Developing

the studio microphone for months has pointed up
waiting for a song from the sky to sing into its silver
mouth that won’t open not for anyone not for you
not for Jesus to clasp his grimy hands around and preach
I’ve had enough of that growing up in Catholic school
learning the sin of condom and lamb and holy shit
I never was the rebel pounding revolution into the air
because what was there to revolutionize but the future
and no one could picture that yet with our disposable
Kodaks slinging truth first black developing the world

(originally published in COG Magazine, Spring 2019)

You Only Post on Instagram When in Other Countries

Swiss mountains, Chilean volcanoes, a beach in Vancouver–
currently, my hands grip a steering wheel. In the passenger

seat is a black bag. Inside, a paper bag. Inside, a salad, or
sandwich, or scone, or soup. The bread is probably hard

as stone. I scroll your travels from the safety of a stoplight.
I am far from the only wanderlust trapped in the confines

of a tipped job. I’d drive my Ford into the ocean. Sink into
the Atlantic and arrive somewhere you haven’t heard of.

 

(originally published in Lines + Stars, Spring 2019)

Multnomah Falls Spits Mist onto My Glasses

Six months after, it was April,
and I still lived in my Ford
after moving out of your house.

I drove to Oregon, found a waterfall
to pose in front of, my familiar wool
and cerulean jacket, a white t-shirt,
my scruffy beard.

In the photograph
the stranger takes,
I smile.

The sun glints off my face.
I wonder what you’re up to
and who takes photographs
of you– is it a stranger?

Am I a stranger now?

 

(originally published in Pif Magazine – Summer 2018)

Headshots, 2013

Unrecognizable? I’m
the same bag of slime
swimming the freshwater
of time, but with a pinch
of salt. How to see
yourself without looking
through the mirror: the need.
Saturation. Angled flesh, aged
and tilted. The monotonous
color of landscapes. The same
itch, the same nose. These
days I photograph my cat.

 

(originally published in The Wire’s Dream, 2018)

The Photograph Was a Drunken Winter

slackened falls into chaos: each plod
a sobering imprint on snow

buzzing cavernous hearts
white honey swathes the air

the dewdrop pale of her shirt, arms curved
from the door in bent-seven candles, icicled

waxen breath hissing this
is the moment sculptured to ice:

a future with gluey trees barren at night,
tongues born licking telephone poles

static moments stretched to angel hair
feel like rare dreams caught in dim light

 

(originally published in Scarlet Leaf Review)

Pretty Autumn Sunset

Blackbirds suspended in triumvirate.
Clouds in a sea of burnt clay
mold into a blanket, the bed
unmade. Every beautiful sunset,

look:
see the others on their phones
snap photos for strangers,
likers, digital lovers.
Lowball grandeur on a
five-inch screen.

It’s gone in a moment, anyway,
the pixelation of life,
bloated
and trapped
and yours.

Palm trees stand as windmills,
stilled, and they cannot fan
the vertical Culver sign,
risen like held smog.

Headlights on cars move
indistinguishably in time-lapse circles,
one after the other after the other.

 

(originally published in The Literary Commune – Issue #4, April 2015)