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.

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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 · Conversations with Gravel · Poetry

Record Scratch

How many times do we
replay the broken record
How many times do we
get up and jump the needle

Do we hold on for nostalgia’s sake
Do those crackle-rich and cotton-
thick grooves sing better songs

How many repeats and repeats
until it’s time to retire or never
Just resign ourselves to unrest
get up again and again

Records don’t learn new songs
They don’t unscratch or smooth out
Should we pack it up and
store it in our memories

Move on to modern times
where everything and everyone
is easily replaceable

First published in Poet’s Haven.

Conversations with Gravel

Conversations with Gravel Review Four

Kind words about my upcoming full-length book from Donny Jackson. Preorders  for Conversations with Gravel are available though October 5th at the SadieGirlPress.com bookstore. You can pay $3 for shipping or select Pick Up if you are local when you first open your Cart. Pay only $9 with promo code: PresaleCWG at the Checkout stage.

Conversations with Gravel

Conversations with Gravel Review Three

Kind words about my upcoming full-length book from Donna Hilbert. Preorders  for Conversations with Gravel are available though October 5th at the SadieGirlPress.com bookstore. You can pay $3 for shipping or select Pick Up if you are local when you first open your Cart. Pay only $9 with promo code: PresaleCWG at the Checkout stage.

Conversations with Gravel

Conversations with Gravel Review Two

Kind words about my upcoming full-length book from Mariano Zaro. Preorders  for Conversations with Gravel are available though October 5th at the SadieGirlPress.com bookstore. You can pay $3 for shipping or select Pick Up if you are local when you first open your Cart. Pay only $9 with promo code: PresaleCWG at the Checkout stage.