusp of happiness.

 

(originally published in The Los Angeles Review of Los Angeles, Summer 2019)

Grandma, Half-Underwater

Late in life she lived as a lagoon’s only human
among monsters she half-recognized. To visit
was a kind of drowning– submerged in nursing
home fluorescents of nursing half-breathing,
I asked Mom who am I talking to?
Her eyes asked the same.

I guess all of us,
none of us glad
we came, we had to,
wanted to, really,
despite grandma’s face
cloudwhite, going
there knowing her
soon to swim the
wispy ocean of
afterlife– that, at
least, we wanted
to believe, to see her
again the way she
would want to be seen,
not now like this

(originally published in The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Fall 2018)

Marshmallow in the Microwave

Water molecules cause the inflation–
how the heart expands several times
in the span of too-few seconds.

The depths of my sweetness,
you call suffocating– the airbag
after collision. A time bomb–

we promised to open the door
before making a mess,
but we kept growing inside

ourselves. Body inside body,
slow spinning made us dizzy.

We were fine before. Small,
we never knew the depths
of our grandness.

Even then, we were sugar.
We opened our mouths
and licked hot the walls.

In the process of swelling,
we long to burst, to stick
to a heart that holds

the excess.

(originally published in Umbrella Factory, Fall 2018)

Room Where a Plant Can’t Breathe

Claustrophobic. No evidence of photo-
synthesis the sunlight blocked through
conversation. Blackout words, the paint

-ings on the wall are meaningless. One,
a landscape of dull pastels. The other a
drooping couple, Dali-esque but less-

refined. A grandfather clock ticks
endless quiet not enough to mask the
silence, which is deafening.

 

(originally published in Thirteen Myna Birds, Summer 2018)

 

Valentine for Sara Rosenblum

Fuck fake corporate holidays–

                                      ok, I said it.
Drained
our hearts fighting capitalism
but the system says February 14
is the best day to say you love
your person, to shower them
in candy and chocolate until
they can taste no more sweet.
                                                This is
our first Valentine and I miss you
terribly in these long hours
we spend at places we’re paid
to spend our lives in to survive
and what else would we spend
on but sweets?
                                       In the past,
I’ve wanted to take a baseball bat to
Valentine Day’s piñata and smash
out all its greed–
                                     this year, though,
you are my Valentine, and every day
I spend with you already I want to bury you
in a mountain of CVS candy and chocolate,
hold you close to me and whisper
I love you, I love you, I love you

                        ok, today’s a good excuse.

(Originally published in Magnolia Review, Summer 2018)

2017 Mantra

Build bridges, not walls,
though bridges ice faster
than roads we traveled–
hundreds of miles,
only to boomerang back
to before, while thousands of
armed windmills gasp for air–

the sunset through the bug-
stained window moves faster
than us toward a semblance of home–
swirls of clouds quivering
into the arms of weeping
willows simply
weeping–

 

(originally published in The Wayward Sword, Summer 2018)