The Gym

Planned to hit the gym after work
to flex these treadmills of atrophied muscles,
but decided to quit my job and drink instead–
first work-free morning’s sunlight’s sharpness
in my skull. From this decision, I have hurt
my liver once, my heart twice from lack
of exercise, ate Five Guys for lunch then
missed the gym again. If we are all not
getting our week’s workouts in running
from the shadow of time, embrace it.

(originally published in Phenomenal Literature, Spring 2019)

Square Cafe

pancakes we talk heavy locomotive engine
steam billows out this whale blowhole this
top of mind wisp say something anything
wrong always sugar sweet the stacks
I want to speak doesn’t connect you eat
a hole through final pancake as to
puncture the flour we had bloomed
over the last year and half eternity
we could lose in the vast distance
across the table cerulean walls
surround us in new distance
enclosed and suffocated open
air a quiet din to gorge last
bites by window sunlight
your blue marble eyes I
can’t meet halfway
mumbling

 

(originally published in 24hr Neon Mag, Winter 2019)

Aladdin’s

Funny, thinking back, the restaurant– hell,
the industry, those incessant phone calls
in the midst of rush, my snaking past
corners with three plates of hummus
and shawarma in aluminum, warm
from the kitchen, only to waste
in a stranger’s presence, scraps
on porcelain I’d bus, then zigzag
through the floorplan of tables.

Funny, thinking now, how little has
changed– insecure in economics,
I’ve jumped the lilypads of job
after job, the backbreaking work
of conforming, of each return home
with something new to say but I’ve
said it, I’ve said my best, my cap-
stone thesis shredded in California,
back when full of possibility–

I desire a bowl of time
loops. Cereal in my milk.

I didn’t even use silverware
in college, a joke inside a riddle
presented as a gift I constantly
unwrap, umbrellas of green
folding into myself in the rain,
suffocating, blinding, this pirouette
of place, this unfixable sedan
screaming off the shoulder
of the highway, smoke
signals ablaze and late
for work.

(originally published in Little Rose Magazine, Winter 2019)

Lyft Shift (2/9/17)

driving in circles
around the city

snow caps on all cars
little mountains shivering

tiny motors no one knows
the name of anyone

only a word on a screen
a face forgotten

and city lights
there’s a light rain mixed

with snow
the roads not slick

I am picking
up passengers

at the end of the night
and no further

than I was
at the beginning.

 

(originally published in Scarlet Leaf Review, Summer 2018)

The Drone of Faceless People

Rolling Acres mall
outside the record store
white hats enter
to leave shadows

every small step
a rattle of longing
blueprints for after
-college dreams

rosewood a tinge
in glass displays
reflecting fluorescence
so bright you sneeze

rockets then angle
toward the stars
didn’t the Etch-
A-Sketch always lure

you canvas and sky
hunched over red
tablet twisting
striated knobs

handmade lines
stretched star to
star everything
tethered

together
a fishing
wire
baited

 

(originally published in Scarlet Leaf Review, Summer 2018)

The Busier the Kitchen the Filthier the Dishes

Your lunch spot becomes a haven on the ground
level of a tower between towers on rainy workdays.

Your eyes strained at the sight of a waterfall
of text and maybe you missed
an important error in copy
marketed to clients. Here, though,

the dishwasher sprays a thousand plates,
aiming spouts at cheese stains hardened
from sitting by the garbage in
the place where discarded trays should be.

Water pressure removes ceramic sin
eventually, an industrial machine
humming in silver efficiency,
skin rinsed beside it.

Glasses that pass the spot test emerge,
steam rising, but meat lodged between
prongs is wrestled out with wet finger.

Your fork drips from the steak
just in a salesman’s mouth.

 

(originally published in Stickman Review, Spring 2018)

January 28

I really want to drink today.

The sun is shining. It’s warmer than usual.

I should try to ween myself off, right? None of this cold
turkey shit.

I haven’t drank a drink this year, the miracle
of it. Today, I am alone.

I scrubbed white the kitchen tiles, but there are
always dirt stains, smudges when you look
a little harder.

Sanitized the kitchen table with towels,
swept its crumbs from the floor.

The cat sprints from one end of the room
to the other over
and over, imaginary laps.

What every day is, these days,
running a relay race, handing
the baton to tomorrow’s me
with the trust I won’t– today,

it’s a sleep’s worth heavier than yesterday.

Long minutes the placemarks I pass

I can’t make time go faster. It is my day
off work, and in its nothingness I trudge
through sludge. Old habit,

you don’t die hard because
you’re not dying. You’re
as alive as me: refreshed yet craving,

gazing through the window to the light-
stained street, the shadows cast from trees
out toward the river.

 

(originally published in Stickman Review, Spring 2018)

A Syzygy of Chickens

My horoscope this morning:

You will swallow your pride
to give in to someone else
today, Taurus.

Take a brisk walk
and concentrate on reasons
for obedience.

The stars led me here.

I intended to quit
my job this morning

and found three chickens
in celestial alignment
wandering out
my door.

How wonderful
it would be to walk
and walk out
of town

to wherever the path
ends. Over the ledge
into the greenery
to live off the land

where I would
lay in the grass
and stare into

the night sky
and say
you can’t tell
me what to do.

Light years away
from my current
life. To break

the alignment
of monotonous days
squawking
order

when I want
to be jazz.

A roost of stars
conspiring
light to lead

me back but I’ve
thought and
thought

to find
no good reason.

 

(originally published in Good Works Review, Winter 2020)