for a year

we sit on the sofa her mother gave her
and smoke until one of us laughs into the bong,
sends water and weed across the faux leather.

i want to say you look like someone i kissed
everyday for a year everyday
with an unbrushed tongue.

instead i do not kiss her, instead i keep
the whole couch between us, sitting
with my legs parted at the knees.




his parents want to know what about me
they should tell their friends. i am not sure how
the details will be translated. i write poetry into
our son’s girlfriend doesn’t know what she
wants to do with her life yet. 

i spend thanksgiving morning with my head
resting on the oven’s top rack, hands cooked
blistering. skin parting from muscle like
baked sweet potatoes: easier to peel.
his dad tells me i’ve been incredibly helpful.

when we sit down for the early evening meal
grandmother asks me what kind of poetry i write.
i tell her i like poems about sex: how it’s never
really all soft or all hard, how her grandson
rubs his thumbs over me like polishing a stone but
would rather rip a bra than learn to unhook it.
she nods, dabs twice at the tight corners of her mouth.


I am trying to write poems that are different – that are not in the same style that most of my work is in. I’m trying to write new. It’s hard. One of the ways that I’ve been trying to do this is by revisiting old poems that were either too short to be a real poem, or only had one or two good parts in them, and re-imagining them. here’s one such poem.

Continue reading

reorganization poem

I went through a bunch of old poems and picked out some lines/images that I like and reorganized them into a new poem. Ta-da.

it is too hot to sleep or fuck.
we have run out of wine-words.
flip our bodies and toss ourselves
across the futon, a fever fit –
our brains and ankles swell
and soften like rice.

i tell him to pull my hair:
want a fist full of me yanked
down my back like a zipper.
want mandolin strings wound
around my arms, termite lines
in the skin of my wrists.
want my ears covered
with his open mouth.

he is like this sometimes:
a fruit fly drowning in peach juice,
a bread-stuffed sparrow too fat to fly.

he rolls each nipple
between his fingers like
corn kernels. luckily
they do not stick in his teeth
the same way.

in sickness and in health

an ex lover lays dying maybe in a hospital i’ve never
been to while we fuck in the morning for only the second time
ever. it starts because i try to pull the blanket
but grab him instead. an honest mistake.

the infection is maybe killing her maybe she won’t ever
be awake again maybe i think this while he peels me open
with his tongue, gnaws at the softness beneath
my chin, the trachea centimeters from his teeth.

he feels heavy above me, waterlogged. together we soak
the pillowcases. six states away she grows so small
that maybe one day the nurse forgets to check the bed for a body,
bundles her out with the dirty sheets.


what do you say when an ex lover dies.

calling her an ex lover might be generous, because ex lover implies that i ever loved her, but neither of us knows if i did. trying to remember every moment with her in it. i think of almost sex in a hotel stairwell but hesitant to hold hands in sunlight, of her grinning inside every taco bell in our little city, of fish and latin and mountain dew and how much she loves graveyards.

how the first time we were naked, i mean really naked, we were parked off the path of the fountain city cemetery. neither of us knew how to love another girl. our bodies were complicated things we didn’t understand ourselves. we stayed inside each other until our legs grew stiff. left love marks like dogs pissing on their favorite tree. after, we sat with our backs against the curved stones and made circles in the dirt with our fingers. i imagined we were practicing for next time.

how it is easier to remember her in pieces – the frames through a needle eye. first: her nipples between thumb and forefinger, a pinch of salt; the only fat on her body beneath the skin of her cheeks, the corners of her smile melting like warm butter. then: her stomach dotted with tiny holes, bloody freckles as doorways for insulin; knees smeared with carpet burn.

how i wore a button down and learned to knot a tie, and she mentioned she prefers me in t-shirts. the next day, she kissed me against the English wing lockers for the first time. she smells like brown bag bananas left overnight. nobody stops to look, but everybody walks on the other side of the hallway. gym teacher shaped like a bowling ball sees us. wordlessly passes a boy and girl gagging on each others tongues. walks up to us. “Too much PDA,” he says. “no one wants to see that. go to class.” we have a hard time talking that night. i want to tell her that i want to see it, her. no wonder we have a hard time unwrapping the packages we come in.

how the last time we were together in a cemetery, the back of her hand outlined itself on my cheek. One ripped nail left a series of blood spots like stippling. she split in two in front of me: one licks the cut clean, rubs me dry with her fingers. the other uses teeth instead of tongue, bites like a scared dog.

she told me once she knew she’d die before she was thirty, so she needed to eat as much taco bell, listen to as much blake shelton, and get her hands on as many pretty girls as she could. she winked. i don’t remember now what I said. or maybe i choose not to.