Schizotrope

Finale was the first program I used to
compose music, in eighth grade, back
when my concern was to score colorful,
simple role-playing games I had created
with RPG Maker 2000. A couple years
later, I used new software, hunched
in the dark of my mom’s living
room, toying with FL Studio’s virtual
equalizers, knobs, and keyboard to craft
Schizotrope, the name of the album
I wrote to process a breakup,
an attempt to conjure you through
some combination of melody
and soundfont. When I listen
now, I hear us both a kind
of cacophonous ghost. Back
then, it was simple to slip on
cheap earbuds and recede into
my childhood bedroom, where we
did what I thought– when growing
up– was growing up. So shifted the
trajectory of my songs. And speaking
again of early sex, I sang off-key into my
coffee-stained Hewlett-Packard’s built-in
microphone, made a MIDI sound
marginally authentic to gift myself, in
the future, reverberations of my coping.

 

(originally published in Artvilla: Poetry Life & Times, Fall 2019)

Kimmy Granger

The green blanket over your head–
Kimmy Granger gets fucked
by a fake photographer
on your iPhone in my hand.
Meanwhile, you ride me, moaning–
it’s snowing– December’s waning
autumn days– awaiting a kind of fate
under flicked-off lights
in the gray of afternoon.
Before this, we reminisced about
the early days– laying in bed my hand
in your hair listening to music.
Then late July laying in grass saying
the ways we make each other happy.
Which is why I must rewind this clip
over and over to the part where Kimmy
is smiling and laughing before
the whole thing starts and
I pine for the blanket, your
green thread and lint.

 

(originally published in Ghost City Review, Winter 2018)

Zen of the Clattering Ceiling Fan

These Tinder dates and hookups.
Teeth kisses and unfamiliar homes.
You count cold days and they are circular.

There’s a blue hue from the window.
M snores in unison with the universe
of her bedroom. I can’t sleep, so

I become the fan. After some time,
transcendence is the blade that cuts
through stale air, makes the room breathe.

 

(originally published in The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Spring 2018)

Used to Play Baseball

I am a nail-punctured tire
the rubber smell
with you, unfinished, our wheels –

constant motion
squealing for still.
Our bodies, bands stretched and heaved

in bundles of clothing
(deserted starling
feathers scattered and–)

navigating roadmaps to our cores,
you can reach the end
and pluck what you want.

I just want you to see me for who I am
when your legs aren’t clamped around me,
the squeeze in the mitt.

 

(originally published in First Literary Review – East, Spring 2018)

Tea

the kettle sings I sift the mint
from your leaves become morning
branches inhale steam tethered to
white string high held by fingers
that’ll dig too much into bark
rotting wood from childhood
a treehouse built with dirt hands
and axe planked into core of
every fragile oak soon to fall

 

(originally published in Common Ground Review, Spring 2018)

Maggie

After you invited me to your brother’s jazz
concert you said you liked me too much
and I couldn’t handle that, the thought

of our togethered trombone slide into an infinity
accompanied by spacetime’s deep sound.
I avoided you the only way I knew how:

my absence for your words a dangling CO2.
This, another failed online dating experience,
a week and (it was electric for a time) the zap

of each other in a cold January condo over and
over, a thousand volts then whole note rest,
a singed week’s limb removed by blizzard wind.

 

(originally published in Postcard Poems and Prose, 2017)

Abella Danger

fungus grows on the lips
of a cordless mouse
and seeks a kiss or two
clicks to connect void
into void and absence
warps into a fray
of spit and sweat
this LED lover
covered in fingerprints
and dust here we crawl
on tousled bedsheet toward
an open window in view
of eucalyptus and jacaranda

 

(originally published in The Good Men Project, Fall 2017)