Perhaps That’s Been the Story of Life

just as I will miss the full spectrum of sunset shades
when the leaves return to the trees,
which I can see now only so far and bright
laying a creamsicle calm over the city
because the branches bare
because the winter persists
just as I will try,
on summer evenings to find a better view
at a head tilt or upon a stool
until autumn wind clears sight lines once again
the fever runs its course on my body.
and I sweat and swear and struggle
not to check the news over and over
I wonder if the squirrels curse the branches
for getting thick with sap and overcrowding
their hand woven nests with complete disregard
I wonder if they struggle with the same upset
knowing bushy tailed or disheveled
they can’t change a thing



A commissioned piece for K.C.

Almonds and hemp milk swirl between my hands.
A single serving storm reaching a calm before the wakeup kiss
and the smile, and the coy banter such coquettish moments
are made up of. I carry the mug as if another body to be loved,
as if still holding on to the night while you make breakfast
somewhere past noon. Somewhere past callous departures
but not yet walking in hand. Clandestine on whose account
is hard to say but makes no less of the bliss in closeness,
from one heartbeat to another vibrating between skin on skin
and in every sigh yours or mine, in this space I am present,
I enjoy you. Thank you, for welcoming me in.

I In Lieu

Sometimes I clench my jaw at night
grind my teeth
unconscious to the swimmers and poachers, the entitled or deeply mislead
let my body take the fall


Sometimes the frogs don’t sing at night
police sirens wail
bodies hit pavement the way chicken breasts smack cutting boards
season with pepper to taste


Sometimes I wander the streets at night
hug street lamps
they cut down 49 trees outside my office this spring, all healthy
window watch with impuissant unease


Survivor Guilt

You’re going to die, and it keeps me up at night.
Your eulogy is a poem I don’t want to write.
I don’t sleep, waiting for the phone call that you’ve been found
with a landscape of poppy flowers blooming down the side of your pillowcase.
I don’t sleep, thinking of those who wear the mask of friendship
for a discount on bags of pot that ultimately fund your habit.
I stay up reciting the poem I wrote Juliette two years ago
when she died of the overdose you swore changed your approach
to selling drugs.
It’s the only thing you ever loved more than yourself.
From nobody to king pin on campus selling cannabis gave you a status
a name, you went from quiet kid
to molly kid
to hey got any more of that fire kid
you love every second of it. No longer a kid.
No longer the nintendo playing friend who’d swing with me for hours at the park,
became the phone never silent —gotta make a run —be right back
pay no attention to that it’s just pot.
It’s just addreall traded for pot,
just xanax someone didn’t want
just doing business what more do I want
just respect this is your job
That old commercial, that said pot was the gateway to addiction
fell short for the average user, the low risk abusers, not you no
pot is the gateway for greedy dealers who can’t keep their fingers
out of their own cookie jar.
After all, cocaine was just tonight and
if you just balance out the downers with uppers
because your body no longer could recover on it’s own,
you lost control.
You took a bottle of Jäger to wash the off label remedy down
and pushed me across the room.
I left you.
Now with every innocent bag of weed
they buy you another spoon another hit
and drive a shovel another inch
deeper into your grave.
And there’s nothing I can do but christ,
the sound of earth crunching keeps me awake.
Every night.