Past 4 A.M. at Pizza King

wasn’t that how life
was supposed to go?
ah, college followed

the whims of fun.
it turns out I stayed out
too late in its shadow

and now capitalism
is the only one
who wants me to follow.

he says
you’re thirty now
so have some drinks

and pizza
if you want
dab the grease

with a napkin first
but don’t limit
yourself to one

 

(originally published in children, churches, and daddies, Fall 2019)

Late-Stage Capitalism

Worth inextricably tied to the throttle
I am unable to press forever and
ever, amen, where to lie
down and get some rest? Hallelujah,
livin’ by the bottle without drinking
anything alcoholic, not tonight
at least, not before the long drive
to work, paved highways, praise,
hell on the range is to pay
all your bills at once
and wait a month.

(originally published in Los Angeles Review of Los Angeles, Summer 2022)

Hilton Garden Inn

I had to refuse your hotel room, middle of the infinite
August evening. I was new in a city of ever-rising water

and you came to me, promising a raft. I couldn’t forget
finding the stars with you beyond all this light pollution

as we floated on our backs in your leased pool. When
you told me you were lost, too, I didn’t think you meant

you’d say no to your forever lover in the fog on a beach
in New Hampshire. I thought we’d wait much longer.

(originally published in Monterey Poetry Review, Summer 2020)