Nightclub

dark dancing the swish-
swash glug-glug to drown

Thursday in the rust belt &
this used to be our favorite

before the fire– now smoke
seeps through the brick

we bottle into our lungs
in an attempt to pacify

our knifebeats, this onset
of strangers, inevitable

hellos & exchange
of bodies

 

(originally published in Door Is A Jar Magazine, Spring 2020)

Float Through

Today, I slide on slush on my drive. Unplowed roads, slippery odometer–
morning snow surprise. Pittsburgh’s a city of hills unavoidable, and later,

waiting on a grocery pickup, I stare into the rearview mirror at the frost-
tipped pines when a knock on my window removes me from my existential

stupor. I don’t know how to interact anymore. Crank the window the wrong
way. Peppermint mocha, the years past. I bought a latte this morning but did

not know how to order it. The Dunkin teens stared, dumfounded, and it was
a foggy day like this– in which I float through the happenings– that I last

crashed my car. In Los Angeles, I flew down the dry 405, beat after
a long day in a Hollywood studio, and was amazed at the hospital light

brightness as I passed Westwood, like I could snap my fingers and time
would once again resume, while five other lanes of traffic zigged around

me with no regard to my existence. I was like a visitor to myself dragged
back into being with silent smoke pouring out the mouth of my Ford’s

hood. The front was crumpled but the SUV I slammed into appeared
untouched. The sixteen-year-old girl called her dad to ask what to do.

She took my insurance, my number, then drove off with the rest of the
world, as I stood at the side of the highway waiting for someone to

help me go home, still, to this day.

(originally published in the chapbook Count Seeds With Me (Ethel Zine & Micro-Press), Spring 2022)

For Halloween I’ll be Jesus You Be Mary Magdalene

my cigarette-smoking badass waitress
      the Bible I’ll defenestrate at 3 A.M.

               Mary I went to Catholic school
while Josh played bagpipes at the Oval

Absorb tradition with sugary cocktails
               I didn’t say a word in the play

               as Pontius Pilate    I wouldn’t
               have contributed

Watch men get crucified by wine
Watch women excise their seven demons

                            this party’s a tomb
                            of sacred skeletons

leave it to the wild dogs to feast
on the bottles of Jagermeister

            we drink blue glasses
            of Zombie in the corner

 

(originally published in Down in the Dirt, Winter 2020)

“I’m Not Dead, I’m Dormant!”

                                -sign posted by the African Tree Grape
                                 at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical
                                Gardens in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

meaning
I love you I love you
or I did it’s not dead
I swear in my heart
there’s our little room
full of dust
your fingerprints
on the window
we’re not dead
but we’re trying
to figure this living-
together shit
and not take
our suitcases
boxes
of handwritten cards
Miami Post-Its
and the cats
oh my god the cats
litter the house with
stars we’d sweep
for trash night
on Thursday
with all the puffy
white bags
that sometimes rip
and leave grape
stems
on the sidewalk

 

(originally published in Eunoia Review, Winter 2020)

no more dog for you

is what kailee says after
our boss says bang! dead
he asks who wouldn’t have
shot a dog that’s clearly at
its end and she walks out
of his office sits down by me
and says he was showing
me grotesque pictures
and I said I know
I overheard half his
ear is gone
I still have two
full ears
though sometimes
selectively choose
what I perceive as
in their conversation
as in yes I know
I hung the wifi
password sign
in his office
slightly slanted
and I have
a diagonal view
of it from the
wooden table
I call my desk and
it irks me to see
slight
imperfection
I would not
could not
invest in the
thought of
owning a gun
but I
will tear down
that sign
at first
opportunity

(originally published in Jokes Review, Summer 2020)

Cape May Karaoke

vocals rise  night static  the beach house we
sway to midi music   call ourselves karaoke

machines   what disappointment   to not be
whole   humid June   familiar shadows

encroach the move  I crack my song  an egg
to thee   to thaw cold exhibitions of the

bottle  another  popped  Corona to thirst
for grand experiences  cheaply    the tide

a tape loop   I do not sing the steady
hand of a lyric    but rather the water

(originally published in Sybil Journal, Summer 2020)

x (miss)

                       sunlight

                          was
                          dust
              through open window

                      hardcover
                 books    wrapped
                beneath  a  plastic
                         tree

                   gifts like that

                 we did not open

(originally published in EgoPHobia, Fall 2019)