The longer I lived in my car
on the road aimless the more I
wanted to lose myself. Everywhere
was a mirror & the only way to go
was into the murk of past &
uncertainty of tomorrow. It was like
pedaling the gas for days in the mud.
Tires spinning, going nowhere.
The same me to greet at each
destination: The Grand Canyon.
Austin. Keystone Lake
in Oklahoma had drowned itself
in a Paul Klee watercolor. I
wanted its depths as my own.
The pole in the lake.
The pole in the trees.
My eyes in the lake.
My eyes in the sky.
(originally published in Plum Tree Tavern, Spring 2019)
you asked me to move in
or lose you Ben
Franklin is credited with
the early bird gets the worm
and also electricity
I have a tic
wherein I set a clock
back twenty minutes
to make myself early
and the storm
the kite so vivid and red
corporeal and endless
(originally published in Epigraph Magazine, Winter 2018)
I can tell you how many points LeBron scored last night
or who won the World Series,
but I can’t fix the leaking faucet in the bathroom,
won’t mow the lawn if not overgrown.
I don’t change the oil in my Ford
nor bring home a solid paycheck–
but I will live in an apartment
to avoid responsibility.
I’ll pay lots of money to tell
a landlord I can’t do it.
I’ve already lived in a car to avoid the responsibility
of telling a landlord I can’t do it.
I didn’t know how to fix it when it broke down,
and a Samaritan changed my flat tire when I burst it
when turning into a potholed Burger King lot
and I claimed I was about to fix it.
He told me not to pay more than twenty-five dollars for a used tire–
no more than twenty-five dollars, and get the rim hammered out
I went to the tire shop and paid their thirty-five to avoid conflict.
Wordlessly they stopped eastbound traffic on Pico
and I backed away and left.
One thing I can do well is parallel park,
as if reverse-navigation is worth bragging about
but I’ll take it.
No one has the courage to fit inside this small space.
No one can fit inside here but me
(originally published in Literary Yard, Winter 2018)
A shadow figure outside the Ford’s locked door.
He jiggles the handle
hey can you drive me to Santa Clarita
I said no I have been drinking whiskey
which was a lie
he said let me in
I did not
When I wake for a walk in the middle of the night,
clothes bunched on red benches under streetlights
like someone had been there
I call my ex
I can’t stop thinking about you
shadows float from her eyes
understand: we lived
in the cave of each other
under orange streetlights
blankets hang from headrests
to drape me from the world
(originally published in The Nottingham Review, Fall 2017)
compartmentalized space the whole world
one way windshield window window
window window mirror mirror mirror
rush of speed then tangled road
slow for nothing nothing slows for you
(originally published in Stonecoast Review, Fall 2017)
Wish we were as patient as my car.
To drive four hundred miles not
needing to stop. To go seven hours
over grayscale roads and want
to talk to you still after.
We drove a long way but got
stranded on the side of
a southern highway, scared
from too many October horror films,
from lasting even this long.
(originally published in CircleShow, Summer 2017)
If you drive a car whose
combustion confuses fuel
for air, the engine will quiver
along smooth concrete.
At certain speeds, a clanking
rotor is similar
to the natural cadence
of heartbeats in embrace:
amplitude becomes a deafening
in the stillness of night.
Let a rotating machine of mass
be mounted on a stiff spring
to fix support. The pieces
must move vertically in
a single degree of freedom
even if the rotor is unbalanced,
its hypnotic center missing
one valve’s intake,
forgetting the other’s exhaust.
(originally published in Lakeview International Journal of Literature and Arts, Summer 2017)
I argue with the music in my car again
those rock’n’roll pots and pans clanging
in the soup kitchen of my imagination
the Steel Reserve of my rumba rumblin’
stomach unfilled from Maruchan ramen
really I’m running from anything but home:
in the apartment of my car the desert’s
a sandstorm of faulty A/C and mountains
obscuring the view of my future and
there’s nowhere else to go but here
(originally published in Outcast Poetry, Spring 2017)
We inhaled fog on the Golden Gate
along with traffic exhaust.
Foghorns cried names
we did not recognize.
Car horns, names we gave ourselves.
From this high, you said, there is no good
way to fall. We scrunched our fingers
to encapsulate the small
fragility fog brings– how, in a moment,
everything can change / fog
of ghosts rippling waves from long-
passed boats / fog of sitting in silence,
windows down / fog of steel cable’s
fading red / fog of missing
what we lost while sun cuts a way
(originally published in Eunoia Review, Fall 2016)
The only deals I actually found in Vons
were in clearance. Beers half-off per bottle.
They’ll be ready in a box in my too-orange,
too-granite Public Storage space when I am.
Bearded teens saunter by in lumberjack caps.
I will wait for more significant events in my life
to drink the harp whose tones keep me moving.
Think about teeth– among the homeless drifters
I probably consume the most peanut M&M’S,
filling my days with processed rainbows and crunch.
How do you stop? I was at the 7th Street Metro, one a.m.,
no one there and the halls echoed in perpetuity.
Purple line for purple folk. I’m purple
from dehydration. Mixture of gravel and headspace.
Play me some ukulele. The strings react to the roar
of coming trains, twenty minutes late.
This is what I hear: my name is Grace.
I want to direct, and these are my roommates.
I realize even in the city’s darkest depths,
no one is alone, even after the dream fades.
(originally published in The Wagon Magazine, Autumn 2016)