Pabst Blue Ribbon With Cat on Lap and November Rain

Have you felt the season’s new bite?
Body shivering unable to process it
yet. I don’t want to leave the house,
the purr from fur an engine revving
nowhere. I won a blue ribbon once,
too, my mom won’t stop bragging
about. College: outstanding student
filmmaker, documentarian
recording red-eyed the mist
of dawn relishing any chill. Went
to L.A. for industry but witnessed
the bloom of everyone else, jealous
sensitivity of light in this lens. I hid
inside poetry. Every day was recycled
aluminum that sought any warm body
to hold then drink away. I am
comfortable here. Still, I doze in
shadowed corners of a home,
unresponsive when you call my name.

(originally published in The Furious Gazelle, Fall 2020)

Valentine Pizza Risk

lost last night’s gold after the Adriatico’s pizza
guy gave us a tip: wait
                                          for me to leave

strummed strings past afternoon stairs
mozzarella between our teeth      hands on hips
                                                                              lips and tongue

I was your favorite human for one night out of a billion
you said and said     kept me a dice roll away my bedroom just
                                                                                                      a flick of your fingers

 

(originally published in 8 Poems, Fall 2019)

Writer’s Block

You tell me you haven’t
written for a long time.
I know. I know. I know.
Same. We continue on
our personal eternities
into forests to forget we
were a trickling sap
yet draw our bodies
against an oak in a
place where no one
knows. Dark corner of
the dark. I used to feed
on the bark of our getting
to know each other. Fine.
It’s nighttime. A fire
fly ambles through
the air, lands on my hand
and you ask for a jar.

 

(originally published in Tipton Poetry Journal, Fall 2019)

A.M.

First thought every morning was you: we were to graduate,
set young wings to flame, then fly– but we moved back to our
childhood homes where, instead, wildfires raged through long
landlines, burning our ears in hours of silence miles apart. We tried
to make us work, but the jobs we hated we did not know how to leave.
Me, at the studio, taking photos of lovers; you, at the call center,
straining voice to strangers. How we slept through the same sunrise
in separate beds, rarely awake for the burst of morning. We tried to make
us work. We drank pots of coffee miles apart to stay awake through
the night to watch the darkness die through our windows, wary
of light, the life we had to leave behind.

 

(originally published in VAYAVYA, Fall 2019)

Medicated Anticipation

you said wait a few years
you’d move to California
by then already gone

an ill-timed applause
two hands in magnetic
motion missing

like sipping fluid through
an allergic throat closing
such lean times

the tangerine sun
sleeps til noon

didn’t your dad write
a book on the art of joy?
because it is an art

a painting with overused
blues these uppers I knew
gleaming in the froth

of your mouth

 

(originally published in Scarlet Leaf Review, Fall 2019)

Elsewhere

in darkness we wade
into this shimmering orb
a crystallized common

ground beneath the palm trees
in this desert spanning the time
since I saw you last I lived in my car

when you went on vacation
and handed me the key to your home
for the week wood panels covering

your windows blocking light
I remember thinking I’ve lost
my sense of place like

sleeping through a daydream
staring at the ceiling
from your pond-sized bed

I could not wait
to leave the key
in the top drawer

of your dresser and
never see you again
because I didn’t

want to tell you
your home was more
like a prison at least when living

in a car there’s the
illusion of motion
with nowhere else to go

I find myself with you
now in this outdoor pool
swimming on its own

 

(originally published in Ariel Chart, Summer 2019)

Same as It Ever Was

I am reliving and reliving the remote
control buttons then buttons
in your bed, golden room of silk
and how many times did we drink
like that? Dropping beer after beer
at Zeno’s then groaning summer sleep
right after. What were we dreaming
about? The cat was snoring and
what an endless loop! Blinking
awake and wanting to crush
night back with aluminum eyelids

(originally published in The Drunken Llama, Summer 2021)

Distance Makes the Heart

grow fonder, or so is said,
but I’ve learned it as distance
makes the heart forget us

the equation is miles plus
time equals a greater radius,
as between words dangling

on a phone line, or inflections
slung from mouths through
the atmosphere onto a satellite,

far removed from its origin,
home now absolute zero, cosmos
cold and steel, this floating coffin

a language of longing, your voice
massaging my eardrums through
silence

(originally published in Academy of the Heart and Mind, Fall 2019)