Inevitable Change

surf another wave
of cyclical maturation

I am who I am, you
are who you are–

static trust– your white
noise a velcro

loosening of being
unhinged– I leave cities

faster than lovers, cruise
the interstate in blindfolds

before rumble strip sobers
me beyond the paved path

(originally published in Bindweed Magazine, Summer 2021)

Spirit (Green Autumn)

What I was telling Kurt
was the danger
nostalgia
of loneliness
too close to the wound
a candle drips
old-timey tunes
still fresh
like traveling
through the pinhole
of a new vortex
I say I am alive
and someone new
knows there is
disagreement
in the leaves
how this fall
they are not
changing
only pulling
by the shoulders
saying you
will come
along
whether
you want to
or not

 

(originally published in Pretty Cool Poetry Thing, 2019)

I am in my blue childhood

bedroom, black Walkman
spinning CD-Rs of Mega Man
music. I want to dance–
anything but obsidian.
Scraped knees learning
to ride a bike– bloodstained
handlebars leaving the woods.
I can handle myself better
now, not always falling into
potholes I noticed yesterday.

Last week, driving home
from work in the city,
my tires hissed
as they failed to replicate
their cells, then blew out
in the middle of the road
in the warehouse district.

But I had music going–
OverClocked ReMixes
from Chrono Cross,
which got me thinking
about the Winds of Time,
parallel universes,
the inevitability of Lavos–

I had to call for help.
I spent green youth
cooped in front of
the basement television.

Now, if I were to fetishize
anything it would be
no real consequences–
to the cyclical parallels
of the universe.

(originally published in Dear Reader, Summer 2021)

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)

tom hanks

struck by the enormity of celebrity
tongue-tied dry we small fish in death
valley this is my job I am the tiniest
in this production office the center
of large spiraling arms I am asked to do
and do until there are no more limits & a producer
who already looks and acts like a million bucks
asks if he can use the washer / dryer in wardrobe
and I say there are dyes but he cannot find the will
to spend twelve dollars on socks at the company’s
recommended google-search laundromat when
don from transpo barges in and asks about the
laundry service down the hall in our building
and my boss says laundry is today’s hot topic
when tom hanks lands in the room
in normal clothes like a familiar
skyscraper we may be able to name

(originally published in The Racket, Summer 2020)

Talking Stand-Up Comedy in Pittsburgh

It’s Kat’s birthday and the room laughs
at sad Neil Young songs opposite this
vibrant party. I meet Meeti who says
she has good jokes, bad presence.
She has grander aspirations. I tell her
I never planned to be in this city, either.
She needs a New York or LA. I came
from both & couldn’t hang. Birthday
spirit drifts in this room around us,
everyone having an amicable time.
We are, too, except we can only dream
of spotlights, butterflies, our names in
neon because we’d rather smoke quietly
in the dark corners of social gatherings

(originally published in The Big Windows Review, Summer 2021)