Driving west to Columbus from my partner’s house
in Pittsburgh early morning and on I-70 around six
in the rearview there’s a giant burst of orange light nearly
deafening in its glory and my first thoughts are fire and fury
then you’re gone but no it’s a heavenly sunrise and I can’t
remember the last time I witnessed the sun rise though a few
days ago she and I were in Vermont about to hike an
overlook before sunrise to watch it but we couldn’t will
ourselves out of bed and what a world to wake to now
driving alone this big dramatic ball of fury revealing its
magnificence bathing land in light before it softens
how it could have been one or the other
a burst of beauty or unspeakable tragedy yet from a distance
a bomb might seem as beautiful and harmless as a sunrise
at least until the smoke how with fire too there’s a kind
of enchantment but for this a split second then the anguish
and fury for this sunrise greeting a thousand grieving days
(originally published in Old Red Kimono, Spring 2018)
There’s a vast swath of land infected by the living
dead. The desert, the plains, the cities– all beheld
by glow of screen, and we’ve dug holes too deep
for bodies. Just pray there are no more casualties,
no gunshots, no cars striking crowds, whether in
the USA or Spain– all of this is beginning to look
universal, the hatred of our own. How we pay
for the debt the nation’s entrepreneurs designed.
There’s an endless spate of horror
films upon which to feast our eyes but look
at the people walking down your street harboring
the fears society cannot afford. There is still
ample land to lay graves– land founded on holes
we placed bodies in yet we distract ourselves
with everything, looking for the next lark
to keep us living. Under blankets in living
rooms with lovers, under stars aglow through
open window, we watch the drama unfold.
We know the protagonists will always
find a way out of suffering.
Those through the window never do.
(originally published in The Rising Phoenix Review, Winter 2017)
Of all the things to want and never–
death, a cardboard box of pity and riches,
crosses the ocean in a FedEx plane
from a foreign world for you.
It’s the thinning–
no one disbelieves
your supposed withering.
With skull under scalpel,
tell me your scars.
That’s where the recovery begins.
(originally published in Viewfinder Literary Magazine, Summer 2016)
(originally published in Memoryhouse, Spring 2016)
Los Angeles was a chance, a retreat.
The army of cars sounded like firecrackers,
The rain somehow escaped.
The hideout was flight: the highway
a drug, a prison.
California was injured– a people debris.
The mountain was a wounded relief–
the face of thunderstorms.
(originally published in 3by3by3 – October 18, 2015)