Barclaysville, North Carolina

Because there was no shuttle, and weak
cell service, after your wedding I drove
through the dark of some North Carolina
woods, too poor for an Uber, fuzzy
mind fragmented across navigational
satellites. I can never refuse an
open bar’s riches, a reservoir
unending despite my need for
constant refill. To thine own
self be true, I tell myself, and
for me, that’s wine and vodka
and being lost in every
direction inside a body
of metal that just does
what I steer it, meaning
a left turn when it should
have headed right and,
when I find myself later
at the same intersection,
I make the same mistake.

(originally published in COG Magazine, Spring 2019)

One Example of Privilege – December, 2016

We were about to decorate the Christmas
tree in the living room, blue
lights and tangled cords, when Jeff said
we beat the Dakota Access Pipeline.
We agreed this was reason to celebrate
then swept loose pines off the floor.
Paige hung the usual ornaments: red
orbs, angels. Sara served hot chocolate
with cocoa powder, skim milk, vanilla
extract– warm in the heat of our home,
far from Standing Rock. I thought of Sophie,
who built teepees in the cold to stand with
the Sioux– how they risked frost and flame
to stay alive, and many of them did. But
when Long called to catch up that day
we didn’t talk about it.

 

(originally published in Pomona Valley Review, Summer 2019)

Alcoholic Thoughts

It’s early and I
can’t fall back asleep– maybe, before work,
I can enjoy a beer or two.
                                          [I deliver food]

Cut to: work
It’s slow.
               Maybe I can sneak home
               and have a can in the car.

The depth of craving
                   I scoff and deny.

What keeps me going is each lap’s checkered flag–
if you can get to February, you can drink. [my partner]

Cut to: February [sober]
I don’t think we should drink.
We can wait another month.

It’s Saturday night and I have drymouth
and the house crawls with

bottles, chasers, faucets, an empty
champagne bottle on display on a table.

Such is a trophy. Gold-adorned
bubbly. I can tell you the kind
of night it was that drank it:

ordinary.

I was how I was.
Who can I become?

 

(originally published in TreeHouse: An Exhibition of the Arts, Summer 2019)

Dust

a hole is a hole. until a breeze
carries sand back the way I
can barely see, or at all. and there. just
out in the water. a phantom
in my mind, bobbing with the
beat of the wind that blows out into the
aquatic landscape– a
horseboat in the night. the moon is in the
moonlight reflecting the waves,
shimmering in the brown
sky. it has been days, and all
the sea lilies of the waves with their green
trees are floating by me.

(originally published in Amarillo Bay, Spring 2021)

Ex at a Wedding

the extinct wild roamed through the wildlands
of the heart, the beating paleozoic crust, topmost

plunge into the history books, into the unraveling
speech of lust, this lost connection (you were a great

friend) a moat afloat on limitless vodka– until
nothing left (was always nothing) I watched you

spit into a microphone forgotten music of a world
gone by, rocking a guitar, percussion at your side

(originally published in Pomona Valley Review, Summer 2020)

January 20, 2018

a fog this white mess of morning driving out of Ohio
trees dressed for a funeral     per the new norm
dilapidated barns redbrown in the green

grass corpsebrown       snow an oil stain birds
couldn’t afford flights home   this time   their muddywater
wings a gunk on the canvas         of sky

the countryside is tainted

Abbey Road         scores this thread of potholes
we pass a sign      Muskingum County    initially read as
       musking gun

                                                         how bulletsmoke
rises from pores of the greendead ground
  until all we know is the death encompassing

                                 fog clears at noon
                                 birds ravage a halfdeer
                                 carcass

(originally published in South Florida Poetry Journal, Summer 2019)

Grand Canyon

a blank in earthsong stone
quartz a scream into the void
a thousand tourists hear

to mean joyride when
I mean missing I want
to be a thousand people

at once over the course
of the day it happens a
spectrum of tongue and

skins to slip on to belong
as a cog in the clunky
function of the world

 

(originally published in Vamp Cat Magazine, Summer 2019)