Bowie

Dog through the window– charcoal snow
and peanut-speckle brushstrokes– I watch you
served by our server on the patio under

Azorean’s white umbrella. If only I could be
of service to a creature so brown-eyed and sacred.
I want to be good, too, and melt the heart of people

I encounter. But I am out of it– I still feel new here
and spend my workweeks isolated and curious
for the world I miss around me, its strangers

a wild pack wandering the streets, searching
for any scent that spells joy. How mine smells of cinnamon
blocked by endless windows overlooking a sea of blue

recycling trucks inside a sharp metal fence, and– even now–
I peer through glass, smelting, as our server rubs your head,
as passers-by smile as they go wherever they must go.

I want to be unleashed, too– to put both knees on
concrete, pet the fur between your ears, and
inhale, together, Saturday’s shared freedom.

 

(originally published in Hello America, Fall 2019)

In This Cafe You Thought You’d Find Solace from This World

through speakers 70s music bass
guitar heartbeat pulsating through
a weatherman chants forecasts out
of sync a microwave beeps the shrill
coffee machines trembling cash
register slamming baritone voice
barista says he has bad hearing you
said something before sandwich fan
spins no rhythm stringed spurt richochet
solos quiet everyone reading books
tablets not responding to chaos burnt
bagel wafting sorry sorry the window
rain begins drum drum drum drum
one two three four the faucet spits
on everyone walks in don’t you
want somebody to love?

 

(originally published in IthacaLit, Spring 2018)

Young Skeletons

the baristas grind bones into coffee
in these cafes I call skeleton closets

this golden-brown-haired babe stands by my table
her laced leggings draw desire with a fine ballpoint pen

her head whips to me from some psychic seventh sense
she is my ex-girlfriend’s brother’s future ex

her eyes descend as B-movie UFOs
attraction vacuums neatly into a plastic bag

she sits with me like a pocketed thunderstorm
galvanized on The Great Wall of Chain-Link

you must believe me she says
there are no hard feelings

a poacher must say the same
beside a rhino’s castrated face

she asks if I come here often
I say I come hard everyday

just the flickering moon will summon the wolf
and we emulate its growls in fluorescent light

time is our species’ one enduring invention
a new carcass will not survive the night

so hold on to your corpse for as long as you can
until we mourn with our friends the forgetting

(originally published in The Broken Plate, Spring 2016)

In the Future I Will Drink More Coffee

in the future i’d be watching you smoke
cigarettes
waving your smoke away
with cleaver hands

breakfast would come
we’d slice cucumbers in the wet-
snake leather kitchen
rectangular blade neatly fit
sink-soaked
the yolk in the sandwich a little drippy
warm & familiar

the electric stampede of spiders’ feet

never did the future weave
faint spiderweb strands

 

(originally published in Sobotka Literary Magazine – Issue #3)