The Sudden, Intangible Heart

a dragonfly
dangled wing
above the pool

early morning
ballads on repeat
the mind

a mimosa
an old record player
pure sugar

champagne
umbrella
in the wind

rain
in the cups
a little left

 

(originally published in Kingdoms in the Wild, Spring 2019)

Interview with Marissa at Panera

Sitting across the small table in the company of bagel
art and clanking dishes transported from trash to the back,
she asks no questions about what I’d bring to this table,
just asks about my experiences working with The New
York Times and making ends meet in studios by the sea
in southern California, how different that life was,
how, starting Friday, I’ll make a good delivery driver

 

(originally published in The Literary Nest, Spring 2019)

Exorcism

Truth is, I’ve lost my motivation to do anything but motivationally speak
to myself silently in my head & that’s why I’m meeting with Gray
at a cafe later to work on outlines for short films we’ll never shoot &
that’s ok because the sun has filled my cup of coffee with bad ideas
I won’t act upon & that’s the useless scroll I call the timeline of my
life– truth is, I recall the night last July we nearly killed ourselves
playing Ouija downing a bottle of Absinthe & even the wormwood
couldn’t compose phantasms in our minds though we tried–
knees rocking in dark candlelight, hands clasped in prayer, a cat
named Spirit haunting the hallowed grounds– we had the ghosts
if we wanted them. Now we want them out.

 

(originally published in Studio One, Spring 2019)

Oklahoma

In these plains I have been
tornado chaos the storm swirling
from shot glass. Unpredictable
system of bankruptcies this
unknowable thing can become
in a field touching down. Sky
sirens. Muck dust. Lightning
flicks a weary finger– my hand
on your spine my funnel
into sky a violin sirensong,
a tenuous tremolo.

 

(originally published in Poetry Pacific, Spring 2020)

Fog Machine

I am good at drinking the fog
machine shooting stars past
sugar-rings of Saturn.
Entering small atmosphere
of haze and collision. A burn
to swallow smiling.
Everything became
out of body. Some bubbles
pop soon after floating
from the wand but I rode this
for years. The axis of my own
journey seems fleeting. And
the circular magnet of time pulls
me now like desire to step into
a cosmic pool and ride the
ripples I make to its end.

 

(originally published in Free Library of the Internet Void, Winter 2019)

Tuesday Night Karaoke at Hounddog’s Pizza

Another weeknight. Of course
we’re being responsible. Hell,
we chose the karaoke spot
with the Christians congregating
at a table before the mic. The
first from the group sings
Reliant K; the next sings
Hozier’s Take Me to Church
and they all nod and clap
their hands. I want to
tell them it’s a goddamn
metaphor. The whole thing.
I mean, life. Not simply the
lyrics (although worship
in the bedroom seems
obvious– from Adam’s
rib came Eve, hard, both
of them, I mean they bit
into the apple, crunched
to the core, came hard
in the likeness of God’s
merciless love. But what
these friends mean is
a crucifix hanging
above the bed, in front
of the mirror, so that
they can watch themselves
pray in the presence
of Jesus). I mean I want to
tell them but I don’t say
anything, and they leave
as I hit the stage to sing
Psycho Killer, leave before
I can tell them you start
a conversation / you
can’t even finish it.
You’re talking a lot but
you’re not saying
anything. Run, run,
run, run, run, run
away.

 

(originally published in MORIA, Spring 2019)

Aladdin’s

Funny, thinking back, the restaurant– hell,
the industry, those incessant phone calls
in the midst of rush, my snaking past
corners with three plates of hummus
and shawarma in aluminum, warm
from the kitchen, only to waste
in a stranger’s presence, scraps
on porcelain I’d bus, then zigzag
through the floorplan of tables.

Funny, thinking now, how little has
changed– insecure in economics,
I’ve jumped the lilypads of job
after job, the backbreaking work
of conforming, of each return home
with something new to say but I’ve
said it, I’ve said my best, my cap-
stone thesis shredded in California,
back when full of possibility–

I desire a bowl of time
loops. Cereal in my milk.

I didn’t even use silverware
in college, a joke inside a riddle
presented as a gift I constantly
unwrap, umbrellas of green
folding into myself in the rain,
suffocating, blinding, this pirouette
of place, this unfixable sedan
screaming off the shoulder
of the highway, smoke
signals ablaze and late
for work.

(originally published in Little Rose Magazine, Winter 2019)

Solace

It was not solace we sought in the woods,
but rather, logs to provide fire for years.
Having known too many temporary timbers that
smoke then ash in small stretches of time slung
across the small rooms one week to the next,
among the dying leaves we wanted no others.
To watch what turned red on the fringe of the
world’s balance on a sling so fragile we chose
to forget. How long have we known each other?
How long will we? Days whisk into years
without stopping. We know nothing will be
forever; just as every good memory builds
the foundation of happiness worn like vodka
on jeans. If there were a blemish it was houseflies
swept off the cabin’s hardwood. Wings on bodies
in the margins, inert. How soon for us, too.
How winds change in a week but the fire
we started on arrival lingered smoke after
the last departing tires moved pebbles from
the driveway into life’s wild, winding road.

 

(originally published in Dime Show Review, Winter 2019)