Condensation

We used to be the same, used to
dance in living rooms in Grandview
houses, drunk on homemade Moscow
Mules in copper mugs, and then
you said you would no longer.
With a glass of emptied ice
water, you’d drip out the fronts
of bars without a noise.

(originally published in Live Nude Poems, Spring 2019)

Tuesday Night Karaoke at Hounddog’s Pizza

Another weeknight. Of course
we’re being responsible. Hell,
we chose the karaoke spot
with the Christians congregating
at a table before the mic. The
first from the group sings
Reliant K; the next sings
Hozier’s Take Me to Church
and they all nod and clap
their hands. I want to
tell them it’s a goddamn
metaphor. The whole thing.
I mean, life. Not simply the
lyrics (although worship
in the bedroom seems
obvious– from Adam’s
rib came Eve, hard, both
of them, I mean they bit
into the apple, crunched
to the core, came hard
in the likeness of God’s
merciless love. But what
these friends mean is
a crucifix hanging
above the bed, in front
of the mirror, so that
they can watch themselves
pray in the presence
of Jesus). I mean I want to
tell them but I don’t say
anything, and they leave
as I hit the stage to sing
Psycho Killer, leave before
I can tell them you start
a conversation / you
can’t even finish it.
You’re talking a lot but
you’re not saying
anything. Run, run,
run, run, run, run
away.

 

(originally published in MORIA, Spring 2019)

Aladdin’s

Funny, thinking back, the restaurant– hell,
the industry, those incessant phone calls
in the midst of rush, my snaking past
corners with three plates of hummus
and shawarma in aluminum, warm
from the kitchen, only to waste
in a stranger’s presence, scraps
on porcelain I’d bus, then zigzag
through the floorplan of tables.

Funny, thinking now, how little has
changed– insecure in economics,
I’ve jumped the lilypads of job
after job, the backbreaking work
of conforming, of each return home
with something new to say but I’ve
said it, I’ve said my best, my cap-
stone thesis shredded in California,
back when full of possibility–

I desire a bowl of time
loops. Cereal in my milk.

I didn’t even use silverware
in college, a joke inside a riddle
presented as a gift I constantly
unwrap, umbrellas of green
folding into myself in the rain,
suffocating, blinding, this pirouette
of place, this unfixable sedan
screaming off the shoulder
of the highway, smoke
signals ablaze and late
for work.

(originally published in Little Rose Magazine, Winter 2019)

Balance

bubblegum, bean
or J for jelly bean

and the first letter
of your name

your bent elbow
your bent knee

upside
down

interpretations. the morning
of early language

the balloon is red
your eyes black

the sky red
your eyes white

the sky white
your eyes red

black drape of night

white rainbow
white sun

everything between
the margins of the

mental spiritual
physical colorful

hangs in
the balance

 

(originally published in Vamp Cat Magazine, Winter 2019)

Solace

It was not solace we sought in the woods,
but rather, logs to provide fire for years.
Having known too many temporary timbers that
smoke then ash in small stretches of time slung
across the small rooms one week to the next,
among the dying leaves we wanted no others.
To watch what turned red on the fringe of the
world’s balance on a sling so fragile we chose
to forget. How long have we known each other?
How long will we? Days whisk into years
without stopping. We know nothing will be
forever; just as every good memory builds
the foundation of happiness worn like vodka
on jeans. If there were a blemish it was houseflies
swept off the cabin’s hardwood. Wings on bodies
in the margins, inert. How soon for us, too.
How winds change in a week but the fire
we started on arrival lingered smoke after
the last departing tires moved pebbles from
the driveway into life’s wild, winding road.

 

(originally published in Dime Show Review, Winter 2019)

M&M

I was searching, too,
having lost the will to film
when I left Los Angeles. So
when you and Kim hid bags of
Haddad’s M&Ms from the other,
I learned it’s okay and rare
to find such sweetness inside
the seams of a rolling chair.
And when I watched you
climb desks and tables
to seek an advantage
inside the pillar, the cords,
the tethered lights– which
resulted in a broken device–
it was never malicious,
wasn’t some power play
I’d become accustomed to
in this industry, just a game
that ended when Janice
emptied bulk bags of the candy
over our desks because
even I was in too deep and,
yeah, it was hilarious. Now,
as we clean our desks to leave,
we find stray M&Ms buried
under paper stacks that serve
to remind, if for a moment,
that you are my friend.

 

(originally published in Eunoia Review, Winter 2019)

Cocktail Hour in the Wardrobe Department

because Greg today got inducted into the Academy
downstairs at work they say drink as much as you
want this quiet wild hour of comatose fluorescents
after the first champagne they mention the blue
cooler stocked with ice-cold IPAs & I know I will
reach into the frigid cell & corkscrew open a Doghead
with these incorporated strangers I have come to want
to know & if there were an Oscar for spills I would
by now be adorned in gold instead of wishing
for potential future accomplishments to seep in
like rivers running opposite directions to form
a body instead of letting anxious moths eat me
from inside perhaps I’m ready to be removed
from this rusting rack so reality can tailor me

 

(originally published in Goat Farm Poetry Society– Edges Zine, Winter 2019)