M&M

I was searching, too,
having lost the will to film
when I left Los Angeles. So
when you and Kim hid bags of
Haddad’s M&Ms from the other,
I learned it’s okay and rare
to find such sweetness inside
the seams of a rolling chair.
And when I watched you
climb desks and tables
to seek an advantage
inside the pillar, the cords,
the tethered lights– which
resulted in a broken device–
it was never malicious,
wasn’t some power play
I’d become accustomed to
in this industry, just a game
that ended when Janice
emptied bulk bags of the candy
over our desks because
even I was in too deep and,
yeah, it was hilarious. Now,
as we clean our desks to leave,
we find stray M&Ms buried
under paper stacks that serve
to remind, if for a moment,
that you are my friend.

 

(originally published in Eunoia Review, Winter 2019)

Let’s Make a Deal

At a McDonald’s in Ohio the TV
plays Let’s Make a Deal & two
old white men are enraptured mouths
open in awe of the studio energy
around Wayne Brady & I
know he’s happy but the audience
is fake I was paid to be
fake in L.A. forty dollars cash is all
it takes for one to clap clap
mid-clap three hours palms
burn & lucky luck even those
who somehow chosen sneak
onto stage know they did
not bring the green glittering
top hat they’re told to wear & now
their hair holds dead rabbits
the producers keep killing
& we’re laughing it’s funny
they tell us & when I was on
the show they asked me to whoop
my gutted-fish stomach out
& of course I yelled the wrong
numbers in the game & brand-
new sedans were revealed
as what I could have had
had I said six instead of
seven & then collected my
forty in line alongside everyone
returning loopy props to
props I know my mom is proud she
shows me & my colorful howling
crowd to happy rooms years
after the date I’m biting into
McNuggets with gold teeth
& cavities

 

(originally published in New Pop Lit, Spring 2018)

Background Actors

At the foot of the staircase to the stars–
in the back of the line of actors drunken
from delusion (I’m going to make it),
each of us with hands full of hangers,
heads full of the fame
that glimpses a star, a familiar face,
how we chosen ones flicker
on living room screens
of friends and families–
a blip, a blur so brief
we were almost never there at all.

 

(originally published in The Piedmont Journal of Poetry and Fiction, Winter 2017)