i keep forgetting love doesn’t grow on trees

i’ve been wondering how
to ask you if you love me 
as we drift from kiss to kiss
with a dark recklessness
i keep examining your hands
when we touch with the lights off
memorizing the ridges of your fingertips 
and the scars on your palms
from the history of your life without me
while I wait for you to take mine,
and ask me to walk with you
but i forget you’re not
an arborist or a partner,
you’re just another person 
who doesn’t love me 


Day 8 of NaPoWriMo

Prompt: Use a line or two, or a phrase or even a word that stands out to you from a twitter poetry bot as the seed for your own poem.

I borrowed several lines and phrases from @ruefle_exe, which posts autogenerated text from Mary Ruefle’s poems.

i fell in love with a birder who did not love me

you told me you were a bird watcher, 
a wanderer in the woods with an eye for


wings fluttering among 
the branches and phone lines


i wonder if you would notice me 
if i became a bird


if i grew a beak and glorious plumage, 
feathers cascading down my bare body 


would you finally see me then, 


catch my eyes still barely human
squinting at you 

from the leaves 
high above your head? 


Day 6 of NaPoWriMo! Today’s prompt: Today’s (optional) prompt is ekphrastic in nature – but rather particular! Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem from the point of view of one person/animal/thing from Hieronymous Bosch’s famous (and famously bizarre) triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights

I didn’t quite do an ekphrastic, but I suppose it could be considered one. I pulled from this portion of the image specifically:

introducing you to my history of domestic violence

our bodies vibrating and intimate, 
you curl around me, whispering 
of liberating me from these trials
these constant time travels 
back to those years of discomfort, 
raised fists, screaming sounds, ruined
and roughened skin and memories, 
your arms around me, protect me 
from that monster,
that sight that arises behind my eyelids 
at any loud noise, constantly forcing 
me to monitor everything, 
from the crunch of gravel under my feet 
to where i sit when i eat,
you hold me to keep me from evaporating, 
separating my own body into 
disconcerted pieces afraid 
of discovery, afraid of 
future, afraid of infinite 
intimacy  


Day 3 of NaPoWriMo!

Prompt: First, make a list of ten words. You can generate this list however you’d like – pull a book  off the shelf and find ten words you like, name ten things you can see from where you’re sitting, etc. Now, for each word, use Rhymezone to identify two to four similar-sounding or rhyming words. For example, if my word is “salt,” my similar words might be “belt,” “silt,” “sailed,” and “sell-out.”

Once you’ve assembled your complete list, work on writing a poem using your new “word bank.” You don’t have to use every word, of course, but try to play as much with sound as possible, repeating  sounds and echoing back to others using your rhyming and similar words.

My word bank: I asked Daniel to pick 10 numbers under 200 and then I picked random words from the corresponding page numbers closest book – Hyperbole and a Half.

pg. 187 – infinite  = infant, intimate, infamy 
pg. 4 – future = fewer, feature, fuel, few 
pg. 79 – vibrating = evaporating, liberating, operating, separating 
pg. 42 – ruined  = roughened, ruin, rend 
pg. 182 – discomfort = disconcert, discovered, descant, discount 
pg. 11 – cancel = council, castle, conceal 
pg. 22 – sit = set, site, sight, soot 
pg. 44 – monster = minister, master, monitor, mentor 
pg. 7 – time travel = trial, gravel, trifle, tree hill 

Golden Boy Coffee Co.

when you turn left on N. Elm St. from 380,
there’s a coffee shop shoved
on to the end of a strip mall on your right

where the parking lot’s been covered
by a green tarp like fake grass and picnic benches
for lounging during summertime margarita sales

a tiny place, crowded and cluttered
with bright yellow couches
and grad students with computers

where it smells like home,
like espresso brewing, like
cookies baking in the oven

where the barista will pour you
another drip coffee that
coats your tongue,

lulling you into forgetting
that time exists
before you even order


Day 2 of National Poetry Writing Month: write a poem about a specific place —  a particular house or store or school or office. Try to incorporate concrete details, like street names, distances (“three and a half blocks from the post office”), the types of trees or flowers, the color of the shirts on the people you remember there. 

