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Jun 2020 · 157
Haiku #031
—and in that moment
I was immovably still;
stone, impassable—
Jun 2020 · 378
clueless
there's no advance
to this thing
i'm writing

i've heard tons on
tons of the palisades
and i've never lived
west of the
missouri and
where are the palisades
define it
geographically
a minimal

comprehension or-
some other thing-
of the perception
of how people
talk
here
in
missouri

would go a far long
ways in the palisades
somewhere in
flor'da                              or
califor'nia
god i wish i'd known
the weight-per-
pound a baton
centered on a
human forehead

but you had

i hadn't
OB
Jun 2020 · 175
shept
saw a video
other day
sheep bleating
foggy
scotch air
expelled at her
lips

it looked like
outside

imagine i'd kissed
you in public at
the gas
station the
grocery
store

imagine our
tongues made
kind in
church on
sacred ground
Dec 2019 · 96
Haiku #030
In another life
we'd have been pinky-sworn to
some ******* promise
Dec 2019 · 208
Haiku #029
In supposition
she'd laid her hand in mine and
her palm felt Fate retch
Dec 2019 · 729
Lick
So many lists
So little **** to
add
               to an expression
               of the expression
of others

I spent a decade
letting others
express my feelings
for me
               and not for
               lack of flaking

I've almost 25-
years strapped to my
belt
              and the greater
              of those years
licking evil

if I'd the ***** to
spit my faults as
simply a product of
nothing then
              they were me
              always me
in tongue-sposed summation
There's water here
for you to drink
if you'll drink it

but there's beer in
your backpack

congrats

You're finished
as far as the county
's concerned where

as your backpack
clinks as you walk

*******

Upraised hairs on
your thigh north to
touch of cold fingers

you're still drunk
kid when will you

grow up
This poem was finished while listening to "How Long?" by Vampire Weekend.
Jun 2019 · 282
In Service
the softless slip of your
fingernail across the
bloodside of my wrist
sends shivers up my
arm straight to the
shoulder and neck
          I imagine

there is so little reward
in being sad at our
distance I'd rather
kiss the gates that keep
us apart and wish softly
sweetly that they open
          I wish
This poem was written while listening to "Jaipur" by the Mountain Goats.
Jun 2019 · 116
Untitled (06.01.2019)
Imagine the world
as your palm north-
south'ing your face

from fleeing fore-
head to flicking
brow-ridge to
nose-bridge

and all of it you're
stuck with and with
everything it hides

you're stuck with

stick it to your chest
and let it pump
rage in your veins

see it die in whatever
vein tracks from clavicle
to un-sunned wrist
it's wind; it's fire

singing your hairline—
your eyebrows though
thin as they are

they're still strong, love
Jun 2019 · 171
No Harm
Why do we care
so fully

to an acute point
of exhaustion

to the
     extent
we suffocate

in the
     moment
we're told to

speak
Apr 2019 · 192
Boneless
sorry I said
sorry—you were almost there
that night
and sorry—for the mess
my skin is woven
from straw
     & therefore
prone to
slow splitting
     & knives
in general

same you said
same that crowds
make you jumpy
     & disappointment
wraps you often
like an afghan
of fresh pelts
home to flies
     & putrid
     & ******
     & that
forebears a
partnership in
liquescence

sure we said
sure we can try
     & see
if tandem is best
or single is for the
better because
happy alone
     & happy
together are
commensurate
     & equivalent

     & sorry
I am so slow to
peer out a new
window at newly
spring'd trees
under a new blaze
of hot yellow light
     & not
feel like a slug
in a salt bath
Mar 2019 · 515
Boy
Boy
It took until now
thin and mid 20s
to comprehend
that as a child I was
and as an adult
still very much am
spoiled

little childhood
traumas to mine
               no festering drama
               no shrouded mess

calm can bury like a
gravity blanket
               too hot or too cold
               I complain

I have never clawed
at my belly in hunger
felt my body
fall off in jeweled
pieces but I have
at times been
hungry

adulthood is a lake
blue black and endless
               rife with mudtraps
                    brimming with viperheads
                         scraping at the surface water

I am spoiled
I have not known pain
but I knew a person
whose eyes prodded
               like nails through jello
my insides and cut
tendrils of muscle
and delighted in the
stitching back
               the pushing of
                    needle through
                         meaty bits

some time after
I was grown
but flailing madly
as a comet poised
for landfall

a beetle in
a dust storm
a child with its
first scraped knee

my flesh yearns
for the needle
and for skin all
smooth and
scarred and
like the color of night
               singing
like the color of night
like sky like light
a rapturous blue
Mar 2019 · 260
Mud
Mud
You're blocked;
you're bugged;
your eyes stay screaming
but I can't hear a thing.

