2010s · How to Unexist · Poetry

Elephant

We dance under the belly of the elephant
Not the dance-floor dance, but the slow move
around the words we won’t say
Move in and out of her shadow
Her dark cast allows our mouths to press our breath
around it, around the letters lost in open windows
I want you to press me full against elephant legs until
deep grooves of skin catch light
Her skin is your skin and the skin of your children
heavy with memory, pachyderm heavy
She shifts her weight and I wait for you to name her
call her out of decades, twenty-two years
You push off one finger to the other hand but
there it is in simple gold elephant eyes
Will you step out from under her
I cannot lean crouched here
swaying to your resonate voice
to the arch of your teeth
to the groove of your sleeve soft
underneath my fingertips
sliding down corduroy red

First published in velvet-tail.

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2010s · Poetry

Passing Sounds Fade

The heavy of his arm around
her shoulders, the lack of weight—
how it sits there like a machine fitting,
clock-watch piece.
The dust in his voice lies
thick under her chest.
She knows his closet is full
and the bodies are fresh
but she presses against
the door with him. Spring
cleaning is months away. It’s fall now,
so she presses her hands to his
warm coat, her hands against
his chest feel beat to breath—
beat to breath. Close her eyes
and pray to an unknown god,
pray the planes will pass,
pray he isn’t looking back.

 

First published on Cadence Collective.

2010s · How to Unexist · Poetry

Paper Airplane

We keep gnawing at roots
sopping in alcohol.
I am full. You still starve.

You want me bath-soaked,
I need you tree hollow.
So I tear at your bark skin

until you bleed spoiled sugar.
Open my fingers and peel sunset
leaves from my palms.

Spit the pulp from my tongue,
lay it flat into perfect white rectangles,
press out every last drop of rain.

Let sunlight inhale what’s left.
Even your teeth hate
how little I want to kiss you.

As you wither, I fold you in half,
crease your edges. Nose you forward.
Refuse to watch what happens next.

First published in Paper Plane Pilots.

2010s · Poetry

Last Thread

It’s the last thread
that’s so hard to cut

The chain’s long broken
the rope’s been unraveled

I’ve swum against the currents
I’ve surfaced near the shore

The thin line’s still tangled
through ocean tide hair

It pulls out slow and shining
like a timeline of a story

so I tie it in a bow
around my finger tight

to remember
where I’ve been

2016 · Publications

Whiskey Fish Review: Winter 2016

A poem I wrote in October 2014, “What I Mean When I Say We Can Talk Without Poetry“,  is included in this lovely collection by Whiskey Fish Review. Some of my favorite poets/friends/people are included: JL Martindale, Kevin Ridgeway, Thomas R. Thomas, and Larry Raymond Duncan. Edited by Zack Nelson-Lopiccolo. You can view the whole issue online here!

 

2010s · Poetry · The Unnamed Algorithm

Scent Stained

You are the mistake I want to make
I will wrap myself in your red flags
and let you peel them off
one silk layer at a time

You are the regret I want to have
I’ll bind you in my caution tape
lay on a bed of warning signs
cold metal against warm skin
cools your burning in my eyes

You are the fucked up mess
I want to roll around in
like a mud happy dog
drenched in your scent
I will not shake you out

How do you unsense me?

(First published in East Jasmine Review)

Events · Feature Readings

Uptown Word Reading & Arts Series

12572979_10153964841439382_1946487265694198183_n On Sunday, February 14th, I will be living a dream. What a better way to start off a romantic Valentine’s Day than with poetry and art? Not only will I be co-featuring with two of the most love filled poets I know, Boris Ingles and Karineh Mahdessian, but it will take place in the brand new North Long Beach Public Library in the neighborhood where I spent all my teen years and first began my journey as a poet. Hosted by the lovely liz gonzález, the Uptown Word Reading & Arts Series brings authors and artists to Northtown. The reading starts at 1 pm and includes an open mic. There are also rumors of chocolate cupcakes! RSVP on Facebook

North Neighborhood Library – Long Beach Public Library
5571 Orange Ave
Long Beach, CA 90805

The event is FREE, but donations are accepted

2015 · Publications

Poet’s Haven Part 2

2015-12-13 18.08.27-2

Once again, two more of my poems are on The Poet’s Haven this week! “The Atmosphere I Miss” was included in All the Tiny Anchors, but I always hoped it would find an independent home. The second one, “Record Scratch” has never found a home and I’m very happy it finally has! Both poems are different perspectives of holding on and letting go. Still miss that atmosphere, still hoping the record will unskip itself.

2010s · Anchors (Poetry with Music) · Poetry · Recordings · The Unnamed Algorithm

Love Letter No.1: To My Pit-Bull Self

I love the teeth of your love
how you pit-bull deep
into the flesh of loving
How you make shrines
in the empty spaces,
abandoned apartments
Shrines to former residents
of borrowed books and toiletries
envelopes full of photographs
and letters in pen
How you never fill
the same space with new
but keep building out
expand the frames and floors
How you know when to change the locks
and when to nail it shut

I love how you calculate
estimate the risk
How you trust
the unnamed algorithm
the intuitive push, flashing “Yes,
love this one, let that one in!”
How soft your wrought-iron grip
holds every name tight
each face, its own story
each moment, a glass in your pane
How you refuse to argue
about the wrong
or right way to love

I love how so much of it matters
how you will forgive
as many times
as they will call
and ask for it
How you defend this weakness
with the expense of wasted time
Your time-to-give being
your love currency
not words, not gifts,
not your doing-for-me
But your minutes and hours
your speak to me, eat with me
your listen and watch with me
sit in this space of air
I breathe with me is love

I love how love-greedy you get
How you collect time
and stuff it in bags and boxes
shove it on shelves, in closets
covering walls, blocking doorways
in empty apartments
You guard-dog this house
an unapologetic hoarder
How you refuse to purge it
refuse to loosen your grip
Set shrines in windowsills
light blood candles
There is always room
for more

2-3-14
Originally published in Silver Birch Press, Self-Portrait Series.
Also listen on Soundcloud.

2010s · All the Tiny Anchors · Poetry

Daylight

Your arm hit the blinds
they swung like a pendulum
brightlight
brightlight
piercing my eyes you
held up your hand
to stop the sun
to shade my face
it felt just like love
so I sunk
into you
in the silence

First published in First Literary Review East and included in All the Tiny Anchors.