a buzz of speed
& basement grease slick

the party lights, I never graduated bumper
bowling, holy Z of physics, clunky

mechanics of moving the body
any which direction, forward

time decrees, manifestation my
brother’s swollen feet, wheels

in motion sugaring me
circles circles circles

(originally published in Winamop, Winter 2020)

Meat Trees

             This is a binding between nature and mankind
             unexplainable through philosophy. The trees
             want to reclaim us or, perhaps, themselves.
            -K. Santiago, “The Whispers in the Wild”

World Cup – athletes at their peak
when the affliction struck.

Crushed leaves in snot on tissue –
it’s nothing. I was Ubering people

around Columbus, heard the chatter.
Can trees grow in brains? Is the new

trend snorting deciduous?
I tapped the CNN app– first it was

a world-class saxophonist struck
down with a green cold.

Next, football stars from Paraguay
and Russia, all blowing chunks

of trees into white, softer trees.
The first doctor to log a patient

said it’s nothing to worry about.
After a week the test showed invasion:

prickly pines a long spine in the nose
and the headlines bleated MEAT TREES!

It was early morning in the haze
of dreaming when my nose dripped forest–

I wiped my hand across the stream,
the flecks of blossoms blooming.


(originally published in Cough Syrup Magazine, Spring 2020)

You Leave to Make Art in the South

    a riverflow
  of talent
      the sediment
         of the world
             gone well
                 my flaws
                   I wish
                 still for contact
             this accident of
          longing a lesson
       in how not to be alone
                    through the lens
                              of canvas

(originally published in Erothanatos, Spring 2020)

Christmas, 2017

I heard last year Uncle Keat
lost his sight, and nobody
has seen him since.

Tonight, my oldest brother– waiting
on a kidney, unable to walk–
unwraps a flashlight.

A gift of hope, I suppose,
what we lose we tend to replace
at the end of a year–

the longer Dad’s dead the wider
entropy’s net consumes us.

Today’s the fabled white
Christmas, trail of footprints
leading into the woods.

Somebody gray-bearded
and familiar waits in a clearing,
hands cupped to mouth.

There’s no warmth in
red streams of wrapping paper
hanged from winter branches.

Uncle Keat was there,
we’re sure. Somewhere
his tether.

As if another dark
world with open jaw
awaits, and time

pushes us forward,
wheels squeaking
every now and then.

(originally published in Overheard, Winter 2022)

Fall, 2019

I’ve survived this far to get to fall,
and now auburn trees are nowhere.
Driving long distance– abundance
of green. Or branches, waiting for
that next temporary warmth. Used
to be we’d take a short vacation
to the northeast in October. Now
it’s a dice roll. Can’t take time off
at all for Maine. Can’t lose a single
dollar, lest dead leaves will cover
the lawn, the mouth, the moon.


(originally published in Fishbowl Press, Winter 2020)

To Billy (From Irie)

When I first saw the broom stand
upright in the room, I thought, witchcraft.
I couldn’t sleep for days after that.
Not because it tumbled and crashed
to the floor in a roar of unforeseen
thunder, but because it was thrilling
to see the way we could play with
gravitational pull. Can my chewy
be tossed across the office with
a knuckleball axis tilt at the end?
I’ve witnessed tricks, your robot-
walk into a wall, your near-miss
backflip kick to the hanging amber
lights off the ceiling. I see everything
that happens here from my suite
on the floor, which is why, one day,
when the moon is tugging the world
the right way, I’ll sneak out my pillow
into the hall, past the conference room.
When you search for me, I will stand
on two legs in the shadows, ready
to capture your reaction on camera.

(originally published in Communicators League, Fall 2021)

First Friday – Penn Avenue, January 2020

After browsing the galleries we eat barbecue at Soju,
share plates twenty bucks each. We discuss the art

being hearts that keep us beating. I am realizing
my canvas might be smaller than my desire,

that there’s a limited amount of acrylic to be squeezed
from my eyes. Such is the pollen in azaleas plucked

by honeybees, fuzz on breezy days I try to catch.
Every wish is a wild one, based in basking in the sun

naked among a common herd. I like it when you hand
me your gold-ringed plate and insist I eat a chunk

of katsu chicken and Korean poutine. When you pour
a shot of cherry soju in my glass, and insist I try to lose

myself, I look everywhere for the sweet rice cake, but
it is draped in gochujang, ruby as the thin rare innards

of the sirloin bulgogi, ruby as the passing cars’ brake
lights, glancing off the concrete in the rain.


(originally published in The Headlight Review, Spring 2020)

To Rich (From Irie)

Bananas everywhere make me hungry.
The doormat, the neon sign, the sticker

on your Apple– I can’t help it. My
cuteness doesn’t preclude that I am part

wolf. A ruthless hunter. When I run
across the rug to your room I want you

to throw fruit on the floor just to bite off
the peels. I’ve had my eyes on inedible Ethel

the Christmas Chicken when I learned she’s
still a chicken. For once I want a sandwich.

Put me in your cart with a potato gun
at Sam’s and we’ll hold that whole

place up. As you ransack the banana stand,
I’ll loot the deli and meet you in the middle.

(originally published in Jokes Review, Summer 2020)