On one of our nightly walks
of less and less talk,
gunshots punctuate the air,
puncturing our silence.
I hold my palms over your ears
when an ambulance passes us,
its siren shrieking into our void,
lights turning us red
like there’s any lust left.
(originally published in The Blotter Magazine, Summer 2017)
got a heinz bottle full of regrets
but it’s dried up as the crust of red’s
lost its use you try to squeeze something
from an old heart and look how flappily
it beats sags and wheezes yet I got a cold bag
of wendy’s to share salted and soggy
on our porch in december rain I said
to go to be tax-free and carefree yes
but on the swinging bench white-bagged I see
your face in wendy’s and your eyes some
sad fake black pocket’s full of lint and loose change
and can’t stop sliding my hands in to feel my legs
burning with desire to get up and build trash
cans from scrap at the edge of the yard
then wait for the passersby
to throw their guilty pleasures in
(originally published in FLAPPERHOUSE, Fall 2017)
yes i have
seen my neighbors
we disagree but shit
violins i’m saying welcome
cupcakes i’m saying
welcoming there’s the dirt
we both walk on trust
i’ve seen them
i’ve seen us too
(Originally published in The Neglected Ratio, Summer 2017)
We inhaled fog on the Golden Gate
along with traffic exhaust.
Foghorns cried names
we did not recognize.
Car horns, names we gave ourselves.
From this high, you said, there is no good
way to fall. We scrunched our fingers
to encapsulate the small
fragility fog brings– how, in a moment,
everything can change / fog
of ghosts rippling waves from long-
passed boats / fog of sitting in silence,
windows down / fog of steel cable’s
fading red / fog of missing
what we lost while sun cuts a way
(originally published in Eunoia Review, Fall 2016)
Cold fronts enter spring, but cardinals
sing their frigid songs despite soft snow.
Red lips still curl over the sidewalk’s cigarettes
but warmth dissipates when smoke leaves the body.
Pale hands reach from corners of blurry photographs–
push through crowds of these-were-my-lovers–
tines of bright puncture darkness. Negative dust
turns to light: the telescope observed your eyes
wandering the dark. Believe the perched cardinal
is lost love thinking of you who sculpts the moon
out of papier-mâché– scope the abyss for stars
but smell the art’s silver crumble on your skin.
(originally published in Thirteen Myna Birds, Fall 2016)
do you believe in demons
it is an election year
which means half the populace is terrified
more than they usually are
half of us believe you can cast hell on a ballot
without holding your breath
cloaked and mortared
to cast bombs into the future
forthcoming days that glide like saliva
we argue until our tongues hurt
and our minds are worn from fire
that we build organically
rubbing sticks together
and the whole nation burns
cold and lifeless
what America needs
is for fewer people
to preach what America needs
and to follow the strays
who wander the streets
to see where they go
(originally published in Black Elephant Lit)
I listened, during that foggy morning stroll
on the Golden Gate, when you alluded
to what it must mean to jump,
how it must feel to fall.
The foghorn blared every five minutes
from some ship we could not find beneath us.
We peered our heads over the low railing
and inhaled the gray.
Red telephones rang in our heads.
I can still hear the ringing
from the hotel’s broken phone–
thin wires dangled into lines
on our palms, curved and infinite–
an atlas to guide the whispers
we cupped into our hands
I feared faraway screams
or the deafening sound of cymbals, shards
of metal launched from the hinges
of what was thought secure–
I did not expect
in an instant, without percussion–
I did not expect the fog, how sterile
it seems, like the afterlife, how it turns
the familiar into silhouettes–
to make this any easier.
(originally published in riverbabble, Issue #28, Winter 2016)
soft purchased lumber. even though
inside I rub my hand along the surface
and feel the splinter
for a worm, for a prayer,
for modesty beyond a simple thanks.
underground is four thousand miles deep.
i walk afloat at zero
and wait for your wails
to wake me up
(originally published in Oxford Magazine, March 2015)