I am a clicking sound in the tongue of the restaurant–
how would you like to be served how may I serve you
the bones are getting cold in this chicken breast this cutlet
of space I said I’d do anything for cash and it’s true there is
no limit to greed that’s the whole idea space expands
and my atoms stay quantum and still, relatively.
(originally published in Erothanatos, Spring 2020)
Finn barks at the window & I try to understand why
make noise at the sunshine we are in the clear & inside
of our heads taking dirt showers beside the Pacific
we both are allowed in this home to live our lives
on all fours and from the couch watch the world
go slowly by
(originally published in Agony Opera, Summer 2021)
This November morning,
too cold to rise from bed,
I peek out the window
and find a bleeding steak–
ribeye sky rare, red,
(originally published in ActiveMuse, Spring 2023)
has fog to fade
cold spades we spoke
this morning we
want to forget the day
leaps off quarry boundless sea for clouds to
rush at us like waves
like renewal so sudden
and jagged the sunlight through mist
we lift our arms
to fly to dive
without our mouths
(originally published in The Light Ekphrastic, Spring 2020)
Whichever– we were followed
by a love, chanting mantras
in the dark beneath each doll,
each horsehead. And to say there
was a countdown– I masked my own
face. Then fate bugsprayed the spirits
that wanted to haunt our hearts
in this crickety home forever.
(originally published in In Parentheses, Spring 2020)
I often disappoint myself,
though half-reckoning is
a wreck in the making.
Insensitive interstate a
random number generator,
impartial to chaos. This rush
hour pileup from heart
to mouth. I say I love you
like it is always summer,
but today marks fall. Why this
world spun me into Pittsburgh
eludes me. This is not a yearning
for old light, coated in cinnamon.
I laid my head on your chest
and the rest happened like history.
(originally published in Adelaide Literary Journal Anthology, Spring 2021)
Death is in the shriveled blue and purple
hydrangea bouquet I gifted you. Kathy
bought the same, smaller, but they did not last
so much as linger. Mom calls me from Macy’s–
where she has sold colognes for thirty years–
and says she still struggles. But, on the phone,
I am drunk on a beach towel in a horse cemetery
where Juan Carlos and his team of red ride in
circles over forgotten bones, chasing a ghost-
white ball with a mallet through the empty space
between goalposts. In the first chukker, my sister–
who broke the news I somehow already knew
with a call in the dark of a dorm room– texts
me that she’s thinking of me today. At halftime,
when spectators are invited to flatten divots
on the field with their shoes, Kathy leaves
to help her family move, and the moment
she reverses her car from our tailgating spot,
I answer a call I am unaware of from my other
sister before seeing her text ask if I am okay,
that it sounded like I was in an accident
and drove into grass. No, I tell her, I am day-
drunk among ponies in the withering days
of summer. But what I don’t tell her is
on the way here, Kathy didn’t see the turquoise
minivan she nearly plunged into, and all we could
do as passengers was clutch the leather beneath
us as she sped full-throttle on thin and curvy roads
through the woods. We prayed to whatever tree
was nearest– birches in a blur– prayed the whole forest
to provide a signal to remind us we are, briefly, breathing.
(originally published in Sampsonia Way Magazine, Summer 2020)
First baseball game I’ve seen this season– game seven
of the World Series, Houston versus Washington. A sea
of orange in Texas. Scherzer versus Springer. Joe Buck
talks about muscle injections, pinched nerves, breaking
ball– full count. He says this series is full of big swings,
big emotions– isn’t that a normal week? Dad watched
every Cleveland game. Ever. For a summer I did,
too, but October is chillier than usual. Last week, we
buried my oldest brother. We used to play sports
games– Triple Play 2000, Gran Turismo– on the
basement’s cold, brown carpet, where all physics
hurtled toward inevitable destinations: a ball singing
through the air into a blurry glove, or tires spinning
through some grainy tunnel. We’d trade wins, half-
luck, but there was always a conclusion. Last year,
I held his hand in the hospital. He squeezed my
fingers and said what he couldn’t with his eyes.
Last week, he didn’t get the kidney he needed.
When Washington wins, I see men cry on each
other’s shoulders. When my brother dies, my brother
cries on my shoulder. I cry on his shoulder.
And when we look at each other,
we find someone we both miss.
(originally published in Knot Literary Magazine, Fall 2021)
At Tango there’s a half-full bucket under the urinal
yet no one wants to talk about Piss Christ at the
dinner table. It’s the eve of Christmas Eve and
you tell me my family is your family. I don’t
want to eat the bucatini anymore. The short
rib in grease is a clog the whipped ricotta
is trying to lubricate down my gullet.
We don’t want dessert at Grandpa’s. The
cookies are rolling stones and I can’t
mention Piss Christ. Everyone sits in
a circle and talks accomplishments.
The architect, the dancer, the lawyer.
My name is in the credits of a movie.
Who cares? No one can talk about
Everyone talks about wanting Yang Ming,
but it shut down. Because of the rats and
flies and spider webs and black mold
and uncovered fruit and the workers not
washing their hands after trips to the toilet.
I want to go, too. Seems like a great place
to talk about Piss Christ.
On Christmas morning we open presents
and Liz mentions a chef from China she
wants to reconnect with, but his restaurant
closed. She’s not sure what part of China
he’s from, or even the spelling of the place.
This spurs talks of other defunct restaurants,
which returns us to Yang Ming. Michael
mentions the urinal at Tango with the half-
empty bucket beneath. Of course I snapped
a photograph. Of course I show everyone.
Mathew says this reminds me– what’s that
piece of art? And I respond Piss Christ!
But everyone’s thinking of Duchamp’s
Fountain, and we all take another bite
of the home-fried bacon and golden
scrambled eggs, seeped in a tradition
that will seemingly last forever.
(originally published in Harbinger Asylum, Spring 2020)
all this balance nothing to show for it
seesaw the most patient of virtues–
get up god damn it
when you fall can you please get the fuck up
lemons fire from cannons
zest on my back
& I am always running
can’t say the words right in my head
but in the glitch of No Music just levers clicking
& motherfuckers shouting woo! in the sorry
(originally published in TRIBES, Fall 2021)