On the back patio, a cricket chirps beneath
the dirt of graying leaves– September’s chill.
Most days, dust becomes the clouds, this habit
of years knowing you, gone. The blue crickets
strum the cold death of summer– violins. I walk
the perimeter of fence to hear your heartbeat,
shrill– a shiver in the search for permanence.
Childhood: the crickets cry. A car door slams.
Footsteps twist through the crackle of leaves.
The old house hides the light, dips me in
worry: when crickets stop, ashes become
wind– the hymn. The lament of sparrows,
the creak of a gate, the thrum of a plane.
The unbearable passing of another year.
(originally published in Furtive Dalliance, Winter 2018)
(originally published in After the Pause, Fall 2017)
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)
Sitting in the kitchen
of my childhood home,
longing to be home,
I know I’ve lost another
one, another in a string
of partners, balloons of
many colors floating to
some high-up place
where I thought
we both would be
(originally published in The Stray Branch, Spring 2018)
when the continents drift apart
at least I know any island would keep you
in its palm
and stay afloat
while tectonic ghosts shift
every cyan wave an old hello
when I last tried to hold your sail
in my fist you turned to water
but I hear the tide sing melodies
that must return
bearing my name in pewter clouds
and silver rushes the word into air
into a sailboat– I see shape
in risen mist
with hope the form lingers
long enough to lead us
to where we need to be
(originally published in SHANTIH, Fall 2016)
i know it’s the other way around
but i see the dogs in people
that intense hunger of waiting
by a wooden door so close to the thrust of opening
i want to eat the walls that keep you away
the doorknob you twist to leave
the blankets you always hide beneath
i hold my waste for hours
the measured discipline
when you speak your breath is memory
what you’ve consumed
i can’t look anywhere else
push me away i cling to you a vestige
of humanity is all remains the last living thing
who would love me
you and your bureaucratic affection
the withholding of every emotion
makes you vulnerable
i was born to want you by my side
like a star holds to gravity
before its collapse
some adherence to light
before the drift
the absolute zero of desire
far from the wild where
we were raised to want
close to where we want to be
(originally published in Viewfinder Literary Magazine, Summer 2016)
Before you had a name, you were a stranger
searching for one.
Gravel, asphalt, salt, and stone–
I pieced you together, a church from scratch,
your holiness in my uttered breaths
of limestone, mortar, love…
your tall steeple stabbed the sky.
I could hear clouds dissipate,
crows caw and congregate
in our mutual worship of you.
Maybe you never needed a name.
When you vanished, my heart
reconstructed itself with God’s rubble,
compounded from type-two plastic,
Coca-Cola cans, rubber bands…
I never learned your name. With my mouth,
my body aflame, your steeple burned.
Bricks and timber screened
the sky. The smoke and fade–
the gray, the fog– that
was your name.
(originally published in Pudding Magazine, Winter 2016)
I am scared to death
Not just the big death
but tiny deaths, too.
All the bulbs are burning out
in my house one by one.
In living, we accrue small darknesses.
Mirror to mirror: void
where my eyes should be.
Hung mauve towel.
Vines of black mold.
Plastic ringlets steady
stained curtain infinity.
The silver shower faucet was once
a sunflower dreamed of fluorescence.
Now, downpour, no bright
for every prayer.
Gallons of black shower
(plead with God just–).
gobs and gobs of hair
cling to the drain.
Genuflect in the porcelain pitter-patter.
A feedback loop of weeps.
Hot water, cold water,
(originally published in Isthmus, Winter 2016)
Today’s a bit of a special day for me: my first poetry chapbook, ‘The Frayed Edge of Memory’ (Writing Knights Press) has released and is now available for purchase! It’s 44 pages and only $8 for a physical copy. Really excited for you to read it! Thank you so much for your support.
Two sample poems that are in the book: ‘Gate C55’ and ‘Short Return to Los Angeles’
Lawnmower string / guitar heart–
pull, strum, start then stop the song.
It’s dead grass. Its broken neck.
B-chord specks. Shades of saffron.
It’s dandelion season–
one reason to sing with blades.
Grass frets yet begins anew.
Rotors drone through spring. Charades.
(originally published in The Road Not Taken, Summer 2016)