I had been eating like shit living
in my car, fingernails full of fungus.
We agreed to meet in Japantown
to enjoy a fancy ramen
but this would be my first
in many years
that wasn’t Maruchan
(cheap crinkly plastic,
in a sawtooth packet)
& you must be aware the body
struggles to digest it.
During our meal,
two years since
we last talked,
the cheap ramen must have
intermingled in my stomach
with the pork-broth
real deal. I put an egg
on top for authenticity
when you told me you had
just bought Coachella tickets
for yourself & your brother
& I didn’t want to know the
price because I was living
on wages made on the days
I was lucky enough to
find work. Umami
lingered on my tongue
as we ruminated
in silence over
how vast the distance
our lives traveled
in different directions.
(originally published in Triggerfish Critical Review, Winter 2020)
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)
blue across the redlands–
when did I become
isolated? You said
I had a home
to sleep, I just had
to ask but
I would never– except
I did the night we shot
arrows across your
driveway, my quivering
aim missed the tree
and nearly pierced
a squirrel’s eye–
(originally published in The Wayward Sword, Summer 2018)
When lightning strikes a distant tree
I lift my hands from the steering wheel.
Hail knocks on the windshield–
a desperate stranger. Curled in fleece,
I hide behind windows, the past
a gathering flood until the sun
bares terrible fangs
of clarity and renewal.
(originally published in Rust + Moth, Autumn 2018)
When I was homeless, I snuck into gyms.
Browned shower floors with footprints.
A rose inside curtains’ slow steam,
I became an endless bloom,
tongue lapping the head.
(originally published in Pidgeonholes, Spring 2018)
sun & guitar strumming through space giving
breathing life-music concertos into me the grass
the G-minor wind the black garbage bags
I have picked out only a few t-shirts to wear
this year or any year could be the lifespan
of the universe or an endless pot of coffee
all my pants in the trunk I have driven
the cavernous columns of west U.S.A. today
& yesterday & tomorrow is my bent mind u-turn
steering wheel a strained muscular twist & cat-tongue
rubber consuming thoughts which are broke &
banked & rivulets of rust & cash the downstream
trend of my feral gasoline-fueled dreams
(originally published in Treehouse: An Exhibition of the Arts, 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)
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)