Chiaroscuro

Alone we stand

at Mt. Washington’s overlook,
the incline trembling. How

many nights did we seek
the city lights from Mulholland

Drive?
I reply,

Stanley Kubrick once
filmed with only candles.

You obscure the view,
flick Bergman on your phone

and ask, do you see the reaper?

His head an egg floating
atop a sea of darkness.

 

(originally published in Vamp Cat Magazine, Summer 2019)

Alone in a Movie Theater

I am in competition with darkness
staring into the eyes of people playing people

says the man who lost himself in Los Angeles
on purpose to walk to the beach and along

its shore at night with grayblue jacket lightly
shielding me from breeze inside other footprints

shapeshifting to waves rocking against a porch
of a vacation home that pile of gold inside

a beached skull I carried into an orchard with
knife and sliced gala apples into motorboats how

Dad used to and it is not littering when I biodegrade
myself into Earth sinking deeper into its core

where I sleep for two hours and
wake up a new and filthy man

 

(originally published in Rabid Oak, Summer 2019)

tom hanks

struck by the enormity of celebrity
tongue-tied dry we small fish in death
valley this is my job I am the tiniest
in this production office the center
of large spiraling arms I am asked to do
and do until there are no more limits & a producer
who already looks and acts like a million bucks
asks if he can use the washer / dryer in wardrobe
and I say there are dyes but he cannot find the will
to spend twelve dollars on socks at the company’s
recommended google-search laundromat when
don from transpo barges in and asks about the
laundry service down the hall in our building
and my boss says laundry is today’s hot topic
when tom hanks lands in the room
in normal clothes like a familiar
skyscraper we may be able to name

(originally published in The Racket, Summer 2020)

M&M

I was searching, too,
having lost the will to film
when I left Los Angeles. So
when you and Kim hid bags of
Haddad’s M&Ms from the other,
I learned it’s okay and rare
to find such sweetness inside
the seams of a rolling chair.
And when I watched you
climb desks and tables
to seek an advantage
inside the pillar, the cords,
the tethered lights– which
resulted in a broken device–
it was never malicious,
wasn’t some power play
I’d become accustomed to
in this industry, just a game
that ended when Janice
emptied bulk bags of the candy
over our desks because
even I was in too deep and,
yeah, it was hilarious. Now,
as we clean our desks to leave,
we find stray M&Ms buried
under paper stacks that serve
to remind, if for a moment,
that you are my friend.

 

(originally published in Eunoia Review, Winter 2019)

Cocktail Hour in the Wardrobe Department

because Greg today got inducted into the Academy
downstairs at work they say drink as much as you
want this quiet wild hour of comatose fluorescents
after the first champagne they mention the blue
cooler stocked with ice-cold IPAs & I know I will
reach into the frigid cell & corkscrew open a Doghead
with these incorporated strangers I have come to want
to know & if there were an Oscar for spills I would
by now be adorned in gold instead of wishing
for potential future accomplishments to seep in
like rivers running opposite directions to form
a body instead of letting anxious moths eat me
from inside perhaps I’m ready to be removed
from this rusting rack so reality can tailor me

 

(originally published in Goat Farm Poetry Society– Edges Zine, Winter 2019)

Wall, Edge, Chandelier

past the corner of this house’s Kubrick architecture
     on the couch a bundle of eyes
                               a slopping visual stain
       but it’s true. my vision is blurry
            I spent the walking sidewalk
            grapes inside my right cheek
    thinking how I want to win you.
                so romantic, you
                with a stranger in my house
                                about to
                          dine on the fruit of
                       ancient gods and I am laughing
                                            now to have the ghost
                                            within my walls, my green
                                                        heart long and longing
                                                                 lunging out my chest
                                                                       it sticks to paint
                                                                                  like spaghetti

 

(originally published in streetcake, Summer 2018)

Editing Room

Evenings in the video lab laughing at ourselves acting in
perpetual circles the clicks of play and rewind in a dialogue
with eternity rectangular how to zoom into self with microscope
both of us learning but look at you now in the fighter jet
sky tethered to wirings of small precise instruments of war how
we live in the perpetual unknowing state of     I want you always
to come home even not to me because back then
every small moment was contained in its forever

 

(originally published in Street Light Press, Spring 2018)

July

summer mugs me every time
muggy breath and hug of sweat
so hug me hold me let me know
I’m not a cloud who will sink
into a vapor or wave hissing mist

an atmosphere of melancholy hot
days that teleports me to L.A.
stargazing fame because anyone
who meant anything existed far
away celebrities or friends who

wait when you come home to drink
torpedoes in the square then explode
with laughter when telling them how
you lived everyday in a pile of socks
and neverending sunshine

 

(originally published in Abstract Magazine, Spring 2018)