So, of course I had to write about my all time favorite coffee shop. Please consider donating to their Go Fund Me during these difficult times.

when your nerve pain flares up, try one of these:

the white pain cream in the pink tupperware container on the second shelf in the upstairs bathroom, the CBD oil an ex bought on the shelf below, the apple cider vinegar for shots like that college roommate recommended on the middle shelf of pantry that’s a little too tall, the epsom salts, lavender scented, under the upstairs sink, the prescription pain killers stolen from a different ex downstairs, the heating pad under the couch, hopefully unplugged, the half empty bottle of red wine on top of the fridge, the chocolate from the gas station still open on the kitchen counter, the six pack of beer in the fridge behind the empty take out containers, the unfilled refill prescriptions for medicines that didn’t work, the vials of essential oils an old friend mailed in the downstairs medicine cabinet, the advertisement for the essential oils that that friend is selling on the desk upstairs, the ibuprofen pills lingering in the bottom of the backpack amongst textbooks and pencils, the number for that doctor a friend recommended on the fridge door hung with a magnet, the number for another doctor another friend recommended stashed under the junk mail in the tv stand’s middle drawer, the number for a different doctor a different friend recommended in the pocket of the laptop bag on the couch, the number of yet another doctor a stranger in the grocery store  recommended on the nightstand, the insurance card that doesn’t cover any of those doctors in the wallet on the kitchen table, another bottle of Tylenol on the dresser next to the mirror and collection of necklaces that never get put away, the half empty bottle of white wine next to the dishes that never get put away, the recommendation of a home remedy from a friend in the text messages on the cellphone resting on the bathroom counter, the recommendation of a different home remedy from a well meaning stranger in the inbox on the computer, the other numbing lotion on the back of the toilet next to the candle that’s supposed to smell like pine trees and make you forget all of this 


Day 1 of NaPoWriMo: Write a self-portrait poem in which you make a specific action a metaphor for your life – one that typically isn’t done all that often, or only in specific circumstances.

My metaphor was I suppose trying to soothe nerve pain and all the weird ways and things I’ve done or currently have and do.

sitting in your living room, i try to write you poetry

rc cola cans only half full
your father’s urn, engraved and polished
photographs and paintings of trees 
a blue and yellow tapestry

i sit between these things,
run my fingers across your worn couch cushions,
tracing their golden filigree

and i listen to the banjo from the other room,
waiting for the voice to accompany 

flannel jackets hanging on a dolly,
a dusty record player,
chapstick and mint tic tacs,
ball caps with buttons

i try to type another line of another poem, 
only to hear your guitar
a melody i don’t know

eye drops and essential oils,
empty egg cartons,
a forlorn jar of peanut butter,
and a heart shaped ash tray

i pause and let the strumming
seep through my skin 
fill the spaces in my body
i’d forgotten existed


National Poetry Writing Month Day 3

Prompt: “write something that involves a story or action that unfolds over an appreciable length of time. Perhaps, as you do, you can focus on imagery, or sound, or emotional content (or all three!)”

I watched ants consume a cricket on the floor of my apartment

they detached the back leg
from its joint,
pulling it out with
a pop.
they crawl away,
tugging at it as they go,
dragging the desecrated limb
from its corpse,
from its home.
they cheered,
antenna bobbing,
as they tore muscles
into smaller
and smaller chunks
until they each carried a piece
covered with saliva and bile
between their mandibles
to their queen

NaPoWriMo / GloPoWriMo Day 30

The 1950’s lesbian pulp fiction bookcase at Recycled Books, Records, & CDs

each shelf filled with tales
of women lazily touching
each other’s thighs and forearms
with soft wandering fingers
in motel rooms and army barracks,
kisses hidden in shadowed moments,
hands held under the covers where
no one could see,
side glances in public spaces,
gentle hands cupping breasts late at night
with slow and gentle movements,
climaxes filled with women
screaming women’s names
and institutionalizations and suicides
because they used to say
no woman could be both
homosexual and happy

 

Day 7 of Na/GloPoWriMo

Once the government said you couldn’t publish gay porn because it would make readers gay. Maybe I read too much lesbian fanfiction growing up and that’s why I ended up gay. Or it could just be I was born this way, you know. I’ve been spending way too much money at this bookstore, buying as many books from this pulp fiction section as possible. Just to save them and to remember how things once were and how far we’ve come.

I’m not sure if I’m done with this poem. The end doesn’t feel quite there. Perhaps I need to add myself into the poem, an interaction with the books. But I also feel like it doesn’t need me in it. Hmmm. Thoughts for another day. Just glad I’m getting this up even if I’m not satisfied with it. Yay for posting drafts!

Monday Afternoons

I sip my beer –
singing to the radio,
my neighbor slams cabinets closed
as he puts away his dishes-
my picture frames rattle against the wall –
upstairs, she’s teaching herself guitar again,
taunt strings screeching two chords over and over –
the cat paws at the window, his claws
dragging down the glass –
someone screams on the TV –
across the courtyard, a woman hanging up
damp towels on the railing shouts at her son in Mandarin
as he jumps on the stairs –
the car alarm in the parking lot begins again –
my phone buzzes with another notification –
I sip my beer again.

Day 10 of Na/GloPoWrimo

Prompt: Today, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem of simultaneity – in which multiple things are happening at once.

Little behind in my posting cause I’ve been handwriting things and just haven’t made it to a computer to type them up yet.