It’s Basically Like This

I’m not entirely sure who this woman speaking is, but she’s got her friend’s back…and she’s pissed.

It’s Basically Like This

I’ll sign the fucking get-well card
for the world’s worst human
still masquerading as your tick-tock
man, timely as a funeral, garbed
in royal purple, even with lines
embedded in his veins like light-bulb
filaments lighting him the hell up
for pity’s sake and to turn you on—
but as soon as he’s clear of the hospital,
I’ll do my best to put his ass back there.

“Invisible Daughter and Ghost Dog” and “The Tallest Man in the Room” (published poems)

I have two poems out in White Ash Literary Magazine, but since the journal is print only, I wanted to share the poems here. They’re two of my favorites.

Invisible Daughter and Ghost Dog

My wife hates when she does it —
her face goes blank, her limbs slacken,
and then she blinks out of sight.
Behold, my invisible daughter

or behold her as I do during these times
by listening for telltale signs she’s about —
the soft padding of her feet, her anxious breath
as she pretends she wholly gone

and not just temporarily unseeable.
If she goes outside, you can still hear her
summoning Cinnamon, our erstwhile Chihuahua
just recently upgraded to ghost status.

“I go invisible to see him,” my daughter says
and I play along, pretending she doesn’t
also get a crazy kick out of startling people
and rooting around in drawers with no fear

of being caught, except by me, possessed
of nearly supernatural hearing. It suits
me well, given my daughter’s predilection
for vanishing, and my old dog’s mysterious whines.

I often sit with him in my lap, and I only
know he’s there by feeling his bony back,
his freezing nose, his tattered fur.
My daughter smiles in approval.

At least, I think she does.


The Tallest Man In The Room

Emboldened by bourbon
and an alarmed biological clock,
she–sunny, petite–
approached him.

His shoe was half
the length of her lower leg.
If she willed it, she could shrink
herself down to doll-size
and place herself
in his pocket, there to dance
with his loose change.

She looked up.
“Hi,” she said.

He looked down.
“Hi,” he said back.

Thus it began.

The Trampoline Series (part 3)

This is the last of the salvageable work from the freewriting texting jumble of a few days ago. No title as of yet.

Summon the bare-breasted goddess
with the comely mouth and almond eyes,
and I’ll plead forgiveness from the god
of omens and warnings who sent messengers
I ignored: sheep born blind, dead birds in the field,
waters turned rust with blood. One will surely
hear us and extend mercy. If not, do not weep
when you find my body broken on the cliffs,
for a dying heartbeat makes up for a multitude of sins.

The Trampoline Series (part 2)

As hard as it was at times to concentrate on writing while kids, teenagers, and adults shrieked and jumped all around me, I found myself pulled into various, fantastic worlds (fantastic in the literal sense of the word). In this piece, I peeked through a window into a grisly, post-apocalyptic world, replete with rogue AI dead-set on wiping out humanity. That was my sense of things, at least, but the words and means are left entirely up to you, the reader:

The Last Sector

The last sector–the one blackened
by mechanical fire and tattooed with blood–
is where you’ll find what’s left of her,
a final ghost of hope haunting ruined streets.

Say the words you think will comfort her,
knowing they’re more for your own heart.
When that grim deed is finished, turn yourself in
and join us here in this infernal prison.

Tell yourself: at least I’m not her.
At least I’m still alive.

Two Poems Published

I didn’t keep a close enough eye on Black Elephant, and the latest issue that includes two of my poems came out on May 9. My poems don’t appear on the website, but they’re in the .PDF and print copy available on the site. I’m proud to have my work in the journal, and I post them below for your curiosity:

Interspecies Communication Breakdown

The hammer-toed mermaid doesn’t get me.
Why would she?
She breathes water and I breathe air.

On a hot Tuesday–
a scorcher, 115 heat index,
frogs fried on the pavement
and offered up like appetizers
in the heat mirages,
as thousands of people hid
inside freezers and thawed
out ice cream trucks with their rage–

her tail shriveled up
to black, sludgy foil
from which she gingerly stepped
with hideous, just-birthed feet.

We stared at each other.
What could we say?
Words became non-paying tenants
in our mouths. We evicted them
and were left with nothing.


Our Last Visit

The pounding of the moon
in your eyes is staggering
to an old lycanthrope like me—

not really, but my spirit
is toothy and full of matted fur
stained with recent murder,
the scent of a thousand dozing
heads like flower-tops, lopped
off just before dreams lowered
screen to begin their nocturnal films.

