Archive for the ‘Poems’ Category


Posted: March 10, 2013 in Poems

I walked to the coast

Down an unpaved path through the woods

And kicked pebbles out of my flip-flops

While humming a song that stuck in my head

Which hadn’t unlodged itself since I left home.


At the beach, I dropped my bag beside the shade

And stood staring out at the flat water

To the nearby islands

And the serpentine coastline

And the innumerable pebble paths I imagined within


The sun freckled my shoulders

And I felt it burn my pale legs.


Soon I awoke,

Not realizing I had slept,

The only indications being the cowlicked hair,

Bright red knees,

And the rising smoke from the opposite shore.


I held my legs close, calf touching thigh,

And watched the thin gray line thicken at the bottom,

Rising until a wind at a certain altitude

Blew it aside into a raincloud of ash

Which, before long, walked over all my coastline paths.


Hours later, planes –Canadians– buzzed overhead

Carrying seawater to their destination until the cloud’s tail tapered away

And I packed up my things

And walked home under the shade

Kicking pebbles from my sandals

Humming that same song

Wondering if I had really woken up.


Posted: March 10, 2013 in Poems

As a young man I hid my spray cans and stencils

Inside a black canvas backpack under my bed

And sprinted between shadows

From tenements to train tracks

Corrupting and claiming walls

And I called the city mine.

I’d wake between the cracks of bricks and sidewalks

Stretch my skin across a concrete canvas

And preach in colors

Turning grey to gold

My portraits were promises

And the city was all mine.


I stood from building-tops and billboards

Painted prayers flowed along the alleys

And the stars were spotlights

Over derelicts and dumpsters

Turning with time

And the city died and rose again.

For Caroline

Posted: March 10, 2013 in Poems

“I don’t smoke,” she says

as she lifts back the bottle

and the golden liquor

burns and soothes.


And when she cries she smiles

And she doesn’t know why

Except that it feels like a note

Too low to sing.


Her laugh consumes

Angst for a time

Until the humor bleeds dry

And she closes her eyes again.


And so she burns burns

Burns, lying in an ashtray,

trying to sleep

Like the cigarette she’ll never smoke.

She Lost Her Words

Posted: March 10, 2013 in Poems

At the bottom of the purse

Beneath the compact and the cell phone

And with fingers fumbling and tongue tied

She watched helplessly as what she really wanted to say

Held itself hostage underneath the lipstick,

Cushioned by a half-used-up

Package of tissues.



Posted: March 10, 2013 in Poems

As I looked out the sliding French doors to my backyard

I smiled as the raindrops dove face-first into the bricks of the patio.

There was nothing else in the house,

So while preparing a ham and cheese sandwich with a Dr. Pepper and two chocolate chip cookies

I sent you a message about how I was sad that the world wasn’t crashing down around our ears.


I had wanted the wind to leave me unscathed,

Standing, staring at a throne of splinters

that was once but would no longer be mine.

I had wanted the rivers to rise and carry me away from what I knew

and we could go to a place where the trees were still rooted

and we could chop them down

and we could build our own home.


You know.

The kinds of things that happen in love poems.


After I told you what I had for lunch,

We came up with the ingenious plan

In which you would bake cookies

And I would eat them

Because you, apparently, bake delicious cookies.


It was a perfect plan, you said, half-serious.


And then I said what we both knew.

That the kinds of things that happen in love poems

Don’t happen.


“Ah, so what are we to do?” I remember you said.


And I told you our story:

I would go on sitting at home

Making sandwiches

And waiting for storms that never come.


And you would go on being a storm

Kicking over my tomato plant

Creaking my windows

Drowning leaves in my swimming pool.


Obliterating over other houses,

But never mine.

Unchained Sonnet

Posted: March 10, 2013 in Poems

Let me peel off your nose,

Pluck out your eyes,

And gnaw away at your chin

Until my white teeth click at your bone.


I want to strip away

The skin on your arms

And strum on the sinews underneath

As I hum the harmony stuck in my head.


I dream of breaking back your ribs,

Ripping out your heart,

And squeezing free the blood

From veins stretched out and inventoried over my bed.


And when I piece you back together I hope

You would want to do the same to me.