Ramen in Japantown

I had been eating like shit living
in my car, fingernails full of fungus.
We agreed to meet in Japantown
to enjoy a fancy ramen
but this would be my first
in many years
that wasn’t Maruchan
(cheap crinkly plastic,
cancer-flavored beef-dust
in a sawtooth packet)
& you must be aware the body
struggles to digest it.
During our meal,
two years since
we last talked,
the cheap ramen must have
intermingled in my stomach
with the pork-broth
real deal. I put an egg
on top for authenticity
when you told me you had
just bought Coachella tickets
for yourself & your brother
& I didn’t want to know the
price because I was living
on wages made on the days
I was lucky enough to
find work. Umami
lingered on my tongue
as we ruminated
in silence over
how vast the distance
our lives traveled
in different directions.

 

(originally published in Triggerfish Critical Review, Winter 2020)

Same as It Ever Was

I am reliving and reliving the remote
control buttons then buttons
in your bed, golden room of silk
and how many times did we drink
like that? Dropping beer after beer
at Zeno’s then groaning summer sleep
right after. What were we dreaming
about? The cat was snoring and
what an endless loop! Blinking
awake and wanting to crush
night back with aluminum eyelids

(originally published in The Drunken Llama, Summer 2021)

Distance Makes the Heart

grow fonder, or so is said,
but I’ve learned it as distance
makes the heart forget us

the equation is miles plus
time equals a greater radius,
as between words dangling

on a phone line, or inflections
slung from mouths through
the atmosphere onto a satellite,

far removed from its origin,
home now absolute zero, cosmos
cold and steel, this floating coffin

a language of longing, your voice
massaging my eardrums through
silence

(originally published in Academy of the Heart and Mind, Fall 2019)

Spirit (Green Autumn)

What I was telling Kurt
was the danger
nostalgia
of loneliness
too close to the wound
a candle drips
old-timey tunes
still fresh
like traveling
through the pinhole
of a new vortex
I say I am alive
and someone new
knows there is
disagreement
in the leaves
how this fall
they are not
changing
only pulling
by the shoulders
saying you
will come
along
whether
you want to
or not

 

(originally published in Pretty Cool Poetry Thing, 2019)

I am in my blue childhood

bedroom, black Walkman
spinning CD-Rs of Mega Man
music. I want to dance–
anything but obsidian.
Scraped knees learning
to ride a bike– bloodstained
handlebars leaving the woods.
I can handle myself better
now, not always falling into
potholes I noticed yesterday.

Last week, driving home
from work in the city,
my tires hissed
as they failed to replicate
their cells, then blew out
in the middle of the road
in the warehouse district.

But I had music going–
OverClocked ReMixes
from Chrono Cross,
which got me thinking
about the Winds of Time,
parallel universes,
the inevitability of Lavos–

I had to call for help.
I spent green youth
cooped in front of
the basement television.

Now, if I were to fetishize
anything it would be
no real consequences–
to the cyclical parallels
of the universe.

(originally published in Dear Reader, Summer 2021)

Fireflies Burning Blue

Our world is made
of water, of sadness.

Blue hues in a
supermarket’s faces.

Green bills,
blue hills.

These are wings of sky,
the mechanics of flight:

sidewalks float bugs
that gently illuminate.

There are no more
fireworks, only quiet

landing of legs
onto concrete,

the resting a belief
you do your best,

you try.

 

(originally published in The Sunlight Press, 2020)

Third Anniversary (During COVID-19)

                        After Mikko Harvey


I don’t
want you
to be
scared. Maybe
thinking of
a cat
would help.
Have you
seen
the video of
the one
waddling into
the ocean
to be with
her friend?
She swims
onto his
head
and they stay
afloat.
When they’re done,
she beelines
through sand
to the towel
he set up
on the
beach,
and he pours
sun-warmed
water to
heat her up
before he rubs
her down.
Sometimes we
have to remember
the world before.
We don’t know
what’s going
to happen.
Kingsford and DQ
are especially
tender
at a time
like this.
What
are we
supposed
to do?
Not pet
them?
Right now,
DQ is snoring
on the blue
blanket of
the futon
without
a worry.
Our first
three years
have been
that soft.
I hope
this passes
soon.
Until then
we will squeeze
each other–
holding
our cats
close, all of
us afloat.

(originally published in Pendemic, Spring 2020)

Thanksgiving, 2019

I can’t sit at the dining table
& listen to the morning swarm

of words buzzing around my hair
hovering not entering my ears

(this tablecloth of hardened rice
& wide-angled magenta lotus flowers).

To come home is to steam tradition
& I admit love is a dry chunk of it.

But my patience does not endure.
The turkey in the oven has been

dressed with salt & oil since 3 A.M.
Soon we will eat our wounds.

(originally published in Pandemonium Journal, Spring 2021)

Say Grace at the Drive-Thru

Voice sings through static
in the dark.

God forgive
me my body–

jumbled
chirping syllables.

One at a time. Heartbeat
crinkling in a sugarpacket.
Sand on beach.

I’m thankful. No one

inside
but you.

She asks what you want.
Ministerial. Ocean

breeze
through open

window. Flat stale wall.
What do I need?

More salt, more salt, more salt,
amen.

(originally published in Punk Monk Magazine, Summer 2019)