Always having a crush
makes life fun. The pining,
as Vonnegut preached, even
if only for a glass of water.
It was in the parking lot, dark
after shutting the trunk where
we stored your viola. You
hugged me, whispered music.
Your warmth pressed against
mine– epiphany. A concerto
we don’t know the notes to. How
do you shut the trunk to a partner
you’ve stored your notes in for
a decade? I see the complacency.
The spare tire in reach. Our palms
touched each time we switched
our beers. It’s true: one of us will
move soon, and I want to whisper
give me a reason not to.
(originally published in bluepepper, Fall 2019)
Having a crush means this structure
will one day come crumbling.
You come home high and stare at
the mirror and tell me maybe everything
will be better with makeup.
I ask what this means and
you hold your birthday crayons
over a blank page and draw
a tomato garden, a vine in a vase–
though in the soil someone has
lodged a cigarette still burning.
(originally published in Academy of the Heart and Mind, Fall 2019)
I wish I could tell it better. As
this is a poem. Just
at my desk in rainy
January thinking about
the last night of last year,
when I did something that made me
examine my drinking. I know
I am supposed to talk about what.
So this must be frustrating, the
vagueness. It wasn’t a car crash,
necessarily. I didn’t kill
anyone but, perhaps, the old me,
now a zombie walking
out the dregs of the new
year and hovering
outside my door. He wants
to knock. My knowing his
wanting to knock is
his knocking. And if
I haven’t killed anyone
yet, maybe it should be him.
But I can’t bring myself
to do it. I stopped hard liquor.
And beer, for now. Forever,
maybe. Just saying it
is gunpowder on my tongue.
I can’t stop eating candy,
and I’m very thirsty. But
is selfishness refusing to call
Kaveh’s wolf a wolf? Like
pre-diabetic. What will
kill me is the refusal
(originally published in Red Rover Magazine, Spring 2021)
Acrylic in my head paints on canvas a monstrosity
the glut of guitars plucked and discordant my ganglia
a jumbled mess of math wrong equating crystals and string
circus a battle with the world its perspective a plane upside-
down on the runway screaming into sky oh I love who I love
and that’s the mallet rolling down the xylophone until the rot
an explosion at the end with upright bass scaling up
intensity while the sine waves crash against the shore
to counter the tide tolling against the whistling sand
(originally published in The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Winter 2020)
It began to rain, it rains, the
drainage of the city trembles.
A moth dances in the wind
through Carl Sagan’s window.
When we live, we apologize
for the love. Rain falls, rain
drains, and water is the body
where we lose trust.
the house at night.
In the sun there is dust–
the moth follows love there.
We apologize to moths.
Rain is the body; trust
does not return. Shadows
eat the moths at night.
(originally published in Terror House Magazine, Summer 2019)
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
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)
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)
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)
this is no end
I climb into the clock
and hairs of time still
wend from its beating
wings until purpose
finds me this is just
another way to kill time
(originally published in Ginosko Literary Journal, Fall 2021)
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)