Bowie

Dog through the window– charcoal snow
and peanut-speckle brushstrokes– I watch you
served by our server on the patio under

Azorean’s white umbrella. If only I could be
of service to a creature so brown-eyed and sacred.
I want to be good, too, and melt the heart of people

I encounter. But I am out of it– I still feel new here
and spend my workweeks isolated and curious
for the world I miss around me, its strangers

a wild pack wandering the streets, searching
for any scent that spells joy. How mine smells of cinnamon
blocked by endless windows overlooking a sea of blue

recycling trucks inside a sharp metal fence, and– even now–
I peer through glass, smelting, as our server rubs your head,
as passers-by smile as they go wherever they must go.

I want to be unleashed, too– to put both knees on
concrete, pet the fur between your ears, and
inhale, together, Saturday’s shared freedom.

 

(originally published in Hello America, Fall 2019)

Tree of Life

candlelight vigil
in the gunmetal streets

sharp rain sinking
into pittsburgh’s deep roots

two blocks
from your parents’

the synagogue where
your mom taught preschool

community
congregation

drowned &
drowning

the crowd’s
gathering silence

small fires
between bodies

we canceled
the halloween party

to gather at lilly’s
for proximity

how close
to eternity

we become
in each other

(originally published in Thin Air Online, Fall 2019)

Last Memorial Day

We walked to the Cultural District to be
at the jazz festival & basked in the sax of Nubya

Garcia beside men on mushrooms grooving
underneath eternal heat, sweat in the air

everywhere. It was a rare off being free
to roam in the spring-summer-autumn days

of Lone Wolf. This year, we seek public stairs
down the warehouse side of Liberty Avenue,

past the church turned brewery & power
plant we nearly lived across from. Above’s the plentiful

hill with blue water tower, where we pretend the mayor
lives inside its steel blue dome with all the rich hidden

in the hills with their crow vision. The community
pool is empty. The boring streets to drive through

are the interesting ones to hike with uneven brick &
ramshackle storefronts never noticed. Here’s a record

shop for anarchists. In this decrepit year we look to fill
my head with chaos to make sense of the field around us.

We have been walking & walking the sunset magenta
over Bloomfield Bridge yet summer seems a year away.


(originally published in Selcouth Station, Spring 2021)

Daydrunk at Silky’s

you answer when you are ready
to leave we want to rush to the next

drunk-stop the next essential crying
opposite ends of Silky’s shuffleboard

table all the sugar scattered on wood
by the windows of natural sunlight

we slide the puck across attempts
to not cross the line too late

we have said what we have said
I am on my phone sobbing

to an automated voice the bank
the prophet’s lugubrious martini

raised inevitably to our lips

(originally published in Subterranean Blue Poetry, Fall 2020)

Square Cafe

pancakes we talk heavy locomotive engine
steam billows out this whale blowhole this
top of mind wisp say something anything
wrong always sugar sweet the stacks
I want to speak doesn’t connect you eat
a hole through final pancake as to
puncture the flour we had bloomed
over the last year and half eternity
we could lose in the vast distance
across the table cerulean walls
surround us in new distance
enclosed and suffocated open
air a quiet din to gorge last
bites by window sunlight
your blue marble eyes I
can’t meet halfway
mumbling

 

(originally published in 24hr Neon Mag, Winter 2019)

In Pittsburgh, the First Time,

you told me Friendship is a road
split by two roads, parallel to Liberty,
and I told you that was a poem,
but you said, no, I’m just giving you
direction, and I looked up from your eyes
to the green sign reading Friendship Ave
and knew what you meant. Friendship–
we had yet to spend our first night
in the city, one that would end in
a dark cocktail bar for a dance party
that never materialized. In the morning,
we rode rented bicycles with bent
spokes and a click in their spinning
and I could only follow your lead
and cycle through streets still unfamiliar
to me– we weaved through lonely roads
to the Strip District, then stopped
at the Sixth Street Bridge to admire
the glimmer of the river that warm
winter day and continued until
we found the hill to Randyland
too steep to ride so, off our bikes,
we walked side-by-side up the path
until reaching our destination;
we locked our broken bikes
and kept walking.

 

(originally published in Bindweed Magazine, Winter 2019)