all those totems of light, she said

spiking along the lake

of the highway

reminded her of gravity

and how deficient we are


she said, each spike as it digs deeper

runs straight across the skin of the lake

until it ultimately dries up

in its own camouflage

made her dream of our isolation

and all those stars scattering

that darkness inside, spreading


she said, but not like the plummet of the eaglet

unnoticed from it’s regurgitated nest

the soft kleenex impact

when they bow your head with them

in that clean white room

with scratchy laminate chairs

and say, it was instant


but more like the long harsh racing pulse

that blares with tinnitus each inexorable beat

and crashes into perfect union

much the way a foxhole symphony cymbal

startles even the maddest hooah

when they say, it was just too much


and, she said, how we must devour

until the very last of the reflection

is only just an echo already decided

screaming from the tower’s rack

growing closer to home

with each turn of the wheels


and when we arrive, she says

walking through the door

all that remains

is the thin wooden frame

to help you through

and the gravity to pull you out


sundown (you can see right through)

poor postmodern catastrophe
limping those castrated scissors
through the mechanical hoot

the sound of shrieking steel
on the birth plate as she opens
the atomic Frigidaire before dusk

slippery against her glass slipper
twirling in the milk moon mother
she sweats out this warm Texas field, afire

late, resembling a handkerchief tornado
wintered plywood busting at her cotton seams, ready
for the carroty rack of that burgeoning sun

touching down, a thousand miles an hour, dizzy radio
derrick stilettos gushing out in the horizon
diamond dreams of plate glass main streets

still holding the infancy of moustache plastics in the fence
the slow swing of the tocking cat untamed
dances ‘round with the thin jukebox in her arms

opening, closing cupboard porcelains
and the raw teeth as they bristle across
the columelle of the vase clutching laminate wolf flowers

the television flickers in and out, howling,
but nothing bridges that comatose crossing
where her thoughts endure the ride unsaddled

soft vinyl melting into cigarette stylus
smoke bellowing oven mitts kissed strawberry
and charcoal pork loin hang on by threads, that fastidious static skip

crawling down the evening counter and, by now,
in the blood orange mastiff of what surely crops up
between the panes is merely a silhouette

the cowbells tinge out the last of the shadow
on the horizon, where, through the east pane
unfiltered, her twilight stretches free