Wash through me like knees through mud
not yet caked over by the heat of the
sun; like you're looking for something
you dropped and it may soon be entombed.

Look at me as you would a tree
caked in mud.
          Name me by my leaves, or
                    my sinewy limbs.

You're soft;
you're coarse;
the lines that puzzle your face
make frowning silly, and small.

          Name me Steinway like the
               piano. Or Pecan, like the
                    tree.

Find me forward, trudging through mud.

I can see solid ground but my branches
can't reach to touch the grass or its flowers
or to smell the rotten-ripe crushed leaves of
the pecan trees.

Stick me where I'm stuck,
save the mud. Give my leaves
some snow, some lightness,
cold. Give me color. Paint me
in storm clouds.
Written while listening to Deafheaven's Sunbather.
Mar 2019 · 973
Untitled (03.18.2019)
First we watched the fires dance
lapping at the old wood like
a parched dog's tongue to water

Second we bought vegetables from
a man and ate them without washing
or burning with fire

Next I can't remember but it was
so very long and sad and the things
that make people cry
made us cry

Without a compass I can't move
a new direction even if the wind
rips at my back and thrusts me
forward

I am the shadow of tree limbs
on bright mornings

Dark and soft and untouchable
Sep 2018 · 274
attitude
don’t numb that brain silly boy

put it to good use



cleave in half

the line parsing

chest from

chin hair

        you’re a man when

        you say you are

save the streaks of palm-filth

dug-under nails broken

buried under dirtweight



what do you know of slippage

        —something  



****** as inch-thick glass

run through a filter

                        tossed aloft

                into

        the ceiling

fan  



I’m left for nothing of my efforts

it's dirt under the fingernail

        you can taste it

it's dirt


        taste it
dirt taste short attitude front survive life ride streaky
I don't know the rules. If I go looking
for grace and find it, what will grace

be but penance for my past, a silver
sinew-thread wrapping 'round old
            wrongs, gray hair for the
                        fickle.

I've naught but want for sweet release
from this history. The bombs ignored,
            repeating in gramophone static
                        dripping stiff

as wet bamboo. I remember someone
once sang here, once strung together

chords so sweet they rang like peace-
bells beneath cloudless sky. They've
            rang the bell upon my jaw and
                        done no wrong.

It's not so much unlike one's curiously
cold reception at a funeral. The cold
            and rain ****** at the skin
                        during graveside hymnal.

As long as the earth continues
its stony breathing I will breathe.

That which I cannot help but do.
Stuck between boulders, I sing.

When it stops, I will shatter back
into gravity. Into quartz.
"Rimrock" is a poem from Kaveh Akbar's 2017 collection "Calling a Wolf a Wolf." Akbar's lines are in standard type; my lines are in italics.
The history—you and me—
it's carved in sandstone
               
                   I've taken to asking
                            Scheherazade myself


As though capital-T time cones
into a chisel of wind with which
to strike its flattest face

                  There was a time I thought
                            you had taken to the idea
                   of leaving me and there
                            is naught to blame for
                   that but myself


There is little evidence to believe
in history on loop until you've again
been consumed by blindness and
fear and utterly sick of yourself

