Wild this wind in Pittsburgh–
I am Bukowski reformed
twisting through steel
structures teeth gleaming.
Synthesis of former lives–
Columbus, Los Angeles
drunken pursuit of art
now an upstream leaf.
Marginalia within pages
of tattered library books–
I’ve so little to say you
hear a deep, empty well.
To march back into
my film-reel past
and gloss over poetry–
ghost cleaning gutters.
Allow some space
within my wanting.
My heart an old lens
zooming into the river.
(originally published in The Aurorean, Spring 2020)
I want to go to the movies I want to see people
act like people I don’t know enough about
anything to know if I know about anything
except let mise en scene keep my mouth
watering I am happy to drop yellowy
popcorn in my lake to swim the butter
and I want to laugh like a lake and ripple
in the conflict of others because if this
is the life I am meant to live one
of darkness surrounded by strangers
I want us to at least see the same thing
(originally published in Ginosko Literary Journal, Fall 2021)
I am in competition with darkness
staring into the eyes of people playing people
says the man who lost himself in Los Angeles
on purpose to walk to the beach and along
its shore at night with grayblue jacket lightly
shielding me from breeze inside other footprints
shapeshifting to waves rocking against a porch
of a vacation home that pile of gold inside
a beached skull I carried into an orchard with
knife and sliced gala apples into motorboats how
Dad used to and it is not littering when I biodegrade
myself into Earth sinking deeper into its core
where I sleep for two hours and
wake up a new and filthy man
(originally published in Rabid Oak, Summer 2019)
I was searching, too,
having lost the will to film
when I left Los Angeles. So
when you and Kim hid bags of
Haddad’s M&Ms from the other,
I learned it’s okay and rare
to find such sweetness inside
the seams of a rolling chair.
And when I watched you
climb desks and tables
to seek an advantage
inside the pillar, the cords,
the tethered lights– which
resulted in a broken device–
it was never malicious,
wasn’t some power play
I’d become accustomed to
in this industry, just a game
that ended when Janice
emptied bulk bags of the candy
over our desks because
even I was in too deep and,
yeah, it was hilarious. Now,
as we clean our desks to leave,
we find stray M&Ms buried
under paper stacks that serve
to remind, if for a moment,
that you are my friend.
(originally published in Eunoia Review, Winter 2019)
It was tough to leave for work this morning,
collie’s silhouette usually at the top of the stairs
a shadow slinking, eyes glowing.
Your heart nearly stopped flailing its arms
as it sank deeper and deeper into the ocean.
When you watched Silver Linings Playbook
you saw your dog in the face of Bradley Cooper
those dark eyes shining in the greater darkness–
driving home with the key stabbing the ignition,
you drove wanting anything to please you.
It wasn’t in the trees or the swaying lights
or the Post-It notes crumpled in the bagless bin–
no, collie ran in circles. You reached for a treat,
your heart compiling sand and blowing glassworks–
collie on set with Bradley Cooper, his eyes
on her galvanized eyes and all she wants is ham
you’ve never seen a ham this juicy and
why am I excited about ham and
collie with her eyes makes Bradley
see the ham, want the ham,
want the ham like never before.
(originally published in Nude Bruce Review, Summer 2016)