the confetti doesn’t fall from the sky, and it surely never falls very far at all, not unless the wind sweeps up, but even then it doesn’t fall nearly far enough to be lost, but it does fall far enough for any old boy or girl celebrating another new year in the city, all those lights, all that spectacle, the pickup truck bed off highway three-ninety-five, all those loose leaves falling right onto the horizon and sticking like a january storm, falling like the lights on lovers’ bedrooms,  all that confetti whooshing around this town and country washing machine, and even though it is forced into falling, not much unlike yourself, it is not the falling that is important, it is something else, it is kind of like that day when you launched off the swing set in the third grade from what seemed like three stories up and you hung there right before takeoff, that last second, when it is too late for even the astronaut to call it off anymore, when you let go, when you flew for what seemed like the interminable ride to your grandmother’s house when you were five years young, before the walkman even fit over your budding skull, before the satellites that race above us now were even conceived, that long foreign drive that seemed like it took a carriage and six horses three days to cross the dry desert in old western fashion, because you didn’t know if that mirage would ever separate, because you didn’t know if there would ever be water again, and then all of a sudden, that blur of the world before you stammering into razor-sharp concussion, when pluto and neptune collide, when you felt the shatter of that delicate sand in your heels, rising up into your shins, your stomach pitting, and into the depths of your eyes, that explosion of sand, the excruciating, the sharp magnification that I am not invincible, as it pierces you and brings you to your knees, yearns to let out through the sodium of the lacrimal sac, the other children standing around laughing and pointing their fingers, all because those hands sunk so low toward the earth they might have scraped their knuckles against the gravel top, and dug up that propulsion of potential force against the very weight of our existence, that kinetic movement, only to be expelled in the only emotion that made any sense, at the hilarity of it all, the ridiculous contraption towering above your broken body, the infinitesimal grains supporting your affable weight, that which lifted you, that which will bring you down just as well, and it is always easier for the sun to set, but still it awakes with a subtle grin and if you listen hard enough you can hear the delicate sound of thunder erupting from their fiery chests, that their cactus is really no different, and when the thunder blares its sirens, we know that it never means to alarm children or cause a fright, but that this time, it happened to be you, it happened to be you falling, and that lightning is just a reaction, and not a genetic code can describe this, and a typewriter at the hands of mad primates will surely never know the sound of that heart beating at twice its rest, the racing thoughts and the indescribable emotions therein, that feeling as it races into you, picks at your very self, that you are the center of attention, the center of the entire fucking universe, albeit a poor display, a haphazard construction zone a lot like the los angeles freeway system, adapting to a future already passed, a champion, a failure, a nobel peace prize winner, a three-strike felon at the hands of a black hood, at the hands of potential triumph as it is washed into the storm drain quicker than a guttural sound, at the long-winded drum of the tibetan monk, at the hark of her voice, and you humor them, you humor them as the girl who watched the tragic display unfold from the swinging belt next door, clutching the steel chain harder than you because she could see every blemish of position, timing, lateral thrust, vertical trajectory, speed, the eighty-five degree angle of your knees leading up to the launch, your eyes as they winced, and your hands as they grew whiter around the edges of your pinky, and your knuckles, your knuckles as they flattened into the back of your hand on release, at the freedom, and she could do nothing but watch this whole strange occurrence, the girl in the pink dress who scraped her feet against the sand, dirtied up her hush puppies, and her mother will scold her indefinitely when she steps off the bus later that day, but a pair of shoes never return anything, because today is just like any other day, and after the scolding, she will line them up with all the other perfect shoes, because she knows the pain you feel and she grabs your arm for the first time, and you feel that undeniable sensation, the warm rust-covered finger, the steel palm press against your juvenile skin, and you know you will be okay, you know that this feeling will pass, and their fingers will soon be inside their noses again or maybe in their pockets, perhaps holding chalk or a number two, rolling pocket lint, and you know that the confetti is just a bunch of cut up human beings flying through space, and we all fall down, together, some faster than others, some twisting up in the air and hanging on into the wee morning, some seemingly banished so far away you can barely see them, some you may never see again at all, and some that fall just as they are supposed to, but the thing you know the most, and the thing that brings you comfort is that you know they are there and you know there was once a sheet they were all cut up from, and that this sheet came from a ream that came from a box from a paper company who was probably a middleman who bought twenty pallets of that paper from a large industrial supplier who bought the paper from a paper treatment facility who bought truckloads of trees that came from a logging company and one of those trees on one of those trucks was cut down by your best friend from college that you never spoke to again because he stole your girlfriend in your sophomore year and that girl, who was the girl in the pink dress, said goodbye to you and kissed you on the forehead when she