                  The one person you're with
                             every waking second


Just thinking can—at ***** times—
be an act of self-negation

                   *You told me you loved me and
                             I felt it in your breath
It's my last hope.
The sun in its afternoon swirl. It's up there. Far,
                 far and I still feel that
There's always hope.
It's fresh fruit meeting the tongue. It's playing
                 King of the Mountain.
It's the budding smell of spring flora.
It grows on trees.*
                 We pluck it, make it purchasable.
"Timepiece" is a poem from Jana Prikryl's 2016 collection "The After Party."
When one is forced to stop drinking, the first thing felt is shame. It is recognition that coerced abstinence was inevitable. The court told me No alcohol and I said Okay. An assessor of the state told me If you picture life past 30, you stop now: he might have added For the longevity of both you and your relationship(s), but it might be his own history stopped him. The morning I crashed my car was not cold like today. Suburbs are generally quiet at four-thirty; runaways choke-chain drooping eyes to a bedpost for a few more fickle hours, hoping (praying) body keeps pace with hunger. I was hungry, and we went to get food. My brow beats ripples into the airbag. In county my sheltered white life was a blanket doused in gasoline. The sheltered white mind may scream but the sheltered white body cowers under concrete. In class I was assured Alcoholism runs in the family. The gene plagues Hendrix men as a curse of choice. It's a gun in a knife case. Six months sober; it still itches. I'm still hungry. The state told me I was Lucky [I] didn't **** someone. I was selfish. I was selfish because I thought they meant me.
This poem is inspired by Mary Hickman's second book, "Rayfish."
Jan 2018 · 265
Untitled (01.04.2018)
I don't have anything to do with this

          imperfect receptacle,
light of pre-dawn-breaker-
bringer of boredom.

                    There are systemic means of
                    hurting oneself, the constant

ripping and stitching of that cherry-
          covered cloth

                    it's like drowning in
                    maple syrup, sticky and

sweet. I've been told that dropping
drink was the hardest thing I've

                    never done.


          I found these things,
these iron pores dripping
iron sweat, remarkably

                    easy to ignore.
How to apologize, how to apologize
for so many things at once when,
regardless of my words, the world
will spin at a constant speed.

The bees we chain to their nature
and pull their spoils for ourselves:
they were not the first sign.

The trees that fall without hands,
if only they could catch themselves.

We squabble as the concrete dries.
Oct 2017 · 738
Hunters in the Snow
5 layers of wool
can keep your heat
from fleeing for a
few moments

The branches are
heavy as your feet
with snow

The world is at
your back and
before you and
the white world
unseen will pass
as time takes her

The white world
is at your frigid feet
and steps must be
taken

The cold
it burns

You're burned and
you keep burning
This poem is named for "The Hunters in the Snow," a 1565 oil-on-wood painting by Pieter Brueghel the Elder.
Hard to imagine life by candlelight.

Dinner and reading, days of rain.
Fire and its heat. I am used to candles with scents:
grapefruit and fir; eucalyptus mint; tobacco leaf;
sea salt and chamomile; red hibiscus flower.
Hold your hand inches above the flame, feel its itch.

The wick of a wax bedside candle can burn
unevenly and flake at its edges. The wax will
pool at the base of the wick, a reservoir of scents.

For millennia this wick was rapture, a flame
lighting moonless nights and lightly warming
little spaces. We made fire stay put, gave it a
finite life and watched it burn away from top
to bottom until it was dark once more.

Now we light the world with gaudy neon,
pulsing blisters and hulking electric strobes
that do not change. Cold fire in a glass bottle.

These fitful wicks have been replaced by manlight.
Oct 2017 · 421
Untitled (10.15.2017)
I am plastic, c-through

the gnats in my bedroom know as much
they fly into me as though by accident

an impossibly clean sliding-glass door
that upon approach is nevertheless shut

these small things hit my skin
but leave no physical marks

no gnat guts splattered
on my pocked arms

I am not glass but plastic
I can bend without breaking
It is said a trait of an
inadequate man is his
reluctance to admit
that he has done wrong.

You are human and that too
is a hard thing to admit. The
armor you’ve donned and
fastened has loosed at its
straps.

The English word care
stems from the Latin curae
which is remarkably close to
cure. I thought you might
like to hear Latin because it
was common for you to tell
me to Seize the day.

It was some summer in August
or something and the coarse
brown mound of dirt aside the
house had caught rain and
muddied.

We played King of the Hill
and I can remember thinking
what a waste it was to, for a
few fickle seconds, be royalty.
I am inopportunely shy.

