I Call Bullshit Upon the Throat of My Art

Palm to neck– tactile hypocrisy. My Adam’s apple,
weren’t my lips once sweet for Jesus? Crucifixion
was puberty lapping holy water in adulthood’s
church, blessed be hope. To remake myself
is a perpetual game of jacks and marbles
rolled by someone older. Rejecting rules,
I say I’ll get better.

 

(originally published in Eunoia Review, Winter 2019)

Beach

same as spit
on a band room floor
poolside

without knowing   we are all
skeletons
holding information too

great to actually understand
trombone blaring
mouths into the sea

flute-marching
to conformity’s beat
suntan lotion and absurdism

smother meaningless philosophies all
over your skin   and block out the rest

 

(originally published in Ghost City Review, Winter 2019)

Advil

I take one pill        two
to mask what’s wrong in me
these hurtful words     mouthing
sorry in the dark      I shouldn’t rub
your back       when my partner’s
on the coast       on a beach       here
it snows        yes      I know
this is no excuse      tasteless tablet
smudged slate        white mountain
I am the one percent meaning
I’m money poor      but lucky to
live in the age of modern medicine
a dentist takes a drill
to my root      and neither of us
feel anything     a surgeon cuts
into Dad’s heart         anesthetics
these aches we carry daily
the privilege      why we don’t
say sorry     when we mean it
at the drug store I buy a knife

 

(originally published in The Wayward Sword, Summer 2018)

Wall, Edge, Chandelier

past the corner of this house’s Kubrick architecture
     on the couch a bundle of eyes
                               a slopping visual stain
       but it’s true. my vision is blurry
            I spent the walking sidewalk
            grapes inside my right cheek
    thinking how I want to win you.
                so romantic, you
                with a stranger in my house
                                about to
                          dine on the fruit of
                       ancient gods and I am laughing
                                            now to have the ghost
                                            within my walls, my green
                                                        heart long and longing
                                                                 lunging out my chest
                                                                       it sticks to paint
                                                                                  like spaghetti

 

(originally published in streetcake, Summer 2018)

Deciduous

     organ of the trees ring
                                             the heart’s synthetic beating

         the stepstep crunch
                                               of leaves a drumbreathe

                  tenderly

 

                the forest i lose
                              me          the eye leaves

 

       somewhere someone sees me

                                                        whose real
                                                                             branch

                                              of body

 

                                     how corporeal the limbs
                               these purple nights return

 

(originally published in Kettle Blue Review, Fall 2018)

Lunch with an Old Friend

wish I still knew how to talk about games
movies television sports

blue fish waddling onto soil of questions trudges
leaves bodyprints wet move

closer to some common thread we may yet find
yet know a fishing line in the reel of your hand

mouth brain our friendship was incorrigible
as the moon in a poem in a lit mag

super nintendo and the cement unfinished
scent of basements carpeted staircases doritos

always going down down down
affection every thump downward

like the rest of life tumbling
through deserts of thought mist sandstorm

the sun wrangles some truth out of stranded
windows translucent sunlight

shifting across the wooden table
of distance time summers

 

(originally published in Scarlet Leaf Review, Summer 2018)

Death, 2009 (College)

Flowers & God–
you tell me, slipshod,
there’s an afterlife
in the party we’re cheersing
to tonight our whole life
with small glasses of Granddad’s,
noisemakers, & drinking
games. I’d like to drown
the tissues
in something, listen to Gaelic
music like Dad used to
driving us from school with Pizza Hut
wafting from the trunk those
sunny afternoons. & now that you’ve
lost someone you’re willing to lose
your Bill Hicks-views-sense-
of-self-meaning like we all
funnel ethereal spirit into sky
& swig the rain with
drunken angels I know
you know you’re better than that.
I know you know once
the last attendee’s passed out
on the couch heavy breathing
lips purple you’d check
on him, too. You’d be alone
in the house you grew up in
with phone in your hand
calm and through the static of 911
racing to get the address out
the foaming of your mouth
and when a cop comes you
beg please don’t break this party up
and deny the red flashing lights
come

 

(originally published in 8 Poems, Summer 2018)