I don’t know anyone
but the gnats swarming
around me &
next to me calls them
marriage begins with wings
then seeks blood
sucking glimpse of sweat
on skin sugar all the single
guests swat at the air
around them familiar
the way we complain
of heat so beg
for rain to form in
these shrouds of clouds
to cool us down
it’s nice to have something
tangible to wish for
(originally published in Razor Literary Magazine, Spring 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)
I was at Pink’s Hot Dogs
on the set of a reality show
working as an extra
when LeBron announced
his return to the Cavaliers.
I read the article repeatedly
on my sun-tinted phone screen,
its own small gospel.
In my Ford in the evening,
I sat in the Ralphs parking lot
wondering if LeBron
can come home, why can’t I?
Then I reasoned
Akron’s prodigal son’s return
means more to a city
who does not know who I am
than I mean to a city
who does not know who I am
and until my name
is plastered on blue
signs welcoming weary travelers
The Birthplace of the Poet
then why can’t I
is the relationship
of an alignment
of some celestial sneeze
into a birthplace of stars
or the bloodline
between who you were
where you grew up
and who you still can become
(originally published in RAW Journal of Arts, Spring 2018)
these angled wings of black toxic piranha
triangles and sometimes yellow is diode
connecting spark to sky– open your mouth
raw fish skin and wet I will wait for something
new in the feathers of ripped jeans and we will
sigh about the weather the snow and cold want
of July’s salamander tanktop days and reproduce
downriver toward industrial cities of light
and tall structures of billowing ominous smoke
(originally published in The Wayfarer, 2018)
I deliberated when traveling the country
because there was no one anywhere waiting,
no one on either coast with arms open wide to hold
me in their jacket in an ocean breeze– no, grime
rocked from screen to shade. The tide of film
frothed over tours viewing Santa Monica
for the first time as if, as they had hoped,
there was something new to see.
(originally published in streetcake, Winter 2018)
the same bag of slime
swimming the freshwater
of time, but with a pinch
of salt. How to see
yourself without looking
through the mirror: the need.
Saturation. Angled flesh, aged
and tilted. The monotonous
color of landscapes. The same
itch, the same nose. These
days I photograph my cat.
(originally published in The Wire’s Dream, 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)
I can tell you how many points LeBron scored last night
or who won the World Series,
but I can’t fix the leaking faucet in the bathroom,
won’t mow the lawn if not overgrown.
I don’t change the oil in my Ford
nor bring home a solid paycheck–
but I will live in an apartment
to avoid responsibility.
I’ll pay lots of money to tell
a landlord I can’t do it.
I’ve already lived in a car to avoid the responsibility
of telling a landlord I can’t do it.
I didn’t know how to fix it when it broke down,
and a Samaritan changed my flat tire when I burst it
when turning into a potholed Burger King lot
and I claimed I was about to fix it.
He told me not to pay more than twenty-five dollars for a used tire–
no more than twenty-five dollars, and get the rim hammered out
I went to the tire shop and paid their thirty-five to avoid conflict.
Wordlessly they stopped eastbound traffic on Pico
and I backed away and left.
One thing I can do well is parallel park,
as if reverse-navigation is worth bragging about
but I’ll take it.
No one has the courage to fit inside this small space.
No one can fit inside here but me
(originally published in Literary Yard, Winter 2018)
How you ran
with eyes averted.
Kite and string, we
wanted the wind,
I hold and
(originally published in Up the River, Fall 2017)
You cut my face
from a magazine,
pulled tanner grass
in L.A.– how you
lose your sense
of color with nothing
but blue sky and sun
and sidewalk cigarette
stains, everyone dead
in their own way.
(originally published in Califragile, Fall 2017)