Dear Body



Let’s talk about a preacher’s         daughter’s belly   

                                      about the bastard        beginnings of me

in Selma    in a trailer     where nightly she grew

                                a soldier’s seed        into an Amorite’s rose.


She was my private       greenhouse of glory

                              I learned to                prune my beauty there 

so stranger’s would pay       to hold little boys

                           & harvest the womb    with adoption’s turbine.


There the mind does what it can      to borrow & steal

                         when it can’t deal       with holes that remain

can’t change them     ignore them     or fill them with time

                                    into pastoral places        of biblical fields


where judgment’s dark ink      blackens the sky

                        above tender white skin      & the Red Sea of her

& the Moses in me         find nothing miraculous

                                                                           delivered or free.

From The Manahattanville Review










Dear Resurrectionist



Believing he did & you will    

                   I asked the ground how it felt


not being clean enough to hold the pierced balloons

                   of breathless beauty snagged on the teeth of time.


The sadness was pathologically red     

                           seeping up from the latest wound


earth had just sustained. Standing there weeping

                          like a mountain creek I gloried in dissension,


on what joined me on the long drip down,

                              a suffering world swimming beside


the pure perverse bodies of names, the skeletal joy

                              of what was left to flower us into leaf & bark


carved by knives memories made to tame

                           the storms of sorrow. Perhaps that’s what


fuels your need for such a traumatic escape,

                                  for Act 2 to make the good book burn


in the hands of unbelievers, dignifying all your sins

                                                    with a trillion tiny blisters.

From Timber Literary Journal











Dear Father Military Coma


Watching    your hands    reach for me   now

this boy  no longer   strapped by words 

spit polished    black leather    welts of love

raising the alphabet    up through   my skin  

no longer using    a poetics   of pain  

to erase    me quick     after Saigon fell

on a runway    in Tampa   in my eight year old eyes

now 60   and red   and worrying    you

out of this hole    in the center   of my chest

you    my Lazarus    wrinkled in stone  

I admit   being tempted   to roll you away 

then I   saw your hands   not made   of me

and knew  I would   be you   someday.

From Sweet Tree Review






Dear Resentments


After considering for 30 seconds      

                                    a modern approach to woundedness          


to prevent that cloud raping pyramid of nouns

                                 piled like corpses in the desert of my mouth 


from rendering my existence un-needed,

                                          I still felt your words eating me whole


like a cancer cell gorging at the Bone Buffet,

                                       especially the calcified therapeutic ones,


like safe place for all and as long as I’m free

                                      & again, I was struck by how 30 seconds


is the time it takes for a welt to rise

                                in the back of my mind, on the soft pink part,


after your mouth opens itself &

                                                 does something other than breathe.

From Faultline 











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