Landscaping

Bug guts in red shed–
backyard. Dad had
clippers with my name
engraved. I didn’t
trim trees after death.
Hired hands, tired
hands, ceramic
sculptured lawn.
I had to leave.
Mom said she’d
handle the rest.

(originally published in San Diego Poetry Annual, Summer 2020)

Driving in Loops to Enterprise

We cruised Penn Avenue as compliant
vagabonds to the parking garage train

station to deposit/withdraw rental cars
in other people’s names. For a long time

I believed if you drove the actor’s maroon
luxury vehicle, you’d become the moon

yourself, at long last a god you believed in.
Being one who has to drive it to where it

must go, I know by now you will guide
its hand back to beneath the famous blue

bridge in the strip. You will sit at your desk
in the grainy film of your dreams and sketch

the rumblings of this world until golden hour.
The sun, then, will gift upon you ultraviolets.

 

(originally published in Confluence, Spring 2020)

C.K.

2012

I remember I once came   home from work & got drunk
on the couch watching his Netflix Live From the Beacon
Theater special & my laughter echoed through the
house & my mom wondered what was so funny & joined me

she sat on the recliner    put her feet up & she, too, laughed / confused
about why she was even laughing at the mock masturbation

                                        everyone in that audience shrieking

2017

    my mother is 60 [looks 50]
    gets hit on by hordes
    of hungry younger men
               at her job–
                                 can smell the wolf on them
                                 (she sells cologne)

yet every harassment story
she tells starts with I have to tell you
    something– you
    are going
    to laugh

 

(originally published in Fishbowl Press, Winter 2020)

Office (August)

is this how you spend your days? laundry
filthy as furniture.
                     the room cold between two
worlds. I am awash in
transition: upbringing /
                                       nirvana
give me a place to call home
I am stuck in the wedge
of
       wanting nothing
but your long arms around
the circumference of
my body. here is
the ticking clock
                  a timepiece
                                       countenance
allowing sea change
along the equator
                  indecision
east of my brain sees desire in
a sleeping blanket. I am trying
to wrap my mind around
the absence
                    of the life it
                                           leaves.

 

(originally published in Bindweed Magazine, Winter 2020)

Multimodality

too many avenues to take
to achieve              [what]?

goldfisted, I punch Jupiter
through the rings
I’m bound to. a racetrack

this zipline I cling
to the forest not the tether
nor the trees many

branched and beholden
to gravity I seek
to lunge headfirst

through the brush
renewal in sharp
sticks and scrape

the surface of
what composes me

(originally published in Ginosko Literary Magazine, Winter 2021)

Blue

The wave at the shore
was followed by blood
and flame. California singes
itself, Thousand Oaks
surrounded by smoke
clouds rising
into a blanket, smothering,
like the chorus
assembling on our streets–
the world is dying,
but first our friends
and neighbors,
how this bloodshed
has been on the fringe
of our existence until
it’s not, it’s everywhere–
down the road, polluting
our hope, it seemed
everyone
we knew cast a vote
to turn the world
blue
so how do we
drown the flames?

 

(originally published in Capsule Stories, Fall 2020)

NYE, 2010

that was the monochrome new year
I reached for your leg like a frog with long
tongue and you were on
the couch flyswatting everyone

the walls were drunk too the way
we behaved in the wild dorms
animals celebrating the turn of a page
the setting of the sun it was winter

in Berea and we held each other
like it would never be warm
again we caught snowflakes on
our tongues left black bottles in dead grass

 

(originally published in Datura, Fall 2019)