Potential Repetition

Did I ever share this one?
A possible title for some eventual project?
Here goes:
The Blunder Years, Or: How I Messed Up, Got Lucky, and Managed to Survive Continually in a Capitalist Deathtrap (a collection of poetry from the last few years of working hard for almost nothing)
Phew, that’s a mouthful.
Maybe the title will take up the whole front cover.
In big, bold letters.
I could put the parenthetical on the back.
Or I could leave it with the first part.
Complete. Whole.
I wrote this in the Notes app on my phone
sometime within the last year or two.
Still working hard.
Still for almost nothing.
Learning to ask
for more.


This Is My Stop

The people who rode
the bus with me in middle school,
they may know me
best of all.
At least, they’d probably ask
the most
interesting questions.
“What ever happened to that house
that looked like a barn?”
“Do you still hide between headphones?”
“Are you still quiet?”
Are you still,


The Dead, Redux, or, How I Ranted About the U.S. and Accidentally Repeated Joyce

I just read a Reddit comment
claiming that America gets the Halloween season right,
and my first thought was
“That’s ’cause we’re one giant ghost country,”
then I thought about how we’re haunted by
so many sins,
and this person went on to say
(I’m paraphrasing here)
that wearing a costume is liberating,
so I thought about
how we cover our problems,
and we hide our roots,
and we ignore all the violence
inside every suit,
and now I’m thinking
that calling us a ghost country
is accurate
and wrong at the same time,
’cause many ghosts haunt us,
but the people we’ve wronged
are still living here,
they’re struggling here,
and though I did not commit many of America’s sins
I benefit from the repercussions of systemic wrongdoing,
I receive a relatively cushy life
thanks to inherent
God, I wish I could be more
poetic about this,
but I can only state it plainly,
that America’s problem, mainly,
is that it’s tearing itself to pieces all the time,
and the people who could do things better
never get positive attention, or power,
and half the country glowers
at any suggestion that we could improve ourselves,
so we’re fascinated by ghosts
and we’re inundated by monsters
because they show us a truth that we’d rather deny,
and the masks let us hide
in the stories we tell,
we convince ourselves that we’re not stuck in this hell,
a gigantic grave,
and a cell,
a shell of the beautiful land it once was,
before all the settlers,
before all the colonies,
now just a siphon that’s sucking the money
from every poor worker
and every minority
and, well, most everyone, actually,
the people at the top
are sipping grape gravy
and chuckling at somebody’s racist tweet.
They know they’ve shackled our feet,
and we can’t get anywhere
unless we agree to work for them,
then they drag us,
while syringes and hoses
take every ounce of blood,
every dollar,
from us,
and I don’t know where this is going,
I just know
I’m real sad
that all we have is hospitality, and spooky shit,
Joyce said it all a century ago,
about Ireland,
and it applies to us now,
we’re a frail fucking cow
who’ll bend over backwards
to give up our milk.


A Lifetime Supply of Plaque

Y’all wanna talk about dental hygiene,
I finally remember to floss
after a few days
(maybe it was a week)
and blood fills my mouth,
and smears the skin around my lips.
There’s a crusty something
on my tongue,
and it sort of flakes off,
and I spit it out with the blood.
I rinse my mouth;
I smile;
I don’t look so bad after all that.
Time to brush,
and make a promise bound to break:
I’ll do this again tomorrow.


The Stillness of Remembering

Well do it then,
or don’t;
maybe stop and think,
or don’t;
keep it up –
can you?
What makes you think this is even
what compels you to

It was at that moment I decided to listen
to Fleetwood Mac again,
to sink into songs that most people know,
to blast Rhiannon into my ears
then sing a soft rendition of Dreams,
in my room,
and imagine heading to a karaoke bar
for the first time in years,
to put some of my soul
into words
and let people hear them,
and when I remember that the pandemic
puts a stop to all that,
I think
maybe this is why people
buy personal karaoke machines,
you can buy those, right?

Some songs are great for everyone,
but they mean something special to me.
I won’t forget
the times that Dreams got me through the night,
and I kept my visions to myself,
and I walked outside
to love the moon.


Fishes and the Crab, or, A Song for Saxony

She walks in beauty, like, oh fuck,
I’ve just quoted Byron,
and he was not a nice man,
a damn good writer but not
mistreating women all over,
and now
he’s overtaking this poem,
and I didn’t want that to happen,
but for real, she

She makes me want to treat everyone better.
To wrap us all in gentle warmth, like a sweater.

I want to slither into her heart and
let my love course through her body,
not like a poison,
but a panacea,
she makes me wish I was
a miracle snake,
with fangs dripping honey
and nectar and
sweet words
to heal her, and everyone,
I want to shed my skin in her presence
and watch it keep unfolding
until it covers everybody, every body,
every pulsing throbbing beauty of a person on this planet,
I want to enmesh humanity
and caress them with my disguise,
until I’m naked and I feel with my eyes,
I drink in all the people
and I smile a little
and the world is okay,
at least for a night,
my bite

My bite is addictive, narcotic, erotic,
my erratic fears and worries
leave with my skin,
and my teeth
are now the only blankets I need,
I wrap her in them,
I touch her entirety
with nibbles,
I shed bitterness and hold sweetness,
to pass it through her skin
with the dental work of yesteryear,
my bite was corrected long ago
and now I’m erected for her, so
I think of what my teeth can do,
and run it through
my mind toward
a snake that’s undulating from my pelvis,
and I feel this,
I feel every shake and tremor of desire
like a fire,
I am a kernel of corn
and she is popping me into being.

I want to pop, and not stop,
I want to become bubble wrapped infinitude,
so she can touch me
again and again,
and I gasp every time,
and when it’s over
we reach for each other
and I remember
there is more

There is more than this room,
there’s a world out there
waiting for my arms,
and I arm myself with words and hugs,
because I remember that I care,
she reminds me that I care
about the planet
and the people on it.
There’s probably a sonnet or two
that describes my feelings better than I have,
but I’m doing my best
to transfer heat from my chest
to this page
for this age,
my brand new age
of flowing emotion,
and this motion,
I never want it to stop,
it’s outward and inward all at once
and I’m sending thoughts like letters
to her mailbox,
and I want to send other things
that I find within myself,
she spots my feelings on my shelf
and she asks

Where did this come from?

and I don’t


The Sunshine State Isn’t Everything

I’ll say one thing about Florida:
water pressure.
Let me say another thing:
palm trees, greenery,
sopping wet scenery,
beaches everywhere
where people are too beautiful,
disregard for human health,
stupid wealth,
the funniest billboards I’ve ever seen,
river queen, bugs aplenty,
whole cakes in diners,
expanding Shriners,
cemeteries groping for the living and the dead,
red hats on heads,
let me leave,
can I stay,
is this grief,
my family,
everybody spreading ’round the country like a –
don’t say that –
but it’s true,
if I want to hold everything that’s dear to me,
I’d need to be
a supersonic bird,
or the soil,
or a world.