In front of me in class. The long strokes
of chalk on board. I first whispered jokes
only you could hear. When we were face-
to-face I lost my wit. Young me in headlight
love neutralized by it. Your dad was a dentist
so I polished my yellow teeth. And yours
were gleams of white that guarded words!
I wrote what you said in journals to keep
them secret in my heart. For everyone
I have since loved I keep the language.
(originally published in Loch Raven Review, Spring 2019)
The mossy green– temporary escape.
Rustled leaves– this unkempt half-space.
The oak– an institution.
My faith in marriage drops deeper
and deeper into a canyon
of dirty plasma. It ghosts
and snakes away, blunges
expectations into a bent-
(originally published in Furtive Dalliance, Winter 2018)
(originally published Spring 2017 in Belletrist, with a reprint in Wizards in Space)
we bend and fold to keep
some memories alive
we, with our doughy cores
salty to the lick,
rose and contracted,
twisted into rope,
into ebb and echo, ripples
of the faintest caress,
indented on the crust
(originally published in Scarlet Leaf Review)
Why did an apple tree
grow in my backyard?
That’s where the swimming
pool was supposed to go.
I ask not for much.
A well-placed tornado, maybe.
Another plague, perchance,
to rot its every root.
Then a demon, perhaps.
Lucifer the Lumberjack,
chainsaw in hand,
could tempt the tree
with Eve, eat its fruits,
then chop it down, though
trees don’t love women
like I do.
Look, I know it’s not practical.
Jesus didn’t wear a crown of thorns
from an apple tree
but I bear a malus cross
and don’t want to give money
to a heathen
who cuts down
a tree for me.
I could do that by myself,
if I really wanted to. I really
want to buy that pool.
I’m tired of the silence.
I know it’s easier for you
to use your superpowers
to turn the tree into a Bible
that smells like a chomped-in
red delicious. If you do that
I will sue you.
(originally published in Cake & Grapes – Vol. I, Issue II)
Starlight is not equal in the petroleum sky.
Homes know the ocean
but not their owners– cliff’s edge.
Striated fireworks stake and fall,
hurriedly carted by fragile marbles.
Oil salts the earth to lust–
a red akin to blood
and romance seen in films,
romanticism violently envisioned
and burrowed for the claw
of the excavator, millionaire muck
gushed from leaking faucets.
The piping is consistent:
the toilets flush twice– to be sure.
These are where the fingerprints mingle
to create their own pulse– voyeur beats.
So fill your tank with Grey Goose.
Drink Utopia first. There is no price
for luxury but the cost in lost days–
(originally published in altered form in Little River – Issue #4)
She is a seatless unicycle who dangles on a string attached to a wire on a telephone pole. Her pedals spin with the wind. The payphones wonder if still she can ride. They worry she will roll off into the parking lot and strike the black ramshackle Lincoln to gift another dent. Cars in motion on the street will snort and shriek. In saturnalia a brown Boerboel yelps and hurtles and snatches her tire with ferocity in his jaw. He tugs and pulls as her wheel snarls and squeaks. He drags with his fur the weight of concrete. Her rubber hairs become roots she cannot untangle from white oak trees sequestered to forests she cannot reach. The parking lot is gravelly and minuscule. Caterpillars need more space to bloom. Butterfly-eyed people who look like dead poets recite words with aluminum in their tracheas.
(originally published in Corvus Review, Winter 2015)