For Sam Sax
This new generation of penis loving poets
whose tongues do push-ups on the floor of my mind,
say welcome to the gym of love as linguistics
where bad boys with brains pump iron into Twinkies.
This locker room is for florists who bleed,
for married men crippled on the treadmill to nowhere:
Olympian fathers whose athletic obsessions
with fiction and fallout and failure’s forgiveness,
turn today’s man into yesterday’s boy.
They understand why Daddy’s not home.
He’s tied to the page with leather and verbs.
He’s breaking like wheat in their heart’s
parched field, begging the ground to not silence
the grain, to not take for granted love’s interruptions,
come as they do between breath’s little blackouts,
PUBLISHED IN LULLWATER REVIEW
Farwell Paradise Empire
To the field’s black eye whose lashes of corn
flirted with me at dawn,
to Main Street’s murmuring eighteen wheels
pulsing to the Port Townsend Ferry,
to the dented cushion shaped like my ass
holding me silent as a tombstone,
to the hardened veins of Virginia Creeper
bloodless on the barn’s gray face,
to the frigid sea whipping castles at night as
I dreamt in the language of driftwood,
to the Olympic Mountains hypnotic call
to rise above the poor in spirit,
to the Pear tree’s brown arthritic hands
praying for morning’s red glove,
to the distant symphony of Trumpeter Swans
making music of mud for my ears,
to the coyote’s shrill of you could die now
on the prairie’s acres of hunger,
to my senses dazed and vulnerable state
that grew soft, tender and strong,
to letting go of a world that was born through me
and refused to return unnamed.
PUBLISHED IN GYROSCOPE REVIEW
At The Corner Of Heavy And Acquaintance
is so tired of you,
the sound of your name
makes them heavy with
Heavy as in a metal jock strap
protecting them from longing.
Heavy as in when hearing hello
their spine becomes a cobra.
Remind me, again, why my hand
cut a hole in your throat:
object removal, a flower vase,
a window your heart could
escape through at night
to teach the world a lesson?
Tenderness rarely occurs to me
at the hour you shame the moon,
turning it yellow as a caution light,
where you decide you can’t decide
if you have the power to shine.
I wish the end were different,
beauty blooming instead of rocks
in a grave beneath your chin,
words falling down the stem of your neck
in the window of a store on a street we loved
where faces stopped to listen.
Published in Sheila-Na-Gig
the best year has fallen upon us.
If we believed this was
If all inclinations toward harm were removed.
If the finger’s need to measure the distance
of flame to skin minus night’s toothless grin was gone.
If the space between lips was you, asking me
to hold my breath the way night does the sun.
If blue was my face, the sky set free from
the back of your hand’s red glove.
If we burned the first day of the year. If I
told you to soak every regret in piss and gasoline.
If a matchbox coffin made for two makes baby Jesus cry.
Published in The American Journal Of Poetry
Elegy For Better
Most folks knew him as Better, son of Never Enough.
Born and wrapped in a denim shroud, a broken down
blue-collar babe in the world of masculine monkeys with
piranha minds who raised their boys to excel at the game
of shame for their first birth and death for their second.
Enter Jesus the backwoods son: his body a book
on religious repair studied in a kingdom of dirty garages
with tools that wailed like weeping mothers. And so
the boy learned to change tires like worlds with crosses
of cold, black steel, what others would hurt him with later.
Published in Badlands Poetry Journal
The Architect’s Son
Every boy is an architect’s son.
Every son’s neck is a skyscraper burning
a hole in the heaven of fathers. In time
the rain will come, but tears will only
extinguish the rage for maybe a day
that feels like a year, or until
the skin grows numb to the light
and darkness puts on a baseball glove
catching everything his mouth throws at you,
one hard word after another.
Leather is the love, you thought was a hand,
she said was a dragon’s tail.
No mother in her own right mind
would dare break the architect’s pencil.
Lead poisoning, God poisoning,
a rattlesnake’s song humming loud in my foot.
If only the grass would have told me,
that earth is a refuge for pain,
I could have used the venom in me,
instead of the ink in my pen.
Publshed in Assaracus Review
Darkness is nothing
if not expectation
turning its back to the light.
Rarely does the spine agree
to the fingertip’s shadows,
so sheer and blue,
climbing the stairs
to your mind.
Which is why
when you rolled back
toward me with your hands
tied behind you, telling me
that the smoke in your eyes
meant the tunnels in flames,
I lingered there,
dropped the coal and
let the engine sing.
from Berlin to Paris
and nothing caught my eye,
Published in Dewpoint