Columbus Crew SC

You said you’d be here hours ago,
weeks ago, months ago– last year,
we were late to the Crew game
then screamed nonsense to the crowd.
And then you told me you’d be back
and I waited, tethered to pole, while
the game ended and you were nowhere.
The bottles of mixed vodka we hid inside
the base of a lamppost was, miraculously,
still there at the end. But I changed
cities then came back to the light
shattered in the breath of a rubber band
slung outward toward infinity, the dash
of time not slowing any past collisions.

(originally published in G*Mob, Spring 2022)

Beer Pong

beer pong is concentric
angles & behind-the-back
a miracle of physics

not that I understand
the finer maths of sport
I held an endless reservoir

of alcohol schoolnights turned
blue-lipped and blurred
pages flipped to I-don’t-know-

how-I-got-here one time
awakening on a bed of roses
at the belly of Constitution Hall

staring to the vacant moon
soaked in sticky juice a book
with its pages torn out

Hard to Think Around the Thing

I don’t want details.
To paint the scene is
the scene. I am trying
hard to think around
the thing. To forget the figure
and face. But it was late
October, your phone was booming
This is Halloween– and my
bed was on the floor
then. And the baby
blue walls before
the High Street crowd,
everyone in masks–
with the scissors. You cut
the hole in my pants.
Because I was in
silky green. I was
alien alive in the
wrong place,
wrong time.
There was the gold stage
behind us. By garbage
can makeouts. Groping
hands reached into
the city’s cheap costume.
And there was chill
in the wind except
when everyone
was bunched into
each other. If we
couldn’t stay warm
we’d have to go
inside. No one
wanted the street.
But we didn’t
want inside.

(originally published in Ink Pantry, Winter 2022)

Late for Work

I expect mountains! Unrealistically
my brain brims with possible
outcomes: you’re late for work
again in Aurora, Ohio, the passing
green whooshing around you–
all I fear is accident, the casual
mistake, the narrow passage
of time I waste still looking
in west’s general direction,
like I could cause a change
in the wind if I willed it, if
I asked God for a second
helping of mashed potatoes
at my mother’s lonely house
that sits in a dark gallery
at the edge of my– our–
relentless American street.

(originally published in monologging, 2022)

do you know these streets

I do I deaden them walking
I talk them alive in the spit
of my thoughts specks of

gravel in my brown leather
Clarks not made for distance
I say to a neighbor hello

and that’s it before I leave
for another neighborhood
Friendship park you can

move in loops and loops
around the brownish green
in view of hospital whose

restroom I use no one cares
what I do everyone is sick
I don’t care I am too my legs

burn with lethargy though
there are days I want to yell
at dogs who do nothing

wrong I want the freedom
to lick sandpaper barks
of trees and keep a butterfly

between my teeth until
something inside me says
feast or let go

(originally published in Northwest Indiana Literary Journal, Spring 2020)

Even in the Nostalgia of My Happiest Era

I think of the lawn, the grass I had
to cut by the mouthfuls, sink into
something other than summer, the flesh
of work, beer bottles piling in the margins
of the yard. I’d take my gloves off– hungover
July– to pick up last night’s blurry harmonicas.
Oh, I’d sing the songs through my teeth.
I lapped at youth forever cranking the tracks
from Myth, the blue days buzzing
by. Granny apples were rotting
in the yard beneath my nose. Even then
I told myself I can’t stay here forever.

(originally published in frak\ture, Spring 2020)


I grew up with a yard full of worthless
a ministry of rare Earth metals    there was
a patch of grass to sometimes lay in
I’d reflect the sun   never photosynthesizing
there is an unwell that swells in me whenever
I go home to Cleveland    the gunsmoke clouds
always gathered above where the rabid dogs
would bark   &  I was raised beside inoperational
cars   my father cranking the crowbar to lugnuts
of too many punctured tires   no spares unused
a basement of bolts and lubricants   white bottled
Dad spoke mechanics to me  incomprehensible
tongue   until a tire burst on a dead stretch
of highway the other day   I had to pull over
and recall the broken way he explained things

(originally published in The Green Light, Spring 2020)

On the table at the family

gathering is a photo of me
in flip-flops atop the roof
of my childhood home
holding a rake to the sky
my brother says I did not

recognize that was you
my sister says wow you are
actually doing manual labor
and in my mind I know
that was the morning after

M stayed over when
I was visiting from LA and
I had just finished raking
grimy blackened leaves off
the roof that gathered in

the years since Dad died
but it’s true he made me
hate the yard and stressed
the lawn as living in a filth
we’d have to fix and every

few days in the summer
he’d place the red mower
outside the shed waiting
for me to kill the grass in
diminishing rectangles

(originally published in Rat’s Ass Review, Fall 2020)