Darling, I carry that moment in my heart.
Alongside loose change and glass beads,
Sweet tea and ice cream,
There is the moment your eyes first met mine.
I cannot breathe air.
Instead perfume and terra-cotta and perfume and you fill my lungs and I burst
Under the weight of your arm against my waist.
Shining of salt water. Copper.
Things that are warm and dance,
Even in wintry mix of wet and cold and slush
And other stuff that fills the street.
Still you shine, a true summer baby,
You carry July in your heart in the same place where I carry you in mine.
The Concept of Everything
I ran with you on sparkly black asphalt.
Can you tell me you remember?
And stark light, like a harsh, steady prism,
streaming through your darkening hair.
Still sapphire sky, lit up by our loud rugged racing.
And just split seconds later,
our mosquito bitten legs entangled in balmy grass,
doubled over with chapped cheeks
and not yet September.
The sweet sticky hints of purple Tootsie pop,
my stubborn fingers clenched too tight around the wrapping.
Your lips spoke perfect adolescent wisdom in early suburban morning.
You were the blissful, easy, combination of
and cerulean eyes that slowed to meet mine,
somehow made up by rides back home
in the worn gray cloth of your
passed down Tacoma passenger seat.
I was yours with the loose seat belt grazing
my bare sunkissed thighs.
I don’t think being young could ever mean anything else.
Beautiful South played at my bedside those nights,
lighting vanilla scented Yankee candles and running my fingers over
plaid and gingham skirts you would never see me in.
I can be the pretty girl on magazine covers that don’t exist yet
catching myself in the crude mirrors of my childhood bedroom,
thinking if only I could be like the girls in movies,
nervous too, but just somehow knowing
things are going to be okay.
That I could somehow match your idea of what it means to be someone’s
When I was small,
it was so simple,
and holding hands was more
natural than it ever would be again.
And can’t you tell I’m struggling with this midday,
this knowing that things are going to change?
If only we could go back to late summer nights
where I idolized you
as the boy who held my naked heart
with headphone wires curled in his denim lap,
as the boy who was absolutely
When I was small,
it was so simple,
and things weren’t so quick to fade.
You do know it’s easier to act callous
Then to be candid of this ethereal dream?
If only I could ever tell you.
I think the little girl wants to hold your hand a little longer.
I think she wants you to stay.
Infatuation looks pretty on you,
it makes you soft, proud, tender.
Makes you sit up and take notice.
Gives you a home to set down your things.
How bittersweet it is, for you to look
at someone that is not me and say
I hate the mask you wear,
your eyes assuming a depth they do not possess,
drawing me into the cavity of your skull,
the landscape of bone.
I hate your words.
They are counterfeit.
I want you with more water in your eyes.
I wish you had more tremble in your body
more softness in your height
more women in your hearts than in your hands
more honesty in your voice,
Nights are his paths,
stars are his fires.
One look at his face —
and the whole sky brightens.
People or stars never whisper my name.
I place all of me in the palms of your hands.
When it is my turn, there is nothing left for you to give.
It is the wildest,
most painful longing.
My heart is too lenient,
it is never enough.
What am I to do?
He tells me: just look.
So I lie awake & fight this feeling.
I no longer have anything left to lose.
I wonder if you ever think of years ago. Kids running through the green by the river. It
came to me in early morning hours looking through a smudged window. Golden light breaking a
dense fog. It looked just as it did in those days so long ago, and so many miles from where I
stand now. I wonder where you stand now, and if the golden light breaks a fog before you; as it
does outside my window now; as it did back then. I wonder if you remember the tickle of the
grass as we rolled down rolling hills in the pitiful mountains that, at the time, seemed grandiose.
I can’t place all of the sounds or smells, but I do remember that green tickle and the laughter it
yielded. Kids. Laughing and running. Out of breath and ready to sprint up the next slope. The
only real sound a delicate rush of river.
I never thought of growing up. Yet now it reverberates through every facet of my life.
