you asked me to move in
or lose you Ben
Franklin is credited with
the early bird gets the worm
and also electricity
I have a tic
wherein I set a clock
back twenty minutes
to make myself early
and the storm
the kite so vivid and red
corporeal and endless
(originally published in Epigraph Magazine, Winter 2018)
The city was dead when we went
so we intended to fill ourselves
with black magic found
in skeletons on the street.
Look how roots of fallen
trees meld with earth.
Go where lines still meander
on your palms–
we did not share with ghosts
when we reached the end,
no words whispered into steam
of dim lights and Darjeeling,
no further graffiti for your blue
telescope eyes peering through time
to the origin of your cosmos, when
your essence poured from your sleeves
but carried less starlight than it does now.
(originally published in The Stray Branch, Spring 2018)
That gray summer was spent buried
in fantasy novels beside my father’s grave.
It was rain in bitter heat, a whirlwind of pages
as my hands returned to oak, night lamp aglow.
Always I end in a nestle of branches and words,
longing to strip my faded jeans and unbathe,
ride a dragon into goldenrod, triangular
wings swallowing the neutral sky–
so often I shovel terrain in my mouth,
wishing time erode the sediment
that builds cities in my body,
skyscrapers in my throat.
(originally published in The Piedmont Journal of Poetry and Fiction, Winter 2017)
As I move further from you, whiskey in hand,
the thirst seems to pile like distance in the miles–
my shape roasted under Pacific sun.
Our sunglasses clinked with wine glasses.
The dry sponge. Run me under the sink.
Or run with me. You could be a ghost, too,
a phantom unfurling before me, haunting
each town I pass. Every morning, I am gone.
For a while, your blanket was warm. But chill the air
long enough and someone will notice. No one
likes the cold. Everyone prefers the summer river,
her water’s blue in the ice of winter, the clear
of July. I dig for you in the dirt. Then myself.
My shapelessness. My tendency to drift
so far away that I never fully return.
(originally published in Jazz Cigarette, Autumn 2016)
rust– my heart’s jigsaw
exhaust– speaking’s black smoke
skid marks– don’t stop
steppes become sycamores
lakes become deserts
lips– sun-dried song and stale reed
saxophone– barren of sound
you– between the dents
the sun– unforgiving
(originally published in Ghost City Review, Autumn 2016)
sand lodged in the crooks of fingernails
watch the way light
reflects its own water
the last time something glimmered
was birth driving ninety
through the Arizona desert
the scorch in red rocks
pursued our same dreams
pricklier than a cactus
you leave who you love
the phone conversations
of dryer lint and treble
in heat, tires tremble
in cold, you wait
(originally published in “the vacant hinge of a song“, courtesy of Origami Poems Project)
I run from exceptional red.
Distance. Majestic arches. Loop-
de-loop of common want. Canyons,
or peace of mind. Say Zen. Say
Zion. Watch as wind-up forests
spiral from sand. Leaves whisper
to their coming branches in the vacant
hinge of a song. Don’t they
still reach for you. The lonely hoodoos
eroded in failed embrace. Treble clef,
or trouble. No beats for the metered dream.
(originally published in Turk’s Head Review – October 2015)
Every road has a finite end, just mud and sky, daytime
if you’re lucky, night looming beyond the paling horizon.
Maybe there is a barren tree, branches dancing
to a slow sonata, a love song only the two of you
know, the earth calmly listening. If you can plant
your naked feet into the ground, you will hear
the earth hum as it spins faster than you will ever
move, and though it always seems like stasis, you hope
it never stops, remains a puzzle
merely a misstep from disarray.
(originally featured in Common Ground Review, Vol. XVII, Issue II)
You wanted to eat my face
just as seven A.M. south Oregon fog
conceals trees over a low valley.
I wanted the same of yours.
What you liked was the sky descended:
how you’re able to grip, fleetingly,
the mortal, shifting clouds–
to think, I have touched the untouchable.
Many pines, from a distance, can be held
by two fingers. We can choose to let them dangle
The fog consumes and rises
while we watch the sun burn slowly west.
When the rain begins,
the soft pattering against the windshield
mimics the sound of your jaw
fake-chomping my cheeks–
The speedometer oscillates
between sixty-five and ninety.
The hillsides change so suddenly
with every mile– shifting smiles hidden
by a fog you know will also fade.
(originally published in VAYAVYA)
*Nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Writing Knights Press in 2017
(originally published in Ice Box Journal – Issue #3)