POEMS

 

 

 

Glass Animal

 

 

During Death’s last visit to our house,

she was making jewelry out of sea glass.

One by one the necklaces came. Hanging

on clouds of ball chains and leather,

dangling above a valley of cleavage,

the road between hills shattered and shimmered

with what the sea could no longer hold

in its salty mouth of sorrow.

 

The lighter scraped my thumbprints raw

as the little glass bowl of dopamine clouds

became a place where nothing lived,

not even animals a child might see.

Maybe that’s what I feared the most,

that she would find a piece of me

breaking through the sand, then pull me out

of a hole in her foot, howling like an animal.

Published in Ground Fresh Thursday

 

 

 

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Parasympathetic Pink

 

                                                    Somewhere between crest and crash,

you remembered to paint the sky with relief,

                                               a parasympathetic pink. Like the morning

sweat of fourteen years, drying on a canvas

                                            our bodies were, chaos framed by care.

 

                                                 When hope crumbled into pinches of salt,

into pleasure’s sea of drown and don’t, there you stood

                                               like a lightning rod at the edge of swim in me.

 

                                                 Both of us needed the shore to be more

than a church where the sun is praised,

                                                more than pews of emerald waves where

jellyfish sting hallelujahs. Climbing up the cliff’s

 

                                             steps of scars from the driftwood shack of bones,

made falling back down less romantic, less real,

                                                 like Suffering losing its paddles that night

beneath the shadow of a pearl.

 

                                             Holding me down, like a brush in your glass,

I begged to be pink again, to feel myself splash

                                         off the end of you like Pollack using bourbon for blue.

 

Published in Natural Bridge 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dear Christ

 

In some ways we’re still the same, preferring abandonment

by men with swords, men wearing crowns of bloody tiaras,

soaked in sweat with splintered hands and shirtless bodies

in the shadows of crosses. Men whose mothers immaculate lies

made us believe we were special enough to die as an act of love.

Men whose fathers made hay from shame where they laid

our infant bodies down, stuffing our mouths with stars.

Religious men were drawn to us, our innocence a magnet of terror,

planting the seeds of danger’s dereliction as romantic approval

of the body as man, while rejecting the soul of a boy. It’s strange

how I keep saying these things after all that we’ve been through,

after so many years spent looking for you in everything that suffers.

Which is why I decided to write you a letter and mail it to myself.

No response is expected unless you have something to say.

 

 

Love,

 

Every boy in every man on every street in America

Published in The Raw Art Review

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Yard Work

 

Watching my neighbor’s American cars

fade from the corner of my eye,

yards grow jaundice with dandelion grief,

my skin more yellow each day.

 

These are virile Navy boys

whose adolescent complexions

of stripes and scars fly like a flag

of deafening steel over my pillow at night.

 

For some, it may be a rapturous moment,

except no one’s meeting Jesus in the sky,

no camouflaged angels from the throne of god

will bring them safely back home.

 

Absence worships memory here, like

like a weed eater trimming rocky ground

from a place where they started their engines

at dawn, a cathedral of gnashing teeth.

Published in New Limestone Review

 

 

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Anti-Psalm Queer Words from The Mouth’s Deep South

 

Hallelujah for the still water’s furious roar pounding me like god into crumbs.

In the beginning it was want, touch, the touch of want, being transgressed by the dangerously different,

a film noir cartoon of my body’s insurrection watching me storm through the moral checkpoint

where desire stripped down is a birdcage of beaks— minus the shimmer of ebony wings intent on escape.

It was me who helped dirty things fly, pigeons praying on the bed of my body

a translucent fan of origami skin thrashing heaven, screeching listen to me, listen to hands that don’t give a damn

in a stranger’s pants at 2:00 AM. Hands become bowl beneath the body of Christ in a small southern church

where folded palms never could hold my attention. Being a member of only one body, one sanctified torso

to enter and exit, my tongue found a reason to not swallow itself as punishment for such incorrectness,

unleashing words like a gentle pit bull raised on sweet meat of sameness. Unlike David

no harp taught my hands the harmony of sling and song. Unlike David it wasn’t Goliath

who fed me the fear of men. I was safe, sleeping there, a conqueror’s seed in my mouth.

 

 

 Published in Scalawag Magazine

 

 

 

 

 

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Gone Blue, Gone Gray, Gone Away

 

                                                             

At the heart of Appalachia, near the Ohio River,

in the back of my Father’s throat,

a combine strips the past from the present.

 

Inhaling “No,” exhaling “Yes,”

everything green and gold in between

becomes rows of what can’t be forgotten.

 

Never have I listened so closely

to the stethoscope swinging from my soul,

or been so devoted to one man’s words

 

beating like a snare drum in both our wrists

at the end of a battle,

gone blue, gone gray, gone away.

 

Made as I am of rough southern straw,

broken and bundled in muddy brown fields,

the near-fatal choice of not being chosen,

 

is a memory none of us have. There were no crows

to scare with hands that did not hold my own.

There were no crows at all.

Published in Compose Literary Journal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Stay

 

for the apneic embrace, the moment you get

all hyped up, blue-lipped & brave

& witness the act of not leaving.              

 

Spare your eyes a sorrowful fall         

over my shoulder’s flannel cliff

& down your silky bra.

 

Make the unnatural natural.

Do what it takes to be still as a grave

committed to holding you down.

 

It’s the dirt we have on each other,

the red silhouettes of Georgia clay

ghosting themselves in the wind-chimes.

 

The body has done a fabulous thing

chaining our spirits to loss. What better

reason to squeeze and squirm, as if

 

there was someplace safe to go.

Those dangerous times were bone

breaking blues, a hairline gospel

 

from the fault line of heaven. Remain

on the coast, surfing breath with me.

Drowning is nothing but the last cocktail.

Published in Anti-Heroin Chic