I wonder if you have thought of those far off days. And if you have, what feeling the memory inspires. Until this moment, they were forgotten to me; hidden behind something bigger and more important in a corner of my mind. Back then, there was nothing more important, and I miss that.
If you have forgotten, I hope you hold on to something from those simple days filled with sun and curiosity.
Even today, clutching a steaming mug of black and looking down the bustling 9 a.m. street, I will hold on to a distant green river.
Almost, Almost, Almost January
Was it September of my best year
when we were inverted
in the frothing peach sky,
on the iceberg’s top?
Those two lemon rinds
lost in wine? Recall
the sun who never came up before
that year so protracted. There was the low dip
following the clasped wrist,
the fusiform sounds I devoured,
and the homesick aristocrats
rambling tall tales in fine hats,
countless convex chandeliers heavy as a gaze,
and I was happily blinded by their exigencies.
So things have changed a lot.
It's all okay but
no birthday candle will catch flame,
the otter won’t gallop,
and the spelling bee hiccups
one minute per hour. This time
we're so layered in grime,
frowning into the canyon of our elbows,
and you’ve become one hell of a lacuna—
a gaping of the bone. A pothole
unfilled by saliva on some greened country road,
a harvest in the desert, the slow-cooked cyclops
tucked away, and for lack of many words:
the earth wasn’t built to be impaled.
Is this fair to say?
Speak up, speak soft, exhale and double back
there are no things left to decant. Inhale.
It's New Year’s Eve and the hallway is empty, echoing
off mirrors and fizzing off in my living room.
Sit a spell and sip at the sky’s scarlet hymn
from this here reflecting roof,
how you felt beneath your own organs
and remember you may never feel any different.
the sadness will last forever
“In the life of the painter, death may perhaps not be the most difficult thing."
- Vincent van Gogh to his brother Theo, July 1888
the remnants of my brothers life,
sunflowers and paintings,
surround him in a halo.
his easel and brushes
give him a final salute.
the canvas in the corner
with the tree roots entangled,
is wet with the paint
he starved himself for.
his coat lies in the floor
the blood’s soaked the pocket
that contains the letter stained
with my brother’s final moments
nothing’s left of him.
even the orange scruff
all that remains is
the blooming irises
and the impending storm
frozen in oil splotches.
day after day, his bony hands
painted away the darkness.
the voices inside blended
into spires touching the
the sky’s piercing eyes.
i swore to support him
in brotherly love
i tried to show him
the genius that lied within
but i failed him.
my letters weren’t enough.
the money, a temporary bandage.
my promises made to him unfulfilled.
i layed by his bedside,
hoping i could save him.
perhaps my devotion
would heal his bullet shaped wound.
but all he said was “the sadness will last forever.”
the wound was too deep to heal.
SCREEN break 2020
Some gnats buzz by my bedroom window.
I wonder what they're doing there.
I wonder what they think about.
why are they there?
and my goosefoot
in isopropyl alcohol
but they won’t leave;
would intimacy cure me?
love isn't an answer?
I writhe within:
an inner cringe
where energy cOurSEs through mE,
but now i must retuRN to my SCREEN
my knee taps
my fingers twirl my hair
what do I do with my handSSSS?
my right one rights
my left one doesn't like sitting still
mayBE now I'll go back to my SCREEN.
A Ghost Story
Can you haunt me when you’re dead?
Write runny messages on bathroom mirrors,
leave lights flickering?
You used to immerse yourself in the slow death of
a steady hush you found more soothing than any woman’s,
wrap the green corduroy of a jacket bought on an anniversary
around goose-bumped skin,
eyes glued to peeling painted walls,
a steady hope for an eternal tomorrow project.
pouring our cups of English Breakfast,
signing your name on Hallmark cards for holidays
we forgot to celebrate.
Rolling your tongue around a fork, glancing outside,
and it’s like you already knew.
Do ghosts respond more easily,
do they not recoil so quickly
to the aging husk that just wants to be
Oh, to be human,
oh, to be you and me.
