Sonoran

my skin carries the radiation of phone
glow the radio.  Of something static

O Arizona.     Azure eyes & sandy
cries just an echo.   I want to say I am

hallowed. That I carried your branches
with me too as extra arms but I am

night and limb- and lone-     liness.
I am spider I am timeless. If I may

please say another thing about deserts
we share an emptiness.

 

(originally published in Academy of the Heart and Mind, Fall 2019)

My Barber Says Hello in Public

Often, before a haircut, I make
the joke to a friend– I don’t know
if you’ll recognize me later!

In the chair, the barber holds
scissors, removes my glasses.
His form blurs in the mirror.

At the conclusion of a cut, I
must accept the physical
implications of my new self.

But my friend Kurt once said
in each moment we become
a different person, our atoms

scrambled with each second’s
footstep, our hairs scattered on
the floor– they, too, rearranging.

(originally published in Miranda House Philosophy Magazine, Spring 2021)

Film Industry Interview While Walking Bloomfield Bridge

Wild this wind in Pittsburgh–
I am Bukowski reformed
twisting through steel
structures teeth gleaming.

Synthesis of former lives–
Columbus, Los Angeles
drunken pursuit of art
now an upstream leaf.

Marginalia within pages
of tattered library books–
I’ve so little to say you
hear a deep, empty well.

To march back into
my film-reel past
and gloss over poetry–
ghost cleaning gutters.

Allow some space
within my wanting.
My heart an old lens
zooming into the river.

 

(originally published in The Aurorean, Spring 2020)

Stomach-Something

The growth inside you, you can only
guess exists– the strengthening

malignant allium a tumor blossomed
& when your stomach fails to digest

you leave your house in pain to meet
me at the bar & fuck, you needed a job

with benefits but I, too, lack insurance
& down downers at happy hour. You

tell me nothing solid settles
anymore. What you eat eats you

& I fear, soon, you will not eat.

(originally published in Agapanthus Collective, Spring 2021 – nominated for Best of the Net)

And Yet the Strings

Again, a rainbow sprouting from your violin–
no, it’s no light. You never wanted to mother.
Music was the way– adagios hanging from
the clouds. But God had something in store–

                                                                come on.

What happened was we were drinking herbal tea
and you told me of new pregnancy within these
silent walls of our favorite coffee shop and I said
I’m sorry, I’m sorry because I didn’t know what

else to. And you said it’s okay, it wasn’t you, just
I had to tell someone. Because you no longer
write symphonies. The instrument collects dust in
your closet– where’s the music? We ask. You

answer: inside, swelling. If there’s one thing
you must hear, she will be a cadenza.

 

(originally published in Chiron Review, Fall 2020)

Engagement

I am not crying   You are

Okay      I am

on the phone with you
out from hungover car
in Columbus Ohio

loud   enough
to traverse     sonic field
flats     green

and potholed concrete
across state line
to Indianapolis Indiana

I am not screaming     Okay

I am screaming     You
walk   a cell phone tower
tightrope listening    repeating

    It is okay to cry

Some things I cannot
deny    This hungover
day sags into night

GPS off     driving loops
around the block
memories the silver ring

around another’s finger

 

(originally published in Scarlet Leaf Review, Fall 2019)