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)

Diffusion / NBA Finals, 2016

Pacing around the bar crowd, watching
the Cavaliers transfer heat to one another through
bullet passes around invisible perimeters, Kurt

and I keep drinking the strangers toward us.
“Gaseous diffusion,” he offers. “Alcohol
is only molecules bumping into each other.”

Our bodies generate more heat with every swig,
the atmosphere tense but warm through
our gullets. We chug chaos in the blur,

invite a thousand basketballs to bounce up
and down halfcourt. The players don’t notice
our dribbled words in soundwaves processed

a million different ways in the space between
earlobe and brain. Endlessly the spectators
chant go to sleep because no one we want

to talk to wants to talk to us, our zigzagged steps
combining with the sound of a team on the verge
of climbing a challenging mountain though

the peak is steep so we try nothing more
but the drinks that keep us moving. To stop
would be to hear the room’s haunting cheer.

 

(originally published in The Drunken Llama, Fall 2018)

Notes on a Poem at a Bar

Here is my true intention / inability:
capture your beauty in the whites between words.

I scribble words: egg, mountain.
                  Neither the creamy expanse of an egg in a pan
                  nor the peak of mountain in twilight
                  conjure the essence of you.

I’ve searched for stars in the dictionary.

And your brown eyes search me for answers.
                  I have none. I’ve scribbled out
                  attempts in red pen.

Only if I rise godlike out of body will I (perhaps)
in the sky simplify / complicate language enough
to describe your infinite(simal) beauty.

These plentiful dice roll combinations of words.
These few.

I don’t rise. I’m here beside you
wondering if I should utter my thoughts
like a prayer to you.

Then, years from now, maybe
I’ll guess what I said and write the poem then.

 

(originally published in Delphinium, Summer 2018)

January 28

I really want to drink today.

The sun is shining. It’s warmer than usual.

I should try to ween myself off, right? None of this cold
turkey shit.

I haven’t drank a drink this year, the miracle
of it. Today, I am alone.

I scrubbed white the kitchen tiles, but there are
always dirt stains, smudges when you look
a little harder.

Sanitized the kitchen table with towels,
swept its crumbs from the floor.

The cat sprints from one end of the room
to the other over
and over, imaginary laps.

What every day is, these days,
running a relay race, handing
the baton to tomorrow’s me
with the trust I won’t– today,

it’s a sleep’s worth heavier than yesterday.

Long minutes the placemarks I pass

I can’t make time go faster. It is my day
off work, and in its nothingness I trudge
through sludge. Old habit,

you don’t die hard because
you’re not dying. You’re
as alive as me: refreshed yet craving,

gazing through the window to the light-
stained street, the shadows cast from trees
out toward the river.

 

(originally published in Stickman Review, Spring 2018)

Earth Angel

microphone in hand
                                        the gutter of volumetric gain

to finally sing gin (out of the system
                                                                         sky an ocean of lights)

the star made of you-matter: gold voice hot collision
where bar’s empty souls listening clink glasses

                            then rise in song to celebrate your living