2010s · Conversations with Gravel · Poetry

Monkey Bars & Golden Spokes

Let’s go back
to when you hung
on my words like monkey bars
when you sighed the first time
you ever kissed me,
gave me lottery winning eyes
when you kissed me again

Go back before
my words hung
like bars around your cell
before you clenched
your teeth
at the sound
of my need

Go back when
you studied the curves
of my mouth
sent me to work
each morning
with a tongue
full of blessing

Go back before
every word
had to be measured
and weighed
before an honest response
could mean
I may never again see
the golden spokes
of your irises

Back to when
we were both
eager passengers
Back before
our feet were heavy
with hesitation

Back when
we knew nothing
Back before
we could not forget

First Published in Drunk Monkeys.

2010s · Poetry

Key Hole Apocalypse

There is light faintly pressing
against the rim rubbing soft
past oak and bronze

All the silences have hecklers
all the gentle landings shake
like trains on gravel tracks

All the distances are black ants
on gray clouds slipping by fingers
The gray is a blue child’s breath
The gray is a stubbled man’s beard

It moves in flickers from
left to right, from left to right
a slow finger and then snap

It’s a multi-story parking garage
vacant line after line waiting
for passengers, waiting for solids
to absorb the aching sounds

First Published in Drunk Monkeys.

2010s · Poetry

First Ride

Not at four or five, but nine—my first ride,
two wheels under, long seat, long handles
reaching out to hold me like how
I’d imagined my first kiss. I pushed
my feet against the pedals—move forward,
stay straight—push down. I was wavering
but I challenged the authority of gravity.
Sidewalk rough and cracked upwards
from the rebellious roots of trees hovering
over, shedding their seeds and leaves.
They dared me to ride under, past
their obstacle course—I did have something
to prove—I needed to win this race.
I held tight to my handles, gripped sharply
onto the balance I found there near
the street. I understood how simple it would be
to gain the respect of nature, though
I was never more than city-child,
born of wire and concrete.

First Published in Drunk Monkeys.

2010s · Poetry

Pressboard Salvation

I rolled under the church pews,
long rows of orange and brown.
Most don’t question the reckless
abandon of a six-year old.
I could spy under their knees
after the service, grown-ups having
grown-up conversations.
It wasn’t their secrets I sought
but my own secrets squashed down
in the carpet between rows and rows
of tight loops, pushed hard
into the waxy terrain.
Under the pews, the pressboard bellies
gave me ceiling as I studied
the mangled sawdust glued
tight with thick unity.
I’d scratch its skin for weakness,
finger-bit nails hunting splinters
on those bellies achingly smooth.
But I knew where screws broke in.
I dug those edges deep.

First Published in Drunk Monkeys.

2016 · Publications

Drunk Monkeys Anthology Volume 3

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Drunk Monkeys puts out a collection of the best of their website features each year. This year, I am ecstatic to be included among a long list of incredible writers of poetry and prose. My poem, “Pressboard Salvation”, is featured with work by Kevin Ridgeway, Erin Parker, Matthew Guerruckey, Bud Smith, Karla Cordero, Steven Hendrix, and many more. This anthology includes essays, review, fiction, as well as poetry. You can find out how to order the print or ebook version at Drunk Monkeys Bookstore.