2010s · Poetry

Seventy-Five Hours

Holding Barbie up to me, you said
“My mommy’s in jail”
and broke the strong girl face
that walked through my door.
I pulled Barbie up while you
cried in your thick five-year-old legs
dressed in pink four-year-old pants.
In two weeks you’d be six
starting first grade. You knew
your letters and how to write your name.
How to write “I love you, Mommy”.

You said you were mad at her
for going to jail, for doing bad things.
In my foreign home, you laughed
at SpongeBob and played
with unfamiliar toys. You should
have been in Santa Barbara
buying new school clothes—
instead you were with strangers
in Lakewood Mall Target
buying clothes for a six-year-old,
guessing your size underwear.

I took you to a fair at the beach
but forgot to bring cash,
so we stared at the things
that neither of us could have.
We danced in my backyard,
blew bubbles for the dog,
and sang the song, “Whooooo
lives in a pineapple under the sea?”

They found the man you called
Daddy One—or maybe Two—
but you called him a number.
You cried when I told you
he was on his way. His name
was on your birth certificate,
so he drove from Santa Barbara
over two long hours.
He cried when he saw you—
you did not cry when you saw him.

I kissed you on your forehead.
You left with Daddy One
and bags of new school clothes,
back to Santa Barbara.
In less than five minutes,
I returned to my own house empty
of your laughter, SpongeBob still
on the Netflix queue.

9-29-13
Originally published on Ishaan Literary Review

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2014 · All the Tiny Anchors · Publications

Tic Toc Anthology

Tic Toc CoverI am honored to have my poem, “Westwood Boulevard (Why I Can’t Go Back)” included in Tic Toc, an anthology about time. The editors asked “authors to let their minds drip through the hourglass…authors created a kaleidoscopic array of time tunnels for the reader to travel through.  So take a moment, pick a door, allow yourself to fall into and through visions of past memories, revel in tangible interpretations of today, or leap light-years ahead of your own future.”

You can download a FREE PDF copy or buy a print copy from Amazon for less than ten bucks!

2010s · Poetry · The Unnamed Algorithm

Night Swimming as Ceremony

I didn’t respect her
she was terrible at her job
we were grateful when she was gone
it annoyed me that she wrote her name
on the cover of my booksthat none of her sets were complete
that she left a mess behind

but then……she was really gone
all those psychological stresses
were physical and actual disease

I didn’t watch it happen
the last face I saw was a constant
frantic-edge state
dark-circled and worn
she reminded me of my mother
in her darkest times

the numb fail-safe state
I learned as a child kicks in
I feel nothing………for her

only for her children—
the ache of those young hands
the sink of those feet
the electric……..quiet
left beside her husband
I can’t feel the lost
only the left

the dark placid eyes
I know as well as swimming
how ache becomes a sea
breath-holding under black skies

I’d pour out her ashes where
she left her children swimming

 

First appeared on Ishaan Literary Review

2014 · Publications

The Mayo Review

I am incredibly honored to be a featured poet in the Spring 2014 edition of The Mayo Review. Three of my poems “If I Ever Have Children”, “Flourish”, and “Cathedral” (last two are in All the Tiny Anchors) are included in the pages with many other excellent poets like Tobi Cogswell and Daniel Romo.

Mayo Review 2014-06-03 17.45.34

Events · Feature Readings

June 24th @ Coffee Cartel

PatchworkNancy Lynée Woo and I will be reading poetry for you in Redondo Beach at the Coffee Cartel on Tuesday, June 24th at 8:00 pm. The Redondo Beach Poets have a weekly reading every Tuesday with an open reading sign up starting at 7:50. We would love you to join us! RSVP on Facebook

Coffee Cartel: 1820 South Catalina Avenue, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

2010s · Poetry · Unanchored

Rejoice in My Anger and My Apathy

Tiny creatures are living in my stomach
They are living off the lining, gnawing holes
They returned or were dormant for years
They remind me that I’ve held back too long
That I need to let more of it go
Pack that box, donate to charity
They burrow deep, clenching tight
They love my body in ways I never will
They are singing choruses in unison
They know my diet, my lack of vegetables
They know how many times I’ve cried
When coffee cannot cure the ache
They love that, it feeds them
When I hold it in, when I stay awake
They rejoice in my anger and my apathy
They love not when I love and laugh
It dissolves them, it starves them
I do battle with them every single day
I count in to breathe and slow release
I lay my hands and rebuke them
I pray to their gods for forgiveness
Soon they must migrate or move on

Originally published in Carnival: Black, White, and Coffee.