Another Drunken Summer

Last summer, clunks of glass,
grapefruit juice across the veiled
table. We stayed drunk

through sweltering June, to cool
off with Bella Sera pinot grigio,
Tostitos, queso. How much is

too much pleasure? These half-
empty days of water we are
not eager to drink. Sit in shade

til sundown, table umbrella up
to block the cancer sun we
know. We know.

(originally published in Kissing Dynamite, Spring 2018)

In Pittsburgh, the First Time,

you told me Friendship is a road
split by two roads, parallel to Liberty,
and I told you that was a poem,
but you said, no, I’m just giving you
direction, and I looked up from your eyes
to the green sign reading Friendship Ave
and knew what you meant. Friendship–
we had yet to spend our first night
in the city, one that would end in
a dark cocktail bar for a dance party
that never materialized. In the morning,
we rode rented bicycles with bent
spokes and a click in their spinning
and I could only follow your lead
and cycle through streets still unfamiliar
to me– we weaved through lonely roads
to the Strip District, then stopped
at the Sixth Street Bridge to admire
the glimmer of the river that warm
winter day and continued until
we found the hill to Randyland
too steep to ride so, off our bikes,
we walked side-by-side up the path
until reaching our destination;
we locked our broken bikes
and kept walking.

 

(originally published in Bindweed Magazine, Winter 2019)

The Last Poem I Will Write in 2017

& the Louis Armstrong vinyl gravels What a Wonderful World
while my lover & I sing along in frogvoice & my roommate bakes
pecans in yellow pajamas & dances the Charleston once the track
changes & the mutt watches her & the black cat peers out above
a cardboard box’s walls like she’s protecting herself from death &
how little she knew about how close we all were & still are & what
we can do to further protect ourselves coat our shells in olive oil
salt sugar and rosemary / how the shell of the year could have tasted
like fatty nuts resembling healthy & how this is the last day we can bite
fully into the year & the record spins another new track & how innocent
each seems in the vinyl’s foggy trumpets & nostalgic drums spinning slowly
out our ears into the silence that overtakes the world

(originally published in Jenny, Fall 2018)

 

2017 Mantra

Build bridges, not walls,
though bridges ice faster
than roads we traveled–
hundreds of miles,
only to boomerang back
to before, while thousands of
armed windmills gasp for air–

the sunset through the bug-
stained window moves faster
than us toward a semblance of home–
swirls of clouds quivering
into the arms of weeping
willows simply
weeping–

 

(originally published in The Wayward Sword, Summer 2018)

Lyft Shift (2/9/17)

driving in circles
around the city

snow caps on all cars
little mountains shivering

tiny motors no one knows
the name of anyone

only a word on a screen
a face forgotten

and city lights
there’s a light rain mixed

with snow
the roads not slick

I am picking
up passengers

at the end of the night
and no further

than I was
at the beginning.

 

(originally published in Scarlet Leaf Review, Summer 2018)

Dogsleep

my eyes been tired recently can’t sleep
though I seen how you wept fatigued
on the bathroom floor wet tile &
we went to your bed the dog followed
& pressed paw against belly then
sighed & snored in a rhythmic breathing
we tried to do the same

 

(originally published in The Virginia Normal, 2018)

Dream with Hurricane

Florida’s coast the horizon gunmetal
and the gales drive me into a house
where I ramble in garbled non sequiturs
about God highways marijuana to a cop
whose intent is to arrest me but he says
he does not have the authority yet
I say you’ll get there then after
the wreckage the cop works as a clerk
in the city’s only shelter     I ask
if there’s room and he says not yet

 

(originally published in Hollow Tongue, Spring 2018)

The Appointment of the Special Counsel

out of nowhere there’s a razor-thin wire hope
smoke from the top of the mountain and
we small spectators watching those distant trees
burn chatter among ourselves that finally there’s
a chance to reveal the truth about the source of smoke
and to be honest we’re terrified if there isn’t
a fire because we see it and wonder what else
is covered up because it’s there all around us in the air

 

(originally published in Rabid Oak, Spring 2018)