I believe in you
with your hand
in my hand,
who I am,
who I have been–
every sin absolved,
in silent prayer
to our prayers.
With your hand
in my hand
is my land,
in the morning.
(originally published in SOFT CARTEL, 2018)
I seek a way to meet heaven without living it
in my excess the money and green, the love and sex
the sexes intertwined like vines and twigs
and doesn’t faith have nice legs? the priest
would ask from afar in this tall wooden structure with
our congregation crooning a Godsong that couldn’t
bring them any closer to God but wasn’t what
we wanted the whole time each other?
in that way I’m still religious
(originally published in KAIROS, Spring 2018)
As if you could find exactly
the base of a triangle–
one long, unsure line.
I am looking for an exit
sign pointing, pointing, pointing.
Outside that red door
wilts confused leaves.
You say there’s a way
to quantify this? That
equations explain everything?
It’s 30 degrees today,
What’s autumn’s angle?
A 180-degree spin.
Math. I don’t trust it.
How Catholic school
assured me the trinity
would save me.
I’ll learn whatever
to warm myself.
(originally published in petrichor, Spring 2018)
I have been inside
a marketing firm
with its own basketball court.
Uninspired employees huffed
then daggered meaningless
the hoop, hoping for renewal,
but no one kept score.
I could relate:
attending Catholic school,
I found it necessary
to ask for forgiveness
in the shower.
I had come to fear
a red-fanged Satan
sporting a porn ‘stache
waiting by the mirror,
covering himself with
a towel, fork in hand–
and me, behind childhood
curtains covered in soot,
water rushing, my body
seal-like from ablution.
(originally published in Sooth Swarm Journal, Summer 2018)
I ask God the mouth the mountain holy
snow where does the rain go in desert
yellow enunciation of healing the sand warm
fingers pressed against a forehead as
firmament or a ruse I’m just saying it’s easy
in growing old to live confused
(originally published in Little Rose Magazine, Winter 2018)
Between floors I meet calm–
meditation when firefighters
arrive. Frank O’Hara might
be proud though there were
no red lights streaming in how
one can wedge one’s own ideology
in a wavering tower halfway to
clouds but the building shakes on
bad foundation though a soul is
structurally sound in one way
how it rises a few floors
a crease in the rope to stop
movement how could an elevator
even stop why wouldn’t it if I were one
I would rise only being this lonely
and quit too in the in-between of
sustaining love or faith forever
but interstitials demand warmth
around mind with winter jacket
how such claustrophobic space within
you can force yourself to blow
air into your fist then float away
(originally published in Literary Yard, Winter 2018)
My high school was ninety-nine percent white
classmates without filter said you’re a bit off-kilter
what are you I mean what are you I mean
all I am is me my whole life everything I know
half-Filipino half-West Virginian so you mean
like half-Asian half-hick I mean like basically
I don’t have the ear for Appalachia and must
be good at math and I said neither they said
solve this solve this these equations flicked
into my ear shoved into my eyes but my
coping mech was laughter
is there another term for that?
(originally published in Cabildo Quarterly, Winter 2018)
Ancient gods rain fire into
winter’s mythological mitt.
Inhabitants escape from the
tampered breaches to become
apprentices of harmony and
tell of wondrous kings–
the bestiary a cephalopod
might preach. Tell me
less of spirit, more of
body. Tell me hunger.
Tell me deserts, dry
(originally published in Amethyst, Winter 2018)
What you do say is prayer don’t burn and die
when passing through the atmosphere.
Yet, somehow, meteoroids do–
though sand-sized, they have bodies
like bullets, sometimes
copper, sometimes steel.
We’re talkin’ heaven’s ammo,
a hundred tons pounding Earth each day
unnoticed. Down here, you claim
able to speak with some cosmic, faraway force
you’ve never met while keeping closed your mouth.
You claim telepathy, so this telepathic ability
how your thoughts move healing this world
of the aftermath of bodies. Tell me:
how does God respond?
And you say God,
God protects the faithful.
So, God’s His own meteorites
cratering His house, hallelujah.
(originally published in Ohio Edit, Winter 2018)
for now cheap breakable wheat is my bible okay
I’ve been in this basement for three days
orange skies in the psalms of your dimples
(my throat is parched…)
it’s simple open your palms
for your mouth
you could fit needles in these holes
constellations in these holes
should’ve put those tiny strings of stars
in my cart to bide my time
instead of sacks of snacks
to fill & fill myself
until I rip open my last plastic head
dust volcanoes until my eyes bleed Sunshine red
my fingertips light & salted tiger sticks
my preacher says Jesus won’t eat Cheez-Its
I believe crumbs
lodged in teeth will return in three days
(originally published in Unlikely Stories Mark VI, Fall 2017)