The Sudden, Intangible Heart

a dragonfly
dangled wing
above the pool

early morning
ballads on repeat
the mind

a mimosa
an old record player
pure sugar

champagne
umbrella
in the wind

rain
in the cups
a little left

 

(originally published in Kingdoms in the Wild, Spring 2019)

Interview with Marissa at Panera

Sitting across the small table in the company of bagel
art and clanking dishes transported from trash to the back,
she asks no questions about what I’d bring to this table,
just asks about my experiences working with The New
York Times and making ends meet in studios by the sea
in southern California, how different that life was,
how, starting Friday, I’ll make a good delivery driver

 

(originally published in The Literary Nest, Spring 2019)

Exorcism

Truth is, I’ve lost my motivation to do anything but motivationally speak
to myself silently in my head & that’s why I’m meeting with Gray
at a cafe later to work on outlines for short films we’ll never shoot &
that’s ok because the sun has filled my cup of coffee with bad ideas
I won’t act upon & that’s the useless scroll I call the timeline of my
life– truth is, I recall the night last July we nearly killed ourselves
playing Ouija downing a bottle of Absinthe & even the wormwood
couldn’t compose phantasms in our minds though we tried–
knees rocking in dark candlelight, hands clasped in prayer, a cat
named Spirit haunting the hallowed grounds– we had the ghosts
if we wanted them. Now we want them out.

 

(originally published in Studio One, Spring 2019)

First Christmas Together

your family sits atop a graveyard
I recall my Catholic upbringing
its subsequent tumble through adulthood
wringed out through cigarette smoke

the last time I felt like a pothole was
the gym last week the oceans of muscles
lapped with saltwater oozing out of bodies
or maybe at work I am new always

on the purple carpets asking
every authority how to be zen
page ends with staples scattered
beside the fluorescent printer

with your family I guzzle and mix each type of
sparkling glass and dark concoction offered until
my quiet disappears and my rambling becomes
a kind of buzzing within the hive of the room

 

(originally published in 24hr Neon Mag, Winter 2019)

The Gym

Planned to hit the gym after work
to flex these treadmills of atrophied muscles,
but decided to quit my job and drink instead–
first work-free morning’s sunlight’s sharpness
in my skull. From this decision, I have hurt
my liver once, my heart twice from lack
of exercise, ate Five Guys for lunch then
missed the gym again. If we are all not
getting our week’s workouts in running
from the shadow of time, embrace it.

(originally published in Phenomenal Literature, Spring 2019)

Oklahoma

In these plains I have been
tornado chaos the storm swirling
from shot glass. Unpredictable
system of bankruptcies this
unknowable thing can become
in a field touching down. Sky
sirens. Muck dust. Lightning
flicks a weary finger– my hand
on your spine my funnel
into sky a violin sirensong,
a tenuous tremolo.

 

(originally published in Poetry Pacific, Spring 2020)

Dinosaur

I dug myself a crater
upon which to climb
out of your wedding

you said extinction
means agreeing
to not be seen

& I am not about
removing myself
from the premises
of Earth

but here are the pearly
gates & golden steps
one can walk & walk

up into clouds
of thunderbolts
skipping time

like stones upon
the black surface
of water let’s say

to next year
when I have forgotten
the empty pool

& blueberries
have fallen out
of my mouth

& bounced off
a stone wall
I could climb

to jump from

 

(originally published in LEVITATE, Spring 2019)

Flood

The longer I lived in my car
on the road aimless the more I
wanted to lose myself. Everywhere
was a mirror & the only way to go
was into the murk of past &
uncertainty of tomorrow. It was like
pedaling the gas for days in the mud.
Tires spinning, going nowhere.
The same me to greet at each
destination: The Grand Canyon.
Austin. Keystone Lake
in Oklahoma had drowned itself
in a Paul Klee watercolor. I
wanted its depths as my own.
The pole in the lake.
The pole in the trees.
My eyes in the lake.
My eyes in the sky.

 

(originally published in Plum Tree Tavern, Spring 2019)