I cannot apologize because I know this will not change. Like so many moments (in-between unusually hot seasons for instance) the sweat of ceaseless back-and-forth wears heavy on my nerves. I suppose this acts as penance.

The process of a ***** analysis, for those unaware, is as follows:
—Drive an unusually long distance
—Enter a dingy storefront as quickly and quietly as possible
—Pay your $20 ****-cup processing fee at a counter that smells nonironically of cups of ****
—1)Wash your hands, then 2) lift your shirt, then 3) drop your pants
—Put your mind on Do Not Disturb as you try to pull focus from the man pretending he is not staring at your *****
—Urinate (following an uncomfortably long drought)

When considering all possible alternatives, this is easy. It is benign in all respects. And yet, for the life of me, I cannot shake these shoulders free of worry. Too easy to indulge the mind and its vice-grip on the body.

We aren't ever really in control, are we?
It rained the whole time we were laying her down;

Plucked from earth to elsewhere, some fantasy. She left like water after a rain, running to the sun to again slide down. And it

Rained from church to grave when we put her down.

Soaked the soil, left it muddied. Someone stifled a cry but the wet and cold made it sound like a sinus problem. There was something funny about it, but not in that moment. There,

The **** of mud at our feet was a hollow sound.
"Graveyard Blues" is by Natasha Tretheway, from her 2006 collection Native Guard.
I need no prompt to zone out and dissociate or become unattached.

At nighttime, creaks of wood tinker like tall tales. There is less I can see. I am too reliant on my eyes to tell the whole story. Sound is a sightless animal. The house I live in was probably built in the 1960s and I've noted it doesn't croon with the wind like other places.

Does speech require a mind? The human voice cannot be as massive an instrument as we make it. As wholly self-serving creatures, do we hear ourselves between cracks in this patchwork planet?

Is midnight just a silly word for numbers, like any other?

An empty house reclaimed by nature and subject to her laws has no want of questions and answers. Shapes are not made whole by human voice. If I could speak to my great-grandmother now, as I did six days before her death, would she tell me what she always told me? Would she wish I'd go back to church?

Raindrops paint my window a blurry gray. There is not a straight line to see through. Each ripple, and in it a reflection. I can piece it back together; I can see my small self seeing through it, and contains therein some middleplace that continues to escape me.

A full moon is hidden. Missouri is covered by clouds, like a wet blanket. The house will creak under water's weight , and when the clouds disperse and nighttime sings brighter it will creak still. This house is not a thing of nature.

It should not be here.
You smoked your throat gone.

I'll sit in bed opening and closing my Opinel No. 8 and stare at an unread compilation of a then-alive poet's correspondence with a then-and-still-dead poet and wonder at the cover art, a fishing-line-thin threaded rope that could well be tied in a slipknot. Tendrils that look like loose straw scattered thirty different ways.

He said You can't **** your life away and there are many ways to do that. I'm stuck inside a small bedroom dreaming or hallucinating an open space, streams flowing from nowhere near and flat space so full of sky it is sin to call it empty. The world can be hot and fast;  I am bad at resting. I don't sleep well. I can float a river and not once hear it moving.

You drank and dissected your drinking so it could masquerade as something under your control. We all are guilty of this at some point. In some way or another. I am lucky to sit in my bedroom and write that the next two years of my life have well been mapped. I do not pout, there is no malice here. My head is close, fastened between my small shoulders. I share no heart with Yesenin.

You can't **** your life away he said he thought. These things change. *But you can!
This letter makes frequent references to Jim Harrison's poetry collection Letters to Yesenin, originally published in 1973.
Mar 2017 · 652
Untitled (03.31.2017)
Outside the crop has wintered,
tall husks of green lopped over
and fumbling for sunlight.
        There are rules to the arrangement.

The limits of energy and
abundance, lost somewhere in
a fray of hot sound, cold
        Frame for the crop to weather.

Let it slip away. Humble yet
whorish for warmth, bare skeleton
of being from which to frame the
        Praying, hand scraping concrete.

