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)

Fashion

Clothes as mushroom mindtrip–
spider silk covers a body.

A wallpaper of lava lamp
transformations – decorate the house

however you see fit. Clown pants. Squirting
roses. Tuxedo coated in gelatin. All art is

political, or none of it. This statement launches
to the topmost window of a towering bank

and bounces deep into the trenches
of my thin, leatherworn wallet.

(originally published in Gingerbread Ritual Literary Journal, Winter 2021)

My Laptop Malfunctions on Thanksgiving

The machine shut down after clicks and pops– the screen
flickered bright then dimmed into near-zero

visibility. You said our love had become that,
crying into the dark on my chest. I couldn’t feel the tears,

but we feasted this Thanksgiving on the blood of birds
and the kindness of vegetables, this ritual of melancholy

holidays at my mother’s home, the knife pushing
deeper and deeper into the flesh of tradition, and you

said that’s not what you wanted to become, some reliable
device upon which to take for granted, and I apologized,

I didn’t know why you were crying and I wasn’t, so you
turned the lights on and laugh-cried until we fell asleep

 

(originally published in SHARK REEF, Winter 2020)

Local Bar’s Annual Water Balloon Battle

Yes I am drinking Oktoberfest beer is my raft
But listen Local Bar celebrated birthday number four
And held a water balloon war at Goodale Park
My army heaved water balloons at the other’s soft music
It ended sharply in a siren call of silence
Because we ran out of inflatables
Red blue green yellow scattered in the grass
Parsing through the blades during cleanup
Someone mentioned we’re grazing
While picking up the latex shards
I thought the animals we unintentionally kill!
Deer need stomach surgery after eating sugary fragments
And penguins in the arctic beg us
Please unplug your computers you’ll run out of poetry
Deep recess of eventual yearning
We freeze in the act of self-entertainment
Becoming self-immolators
For the love of a lover or for love of ourselves
We find ourselves stricken by wants we cannot control
And they will come to control us

 

(originally published in Cabildo Quarterly, Fall 2019)

Descendant of the Big Bang

Self-absorption has turned me
into a selfish alien. On Earth,

we live in isolation
waiting for the cosmic dawn

to return in a brilliant explosion
that would rock this rock like

a great song
performing on its uppermost

stage, all of my being
expanding like a flower

until the whole universe
opens wide

like a Great Eyeball.
Our role will be to find

inexpressible
connection– a ring

of stars passing rings
of fire, each a small

cluster of blue petals.

(originally published in The Subnivean, Winter 2021)