Fuck fake corporate holidays–
ok, I said it.
our hearts fighting capitalism
but the system says February 14
is the best day to say you love
your person, to shower them
in candy and chocolate until
they can taste no more sweet.
our first Valentine and I miss you
terribly in these long hours
we spend at places we’re paid
to spend our lives in to survive
and what else would we spend
on but sweets?
In the past,
I’ve wanted to take a baseball bat to
Valentine Day’s piñata and smash
out all its greed–
this year, though,
you are my Valentine, and every day
I spend with you already I want to bury you
in a mountain of CVS candy and chocolate,
hold you close to me and whisper
I love you, I love you, I love you–
ok, today’s a good excuse.
(Originally published in Magnolia Review, Summer 2018)
I know we need to decompress because
there’s a multitude of zeroes airplaning
from our mouths while a jet drones above
and my heart is 01001010010 you tell me
your dad had a heart attack at 30 I hear
murmuring between my valves throat
clenched I want to kiss you but the
world is on fire and I want to turn
you off and on and off and on again
(originally published in Picaroon Poetry, Winter 2019)
The green blanket over your head–
Kimmy Granger gets fucked
by a fake photographer
on your iPhone in my hand.
Meanwhile, you ride me, moaning–
it’s snowing– December’s waning
autumn days– awaiting a kind of fate
under flicked-off lights
in the gray of afternoon.
Before this, we reminisced about
the early days– laying in bed my hand
in your hair listening to music.
Then late July laying in grass saying
the ways we make each other happy.
Which is why I must rewind this clip
over and over to the part where Kimmy
is smiling and laughing before
the whole thing starts and
I pine for the blanket, your
green thread and lint.
(originally published in Ghost City Review, Winter 2018)
On the patio drinking iced coffee
you write a letter to Jane Fonda
telling her you always thought
you’d be an actress– that distant
magical woman with a collection of
workout VHS tapes, one of which you
bought when thrifting. The sun is out. Lawyers
beside us talk about renovations to streets
near campus but from straw to lips– you and I,
our city infrastructure’s solid. We do not
fill our holes with asphalt to build new roads
lined with palm trees and your bagel stays fresh
in morning cool that feels like Palm Springs,
California. I am somewhere old yet unfamiliar:
a vacation in our neighborhood, a beach
house along the shores of the Scioto river,
oldies guitar strumming through air
like a boat guided by breeze–
fond of the present, sailing upstream.
(originally published in The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Spring 2018)
It’s the middle of the night
you say as you wake up,
7 A.M. sunlight beaming
through the cat tree.
Neither of us can sleep
these days of cells
turning against you–
I seek soft blanket
when touching you.
Fabric against skin
where soon warmth
(originally published in former People, Winter 2018)
microphone in hand
the gutter of volumetric gain
to finally sing gin (out of the system
sky an ocean of lights)
the star made of you-matter: gold voice hot collision
where bar’s empty souls listening clink glasses
then rise in song to celebrate your living
I awaken on a cold-coiled spring
day in which the car won’t stop
spitting fumes into mouths this steering
wheel won’t budge any way but forward
though we veer to the side past white center
line on highway under full moon to fill
our gas tanks with flowers found in eyes
fluttering in wind right when I say
I love you this time I mean it
(originally published in Epigraph Magazine, Winter 2018)
As I run hot faucet water
over the head of my electric toothbrush,
Jennifer asks isn’t it better
when we brush our teeth together?
This, of course, is redundant.
I have cleaned the spit
and foam from my brush alone
through the years,
watched clean water slowly spiral
down a clog.
I have taken better care
Flossed the plaque
tartar of bad habits,
in and out of you.
These I can withstand.
Thus I answer at all.
I’ve written the last
I can about you.
No more spirits in this blue-and-gray
jacket with the familiar coffee stain.
Out of poetry and time to spare.
Like December’s brisk spit of snow.
The lack of wonderment.
(originally published in Corvus Review, Fall 2016)
After the breakup, our phone conversations
become space debris, steel pieces hardly
discernible hurtling haphazardly at five miles
per second. Where do the scraps go?
The gold taste of summer will impact the brain
and puncture, enflame. We wish to assist
the start-ups who seek to construct
machines to eliminate wayward spares
of satellites trapped in the gravity of a body,
propel its dust into the atmosphere to burn.
We drift wary of small artifacts
from failed missions to emerge
in the distance of night to strike
and make split into fragments
we will never assemble again.
(originally published in Allegro Poetry Magazine, Spring 2017)