Hive

I rented an apartment of bees
that first year in Los Angeles
sticky buzzing day and night
stingers past the turn of knob

sunny day the bees hovering
over body encircling you
paranoid optimistic dreamer
don’t leave the hive yes stay

get stung camera rolling and
action as in stasis as in days
wrapped around you burning
August blankets dripping lust

for fame everyone plays the
game gathering in droves to
hot stove hands on surface
level interaction as in in-

action

 

(originally published in Chronogram, Fall 2019)

The Current

There is a universe where I am
a barista or videographer or marketer

or astronomer. I could have said no–
I skipped an interview– when you asked

if I would come to Palm Springs. When
you said you know what this means if you

go, I could have pivoted and returned
to painting my rented room in sadness.

This matters. This doesn’t. This cyclical
current. Of course we’d split, even after

you said– eating biscuits at the bakery–
the universe gives what you put in.

Yes, perhaps. But I am alive, formless,
confused as the river flowing opposite,

a flight response to a hurricane I would
never fight. I stayed in Seth’s basement

for a week after. Who walked upstream
out from it was never relevant, anyway.

(originally published in CERASUS, Summer 2021)

Ramen in Japantown

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,
cancer-flavored beef-dust
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)

An Improv Game

an improv game in the living
room I am screaming
someone say I am an alarm

clock or an ambulance
because my brain is hyper-
ventilating in this anxiety

of why-can’t-we-play-beer-
pong on the lawn table this is
Los Angeles and I am scared

of everything (tsunamis
falling fronds off palm trees
car accidents and commitment)

I was trying to make something
anything up in front of you
that’s how we stayed together

for eleven months of I-love-
you yelling sand in our teeth
sunburnt toes on the shore

 

(originally published in The Fictional Cafe, Spring 2019)

Instagram

Denver’s volcanic sunset
from the parking lot
was a longing

nature
versus
Instagram

and while my traveling
resulted in a love
I cannot
recommend enough

I know it was you
who told me
it was time to leave
the ocean
when

memories
are too nostalgic
to be healthy

(originally published in The Magnolia Review, 2018)

Multnomah Falls Spits Mist onto My Glasses

Six months after, it was April,
and I still lived in my Ford
after moving out of your house.

I drove to Oregon, found a waterfall
to pose in front of, my familiar wool
and cerulean jacket, a white t-shirt,
my scruffy beard.

In the photograph
the stranger takes,
I smile.

The sun glints off my face.
I wonder what you’re up to
and who takes photographs
of you– is it a stranger?

Am I a stranger now?

 

(originally published in Pif Magazine – Summer 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)

Morning Reflection

I walk waiting for the clarity of nature to upend my core
having forgotten again another grand idea I had the night before

the rain-soaked sidewalk
& deep dent on a passenger door

a two-story house I think is too tall
too wet       bricks and white columns

each window a translucent universe of past
raindrops & the universe everything ahead of you
                                                                     out of reach past the physical

the American flag waves in the wind
black sedans drive to a hair studio

talk show hosts spit they just
spit

& my dream once was to be on television
& in Los Angeles it happened
                                                                    my face on mom’s television

but otherwise forgotten
still signals invisible waves

here I am a field the scribbled wandering
eyes & a blue jay makes a home in a tree

& me in the days I become
when I look in any mirror

 

(originally published in Botticelli Magazine, Spring 2018)