Your blood beats strong, my dear,
and teaches the sky a thing or two
about perfect timing and pitch,
that infinitely-tunable switch
deep inside you that goes from sweet
to sour to death’s grinning rictus
if I but nudge it a little with my claw.

Hand. Sorry, it’s a hand, I know,
that wanders across your bare flesh,
pausing here and there to scratch.

Keep staring at me like that
and surely I’ll transform.
We’ll take the night together,
and then I alone will be left,
memories of you in tatters
around my tight haunches.

The Trampoline Series (part 1)

Wow, that makes what’s about to follow either teenagery or pretentious or both (I dished out my fair share of pretentious writing when I was a teenager, and some just the other week, too). Anyway, I took my son to a birthday part at an indoor trampoline place, which was loud and insane. It was kind of like a brightly lit dance club minus the alcohol and drugs and the addition of kids. Once my son was jumping his heart out, I reached into my bag for my journal, but I’ve taken it our (something I rarely do). With no other choice, I wrote using the memo app on my phone. I  usually treat my phone for its intended purpose–you know, calling people–and also as a glorified music player. I don’t write on it. But I killed nearly an hour doing so, and I’ll post the results over the next few days, along with part of a story I’m working on.

No title for this one yet, and I don’t know if I’ll continue working on it:

There’s a quantity of uncharted water in your eyes
should you ever desire a navigator, a boatman
acquainted with grim tides and dismal waterfalls,
the cataracts of regrets blooming in the rising mist.
Five fathoms in, and I’m more experienced than half
the crew that labors at the dock, lusting for you
as your shadow crosses itself at the window.

The moon’s done with me–I’m left
with sun-drenched seas which never satisfy
the urges for shadows broken by cold light.
I pray you need me soon, that your compass
is twisted and canted by the rough waves
that you’re desperate enormous to call my name,
if only to remind me what it is.

Courtship (prose poem)

At least, I think it’s a prose poem. I don’t know…it just didn’t feel right in the frame of a poem.

He was a doomed genius with an air of Faulkner about him, cleaning aquariums in the Upper Room, wondering where the apostles went.

She, slightly detached, channeled Vivian Lee as she crossed hot pavement, stopping when the lunchtime whistle blew and the men with lunch pails poured out like ants from a hill to howl and gawk at her.

They met in the most unlikely of places: the grim cottage abandoned by Adam when Eve left him after one too many fights, blood still staining the floors. Together, they unraveled their pain under the weak light of a dying star. They lay on their backs and traced their names in the air, practicing saying them out loud.

Generational Divide

As usual, I’m not entirely sure where this came from.

Generational Divide

So. Ripped from the back pages of a magazine
for little diced-up boys, were you? Good, I guess.
Make you feel seasoned, like a pro, flexible
and handy with the ladies, don’t it, Boy-O?
Just like an old flag in need of stitching up
before Parade Day when it’s okay for you to be seen,
marching down the street like a right King
and half-regal, gold dust in your hair and flashes
popping all around your grand ass, Just a moment!
Just a quick photo and a comment, Young Master!

You have no idea what lengths the great Mothers
and Fathers of this here Nation went through
to get you where you gingerly think you rightly
belong, and I know you don’t, smiling like
your teeth are made from ivory and silver and gold
and all the shit them conquistadors spilled blood for.
Go on and inflate yourself some more with folks’ breath,
it ain’t like they’ll be needing it much longer anyhow,
what with the Grave checking in about every hour or so,
saying in that cold-dirt voice, You know, it’s almost time to go.

Temporary Survivor

I haven’t had a drinking dream in quite some time (now watch me have them for a week straight), but I heard someone on a podcast discussing dealing with such dreams. I wasn’t consciously thinking about drinking dreams, but it was certainly banging around in my brain because this poem came to me as I was driving to work. This one needs some tweaking (I may settle on a rhyme scheme, which would be different) but I wanted to share it.

Temporary Survivor

She shook me hard, and I rose
like steam from the arena of my dreams
where I faced off with my father again.
Freud, who had season tickets,
shook his head and relit his pipe.

When I woke, I remembered I was drunk.
I was also on the roof and not in bed.
You slept through the flood, she said.
By flood, I replied, do you mean—
I mean the flood!

Other rooftops poked out from the water
like the tops of drowned heads.
I spied Gilgamesh waving to me from one.
All hope was not lost.

She thrust something at me.
I opened the crumpled ball and read:
What the fuck happened? I said meet at the ark.
You better hope reincarnation is real. – Noah

I found a bottle (I could always find a bottle)
and drank it down while she cried.
When it was empty, I lapped
at the water rising higher and faster.