Featured Poems

Loneliness

She said it must be lonely
the core of the night
Hours meant for chirping insects
and buzzing addicts
Hours meant for dreams that reveal us
to ourselves
it must be lonely

No

Loneliness is being the thing that doesn’t belong

Loneliness is being a poet in a world that has no time
for poetry

Loneliness is cutting your shoulder because there is no scream
louder than blood

Loneliness is getting kicked out of the woman’s restroom
because of your square jaw and broad shoulders

Loneliness is trying to make eye contact
when your family’s heads are bowed in prayer

Loneliness is concealing your drug use from those you love most
because they love you most

I am mostly lonely surrounded by faces
I am mostly relaxed surrounded by stars
the core of the night
Hours spent in reflection that reveal me
to myself

winner, Rock the Chair Contest, October 11, 2015, Yellow Chair Review

Evolution

When you sway an opinion
you tilt humanity
wind and water teach us
that irreversible progress
can be achieved
realized
through whispers
by trickles
tornadoes and floods will dissipate
or recede
but a stream of persistence
that flows
without diversion
will wear down the rock
the rigor mortis mentality
of those
most in need
of progressive persuasion

first appeared in The Voices Project 2016

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first appeared in River Poets Journal National Poetry Month 2015 Pocket Poems

Roll Tape

PLAY
in this game, the bottle spins me
until I’m kissing lust delivered
the omnivore addict- leaving no stone untried
I am a pharmacist
I am a bartender
and then I am myself
as untouchable as the horizon
watch me rise

REWIND
fourteen calendars stacked like kindling
doused in cough syrup and morphine
lit by my first joint
all pills had halos, synthetic angels of mercy
forsaking balance to trip and roll
blind to the omen of my first overdose
the future was a fairytale I did not believe
I watched myself stumble without concern

PAUSE
All wishes are comprised of regret and hope
I need two clumsy stars
I regret biting the shiny lure of temptation
now I’m hooked
I hope I can learn to breathe on dry land
then I’m free
watch me struggle

FAST FORWARD
I will be pissed at the clumsy stars
I will be filling and emptying prescriptions
my tolerance will be higher, my self-control lower
I will be angry and turn to the bottle
then I will be sad and turn to the bottle
I will never be what I could have been
watch me watch you with envy

STOP
watch me die.

first appeared in Poems-For-All 2016

Verdict

A death row demonstration
passion and picket signs
colliding and clashing
I want to remind them
everyone is a murder away
from switching sides

first appeared in East Jasmine Review 2016

Carved in Braille

I’ve got a nest of scars on my upper left arm
that I cannot fly away from
an indelible reminder across my wrist
that won’t let me forget how close I came,
or how far I’ve come
not all my tattoos were written in ink
but they each tell a story–they each tell the truth
gently read my scars like braille
and understand
my flesh is just a canvas for my emotions
a self-inflicted surgery that may seem elective
but I bleed to survive

first appeared in The Literary Nest 2016

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first appeared in Clutching at Straws 2013

On Drunk Dialing an Ex

The scar never weeps for the wound
never splits itself with longing
for past pain
In matters of the heart,
trust the body that surrounds it.

First appeared in Rat’s Ass Review Love & Ensuing Madness 2016

This Is/Isn’t a Love Poem

I’ve wall-papered my skull with images
of you
laminated every memory
and tuned my ears
to the pitch of your voice
but this is not a love poem
you would not allow such a thing
I barely exist
in your world of bright lights
and shadows that never sleep
I hardly rest, either
outlasting even the star I gave you
from some Hell to our Heaven
I’ve outlasted you too, apparently
because I do not love you again
I love you still
burning like our star
falling like the others
so fuck you
this is a love poem
even though we barely exist

First appeared in Rat’s Ass Review Love & Ensuing Madness 2016

Open Water

An aquarium frightens me more than the ocean.

Give my fins freedom, not a fence built of glass.

I would rather be at the bottom
of the food chain, than queen of my
own plastic castle.

Give me rows of entitled teeth.
Give my death a purpose.

Do not make my final swim
a quick ride
through the canals of a toilet.

first appeared in pacificREVIEW 2015

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first appeared in The Lake 2014

Onus

Poets owe the world a forest
quite literally taking your breath away
they owe you themselves
explicated
skinned to the bone
they owe every reader
every nightmare conceived under the stars
finally birthed
into a cascade of revealing light
they owe monsters
an ounce of humanity
and winged angels
a dose of prescription-strength sin
they owe libido
to those spayed by social expectations
and vocal chords
to those muted by the same surgeon
all poets owe this planet a mirror
and a hammer
to smash it with.

first appeared in Writing Raw 2015

When you leave, how will you stay?
think beyond the potting soil
of a womb
past the extension of your own
wilting biology—there is work to be done
I do not fear the lightning
but the lack of thunder
terrified of a life that vanishes
like a breath in the wind

first appeared in East Jasmine Review 2016

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