been having issues with teeth
and insurance these past few weeks
waiting to get my mouth examined
for sharp pain at its core
and today I found a decent dentist
who accepts my bad insurance
and after the assistant’s questions
after the x-ray the dentist
lowers my chair
for a closer look when fire
men tell us to evacuate
due to a gas leak
and now I’m with the dentist
and his staff in the parking lot
poison in the air
talking Cleveland sports
and root canals
but the building never
that doesn’t mean strangers
didn’t rush to the scene
(originally published in Edison Literary Review, Spring 2020)
Vital signs at zero, a squiggly line gone infinity–
guess what I’ve prepared for. An eternity of this
nothingness. I tossed the phone like a grappling
hook at your distance and it caught. You left it
hanging on the bricks, though, and moved to
California, where I used to sleep the streets in
my Ford Fiesta, the same car we drove to Melt:
a time bomb heart attack. How close we were
back then, each deep-fried grilled cheese bite
hushed the thrumming. Fingers greasy– wiped
on napkins, wiped and wiped and wiped.
(originally published in Hedge Apple, Spring 2019)
Planned to hit the gym after work
to flex these treadmills of atrophied muscles,
but decided to quit my job and drink instead–
first work-free morning’s sunlight’s sharpness
in my skull. From this decision, I have hurt
my liver once, my heart twice from lack
of exercise, ate Five Guys for lunch then
missed the gym again. If we are all not
getting our week’s workouts in running
from the shadow of time, embrace it.
(originally published in Phenomenal Literature, Spring 2019)
Pray to clogged brick, hardened
breathing. When I was young,
I believed in God and my mother
had good food waiting after school.
Rice and chicken, spinach
and pepper at the bottom of a soup.
Boiling then, now I drink water
in mason jars to wash away cheddar-
topped hot dogs I ate in some
destruction of the work Mom
put into me to get me here–
how she unclasped her hands
when I left for LA, let me fly
down the highway of fickle dreaming.
There was light at the end of that;
there’s a light at the end, still.
Now the intangible light swarms
my world, and I am too selfish
in my gluttony to eat it–
how a body can be full of light
but radiate a shadow of another,
one you had no part of in the making.
(originally published in Hessler Street Fair Poetry Anthology, Summer 2018)
Upon the gum’s shore,
a body beaches–
abscessed tooth of
How the mouth learns
Soon, this is ritual.
let bleed from morning
The dentist says
don’t drink– so
consume the ocean
of the night
yourself to sea.
(originally published in former People, Winter 2018)
Quantum physics have never been
more real than in this steaming
silver pot of Annie’s shells
and cheddar butter and milk
I’m cooking and the cat in our house
attacks crumpled-up balls
of paper yet sprints in fear
when a toilet is flushed. We are
all in orbit. You and me and
Earth and spoon in pot
mixing components into
tornado and I don’t know
where the melting butter
ends up nor the cheese
or where I’ll be in ten
years or a thousand
because our atoms
can diverge into
two paths any given
THE FIRST PATH
the one where you and I and most our friends and family are still alive
because ten years is a long time someone both of us love has died
it’s my father I see dandelions on the dead a suit and tie something
he never would have worn & your mother her silky dress and
Avon perfume wafting through the wake the frost her
permanent winter bed
THE SECOND PATH
the one where you and I and all our friends and family are still alive
because ten years is a long time someone both of us love will die
I see a bowl of ashes I see dead dandelions wilting on the stove
the steam carries souls up into my nose where I recall the heat
and depth of the Grand Canyon sun pressing against my
neck Dad in his thick glasses & sweat arms around me &
I pick up a stone & throw it over the edge
(originally published in The Courtship of Winds, 2019)
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.
can be severely detrimental, but don’t panic–
salmonella can be killed. You must know
its internal temperature. If not fully known,
your risk of distress increases. The dark tunnel.
The bones. If you suffer from adverse effects,
you will know within seventy-two hours.
Chills, fever, fatigue. Hallucinations.
If there is blood in you, inform your doctor
immediately. He may request a sample
to determine if you are alive, if symptoms
are what you’re even there for.
(originally published in The Blotter Magazine, Summer 2017)
Gates clot with distance: other thickened loves not directly related
to active devices are increasingly important for post-fabricated
hearts to facilitate not only process control, circuits, electric life,
but also accuracy of simulations critically dependent on parasites–
your fundamental process parameter.
A thinner gate enables smaller, faster transistors to critically affect
hearts: techniques were developed to provide accurate values.
X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy: you materialize as light
witches on. Auger electron spectroscopy: hold the sun in its light.
Secondary ion mass spectrometry. Transmission electron microscopy.
And the meaning lost in poetry.
And you I lose in visible light.
(originally published in The Icarus Anthology, Summer 2017)
I am a sitting landfill beef
lettuce special sauce
a sepulchur in my Ford
& in this warm January
the trees are still dead
one eye open I imagine
forests stretching tired
legs & staying silent when it’s time
to speak spring
(originally published in KAIROS, 2017)