2010s · Poetry

No Epilogue

the pages in this book
are coming to an end
they are thinning out
no epilogue to read
just an end
this chapter is closing
it was inevitable
our story is done
I want to put it down
to make it last
to keep it going
it was an unexpected sequel
you returned to me
there was suspense
and conflict
and romance
these characters changed
our plot turned
each chapter a revelation
but the final twist
it was brutal
no one saw it coming
least not our heroine
and it’s a tragedy
it’s not a happy ending
the mystery was revealed
the story is resolved
I keep turning pages
and it’s thinning out
this will not be a trilogy
I know your part is done
our story is done
I will have to finish
the final pages
and read your last words

First published in Cadence Collective.

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2010s · Conversations with Gravel · Poetry

Dead Song

I wait no more for your polite
I run no longer to your cordial
I let no wind carry
let no night star
I fight not for your uncertain
for your wander, for your lost
not for your stroke, not your soothe
No more gray ink
photograph gaze
No collar bone
valley of skin
I set fire to your words
I drown your colors
all swirl of rainbow
I lie in your grave of kindness
I cough out your breath
I spit you out
wipe the taste of you
from my mouth

First published in Ekphrastic California.

2018 · Publications

Redshift 1

First publication in a while! Arroyo Seco Press has a new journal, Redshift, with three of my poems, “Fate Ignores My Resolve”, “Dreams of Falling”, and “Water Witch”. Edited by Thomas R. Thomas, this anthology also has poetry by Michelle Thomas, Kitty Anarchy, Lloyd David Aquino, Lorraine Biteranta, Francesca Borella, Scott Noon Creley, Larry Duncan, Barbara Eknoian, Jeffrey Graessley, Sarah E. Gurney, Curtis Hayes, Steven Hendrix, Betsy Mars, Lee Anne McIlroy, Kathryn McMurray, Karie McNeley, Penelope Moffet, Zack Nelson-Lopiccolo, Shannon Phillips, Wendy Rainey, Steve Ramirez, Kevin Ridgeway, Tere Sievers, Francesca Terzano, K. Andrew Turner, and Susan Vannatta. You can purchase a copy on Amazon.

2010s · Conversations with Gravel · Poetry

Unnamed Color

If I were a painter, I’d find the darkest
blue paint—thick as gravy—
push it slow across a powder-white
canvas, diagonal edge to edge,
let the ridges and valleys of the stroke
seep into a settled mass. I’d drag
the brush saturated in blue past
the easel, over my window pane
across my pale green wall
and onto my bed frame. I’d shape
the prints of my hands where I held
myself above you. Where I saw
you under me like a child, like one
who never married, never had children,
never worked twenty years in the same
company, never had to harden his heart
like police armor. I’d paint
the color of your eyes—
if they could ever be captured
in a shade made by man.

First published in Ekphrastic California.

2010s · Conversations with Gravel · Poetry

When I’ve said all the words I can say

I can only sound.
I dissonance.
I shutter volume.

I scrape metal to metal
–skyscraper groans
–car alarm until it backgrounds.

I tree crack from roots
–siren ambulance, fire truck.
I bone crush
–violin in a cold, dark alley.

I canyon scream
behind double pane windows.
You, inside, sit soundless.

First published in Ekphrastic California.

2010s · Conversations with Gravel · Poetry

How to Go Backwards

Remove hands. Remove tongue. Remove legs.
Leave heart. Leave eyes. Leave voice.
Remove say.
Leave said.
Remove fuck. Remove kiss and dark car.
Leave ache and story.
Remove naked.
Leave cold.
Remove knowing.
Leave knowing.
Remove lover and want.
Leave honest and cordial.
Remove betray. Remove conflict. Remove open.
Leave close. Leave accept.
Remove complicated. Remove layers. Remove hold.
Leave alone. Leave alone. Leave alone.

First published in Cultural Weekly.

2010s · Conversations with Gravel · Poetry

If you ask me what I want,

I want you unraveled
I want you edge-frayed
I want you seam-busted
threads dragging
I want you broken glass
and rusted gears
tornado torn
tsunami choking
I want you black-eyed
swollen-lipped
nose-bloodied
I want you raw
I want you singed
I want you fat pulled
off the bone
I want you diary-read
secrets on billboards
I want you spit out
I want you dried-up
dead flowers hanging
I want you burnt forest
and dry savannah
I want you limb-splayed
arms tied and hands nailed
I want you teeth-cracked
you feet-blistered
and back broken
I want you heart-dead
voice-cracked
lost-souled
I want you motherless
and child-lost
I want you loveless
and ugly
I want you cheap
and fucked

First published in Cultural Weekly.

2010s · Conversations with Gravel · How to Unexist · Poetry

How to Unexist

Go from friend to flirt to lover. Do it fast and without remorse. Stay lover for days or weeks until you become mistress. Be a good mistress until you become secret. Stay secret until you lose the key to his car. Then become lie, not a lie you’ve told but be a lie. Stay lie until your fingers break and you can no longer touch. Then become weight around a neck. One to be carried as heavy as regret. Stay weight until you become formality. Then, become cordial. Become a multiple choice response of hello, how are you, I’m fine, you’re fine, we’re fine, everyone is fine until your fineness becomes echo. Stay echo while you begin to scrape your insides out. Pull out blood vessels. Pull out gut, fat, and muscle. Pull out bone. Lick it clean. Save your heart for last. Let it feel every ounce emptying. Then become translucent. Become as clear as ice so when he looks at you he sees nothing. Hears nothing. Feels nothing. Stay clear until you become forget. Become forget until all previous days dissolve. Stay forget until it never was. Until you are not even ghost. You are just not. Just no.

First published in Cultural Weekly.

2010s · Poetry

Jigsawed

I am missing too many pieces
my pieces are broken
my pieces do not match

I am pulling pieces from my mouth
wet and teeth-bent
my pieces fit nothing

I am turning over the edges
over and over and over
my pieces are dizzy
drunk-stained and torn

I am scraping off layers
of Disney-glossed pictures
my pieces are spit gray
my pieces fall behind
tables and wall benches

I am pieces glued on
I am pieces shoved in
I am pieces forced together
pieces and pieces and pieces

all Picasso and bent blue

First published in Ekphrasitc California.

2010s · Poetry

Bows

for DM

I want bows. I want them tied on the tips
of my fingers. I want the end wrapped up
like a gift ungiven left at the party we
never had. I want to open it before Christmas
before families who keep expecting life
to be a painting, a 1950s Norman Rockwell
digging his claws in my neck. I want to repeat
the refrain again and again so I can memorize
it. So I can feel the comfort of the familiar.
I want to make a circle around my head, my paper,
my rectangular room, to return to, to come
back again, to summarize the dust on my fingertips
covered in bows.

First published in Spectrum Anthology.