Piss Christ

At Tango there’s a half-full bucket under the urinal
yet no one wants to talk about Piss Christ at the
dinner table. It’s the eve of Christmas Eve and
you tell me my family is your family. I don’t
want to eat the bucatini anymore. The short
rib in grease is a clog the whipped ricotta
is trying to lubricate down my gullet.


We don’t want dessert at Grandpa’s. The
cookies are rolling stones and I can’t
mention Piss Christ. Everyone sits in
a circle and talks accomplishments.
The architect, the dancer, the lawyer.
My name is in the credits of a movie.
Who cares? No one can talk about


Everyone talks about wanting Yang Ming,
but it shut down. Because of the rats and
flies and spider webs and black mold
and uncovered fruit and the workers not
washing their hands after trips to the toilet.
I want to go, too. Seems like a great place
to talk about Piss Christ.


On Christmas morning we open presents
and Liz mentions a chef from China she
wants to reconnect with, but his restaurant
closed. She’s not sure what part of China
he’s from, or even the spelling of the place.
This spurs talks of other defunct restaurants,
which returns us to Yang Ming. Michael
mentions the urinal at Tango with the half-
empty bucket beneath. Of course I snapped
a photograph. Of course I show everyone.
Mathew says this reminds me– what’s that
piece of art? And I respond Piss Christ!
But everyone’s thinking of Duchamp’s
Fountain, and we all take another bite
of the home-fried bacon and golden
scrambled eggs, seeped in a tradition
that will seemingly last forever.


(originally published in Harbinger Asylum, Spring 2020)

Meat Trees

             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)


The people I love have never been further
& I’ve never been so nervous this long
not knowing which of the weeks
will be the one I can leave & be bound
to the beginning I will uncork
this love inside me (ever underground
and rooting) such that crowds will be
willed into existence again. But
we don’t need the shopping mall.
Slabs of pumice stone I saw
inside the consumers. Instead
of bedding the concourse
you asked for an airplane
and received as a gift
a ballot. A bailout for the sky
and everything within:
what’s the origin of acid
in the rain? Surely we couldn’t
be so monstrous. I’ve won a
thousand wars these thirty
years but none like isolation.
I’m feeding into the frenzy
like the marketers want me
to. The markets want me
dead, but still they want
my money.

(originally published in Flashes, Fall 2021)


Thlok when drunk.
Thlok for deer.
Thlok for you to fail.
Thlok when you can’t thlok.
Thlok chips on the poker table.
Thlok your name being called.
Thlok falls down.
Thlok shut up.
Thlok talk about their children.
Thlok hard work.
Thlok jolt a finger.
Thlok beer poured into a glass.
Thlok guitar pedal.
Thlok your partner.
Thlok caw.
Thlok you have no interest in.
Thlok two packs a day.
Thlok typing with mitts.
Thlok silent manner.
Thlok urinate.
Thlok wind machine.
Thlok monster.
Thlok opinion without listening.
Thlok fast asleep.
Thlok two big sticks.
Thlok fish swims away.
Thlok across the street.
Thlok thawing snow in spring.
Thlok thoughts during sex.
Thlok man mansplaining thlok.

(originally published in The Disappointed Housewife, Summer 2021)

no more dog for you

is what kailee says after
our boss says bang! dead
he asks who wouldn’t have
shot a dog that’s clearly at
its end and she walks out
of his office sits down by me
and says he was showing
me grotesque pictures
and I said I know
I overheard half his
ear is gone
I still have two
full ears
though sometimes
selectively choose
what I perceive as
in their conversation
as in yes I know
I hung the wifi
password sign
in his office
slightly slanted
and I have
a diagonal view
of it from the
wooden table
I call my desk and
it irks me to see
I would not
could not
invest in the
thought of
owning a gun
but I
will tear down
that sign
at first

(originally published in Jokes Review, Summer 2020)

Ode to Gargoyles

Strong Baboon, I lost all sense of language

                          Duck Angel, blue clouds are turning dark

Anchored Cheetah, chase my spirit away

                          Smiling Lion, Naked Genie, give your lust & longing

Horned Horse, may one day you breathe flame

                          Lost Dog, you have seen my lover

Furless Cat, may my home become yours

                          Hunchback Hyena, I, too, holler at the edge of a roof

Tender Dove, may you pass these tigers safely

                          Galloping Bat, may we find a bed deep in a cave

(originally published in Artvilla, Spring 2021)