Find that voice. Put it in a box.
Punt that box into oblivion, a fire
of sunlight, warmth, a burning skeleton
        Begging for life; hollow shell.
Feb 2017 · 315
Haiku #028
Eyes pickled and raw,
we have wasted undo hours
stealing sleep like thieves.
Dec 2016 · 539
Haiku #027
It has been one year
since my last haiku; one more
year spent trapped in skin.
Dec 2016 · 315
Untitled (12.27.2016)
I told him what it was to
tread water and he, for the
longest time, believed me.
My friend is a musician and
the instrument that chose
him is the keyboard, with
it's near infinite possibilities,
incarnations, iterations.
Different lives, so to speak.
It is a craft that as it is
learned learns you. Small
flash of contact. Text
message. Unreturned call
with voicemail attached.
We've learned to sing over
the phone. I hope that doesn't
ring flat.
Dec 2016 · 423
Bag
Bag
For what it's worth I've come to find that people and things ****** over make like lead pockets. Old business is just old business and yet the mouth stays sour, curdles at its ends like milk left out. I wash my hair and wash it again.

How do you **** a city? Not a short-change of ideas or institutions. A city. People, granite columns. Street lamps. Long lines of wooden benches. Car horns.

Bags and bags of bug-out gear: drop point knife; feather-stuffed bedroll; one dozen pouches, depositories. The **** is the escape.

The drop point.

Some thing in all of us wants a way out. It aches for freedom. Messy, nasty freedom, sweet as it is.
Portions of this poem borrow words from various episodes of the TV series Mad Men.
Aug 2016 · 431
No
No
We sully women who think,
unbowed and without corsets
to prop or hide whatever fuddle
we've told them exists.

We need not be told, all
of us. No is not an abstract
concept, it rides no waves
of uncertainty, no great barriers
or walls need of climbing.

Verily he told her she must
cover for not to be mistaken for
impious. Shell-shocked and
sullied she bides her time between
bites to plot her spiritual escape.
Jul 2016 · 767
Set Sun Set
Set sun set
on this tired day
which is yet to
yield quick promise
of new light

Light seeps into
my window in
mornings like an
intruder wearing
steel-toed boots

I can't quite crack
my eyes from their
shutters shuttered
tight as fingers curled
in death grip

Gripping my sheets
I shake the sleep
off my bones to
find a new me
an old me

Barely breathing
of my own volition
until I am reminded
that I must indeed
breathe

Breath of Adam
and Eve or something
in-between it *****
and shivers like
shutters slammed shut

This is nothing new
as the sun will rise
and fall as it has before
and always will or
maybe it will break

Patterns are the
death of will
dying lilies of
too much sun or
too little

Set sun set
on this tired day
of bang and repeat
and give reprieve to
those of us

Left upright
Jun 2016 · 662
14 things
14
Every song or sonnet
singular in its intricacy,
in time it becomes something
other, hyper-personal and resonant.
14 things may burst into millions.

13
Three times I've felt alone
this minute. I should stop tallying
hours in my schedule, messy
rubric.

12
11-years old and jumping off
mud-mounds, playing King of the
Hill. The strongest rises to the top.
The cleverest usurps.

11
One thing for certain:
we are human. We are
not human.

10
Six times in school I got
detention. It was often due
to my willingness to be a
follower, silly sheep to a
slaughter.

9
Five languages of love we are
sure of, no more so far.

8
10 tally marks looks a lot
like less. Some things, like
people, refuse to show their
face.

7
13 is supposedly an unlucky
number. At this age I uncovered
a part of myself I did not know
before. Discovery. This is luck.

6
A dozen is meant to represent 12
because it is simpler, same syllables
only one less letter, a convenience.

5
If you flip an eight on its side
you can see forever.

4
Seven times I've thought this poem
gimmicky.

3
[redacted for time constraints
and continuity]

2
The artist places her pen to
paper and borrows, not stealing
so much as salvaging, wrapping
old presents in neat new bows,
satin or silk or rough twine.
Nine variations on the same
subject.

1
Four lids harbor two eyes,
a galaxy, universe,
each hiding half a heaven
from view.
May 2016 · 1.1k
Hospice
There lies a picture on the mantle
of my grandfather, my step-father's
father, clad in U.S. Navy fatigues
and grinning slightly, almost a
smirk. The year is 1960-something
as he enlists for Vietnam and is
shipped overseas on the USS
Corral Sea to load sidewinders
into fighter planes that ignite and
****. It happens so fast.

