Jul 11

Youth is a slippery thing

We smell like backpacks 
and old smoke and earth.
Dirt-cheap perfume that
grips you like Chanel anyway.

We don't have to worry about "pretty." 
Our pretty is in our 
fresh skin smooth hands free love wide eyes.
It's all downhill from here.

But your gorgeous comes out
in a velvety record collection,
biting side eye, and a perfect breastroke.
Thoughtless, haughty beauty.

Youth isn't afraid to say what it wants.
"Know me like I've never known myself. Don't be afraid to guess."
Not thinking, on purpose,
to make the colors just that little bit brighter. 

Old flower tucked in the hand-cut hair of a pretty boy.
Fresh tar scuffing the green-laced sneakers of a pretty girl.

Everyone wants to wield time,
cut out the bread, run straight to the fruit.
Everyone wants to clutch this writhing, delirious summer
and squeeze its breath right out.
Jul 04

Crab Grass Lover

I know Despair like an old friend who was meant to stay a memory.
A perfectly picked-out grass-stained letting go--

Some fitting loss that spells forward motion
Kinetic energy of my youth still bouncing, rubber
Barely half the height of where it began.

Energy follows rules that aren't ours (unruly child),
Flows out like a late-season public pool, finite but
Rubber is recursive and so is He. 

I'm too young to know Despair, they think I think
Am I too young to see my flaws open wide into trenches filled by sirens, luring,
Pressing sour-sweet kisses up my neck?
Too young to see the future as a vast white nothing?
If it's pale it's a newly-blank canvas, of course.

What happens when the petty differences in my genetics
(expressed randomly and maliciously as they bloom into defect)
Become so predictable every action feels rigged? 
Jun 15

Nursery rhyme elegy

golden brain lit with pale sunlight 
since the day you were born

mind finally in the limelight for running on fumes
the grandmother caretaker gardener bows out

eyes glimmer in the sterile lamplight
like the echoes of long-dead twinkle little stars 

rain drops keep falling on my head
silly songs that stick and stab

you were already dead three months before it became real
when you smiled and nodded your way through recognizing me

the itsy bitsy spider fell down the water spout
does our shared genetic code signal devotion or decline

garden shed out back of the house my dad grew up in
will the new family remember to water your panises?

I remember when you'd kneel down to put the last piece in my Disney-trash puzzle
I remember when your knees gave out and your heart gave out and you still smoked any paper in the house 
Jun 13

Graduation Speech 6/12/21

I'm putting this one up here for myself to hang onto; that being said, it's a message I'd like to extend to any 2021 grads! :)

Good Morning. To begin, I want to thank our teachers, parents, and supportive adults who have allowed us, the class of 2021, to stand proudly before you on such an important day. 
My classmates, I want to speak directly to you this morning. I want to remind you that we’ve learned just as much from each other as we have from our marked-up textbooks and grass-stained cleats. 
Jun 09

Fire Boy

Fire boy 
Boy with the wind pulling waves from your curls

Wild by nature, controversial by choice
Weblike anger ebbs into smarting hurt

But I promise I’ll learn

I don’t think you mean to mock me
I think you mean to teach me about the time that came before

About the patches of history in my grandmother’s catering business
About the Norse and their crowns forged in blood 

Fire boy
Boy safe in the harbor of the girl I loved first 

You’d nitpick my facts if you read this
She’ll remind you to chide me with that childish smile 

But I promise I learned 

Personal history has teeth if you warp it
Impersonal history has teeth born of power

See, a battle of the minds is not a battle of the heart 
And we’ve hung onto friendship for these hang-dog years dear

Fire boy
My shoes are slipping and my feet ache dull 
Jun 07

My chapped-lipped, checked-out, dance-pop ode to retail

I was a model employee at the mirage factory.

Moved through the bland-faced clothes racks with swagger,
The cumulative bite of two dozen hangers on my arm;
Noticing everything but speaking vapors. 

Too female from the neck down in my black top;
Five-foot-four with a white lie.
So they talk down,
Snap fingers, click tongues, demand.

Just last week--

My throat burns with artificial honey
As I watch my neighbor sell
Some death-trap crap-card 
To New Americans, 
their accents rich and resonant.

Fake-woke headbands on my first day,
Fake-pride t-shirts on my last. 

My Dear Associates, the only motive is profit. 

The faint crooning covers
fill our heads with TV static
Managers fluently changing our channels
So we'll never quite get context on a scene

A business optimized for distraction,
May 19


Bone Chair 
Traced in Clavicle
In Tibia
Will the sound be dull and hollow when I knock?

Who sits on the Bone chair 
Who waits for her loose children
To come home Quietly
Lacing fingers through the notches in their Spines

Catacombs arranged like clockwork
Like machinery
As if bones are the Derivative
And not the inspiration

May 12

Dreamsicle, Belly Up

Sticky syrup runs down my brother’s left arm 
Raspberry bush catches him by the ankle
We ignore the venom and crush her underfoot
Youth’s sour orange in the moment but vanilla cream forever 

We’re gods of crabapple; monarchs of sticks  
Yesterday’s manure still hanging in the air as
Starlings squabble above red-rubber kickball
One good boot and it’s over the stars toward Carolina 

Sit down, hold hands, smile, don’t pout–

Pigtails ponytails paper crown next round playground 
And asphalt somersaults 

The movies that I was too cheap to buy popcorn for 
Were wrong but still flashy; kaleidoscopes bending sight
Showed us to stay upright with splintering shins and pallid pride
Trade wishes for waitlists and identity for eye candy

My equations fester in graphite; new sneakers worn thin
Another night devoured by harsh blue machines
Apr 07

The Sky-Sea

that time of year again when the night is just nippy enough to stand
feet numb in half-dead grass (i'm laying prone)
against overwhelming speckly sky-sea

and the stars are smiling at me again
like an old friend (too many moons too late)
brain networks mirroring star networks

it's that feeling of smallness
creeping smallness (inconsequential life of mine) 
smallness in that fine-tuned cosmic way

i tapped my brother's window
forced my soliloquy into lamplight 
then drowned (my ship unmoored)

in the inky warming dark 

Mar 22

"family ties"

my mother married 
her highschool sweetheart
a boy with a babyface and a girl nicknamed "shoe"
my mother's mother married 
highschool sweetheart 
met on a ski lift in the wisconsin flatlands 
my mother's mother's mother
she was fresh from Poland 
and I can't remember his name
but he was probably 
sweetheart too