This is a binding between nature and mankind
unexplainable through philosophy. The trees
want to reclaim us or, perhaps, themselves.
-K. Santiago, “The Whispers in the Wild”
World Cup – athletes at their peak
when the affliction struck.
Crushed leaves in snot on tissue –
it’s nothing. I was Ubering people
around Columbus, heard the chatter.
Can trees grow in brains? Is the new
trend snorting deciduous?
I tapped the CNN app– first it was
a world-class saxophonist struck
down with a green cold.
Next, football stars from Paraguay
and Russia, all blowing chunks
of trees into white, softer trees.
The first doctor to log a patient
said it’s nothing to worry about.
After a week the test showed invasion:
prickly pines a long spine in the nose
and the headlines bleated MEAT TREES!
It was early morning in the haze
of dreaming when my nose dripped forest–
I wiped my hand across the stream,
the flecks of blossoms blooming.
(originally published in Cough Syrup Magazine, Spring 2020)
Smoking, joking winter asking how to
take things slow.
Drinking, sinking field is thinking about
to let spring go.
Laughing, baffling cold front having one last
Slicing, striking freak-snow lightning– go on,
make a wish.
The cherry blossom knows there is a chance she’ll never bloom.
Wish for her, dear poet. Wish she’ll flower soon.
(originally published by Toe Good, Winter 2018)
on my scalp
in your laugh
on our tongues
(originally published in Gnarled Oak, Summer 2017)
I am a sitting landfill beef
lettuce special sauce
a sepulchur in my Ford
& in this warm January
the trees are still dead
one eye open I imagine
forests stretching tired
legs & staying silent when it’s time
to speak spring
(originally published in KAIROS, 2017)
everything springs to life
again your last
relationship your new
relationship these are strings
balloons with brains inside
of them and hearts
at the center of the brains
if we fly a little higher
there’s no going back
(originally published in Dragon Poet Review, Summer 2017)
I have convinced myself
all birds fly as soon as they see sky
I know each wing on each one
Grounded I tend to speak aluminum
from the grand piano of my throat
It is a sunny thirty
The sun beams over a painting
of a palm supporting an oak
Believe me I want my tongue
to bloom good petals
I cannot get enough of being
Imagine a single light
at the far end of a cave
so faint you must remember
Blow the dust
from the ivories
Play flat notes detuned
through my lips
I want the truth
yet spit loose gravel
into the chasm
of my lover’s ear
(Originally published in Poetry Super Highway, Summer 2017)
Yesterday we were at a pool party
attended by only a few others. It was
dog-friendly, as it was last week,
so the lone, small white dog
lapped water into his mouth
while on an inflatable raft and we
stood in silence and watched as he
drank the blue that held the specks
of fallen leaves and submerged spiders
while our beers turned warm. Last week
we were at a party in the same house
with a few of the same people but the
sun was out and I did not have to keep
wondering if you were okay, if you would
dip your feet into the clear with me and all
the people we did not know then because,
last week, a stranger in a bar did not yet
shake your body and bite you
long after you begged him not to–
no, the night before last week’s party
we danced to nineties hip-hop
inside the shadows of others until
we could not help but mine our
bodies for gold. Last week, we laughed
as the dog lapped the pool into his mouth
but watching, now, we know there are some
who force a tongue at whatever water
they see fit, how they lap and lap
until there’s nothing but a splash
of what they lapped at all.
(originally published in The Collapsar, Summer 2016)
Lawnmower string / guitar heart–
pull, strum, start then stop the song.
It’s dead grass. Its broken neck.
B-chord specks. Shades of saffron.
It’s dandelion season–
one reason to sing with blades.
Grass frets yet begins anew.
Rotors drone through spring. Charades.
(originally published in The Road Not Taken, Summer 2016)
(originally published in Vector Magazine, Spring 2016)
from bed we stared upward
at dead bugs in the light fixture
dark spots scattered so motionless
at the foot of what blinds and allures
you said I’m not going to remove them
I mentioned the blinds were parted this entire time
you said a homeless man lives across the street
but the cold and snow would prevent anyone from watching
the light was dimmed
neither of us intended escape
I learned a stinkbug can withstand temperatures
of negative twenty I had tossed one into snow
and it froze meaning its heart turned cold
in an instant and I expect it to
the shell lifeless and its own
dark spot in the snow
the walls were already painted olive
you said you could live with that
we guessed the time and now past midnight
you hadn’t done your reading for the morning
so I returned to the salted road
cruising past dark snow
and trees no cars
no other lights
for miles just ice
just cold just frosts
and frozen bugs
to bring some kind of meaning
(originally published in Ohio Edit)