Ode to Gargoyles

Strong Baboon, I lost all sense of language

                          Duck Angel, blue clouds are turning dark

Anchored Cheetah, chase my spirit away

                          Smiling Lion, Naked Genie, give your lust & longing

Horned Horse, may one day you breathe flame

                          Lost Dog, you have seen my lover

Furless Cat, may my home become yours

                          Hunchback Hyena, I, too, holler at the edge of a roof

Tender Dove, may you pass these tigers safely

                          Galloping Bat, may we find a bed deep in a cave

(originally published in Artvilla, Spring 2021)

Individual Importance

the simulation is: the universe
is a metronome
ticking
away at the (nothing)
                                    real estate
it has yet to consume
                                    reality
gaslights us to
upsell individual importance

because I (want to)                    believe
my atoms are unique
scrambled
in such a way
that if I slip
on ice
& crack my head
on concrete
the universe won’t recycle me
it will just begin again

(originally published in Remington Review, Summer 2019)

A Note on Jealousy

When I ran into Heather at Union and said hello
Jennifer asked who’s Heather with smoke alarm eyes
I said a friend I meant it jealousy is the kind of
thing that puts teeth in a line of vision I was jealous
of your Emi too sometimes one must chomp the
string one time I believed I could love without
caring about the past but stones settled along
the path can still be pushed by gusts under a sky
wherein there is no ceiling or ending except
for the vastness of our longing in space

 

(originally published in The Fictional Cafe, Spring 2019)

Acre

You count seeds with me
and I am tired of countable things.
When I count them, they…

they… stay the same. All
in order like a motor
in my clockwork.

Yet I plant seeds
and you plant trees and
I pick flowers while you

pick flowers and I wonder who
becomes the failure.
I plant the same seeds

but you… you… grow
into something new.
There are petals or there aren’t.

We sprout from the same earth. I need
to water this something-patch-of-dirt.
If I do, I will feel. Something.

(originally published in Subnivean, Winter 2021)

Junior Year English

In front of me in class. The long strokes
of chalk on board. I first whispered jokes

only you could hear. When we were face-
to-face I lost my wit. Young me in headlight

love neutralized by it. Your dad was a dentist
so I polished my yellow teeth. And yours

were gleams of white that guarded words!
I wrote what you said in journals to keep

them secret in my heart. For everyone
I have since loved I keep the language.

 

(originally published in Loch Raven Review, Spring 2019)

Developing

the studio microphone for months has pointed up
waiting for a song from the sky to sing into its silver
mouth that won’t open not for anyone not for you
not for Jesus to clasp his grimy hands around and preach
I’ve had enough of that growing up in Catholic school
learning the sin of condom and lamb and holy shit
I never was the rebel pounding revolution into the air
because what was there to revolutionize but the future
and no one could picture that yet with our disposable
Kodaks slinging truth first black developing the world

(originally published in COG Magazine, Spring 2019)

The Exterminator

Nicole walked out of Aladdin’s yesterday
which is why The Exterminator is working

12-8. He claims to have trained himself
to have a perfect, photographic memory.

He has Kool-Aid hair and anime eyes.
After the shift a group of us and

The Exterminator go to Brubaker’s
for drinks and we smoke in his car.

He is no different outside of work.
Constant buzzing, endless movement,

dead wings everywhere. He says
he learned his dancing from night

walks at 3 AM, and we all picture
his headphones in the darkness:

sudden hand movements, a quiet flying
his neighbors would never notice.

(originally published in Children, Churches, & Daddies, Fall 2021)

tom hanks

struck by the enormity of celebrity
tongue-tied dry we small fish in death
valley this is my job I am the tiniest
in this production office the center
of large spiraling arms I am asked to do
and do until there are no more limits & a producer
who already looks and acts like a million bucks
asks if he can use the washer / dryer in wardrobe
and I say there are dyes but he cannot find the will
to spend twelve dollars on socks at the company’s
recommended google-search laundromat when
don from transpo barges in and asks about the
laundry service down the hall in our building
and my boss says laundry is today’s hot topic
when tom hanks lands in the room
in normal clothes like a familiar
skyscraper we may be able to name

(originally published in The Racket, Summer 2020)

Cedars-Sinai

Vital signs at zero, a squiggly line gone infinity–
guess what I’ve prepared for. An eternity of this
nothingness. I tossed the phone like a grappling

hook at your distance and it caught. You left it
hanging on the bricks, though, and moved to
California, where I used to sleep the streets in

my Ford Fiesta, the same car we drove to Melt:
a time bomb heart attack. How close we were
back then, each deep-fried grilled cheese bite

hushed the thrumming. Fingers greasy– wiped
on napkins, wiped and wiped and wiped.

 

 

(originally published in Hedge Apple, Spring 2019)

Lance Uppercutski Celebrates His Cubs’ World Series Win

ive never wanting any thing more
in my life just screaming into a wall
for 8 hours naked n my badroom
crying in bed from last nite’s win

bcuz 2day finally we are all
child-bears proud of our job
as “underdogs all year” (it’s
smelly “under dogs” LOL)

as the saying goes, “chicaGO
big lest u go where u grew up”
& theres truth to this now
even tho i always said

“u dont need 2 be 2 big
to leave” lol zack was 16
when he left no FOXsport in heaven
no baseball, dad, etc. never wanting

any thing more in my life just screaming
into a wall for 8 hours naked and alone
im craving arbys 4 roast beef all that meat
to sink into & make me feel less alive

(originally published in Jokes Review, Summer 2020)