My lover’s eyes…
they stained me.
Not like a pretty palette of colors
in some holy cathedral.
More like indecipherable
hieroglyphics splayed
across common sheet rock psyche.
Primal and never meant to last,
but somehow defied the odds.

Now my love is dirty
and full of holes
like grandma’s communal dish rag.
The same one that caught runny noses,
wiped away all tears,
fanned scraped, knobby knees,
and somehow still managed
every evening,
to dry her waterlogged hands
as she turned and said:
“Don’t you go making a mess
now that I’ve cleaned it all up again!”

My love feeds an army,
but is hungry like the kid
who was sent to his room
with no supper.
He’s been locked in there
for so, soo very long now,
that he’s forgotten
his very own existence.


Drunken iNote Manifesto

I believe in proximity infatuations serving as a healthy substitute to true love. I also believe this to be a fault and the single greatest source of sadness in my life. I believe in warm coffee cups in cold hands. I believe espresso art should be collected in a coffee table book. I believe there’s a pun there, but I’m far too drunk to explore its possibilities.

I believe in those tiny moments before a lighting storm where the hair on your arm stands on end, and you consider for a split second that there may be forces larger than yourself controlling anything resembling a destiny. I believe in dirty rain that seems to fall from another dimension, washing this town clean, and by extension, me.

I believe there is healing in the sight and sound of ocean waves breaking on an empty beach at four in the morning. I believe in sand castles and flip flops and fucking vanilla ice cream cones on hot summer afternoons.

I believe I’m meant for grander things. I also believe we lie to ourselves in order to justify certain actions or inaction, and I believe that’s okay so long as we never truly believe.

I believe there to be a Medusa-like power hidden deep within the cobalt of her eyes, and with every glance I steal it grows increasingly difficult to look away. I believe in the love I feel, and how I’m the king of missed opportunities, all of which are bottled and saved like tears for a Pensieve.

I believe in laughter so authentic it hurts, or snorts or squeals like a tiny circus mouse. I believe in the lost art of listening to someone when they speak, and remembering the little things that constitute the sum of a person. I believe in shoulders to cry on, lean on, and laugh on. I believe in performance art practicing simple, unadulterated, mystifying, heartbreaking kindness every. single. day. I believe the mysterious meaning of life does not lie in some destination on a horizon we may never meet, but in the getting there.

I believe in rum and pirates and buried treasure excavation quests. Sometimes I believe we bury the treasure within ourselves, and that’s a whole lot harder to dig up. But… I also believe Goonies never say die.

Teen Angst Poetry by a Thirty-Something Fatalist

Part One:

Those of us who’ve been through
traumatic or toxic relationships
have expertly learned
how to shut people out.

Some of us build walls around the heart,
emotional defense mechanisms
keeping people at arm’s length.

Me? I built a fucking castle.
Complete with hot tar traps
and archers in the ramparts.
And for a while,
I lived quite happily in there.

You and I fittingly met on a Friday,
the only day of the week with any
real possibility in its blood.

I was giving a speech
on the burden of expectation
when I finally looked your way.
The cobalt of your eyes sparkled
like a Confundus Charm,
removing my ability to speak.

I st-st-stuttered and you blushed.
It was there that I told myself,
in the middle of that introduction,
that I wouldn’t fall in love with you.

Then I heard your laughter,
and felt the warmth
that it brought to this cold boy smile,
and I knew it was a losing battle.

Part Two:

You’ve succeeded where many others often failed,
in demolishing ten years of Doomsday Vault Defenses,
laying siege to this old decrepit heart.

A prize of which you have no use for.

I’m not angry,
nor do I fault you,
people rarely love
what they can’t see.
It happens.

Never have two people
been so many worlds apart.
A fool’s hope, and a story
told ten years too late.

So, forgive me my assumption
that any one part of this was purposefully done.

Forgive me my shade;
in all its variety.

And please…
please forgive me my love,
of which I will continue
to give so freely from afar.

My Spirit Specter

There’s a ghost in me / a real life poltergeist filtering unspoken potluck truth / through rabbit eared white noise screams / I’m neither here nor there / insignificance found / this abundance lost / gray matter panic stricken / dark science Saint / Jude’s impossibly stolen flame / I’m far flung lonely / strewn from rummaged cupboards / I’m invisible medicine-cabinet-reflection / incandescent Prozac moonbeam incantations / e.g., they’ll find gasoline on Mars before we find life on Earth/ i.e., she hates you/ Petri dish pollination / self-harm fertilization / maybe that’s what regret boils down to be / the devil we don’t allow ourselves to see.


It always comes back to this.
The sky falling upward.
The ground beneath my feet
sinking away.

The face of a friend,
burning like a satellite upon reentry,
crashes through my peripheral.
Her coordinates perpendicular to my own,
separated by this line on our horizon,
this equator of meticulous doubt
and hope and love
and hate and sex
and greed
and life.

The nurse looks me in the eyes;
she wants to know why I did what it is I did.
As if my heart
lying here as broken as a femur
is no indication at all.

Just Keep Running

Day in. Day out.
Mundane and ritualistic.
Wake up. Shower.
Walk the dog. Coffee.
Press clothes.
Toast. Coffee to go.
Leave for work.
Left at end of street
through the S curves,
onward until our eyes meet.

I used to tell time
like any normal person.
Lately I’ve been using
your morning run.

If you’ve reached Gardenia
by the time we pass
then I’m running late.
But if you’ve yet
to make Valencia
I’m on schedule.

