Maruchan Ramen (Creamy Chicken Flavor)

I stir polyvinyl chloride into the pot;
seconds later, string it down my throat.

How did this world get so cruel? I
like the taste & I’m ashamed to admit

I ate two packets, then scrunched them
in the trash bin beneath the bananas

so no one could catch me, but if I am
paying with my dollar, mail a capitalist

two fresh quarters, minted abominations
I use to willingly slake my own demise

at the supermarket, long lines of
omnivores waiting to get our fix.

(originally published in TH Magazine, Summer 2019)

Writing Daily

you’d think we’d strain out all meaning
in this repetitive fiction of light & scrawl
like cave rock hieroglyphs in shared
language this symbolism will waste
through history you ask what are you
trying to accomplish
there must be
merit in longevity a bottlecap
adrift in the ocean for generations
& I caved to a longing that glistens
aluminum in the sun shimmering
waves of brightness folded
tucked into a cardboard box

(originally published in The Literary Yard, Spring 2020)

This Morning You Texted Me

Years ago there was a normalcy
we documented. The theater

rife with real life. Now
the beacon: a speck

of light on an electronic
device. So cyborg. Brain connected

to a netherworld of litigious
desire, purple forest of thirst

in the leaves. I am allergic
to attachment, instead a soft clay

to be passed
on the highway, tires

roaring toward
a familiar entryway.


(originally published in Fleas on the Dog, Spring 2020)

Rural Restlessness

Now, when I am shackled in my mother’s home
in the middle of the woods, with nothing to do

but write & fuck & consume, especially the day
after Thanksgiving, when not frigid enough to stay

inside forever but it is frigid, I want to roam
what seems the unattainable world, missing

the skyscrapers I hate & the open seasons over
Pittsburgh & the rows of rowdy bars I get wild in.

I want to drive my Ford Fiesta up the hill in shadow
& never come back down, accelerate to a hundred

& become the blur of pines, windows
down, forest mornings so thick with unease

I want to be shackled by trees & serve
the unattainable world the oxygen it lacks.

(originally published in Erothanatos, Spring 2020)

Space Puzzle

We stayed all night to finish a puzzle
of the universe and still I feel no closer to
the center of it all, this box of disparate edges,
only microscopic in your worldview as our static
fades. Our feet were pressed together as we placed
the final voids in their lust on the 4 A.M. floor, long
after the wild dogs left us for the February arctic.

I wanted there to be black vastness when we were done–
a suffocation of no oxygen so necessary to pull our
gravities close to stay warm and survive as humans
must. But such is the fantasy of space– we’ll never die
astronauts on the floor in M’s apartment, growing
more distant each moment we don’t leave the surface.


(originally published in Home Planet News Online, Fall 2020)

Hard to Think Around the Thing

I don’t want details.
To paint the scene is
the scene. I am trying
hard to think around
the thing. To forget the figure
and face. But it was late
October, your phone was booming
This is Halloween– and my
bed was on the floor
then. And the baby
blue walls before
the High Street crowd,
everyone in masks–
with the scissors. You cut
the hole in my pants.
Because I was in
silky green. I was
alien alive in the
wrong place,
wrong time.
There was the gold stage
behind us. By garbage
can makeouts. Groping
hands reached into
the city’s cheap costume.
And there was chill
in the wind except
when everyone
was bunched into
each other. If we
couldn’t stay warm
we’d have to go
inside. No one
wanted the street.
But we didn’t
want inside.

(originally published in Ink Pantry, Winter 2022)

Plumber’s Note

I do not want to alarm you but your
toilet was clogged with bones and fur-
thermore I saw a skeletal bird
roaming the graveyard you call your
basement. Not a reason to worry but
I heard my name in frantic birdsong
when I got the thing to flush. A whirl-
wind! The bones now live in a black
bin by the bathroom door. Make your-
self a new home, build yourself
a prayer because my next job is in a church
toilet; the pastor says his con-
gregation’s constipated in today’s
plentiful sin society, no angel wings
for anyone who seeks God in the end-
less rolls of toilet paper anymore and
he wants to flush his hope down. Like
everyone else he’s looking for relief
and belief and furthermore you owe
me three hundred fifty dollars; him,
your soul.

(originally published in Terror House Magazine, Summer 2019)

Late for Work

I expect mountains! Unrealistically
my brain brims with possible
outcomes: you’re late for work
again in Aurora, Ohio, the passing
green whooshing around you–
all I fear is accident, the casual
mistake, the narrow passage
of time I waste still looking
in west’s general direction,
like I could cause a change
in the wind if I willed it, if
I asked God for a second
helping of mashed potatoes
at my mother’s lonely house
that sits in a dark gallery
at the edge of my– our–
relentless American street.

(originally published in monologging, 2022)