When the Breathless Throw Down


Clearly you can see    I’m not spirit born      unlike those

                        Jesus said      don’t know         where they’re from


or where they’re going    I understand the wind      the rising

                      flying     falling apart       the wreckage remaining


in ascensions wake    as Dorothy crushes    evil’s broom

                 that swept     Kansas from my heart        on one side the


prairies leather Daddy chest     makes me feel safe     until it doesn’t

              until the ocean’s      maternal exhale    rips all living things


 up from the ground      leaving me      to write it all down

                     I understand why        wind & stone        slap each


other around    earth mothers sky fathers     place your bet

               its anyone’s mouth     when the breathless     throw down.

From Bluestem Magazine







Flotation Device


When they named you Flotation Device,

members from the church of pseudo-salvation

gathered on the window’s prayer smudged side

with noses pressed hard on cool steamy glass

breathing a heavy fog of relief, a we’re here

for you little Saint Flotilla, little cushion

stained with humanity’s gas, already so tired

of the world in your lap, already smoothed

silly by nylons and boxers. For those who

attended your miraculous deception, there’s

no better way of leaving this world, then

to bend like you with our heads between knees,

with mouths open wide for the ocean’s blue praise,

cresting and crashing on a coastline of lungs

with such perfect pitch at last.

From Columbia College Literary Review









Crawling to the Kingdom


Your fingers shout deliverance, the lock said to the key.

Hearing the jailor’s violent song, your ear became the shape

                                                                       of every throat found open.


Tenderness taught your tongue

                           the holy scrub of pink.

                                           Trauma forced the church in you

                                                                      to burn a thousand candles.


If praise is how the body drugs the mind with light,

a reflection of the golden cage whose bars are made of bones,

                                                                    prayer is nothing more than


a deathbed made of words, the way the fear of punishment

blooms through your skin, the way you watch it nightly

                                                                      on the sad and crippled fly,


                          crawling to the kingdom

                                             on the crime scene’s yellow tape.

From The Inflectionist Review




Scenario Central



When they named him Scenario Central

like Whitman’s multitudes breeding fiercely  

under a furry white chest, he knew boys

are why wood fears the axe and fathers

are forests in flames. He heard songs die

in mothers at birth in terror of daughters

having no tongue.

Tender as newborn kittens in a sack

the river did not want to swallow,

he prayed, not knowing he could.

Words carved holes in his pillow

while dreaming, which later were filled

with half naked men, courtesy of underwear ads.

Raised in the church of choices,

he suffered the strange adoration of stars,

each distant blink, night’s little death,

preached a gospel of galaxies lost,

the untouchable jewels of god.

The yearly revival to cleanse confusion

from brain to bowel and beastly parts

made clarity a sweet narcotic.

There was no time for blaming the scholars

of scars for soldiering children from

wombs to wars, no time for thinking

the mind’s better day would dawn

at the tip of a glass syringe shaped

like a Murano Jesus.

Inside the body on top of the soul

was a crown painted red with poems.

Scenario wears it like all kings do,

reckless, bloody and proud.

From Aurora Literary Review







Love Thy Neighbor Boy with Birds


This island’s blue canopy of camouflaged clouds

impaled by the Olympics’ sawtooth smile

flutters with tons of cold gray steel,

with birds my neighbor boy flies in the dark,  

birds, my neighbor boy trusts in to save

us both from a nuclear sun.


Loving thy neighbor is easy, flapping my eyes

at his faded cut hair, poking my beak at brown desert boots

that carry his heart to foreign lands

where new nests of harm and regret are made

by powerless creatures of flight, creatures like me,

the son of a bird whose father loved his neighbor, the sky.

From Cumberland River Review








After death leaves its stinger

buzzing in my head

don’t let the hive of a million lies

tempt you with their honey.


If everlasting, the cruelest word  

is used to describe my absence,

erasing me with a pencil’s head

chewed by the mouth of god,


tell them I wrote nature poems,

about the nature of passing,

tell them they have holes in their souls

the shape of a hornet’s heart.

From The Coachella Review