It’s a fleeting moment that we share.
A raindrop in an ocean of seconds
that comprise our infantile existence
in a universe so old… that time forgot.

What I mean to say is this:
my world stops when
your sad eyes find my own.
And I don’t know if you’re
running from demons,
toward salvation, or
just… running.

I’m not a gambling man,
but if I had to lay my money down,
I would bet on it being the former.
Because I’ve been on the run too
and I can spot that solemn look.
The one that measures the distance
between your desires and your reality.

If I could speak to you
inside our tiny moment,
I would say one thing only:

Because if you run
long and hard enough,
you will one day find yourself
crossing a finish line to find
you never truly ran anywhere at all.
You merely caught up
to who you’re meant to be.

To Be Honest

I have a friend who says I should be a motivational speaker. Someone who helps people find the right path among the weeds. She laughs when I tell her I lack the motivation, because honestly, it’s a riot to think that a nine to five working class hero dabbling in part time poetry could possibly lack motivation. I laugh with her because it’s easier letting her believe the joke than it is to tell her how rotten I am. It’s easier still, letting her heart sprout wings than telling her I’ve had a firm no tolerance policy on social integration for seven years, and now that someone’s repealing that fundamental (f)law… I’m terrified.

The Infallible Doctor of 811.6

He tells me
I need to learn to love myself.
He tells me
I need to learn to let people in.
He says
It’s only natural
else I wouldn’t be wrestling with myself.

“Your capacity to love,” he says,
“far exceeds any other trait.”
(there’s always a but)
“All this self-hate
is diminishing your light.”

He wants me to agree.
So he says “What do you feel?”

I tell him it was seven years ago
when I mustered all my courage
and suffering
and strain
and built this rickety boat
I’ve been sailing in ever since.

“Is it dark?”
He pauses,
pushing his horned rimmed glasses
further up his nose,
“Out there on the water–
is it dark?”

I lie to him and say,
“It’s pitch.”

“What about her?” he says,
“If you’ve been sailing
on that ocean this whole time,
couldn’t she be your lighthouse
come to call you home?”


I don’t know this room,
Gravitron spinning.
I’ve never walked these floors,
pirate-ship rocking.

The faces looking back at me,
whimsical and free,
are not yours.

If they could read
my over dramatized
silent film heart,
they’d scatter its pieces
to the four corners
as punishment.

Because life rarely affords
Kodak moment fairy tails,
and besides,
I’m no knight in shining armor,
and baby… you’re no princess.

but I could love you true,
and I could love you absolute.

If that’s…

Camera Obscura

I died in my sleep last night. When next I awoke, we were living in a stranger’s photograph. It was the summer we spent in Townsend. Love was exploding into our lives, making us feel as tall as the mountains we were ascending. We were background fodder in a photograph of a family from Wisconsin. A crisp mountain breeze swept the ridge below and blew your hair into my face. It tickled, we laughed, and our lips became locked in a forever-kiss as a biker from Montana snapped their photo.

I’ve been so lonesome since you went away. I used to wallow in your absence in the days after your departure. Our empty home would listen like a passive deity as I practiced saying all the things I never said, hoping fate would orchestrate one more chance. It never did.

But as your lips pressed firmly to mine and we felt that exact kiss at that exact moment for a second time… you evaporated like a thought bubble in a motion comic. The watercolor mountains wept and faded into nothing. I feel out of frame into the abyss below. Swirling waves of obscurity carried my body ever deeper, as though the entire world were draining itself.

Rock bottom was a twelve by eighteen photo of Pensacola Beach and my trunks were already on when I hit. The artist was a photographer from Oregon. She visited twenty-three beaches before finding her shot. We never knew shew as there.

A burnt orange sky on the horizon, clung to its last bit of blue. The tide had come in to feed on leftover sand castles. Your head was on my shoulder. You told me I had the memory of an Aquarian and tied a string around my finger. I promised it would never happen again. Time washed the red right out of it, but I died with it around my finger. Even death, the absolute clean slate, couldn’t force me to forget.

A new me stood within the old that you knew. I wanted to plead, and beg you not to let me off so easy but our beach melted into the Persistence of Memory. Our bodies dissolved into sand as well fell through the contours of an hour glass. I felt the nothing around me convulse and then expand in every direction, creating a dark room of shared memory.

Thousands of pinholes, suspended in space and time, opened themselves to me. With my prying eyes, I could see contained within each, a living memory of frozen snapshots. You and I played a walk-on role in every scene. A Laotian couple caught a glimpse of us passing through Magic Kingdom. They were aww-ssshucks posing with Goofy when we crossed the bridge into Adventureland. You were twenty-five years old and it was your first visit. Our excitement glowed in the afternoon sun.

Through another I saw an early Christmas morn. A father had taken a picture of his six-year-old daughter riding her first bike. You and I were on the front porch of the apartment. I had just surprised you with Max, our first puppy. He had peed all over your favorite blanket, the one with the holes for your toes. My head was thrown back in a fit of laughter. Max was licking your disgruntled face, tearing away any shred of residual anger. He always loved you the most.

I’ve spent eternity with you since last night. We shared a good life, you and me. I know it wasn’t all ups. But the downs, well, they never wallowed in ruin, did they? You asked me once if I believed in Heaven. I still don’t know when or where this undiscovered country exists. But maybe… maybe the less here is this: Heaven is how love looks at you when no one is watching, and Hell is not paying attention.