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.
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
As if another dark
world with open jaw
awaits, and time
pushes us forward,
every now and then.
(originally published in Overheard, Winter 2022)
but I fall asleep it is Friday my youth
is waning. Please tell me every time
you want me there. I love to say I
will think about it. And I will. To
feel if the sun will warm the air
enough to drink gallons the death
of me. I want you to nail me
down I want to stay in bed I want to
surround myself with hanging lights
and loud whiskey-drinkers and dance
around smashed Bud Light bottles
gleaming with the force of recent
desire– someone leaving their
own temporal body, someone
leaving their wallet behind,
someone leaving the world
so damn lonely now.
(originally published in RASPUTIN, Winter 2020)
I only know you in the dark
of music colors the big gray
tavern alive with chatter as
much as us as much as alcohol
which could let us roam
out to a new trail a morning
hike where we would talk a
quiet place and let jays
be the playlist for once
(originally published in Kettle Blue Review, Fall 2018)
Sometimes a Saturday is candle wax
the length from Cleveland to Columbus, a highway
of years burning blue in early spring, a handful
of flowers you hand an old friend who seems
a little aged now: a new house, a long mortgage,
a luxury car and me, unemployed,
eating pizza and fries.
He drinks red wine (party
hard weekend) –
these blood-drinks of youth.
I buy him nothing
he gives me space in return.
(originally published in The Heartland Review, Fall 2018)
I need new faces
I used to find
through the smells
of mom’s scrambled eggs
I want to be
a bullet train
I’ll tell my future grandkids
(originally published in Neologism Poetry Journal, Summer 2017)
*Pushcart Prize Nomination
Walking through the galleries on High Street
absorbing art, the watercolors bleed together–
a blue-green pond carries the weight of ducks.
The familiar arches of the Short North beneath
gray clouds, strokes of paint whoosh cerulean
onto wall, a window with its subject unmoving.
I wait stock-still for the art to understand me,
as if a painted cloud could somehow awaken
within something akin to the sound of wind
on the lake in the presence of trees who long
lost their leaves, age marked by a reception to
desire. With whom will I share my barren age,
those outermost rings which mark the end
(originally published in ‘the vacant hinge of a song‘, courtesy of Origami Poems Project)
When the city stops buzzing, streetlights
invite reflections onto storefront windows.
Finally, the distortions make us young,
removing cigarette burns and ash.
What love is reserved for the old? The bridge
seems sturdy in winter but more slippery
with its blue-streaked ice– and mouths of
gravel seem ageless. Time rescinds her reach
toward the cradle of sleep–
maligned shoes end on a cold porch,
slathered in a salty grit. Snow on
the doormat waits for extinction.
(originally published in “the vacant hinge of a song“, courtesy of Origami Poems Project)
The daddy longlegs cantilevers from Styrofoam
to sidewalk. Beetles, red-handed, scurry from a brown banana peel,
and as my gloved hands rake the dregs of recent days to neatly seal
in a new black bag, I think of how much we lose
in a week, or in the span of a second, some wayward glance,
a hush in a waning tide … no moon, no sun, no, merely
the space between … wrinkles slink into our faces.
I would give you wings, but you have risen,
already, high into infertile sky. And in the morning,
without sunrise, I will swear
the wings were broken, were never there, or were crushed,
in some tiny state of insignificance.
(originally published in Syzygy Poetry Journal, Vol. 1, No. 2)
we are anachronisms
different years in a lifespan
we drink wine
until we have nothing in common
out of our throats, dry and warm
we choke out laughter
which echo into absence
that we cannot seize
(originally published in FishFood Literary & Creative Arts Magazine, November 22, 2014)