walked out of your bedroom for the last time, and said she was sorry in the same voice she spoke in when she touched you for the first time when you were in the third grade, and they live in a city not too far away from you right now, and you heard they were unhappy, and that they are going through some rough times, and how childish is it that instead of picking up that phone and calling her, you sit in your room alone feeling resentment or the bile of the morning, reading some insane rant comparing telescopic emotions to microscopic event chasms that are really only a fabrication of the truth, and quite possibly a lie altogether, because everybody knows the two are completely different but somehow everything is still related, kind of like birds and bees, or men and women, and nobody knows the real reason why they fit together, why that heart in your chest is a botched perpetual motion machine, why it one day stops, but nobody can afford the time to compute the ratio of how many protons or nuclei there are to planets or suns, and how to function in all the asteroids and comets and meteors, and all the cosmic dust and maybe a dozen other dimensions that don’t respond to these sensations or words, but they are important, and we have a photograph, and that is all we need to remember, and so we compute batting averages and processing power on super computers and portable universes, and there is nothing wrong with that at all because at least we are doing something, even if we are only building up plaque or skyscrapers, and maybe an asteroid could be a lot like a batting average or the sears tower, maybe it is more like a vine of grapes or that perspective sixty miles per hour trying to catch the end of the row, and maybe it could kill your career in an instant, but think about how many of those leaves never amount to anything and just burn off with the paper, think about how many of those suns never get to have all those eyes that are open, all those eyes that are sleeping, all those eyes that are running all over the arc of the globe chasing even the smallest tic of a glimmer of hope and maybe that is all you are, and maybe that is all you are not, and all those eyes that are hardly ever caught staring off into the horizon, and all those ones that are, the ones that are anxiously awaiting the rising, not a lot unlike yourself, and not unlike how you think in the back of your mind, all those neurons firing around incomprehensible gray matter, and it doesn’t matter what it is, and it doesn’t matter what it really does, but what does matter is this: how that ride to your grandmother’s house didn’t take nearly long enough, and that there wouldn’t be another, no, there won’t be, and that is okay, and you will be okay with this, if not now, one day you will be, because you know your grandmother jumped when she had to, because your grandmother, too, stared at those pulsating grape vines, because you were a part of that photograph, you are a part of it even if you are indiscernible, even if the picture is gone altogether, because one day there won’t be any more swing sets anymore. because an overwhelming majority of the hospitals’ reports linked swing sets and hand injuries together, because of plastics and kickbacks and scale of economies, because of embargoes and wars and bread, and because you picked up the phone, because you weren’t afraid to let go, because you didn’t settle back into that perfection of a pendulum, safe, and without a trumpet to break or sound, because you blew it loud, because you sounded the baroque sound of humility, the laughable prediction that the world will still turn itself around without you, and all because of, all for the girl in the pink dress for whom you jumped, for whom you hoped to impress, for whom you failed, for whom you think you may have failed to impress, and who knows if would have never asked her, but unmistakably, for whom you risked everything, for just that split-second sensation of launching yourself into the unknown, and you could’ve ended up saying a million things, a million excuses, swept up all the confetti and hid it under a rug or lit a match, self-immolated, said fuck-it and walked away, and people read and write and say and do a lot of things, but nothing here is new, just a collection of old words and a bottle of whiskey, so it all must boil down into identifying with one of our past literary performances, because there are hundreds of thousands of metaphors and similes, and a million liturgies, and nearly seven billion smiles, but there is only one you, and you woke up yourself again, and you are the center of the universe, at least for now, but so am I, and so if she and so is he, so say to that shape in the mirror right now, say it like you mean it, like one of those choose your own adventure books, say “don’t try,” turn to page forty-one, you took a bunch of sleeping pills, and died, or say “everything was beautiful. nothing hurt,” turn the next page, and keep reading, the story isn’t over yet, fuck, say both, say neither, maybe this is a new chapter, or a new book on the shelf, fuck, maybe this is a new bookcase, axial coordinate, or spatial plane, write your own, just don’t decide later, because there is only right now, because later turns into unlikely very quickly, and the swing set is getting scarce, the motion too much to force, soon, all that confetti will just snow down and cover you right up, and you will disappear, and they will ask you, do you remember the earth, and you will, because there is hardly a thing in all known existence that is completely black or white, how many colors can you see, now, because the wind doesn’t stop blowing, no, not for you, because you are your own worst lawyer, but decide now, this one is black and white, and the million shades of gray are just your declining hair, so decide now, jump or perpetuate the pendulum, now, go ahead, read, write, say, do whatever it is you want, this is your story, now, go on and jump, I can’t promise we will catch you, but even if you fall, we will surely spread out our hands and twist and dance and scream around the soil with each other soon enough!



