2010s · Conversations with Gravel · Poetry

If Poetry Is Parked Car

My heart is bottom-pink
and raw, not knowing
how many beats to give
beats to exhale

All words crowd into the soft
spaces, roof of my mouth
cutting inside cheeks
rolling off lips

All quiets are questions
my voice too loud
my hands too clumsy

How do I protect you
when I’ve just been born?
When my spit edges
in the corners of your drink?

I’m dumb, backseat fumbling
legs over knees
arms over shoulders

If my skin in moonlight
is softest, how do your hands
melt into my scars?

First Published in Carnival Lit.

2010s · Conversations with Gravel · Poetry

Good Friday Morning

You, cocked smile
and smirking eye
come down into my open
waiting like a teenaged sunbather
happy to risk the burn

You shadow me warm
with sentinel arms
my hands will not
rebel against you
both of us clinging
to this fragile ease

Tomorrow you return
to the gnawing thirst
lock me outside while
you fight those demons
eating at your skin

I return to the fullness
of poetry and fire-fed dreams
empty of your shadows
empty of skin-fueled
present tense

First published in Carnival Lit.

2010s · Conversations with Gravel · Poetry

Sediment

I’ve been sifting you for weeks
but there is no gold in your sediment
pebbles smooth against my tongue
I bed in your silver-grey sand
sleep in the warmth of your current
I keep losing daylight hours
forget my quest for real worth
I need to get up, get feet forward
find the strike to wealth me old
foolish river, with your glittering light
I won’t find gold in your sediment

First published in Carnival Lit.

2018 · Publications

Carnival Poetry Anthology

Honored to have my poem, “5:38”,  included in Picture Show Press’s first anthology of poetry from the best of Carnival, the online literature magazine. Edited by Shannon Phillips, this beautiful book includes my poetry friends, Karie McNeley, Zack Nelson-Lopiccolo, Scott Noon Creley, K. Andrew Turner, Alexis Rhone Fancher, Thomas R. Thomas, Kevin Ridgeway, Suzanne Allen, and many more. Find out more on Picture Show Press.

Publications

Carnival Lit Mag, Fall 2015

Capture Three of my poems, “If Poetry Is Parked Car”, “Good Friday Morning”, and “Sediment”, are included in the fall issue of Carnival Lit Mag, along with friends, Gerald Locklin and Thomas R. Thomas. Edited by Shannon Phillips, this virtual magazine is more than just a poetry website. Go directly to the issue here: issuu.com/carnivalitmag/docs/summer. Or check out the revamped website: carnivalitmagazine.net.

2010s · All the Tiny Anchors · Anchors (Poetry with Music) · Poetry · Recordings

5:38

I keep smiling while I read them. All three texts. Sitting at a Greek place with coworkers at a long table for fifteen. Middle aged women and their husbands are asking about you. They all want to meet the man who put stars under my skin. I just told them about the place we found with 30 minute lines down the block, where they create gourmet pizza to order. All of them want to try it. Three texts at once isn’t like you. The waiter sets the cheese on fire and everyone is opening their mouths at the flames. I’m still burning on fumes from last Sunday when you’d kissed me full enough for days. I had felt lucky all week, lucky enough for months. I read them now. I keep smiling, but I am losing the ability to hear. My head goes underwater as our table splits like an aquarium wall, everyone else on the outside. All at once I am wishing there was a magic portal to stop time, an alarm clock for waking up, cameras to be revealed as a cruel joke played. Someone must have stolen your phone, is holding you hostage, making you text those things in English I cannot translate. I have to leave immediately. I leave my coat. I leave my purse. Leave my untouched food on the plate. I try to climb into the circuits of my phone, step through satellites, make you look me in the eyes. Make you face me when you fire that gun.

 

First published in Carnival Lit Mag, also in All the Tiny Anchors.
Listen on SoundCloud.

2010s · Poetry

Sonic Screwdriver

for Josh

I wish I had a sonic screwdriver
I wish I had a magic wand
I wish I had a time machine
or pixie dust or a book of spells

I wish I had a genie lamp
I wish I had the holy grail
I wish I had a flying carpet
or a portal or an Atlantis key

I wish you were three
in the back seat of my car
singing an 80s Cure song

I wish you were sixteen
driving with me to open mic
singing an 80s Cure song

I wish my love was enough
I wish you weren’t there
I wish you and me were anywhere
far and away, anywhere else

Originally published in Carnival Lit Mag, 2014

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.