No. 9

August 15, 2014 § Leave a comment

Playing vagabonds, driving through
an Edward Hopper painting;
the sky is flat and young

and she tries not to be like your mother.


I am what holds you

August 13, 2014 § 1 Comment

I am the bright half-sister of routine:
quick keystrokes on the black and white of your life.
I am your PBR after five o’clock
I am your Friday night Netflix 
and the tee shirt you wear every Tuesday.
I am the half-cooked dinner
the unfolded laundry, the dishes
you didn’t want to wash.
I am Monday morning coffee
Tuesday night yoga
and Wednesday nights pretending adulthood
I am midnights and moments snuck away 
trying to repeat the lakeside where you met 
over cigarettes and disagreements.
But I am the stories you’ll tell in thirty years
I am the popcorn smell in the old green pillows
the old ticket from a movie you saw with her.
I am your threadbare baseball cap
I am the long drive you took, wearing it.
When you look back at the strata
of your memories, at layers of red rock
building cliffs of years and decisions and places you went,
I am among the fossils in the layers
among the pieces that don’t seem to belong
but hold it together anyway.
I am your mistakes, your successes, your rises, your falls
I am the battery that made you tick
and the glass of wine that made you talk.
I am what holds you.
I am what holds you.

your room was a jungle

August 5, 2014 § Leave a comment

The spare room was cream over oatmeal.
A haven by morning, streaming
cold and dank by nightfall:
jungles on the walls, red-eyed.

Against the foghorn down the hall
the spare room rustles and breathes in
her native body, running
blocking up a pair of ears
twenty-seven years rendered
sensitive to a past
unnoticed until its cycling.

Chemicals, wild, keep her up
keep her up, alone
keep her alone:
rustling in a room
cold oatmeal and fog
in a five-year old’s jungle.


August 3, 2014 § Leave a comment

I speak softer for goodbyes so you’ll know honeyed reluctance – sweeter
in the spoken of it – dripping slow with the tick of Venita. She breathes like a clock

and goodbye sticks with her rise and fall
reminding, that –

in the billowing of the walls after midnight when flowered paper
becomes a visage of a dark child’s slumber
wound up in poison and thorns and dark fairy tales: if they could ooze somewhere
they would ooze like molasses from the china walls

reminding that

– you are not here. I think the walls
to let you in.

So I speak softer – fresh honey –
and the dull
exits with Venita, waking.

No. 6

August 2, 2014 § Leave a comment

June bugs pirouetting
in the center of the table.

We look at each other
through beer goggles
and see reflections:
what we wanted to be.

The June bugs pirouette on the table.
I always wanted to be a dancer.

Attempts at fiction

March 28, 2014 § Leave a comment

In the wake of eight grad school rejections, I feel like a toppled water-skier, floating dizzily in the foamy trail of the boat with a bad case of vertigo. An understatement, I think, to say those rejections rocked me. But post-dog-paddling to shore (and wearing out metaphors, as is my trademark), I’m feeling more free than I did with the concept of graduate teaching and days on days of assigned poetry hanging over my head. I figure grad school may not be the right direction at the age of not-even 21. I’m too rebellious and anti-institution. (That was a joke. Laugh please.)

Positivity is the way to go, then. A friend told me it’s only for optimists and children, to which I added “Chris Traeger.” Bless him. If I could have a spirit animal . . . let’s be real, he’d be useless . . . but I would certainly want Chris Traeger. Like having a dog that talks.

In any case, this has been stewing on my desktop for a couple of months and I’m not sure if I love it or hate it. I might want to burn it, but it’s an achievement, so I also want to frame it. The only reasonable way to go is publish it on the internet for everyone to see! Narcissism. Fiction hasn’t really been my strongest point. Short stories have typically fallen woefully flat. This one, however, feels like a beginning. So here’s Yellow and the Oak, a tribute to not going to graduate school and trying to write fiction instead. Click the link to see a full pdf. Click the comment feature if you have useful things to say, including “You’re the worst” and “You should never write anything ever again” or “You should stop using self-deprecation to be funny because that’s old hat.” Particularly the last one.

Okay, bye.




Red Dirt

October 27, 2013 § 1 Comment

“I have ink but no pen.”

Anne Sexton

The narcotic tingle of possibility, running up and down her body, skiing around vertebra moguls. She feels words kicking. Her fingers tremble, but reaching, falter in the empty, finding no pen. So the white page lies blank and passive before her.

Hands scramble madly across her desk, flipping papers and textbooks and other voices into the air as she searches. Panic is a corset. Words rise and prick against her hot skin.

Breathless she craves the pen. The explosion of ink across the page, spreading thickly over the once-white surface. Corrupting and polluting, but creating. Planting something growing in the warm darkness.

She breathes for the swell of the pen in her hand, the pulse of words that come. Something bewitching rising from the stains. Trapped by the pen, by her need for it, she’s at the mercy of its coming and going, not her own.

Frantically scrambling. She rips sheets from the bed. Frames from the wall. Drawers upended on the floor and in the mess, she finds nothing.

The door crashes from its hinges as she plows through the doorway, falling to her knees in the dirt, the words roiling inside her, voracious for release.

Her fingers caress the wet red dirt around her knees. She trembles, glancing down. Gasping, suddenly. Words. Words coming through the dark red and she realizes. No pen. She writes in the dirt with her finger.