And the movie like rain at a funeral your mother cried at,
a constant downpour I don’t remember.
silence alone, like always, in a bed that had grown cold long before
I have you in all of my waking and sleeping,
I have the radio knob set just right.
If you ever choose to come join me,
I’ll be waiting, in the soft divide between living and leaving
your coat wrapped around my soaking, shaking
I’ll always be here for you.
A Hunger Like No Other
Let’s talk about this: how impatient we are in love.
How I could not wait for the car to hold your hand.
How I wanted to kiss you when our friends were
still over, the game was still going.
In my mother’s house, in the laundry closet,
in the moments before dinner was ready.
At the pool, your skin so chlorine-soft, the hair
on my arms dripping. I couldn’t even touch you,
not there. Not anywhere I wanted to.
I thought I knew hunger before this. I found
that kind of touch unbearable. To witness. To want.
Desire is ugly. Incessant. Shaped like two hands
wrapped around a throat.
There are worse kinds of disaster than this.
I am guilty of things with more casualties. This,
at least, is beautiful in the right light.
I Know Everywhere That’s Going to Crack Before it Does
Something like fault lines. A change in wind speed.
Like one day you aren’t outside with a cigarette when I get home.
You say it & I say you too. I say it & you don’t say anything.
I put the coffee on & forget about it. You put off coming to bed.
Nobody lingers in the doorway on the way to work because
nobody is half-asleep and talking about their dreams in
the dusky light. Love wishes she were slick.
I always hear her when she’s leaving.
That’s my thing— I know what's coming & I don't ever
want it to get here. I know who’s going & I won’t let them.
You always laugh about how I never want to let the smoke
out of my mouth. Look at you now, trying so hard to hold it still.
Love is packing her things as we sit on the edge of the bed
one final time. Nothing to do with our hands, our hunger.
Love is quick & thorough when she wants to be.
She knows better than to bring much with her anymore.
Leaves nothing in her wake. Not even a toothbrush
by the sink.
If you asked enough, they would say the wind was sweeter before.
They would say it’s an ageless epoch, measured by cast machinery and buried mule
The ground crop-less despite the used needles that grow from below like pulled
The sun still shone here like it always had, doling out simple joys on the wings of
She was certainly behind her eyes. Her face, calling like a blackhole, was a gunshot in a
lonely car door.
An unintelligible memoir of what was once a place of family communion. It wasn’t a
thing of travel as this was their home and she knew it.
Cracked fissures extended from her pleated lips and I think she hoped some motionless
wind would take her
Piece by piece to rest amongst the palatial limestone steppes.
A desert flower, she was Rosalia.
Life begets life, and she understood this numbness wasn’t that.
Her gaze drifted like the warmth of some other sun, levitating in shimmering estuaries.
I watched her calm the shifting sands in her palms and wondered if all the world
Would weep like this.
There was hope in the mouthful of sand Rosalia washed her cheek pockets with.
- Spitting it out with a grimaced smirk. -
A hope that it would polish the unmistakable methadone stains from her teeth
Like she had seen it clean and devour Fishbones. She was more than pin bones
They would say that when she died her body writhed for an hour, and they would say
again it’s the needled death being wrung from her soul. It is of no currency where she
I say it is the greatest convention to weep, knowing she would rasp out one final
“lo que está muerto... no está ni aquí ni está allá”
“That which dies” fled from the flick of my tongue, and for a moment I thought I loved
The Forgotten Thing in the Forgotten Lake
The water- black and icy cold.
Served her as her cradle.
No friendly hands to pull her close,
She sank down there within her fold.
Sleep she sang,
Lonely down inside her space.
Like half the town.
It’s been a while since she went down.
The bass told her all his tales.
His great escapes- fishermen’s fails.
She laughed along with sunken things-
The lost camera, a diamond ring.
Her skin is blue,
Her eyes are blind.
Her hair, the weeds, they wave in time.
She speaks ripples.
And loves the boats- adores their purr,
But on they float.
Alone she is, forevermore.
She doesn’t mind much anymore.
The mud’s her bed, the black’s her sky.
The lake sings her it’s lullaby.