It happened so fast. Two months
of time reduced to blinks and
minute-long visits. This house could
be cold as Mt. Meru's peak and I
would hardly notice. The brain has
ways of placing things on autopilot.

His life has come to pass and I am
left to wonder. I am not sure I ever
truly knew the man. I heard stories,
his helicopter shot down in Vietnam,
his E&E; north of the ** Chi Minh and
how he owned a gun shop on Main
St. in the town I came to call home
before it was my home. I cannot hear
his whispering, small wind of existence
sidewinding away from me and my
youthfulness. In small time I've come
to find life is meaningful if you take time
to make it so.

The day of his funeral is beautiful,
sunny and mild and full of breeze.
The gas tank of my mother's car is
close to empty and I am worried of
worldly things, will we make it and
when can we fill up again. 21 guns
gives my heart a needed beating.
For Grandpa Cliff
Mar 2016 · 409
Untitled (03.24.2016)
The subtle act of meeting
old friends with lines on my
face, pock and blemish
dominating the right side of
my face, left to them. Swing
left if you've an inclining.

How many times have you
reached out to a friend, tiny
gestures or grand statements
that state the grandeur of
relationships, twos and threes
and dates and early mornings.

Left to myself in bed I sleep
and toss and dream of friends
I remember and forgot about,
not but a text message away
from a rekindling, idling in
neutral and there's a hill ahead.
Mar 2016 · 349
Friend
I didn't think it was
that bad. Just the way
she was talking, she
felt chilled, okay and/
or something like it.

My friends say she
becomes the people
she hangs out with,
maybe gets a tad bit
obsessive in spurts.

People pity weakness
in the same way they
pity ignorance. They
don't know what's right
and it may **** them.
Feb 2016 · 533
Months
Time wasted neck-deep in
idolatry, pretty bottles of
pretty liquids, light gold,
amber, charred oak brown
soaking vanillin and wood
which warms the tongue
perfectly.

I pop my pinky finger in
funny ways, relegating
flow of blood to necessary
extremities only, thumbs
or forefingers or whiny
joints screaming loudly for
sustenance.

There are days in my past
I wish I had skipped,
accidentally sleeping past
my alarms and the sirens
and noises of cars passing
past my window in whichever
home I find myself to wake.

There are days more recently
I have skipped, my mind
spending hours drunkenly
slipping from action to act,
poor me and my problems,
always worthy of an award,
a statuette of broken glass.
Feb 2016 · 642
Sunday
I am guilty of overthinking
a sunrise, some certain
moment of minuscule
collaboration between brain
and dirt, ***** truth of it
being I am unable to think
past my own two eyes
but able to fathom a sun
setting and not fretting
whether or not it is to rise
when I wake.
When I was five (and this I barely remember mind you, I was five or so—maybe younger, who's a boy of five to say—and all memory is as cloudy as Seattle in copyrighted images or Tom Hanks movies I've never seen or something) I carried a dead squirrel into my small white boyhood home by it's bushy tail. I presented the creature to my mother as a gift, like a dog with a dead rabbit between it's jowls, limp and nubile. I guess it could also be a rabbit.

I was proud. In elementary I took upon myself to own the blacktop playground for what it was; a mound of black something to step and pound on and run and scrape knees and kick things, forms of kickballs or tetherballs, always red. I remember standing in line at Sunny Vale Elementary and promising the girl behind I was not cutting but not quite knowing how to say it.

The summer after we moved. I don't remember school after that, not until third grade, but it was different. My attention felt divided. I was a boy in two, interest piqued by different sectors of memory, such a selective doll. I remember reading with my father and having fun with my mother. I remember my father's beer and my mother's youthful smile. She will be forty-three years this year. My attention is divided. I am a half-man in two.
Feb 2016 · 714
Do You Want To Be Here?
How sad must I make myself?
When petty annoyance turns to
dust, a swirl of caster oil on my
tongue, need I stab in infinite
direction for something to grasp
onto?

When does blood end and choice
begin? How much *** must I smoke
to stop paying attention? Do you want
to be here?