i want to be on you

scraping secretly across

as a bow, low on bone

long and jagged

like drunk teeth

on aluminum jaw



i want to be on you

in the south face

of surrender

rootless trader

on the silk road

of salvation

where the moon drips

below the violet ocean


i want to be on you

walking sheath

unscripted and saintly

bridged in every

boundless suspension

of the wreath


i want to be on you

creeping into crevice

and digging gently beyond

the surface

and then violent

overwhelmed against you

in the return

mad gnaw of sail

across crescent sun


i want to be on you

ripping grains against

foolish sheets of wind

panicked into perspective

where we are reminded

of our erosion


and when night

recalls my lips

bellows for my breath

i want to be in you

chiseled into submission

like the selfish sun

hiding in its happiness


with my open eyes

you cannot draw a straight line i know this because i have tried when i locked myself in my room with the metal stool propped beneath the doorknob at an angle drastic in the sun artificial even though i was alone in the apartment trying to draw a straight line pulled out the pad of paper from the steelcase drawer and began after four hundred eight lines i pulled out my microscope from the middle closet shelf and began to examine the straightest of my lines described on the page the shortest objective on the nosepiece thought it did oblige the middle objective was still of little use but after a final twist on the nosepiece  the largest objective granted results and i saw the problem the pencil line was too thick and bled too much and the line looked as jagged as the dirt my father raked on saturday mornings sometimes i helped gather the rocks and put them in my fossil box i bought with my allowance from the whiskey creek restaurant gift shop in bishop on our morning way home from a weeks fishing trip at convict lake and i immediately took the stool from beneath the door and walked outside into the sun and down the street seven blocks and when i reached the liquor store i asked the cashier where his thinnest pencil was but his answer was clumsy and i really did not want to take his only pencil so i scoured the store shelves to find no luck to myself and so i walked down to the grocery store three more blocks down the road and once inside i asked the bagging lady where her writing utensils were located and she pointed me to aisle four when i found nineteen different pencils but i realized i did not have my microscope to examine the fineness so i found the aisle where the grocery store houses the hand mirrors that my mother uses to apply makeup in the morning and in the car on the road to the restaurants at night and before my father comes home and held each pencil package up to the mirror but all appeared to be too thick and knew that none would suffice for depleting the jagged edge that haunts me still to this day and i began walking home despondently until i looked at the yellow button on my cowboy shirt it stood out because all the others were translucent and i remembered the needle and thread my mother gave me so i could sew a new button on because i wanted to do it myself when the old one fell off in an epic battle of cowboys and indians i was a cowboy obviously but i didnt win the battle this time because i was too hasty in my maneuvers and the indian took his spear to my liver and i slowly bled to death in the backyard next to the haystack and i really pretended to die like they do in the movies and when i closed my eyes i looked for heaven and the darkness slowly started to turn red because i was staring at the sun and then i took my hands to my eyes and pressed them hard against because i forgot i was dead and the inside of my eyes turned to bright blue again like the sky but when i turned my head where i knew the haystack was it was still blue so i knew my eyes were closed and i wasnt dead and when i opened my eyes everything was bright enough to be my birthday the first one when i was born that day when everything was bright and shiny and new and not the dull colors in my parents apartment because when i get older i will never paint the walls browns and borings i will paint them reds and blues like the colors of my eyes and i rushed home to affect the paper with the needle but after running the needle into the yellow paper with green lines perpendicular i inspected the line closely but found again the line was jagged just as before so i began stabbing the pencil into the paper out of frustration because i had run out of options to make a straight line but the stabbing gradually eased to very light and when i poked the needle in the paper ever so slightly a single dot formed that could barely be seen so i put the paper in the stage clips and investigated because that is what the scientists are doing when they look into space because they are actually looking at the pencil poke in the universe or looking for it where the male plug is in the female plug like the christmas lights that are not on in my bedroom because they are looking for a straight line too but they do not know that i have looked already and havent found anything but they can keep looking anyway if they want to because when you want to find something you will keep looking everywhere even though you know it is already gone or at least temporarily in hiding because now i am looking for the edge of the circle i drew because they said it hasnt been found yet but i think they are wrong about this one too because they must have stopped drawing straight lines because they have been looking for pencil points in the universe because i just drew a jagged line straight through both sides of the circle three hundred twenty seven times and the circle is practically all filled in with lead and even the outsides are full of lead too because i can see it with my open eyes


the ossuary

broken bone jaw

crushing can clap

her voice

ten thousand barking dogs

damned into the night

cherry jubilee

scratched skin across the wetting floor

red sail of the sun

stared blind and bid farewell


obscure is her ocean

cryptic under succession

her endless stars

carried down by horses

and deferred into the tide

my plank division

corroded tip of time

when blue returns to eyes


bleak board of particle dust

drop as if nature is being denied

her haunt

in the vibrations

on the doorstop

where her caustic flesh

is found and turning sail


return to me

in the void of the array

her captive tongue

rubbing sand for tomorrow

but from this marrow

digest our defiance


student of samsara

releasing waves from rock

the borderline

only dreaming of

what it is to take a side



            looking at his reflection,

            he vainly said to the face

            in the water, “I love you.”


Intermission, or Intersection

boom, the steel-beam cross

drop top hydraulic rock

peculiar prostrate part

drifting in the sea

of swimming metals

through synthetic ruin

jesus christ incarnate

to carry myself

to disallow you


Introduction, or Influence

daffodil decadence

dandy in design

the pool we sink in

summer suns

and soak in


to drink myself

to forget you


Internment, or Instrument

concrete calypso

bruised in cement

planted step rhythm

mistake in step

the blood among us

free from apparatus

to see myself

to take you


Intermission, or Intersection

splash, the hand in theft

of waters dark

dripping deep the void

our metal yoke bent within

our plastic machinations end

quick the days of light are plucked

for cross-eyed lovers

left, carried off in plight

to leave myself

to echo you


statistical thermodynamics

the air conditioned universe

this lemonade tree of mine

when they are poured

or sparked up

like a simple


they melt

for you

to live



logarithms can be so bleak

but the expedition is implicit

and the ending is surely irrelevant


the beekeeper

the girl with the bee tied around a string was a resident of mobius.

she walked to class carrying her books bound by a leather strap.

when the boy in class sitting next to her asked what the bee’s name was, she let the bee go and said “hah! now you will never know!”

the bee flew out the spring window and began reassigning the pollen.

after school, the boy followed the girl home, trailing her so she could not see.  when they neared her house, the boy ran past swiping at her books and yelled “hah! take that, bee keeper!”

the bundle of books fell to the earth and onto an exhibition of dandelions.  the bee was crushed and the girl was always right.


November 2020

yes okay

statistics are fun for everyone

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