because while some truths lend themselves to equations, others are best described in verse

workshop writing

If poems were fortune cookies

You’ll be better off, they’d say: a room of your own in bed,
even listening for the phone, crumbling cheetohs alone in bed.

Stickily I finger—no one’s home– the remote again,
mirror’s hard lessons lessened by what’s overthrown in bed.

Each season leaves dimpled bruises like Daphne’s flesh,
more pillows mounded like silicone in bed.

The morning sky blushes remembering
all the lands we discovered, places we’d flown in bed.

Tattooed arm slung snoring over rounded hip—
look how softly we’ve grown in bed.

Hands held across shattered glass table,
night’s fight shoved under by what’s still sown in bed.

To hell with what we were taught about hospital corners,
restless feet lash in misery—covers blown in bed.

Open-windowed sirens go wailing unheeded;
day’s guilt a deadweight sunk like stone in bed.

When you close your eyes, doctor,
what sins do you atone in bed?

(When you close your eyes, doctor,
what sins do you condone in bed?)


Normal rhythms

If you listen, you can feel
the fat whoosh pounding
beneath fingertips, the ready warmth
of rush-of-red head-
ward from heart: not
ruby-red or glitter-red
like Dorothy’s slippers
but still magic, the way
the machine putters on,
isn’t it? How I can put pen
to paper or make love
with my thumbs by typing
less than 3 or wink or walk
away

while under it all
I am filled
with the smell of rust, bloodstink,
someone said, like old traintracks
sunk in summer mud,
persistent as hell, as sin; copper-
tinged bleeps on a blank screen :
alphabet soup : pee-kew-ar-ess, an iron-
y bulge-thump of muscle: lub-
dup like the one-legged steps
of my father’s crutches, how
it has nothing to do with love,
after all, and everything, lub-dup,
lub-dup, lub-dup unremarkable
until it is not.


after Charlie B.

Be. Drunk. Break through the chatter like a wrecking ball through brick. End in silence like stone ruins of a monastery. But fill in the space between with something beautiful, something with long drunk legs and glittery drunk eyeshadow, something with pillow-tossed hair and a bottle in her purse. Something with something to say.

Be drunk, he said, and across the ocean they were dying by the thousands, and how hard it was to break through the chatter of shrapnel, the whirring omnipotent smack of hate. Thirsty to believe in something, they died. In fields and field hospitals and camp beds, died drunk on belief in some Cause while their brothers slump-marched home, hungover.

Still, he seems to say, still, be drunk. Because drunk is home. Because drunk is the exotic furtherest edge of guessing. Because drunk is you asleep in my bed on a Saturday night, turning to clutch me close as you snore somewhere far away, the music always too loud, the pen never far from the page.