We wandered the meat-factory-
turned-art-gallery, white wall to
white wall, wondering when to
dispel our abstract selves–
positive, negative, we followed
lines from canvas to grate where
blood of cattle used to drain,
where old concrete holds imprints
of feet. My hand sank into yours
that first time. I still see it there.
(originally published in Cold Creek Review, Spring 2018)
I’ll enter our bedroom to open
my laptop where I reserve
a French five-star dinner and
yes we have kids in this dream
the universe theirs to explore
so they start by clanging pots
and pans in the sine band of
our kitchen underbelly worlds
smaller than the space we used
to enclose the first time beneath
the orange blanket hot chocolate
wafting from the kitchen slunk
into pillowcases and snug before
the sun steams yolk in the black
pan gathers its yellow around
the edges waiting patiently to
(originally published in The Wire’s Dream, 2018)
The chairs we sit in are steel
horses, sad and dead. What you said
at the gallery in the warehouse was
to you, I have only given death and cookies.
Or corpses confused with candy.
Your cheeks puff, withdraw.
You’re silver in ceramic.
If I were a romantic I’d say
you belong in the painting.
Longing, always. But I am
a romantic. When we strolled
the botanical gardens we found longing
in the plants deemed poisonous.
How close I get to each sweet thing.
How close each is to death.
(originally published in Pif Magazine, Winter 2018)
I am a nail-punctured tire
the rubber smell
with you, unfinished, our wheels –
squealing for still.
Our bodies, bands stretched and heaved
in bundles of clothing
feathers scattered and–)
navigating roadmaps to our cores,
you can reach the end
and pluck what you want.
I just want you to see me for who I am
when your legs aren’t clamped around me,
the squeeze in the mitt.
(originally published in First Literary Review – East, Spring 2018)
You look around the room
and rate singles from one to ten
in terms of melancholy
but don’t know
how to rate yourself–
Pacific waves flow through
you almost drown
in the sea of your thoughts–
the scisms between pen and mirror,
heart and mind, these are thieves
who will lie to you ‘til the Greyhound
leaves for Cincinnati at 11:30.
Until then we watch superheroes do bad
stand-up comedy in the conference room
at the new Mikey’s, eating mushroom pizza
with too-hot sauce. Bass pounds from the stage
so loudly we walk to 16-Bit next door
to drink water and pretend we are drunk,
our mouths rocketships exploring the universe
of each other– the rotation of stars
confused with physics. In the end all you want
is chocolate cake. Your blue eyes curve away
in that soaring flyball-to-left way. The way
you sway me back to simpler times
when buying CDs was a holy act
of personal preference
and I stayed sealed on a shelf in plastic,
waiting to give the world my music.
(originally published in Zingara Poetry Picks, Summer 2017)
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
pleading with a red delicious begging god for good
even though I cannot process Jesus I still chew and
spit seed and you walk over the guts of me with your
shoes on sidewalk in the sweltering August of laying
in grass whispering love between dandelions so much
we’re sprouting from dirt in ugly ways all thorn
and bloom overgrown with each other there are
no gloved hands around anymore to pull us out
(originally published in Bluestem, Spring 2017)
I cracked my phone screen
on my first date without you.
I carried it in my back pocket, like always,
though maybe I postured myself differently,
finally sitting up straight enough
to carry my own weight.
I didn’t look at my phone
until after the date. By then,
I could no longer remember you
without the shattered glass–
the flawless screen was not made
from our blazing beach days
of black seaweed and slithering kites
that begged the wind to let go,
where footsteps parted sand
to lead the tide into ourselves,
to let the moon drag our bodies
into the ocean’s boundless mirrors
where, enveloped in reflections,
we could only gasp for air.
(originally published in Metonym, Fall 2017)
out of wisdom / out of want / so many / things / to not believe /
whether or not / you or I believe / you will end things / with your boyfriend /
I have seen your tattoos / just the surface / of your skin / understand I /
cannot chase / the gilded raven / with closed wings / I press into /
your hair / black against my mouth / the warmth of your ear /
in the back / of the room / holding /
so laugh quietly / whisper / don’t hold onto / anything /
be far enough away / from intimacy / that it feels like / intimacy /
a secret / a terrible secret / the way our mouths / don’t cling /
to each other’s / my hand / on your leg / your head /
turned away / in the back / of the room / we listen / to words / want to fall /
asleep / with each other / we want to / drift / from reality /
the blinds / and the gathers / Monday rain / fog / rain / I’ll help you / dry /
wielding an umbrella / for both of us / to stand / under / where we can / lie /
to each other / more intimately / watch the whole thing / fall asleep /
as the world / puts her weight / on the black / handle / in my hand /
and drains / with a whisper / into the gutter
(originally published in Birch Gang Review, Winter 2017)
was on a stump under a wooden bridge
that led nowhere. You said I am a fence
wanting pink clouds. We walked the tumorous hill.
You brought up your depression. The green
was infinite and quiet and a silence of oaks.
It was cold and snowing when I was naked
in the dirt digging with my hands with the other naked people.
We did not know what we were looking for. It was the first day
of winter and our legs burned from the chill. I said,
tell me everything you’ve ever known to be true.
You said nothing. But I make videos and we can record
our legs for twenty minutes– just the motion is enough
to nourish us. Hairy legs, hairless legs, left leg, right leg
walking upward to the nearest star– we carved a path
but it was our galaxy led us believe we could wind
and weave through sporadic trees called parks / art
exhibitions and we have these trees
on leashes trying to be trees
and if only we could look at them
and notice our leaves the same
we are so ill with them so malignant
and stuck and if we layer with them
into them if we could grow with them
we would bloom forever in ourselves
and then what would we have to talk about?
(originally published in mannequin haus, Summer 2016)
our short harmony brushes my teeth
flosses the ridges bending eating
at me the yellowy plaque on white
the yolks in morning how inside
we are tender sunny side up I love
the way you look at me those
runny eyes gushing off the pan
onto black-and-white tile floor
grids the burgeoning cities
in our minds cars read
the streetlights’ caution
as go, go, go . . .
(originally published in The City Key, Spring 2016)