The answer is assuredly No.
I know because I know you.

You will numb yourself until the
little tiny hairs of your forearm
rise and prickle and beckon for
sunlight, escape from dark room
of blanket piles and ***** clothes.

Do you want to be here?
The answer is in the How.
Should I keep projecting or
wear my insecurities on my sleeve
like a good boy, feelings and
resolve and dedication to family?

Where did my poem go?
Does it want to be here?
Should I pull it up from the
ether, all hot ember and critique,
or might I let it flounder and
drown, all not together and
scatterbrain, best left on edit table
in drunken somberness and
existential envy, slow motion.

Do you want to be here?
I am asking for a friend.
The day he locked himself out is not specific, a
Monday or a Thursday, some square on some calendar
I tossed in the trash years ago.

We lived in a small white house yards off a small suburban street. I dubbed it The White House. I cannot remember how many of my holidays passed inside. It's all stuck in fog.

Some time later my mother and brother and myself moved not a quarter mile from The White House; a trailer park, owned by Aunt Charlene and her callousness. She cares deeply for my mother. I still pass The White House as I drive to my great-grandma's home, years later. It is hidden from the street, all branch and leaf and overgrowth, flora hiding its face from the cars and their people, the birds, sunlight, illumination.

My great-grandmother's eyes are thick with a knowledge I am fortunate to not possess. Great-grandma. My father's grandma. Mother told me he began to drink when Grandpa Jesse died and never managed to shelf it. I meditate on my genes. My great-grandma is 84-years on this earth. I have trouble bringing myself to talk to her.

It is so much. So fast. I am a man now—not grown, hardly seasoned, no hint of gray—of 21-years. I have not seen my father since I started smoking. I wonder, now, following all these years of silence what, exactly, we might have to say to one another. He may ask about my girlfriend: I may ask of his. Years apart, a ridged gap, and yet still a kinship, some foreign hurt deeply threading the vein.

The malignancy of feelings.

I bury my anger and let it age, whiskey soaking in the oak, cultivating a taste, a character, an identity. I cannot change this. It is my blood. I will always bear his name. He may die before me. I will always bear his name.
Jan 2016 · 600
Smallness II
Think of mole rats,
spiders, mites even,
crawling underneath your
feet without knowledge
or care that you may be
thinking of them.

Think of you, conscious
animal fretting your
mid-twenties or a mortgage
and think of your family,
all blood and genome and
thicker than ******* molasses.

Think of the microscopic
living things which coexist to
make you, animal accident, a
living thing. Bacteria boiling
your stomach, microbes bailing
from your bottom lip. Kiss.

Think of love, in all its
devices, tedium—conquest even.
The smallness of our thoughts,
little whispers skimming the
surface of the pond. Do you
think of what comes after?
Jan 2016 · 364
Smallness I
What it must
be to be a
poet with
clarity of
thought

bully the knot
in my head
unwound and
***** and
bounding straight
for daylight
Jan 2016 · 835
The Transfiguration
God slips from
tongue as phlegm
from lung post-
cigarette

back to back
reel to reel
sitting *** to heel
palm to palm

praying

I've spent paychecks
laying pavement
into bedsheets
bearing teeth

biting holes into
free time
me time
with myself

waiting

twenty one years
stacking unread
newspaper new with
news not bothering
with digestion

to treat the text
as words on paper

*******
transfiguration

sight unseen the
sight of me in
chapel pacing through
Peter as though
for penance

God is meant
a friend to
comfort but
recently its
felt dishonest

a masquerade
a malformation
Portions of this poem borrow from the poems "Back" by Christian Wiman and "Reel to Reel" by Alan Shapiro, as well as the song "The Transfiguration" by Sufjan Stevens.
Dec 2015 · 383
Haiku #026
Crimson red beset
on body and brainmatter,
be it blood or ***.
Dec 2015 · 388
Middle America
Some things reek of
sameness. Winter rain
for instance

driving wind whipping
at light poles, chilling
other thoughtless things.

Christmas coming around
in a few weeks, money tight
with bone-cold breeze.

Five people shot in Oregon.
Happy holidays, please remember
to duck and cover.
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