When I was little, we had a table with three legs. The odd end was held up over the years by various unremarkable items. From it we at peanut butter or cheese sandwiches for dinner. Catsup spread on crackers. We all sat there. Mom and me and my big brother. She was always only home in-between jobs. Together we grew up in this way. Cold, hungry, and getting by. Make due with what you've got. Hand-me-downs. The cheapest meal on the menu. Always clutching what you not-quite-but-almost wanted. I had too much practice in those ways -- with the healing powers of string and duct tape.

But on the playground, it was no use.
I was obsessed with crisp new designer jeans.
I was only twelve.

My brother said he would help me earn the money. Paper routes and chores around the neighborhood over the summer. In bed, at night, I allowed big wet greedy tears to roll down my cheeks and into my pillow. And on one unremarkable day, I stood out on the black top and watched the other kids play games. Wind caught an extra foursquare ball, and I stopped it under my foot. There was black, then grey, then blood on my hands and clothes as I picked myself up and stumbled to the nurse's office after an older kid ran up from behind and blasted the ball away from my center of gravity. No one went to get a teacher. We were all afraid of Jeff.

Someone I was supposed to know rushed me to receive medical attention. Teeth fixed and lip stitched before my Mom arrived. Cradling my head and sobbing into my hair. I only kept trying to push the words I'm okay convincingly through the mass of cotton compacts and novocaine. I was terrified by upsetting her as she made the slow steady words I'm sorry repeat until they'd lost all texture and sense. I closed my eyes and wondered what kind of table Jeff had. I'd forgotten about the price of fixing things.

if you were to make me a mixed music cd
what would the track list look like?

my voice cracks over the line when i ask for his name. the hard plastic. the receiver bringing in the knock against something hard. setting down. the noise knocks the heart right out of my chest. the words out of my body. pace. away from the slow drive humming from the dishwasher. mutter obscenities at starting it whirring before such a moment as this. at this reminder of the life that lives inside these walls. the thud from the book i throw across the room against the wall for no particular reason reaches into my left eye. deep into the socket. and waits. spreads slowly. distinctly. outward. the way frost consumes waiting surfaces in cold. he speaks my name on the other end. decisively. slightly guttural. as if he'd just made the transition from german. one sharp breath in. surprise. regret. delay. drop my tongue against the diphthong hanging in the air. hold it in my mouth like a heavy marble. cat's eye. got your tongue. i'm afraid of ants. i can't ride a bike. my eyes change color. i've never been stung. spelling the word restaurant causes me terror. only one of these front teeth is mine.

my kitchen is filled with the most beautiful roses i've seen in my entire life

is not time enough
to learn how to sleep through
a rooster

at 7 pm something mountain time
between here and
almost but not quite there--

nicholas wants milk

my feet have seen the warm soft sands of the pacific ocean
and i've spent long moments holding much missed dogs in my lap
while being kissed by this western wind
the calm of the salt air
refuses to be washed from my hair
my clothes
this sun-burnt-skin
and even though i'm far from a place i call home
here is where i belong
where my lips turn a certain shade of cherry
and my eyes always offer up violent shades of grey

and i spend forever grasping pages of these notebooks against the wind rising up from the water trying to write you the perfect love letter that refuses to be sent

i dream you into this air right now and i drink you down like a revelation
if ever


right after the sea lab 2021 theme song
the train starts rolling slowly
forward and i watch the city of my
childhood flash alternatly with
bursts of bright white sunshine
through the window and bounce
like tiny rubber balls against the
back of my head. in the tunnel
darkness and ben folds five and
the ache for this place and these
memories and for the distance
that always seems to find itself --
between -- on the other side i pull
my knees up under my
chin -- lean back against the
window -- and watch the ocean

leaving you is like that ache in my ear from the scream of your body -- still -- buried in my hair.


leaving you
the weight of an ache in my ear
your body
buried in my hair


your intransitive verb


i'm dangerously tired
measuring the days between
on faith that sleeping and
feeling healthy
really are things i know how to do

the sound of rushing water
just cut from the tap
that will soon melt me
like vanilla scented soaps
is the closest this searching skin
can find
to your hands

the memetics of violence

from the second story porch i leaned and watched and hoped we wouldn't all die from this or anything else, ever. one long moment that lasted an evening in which i felt remarkably fine

this year i wasn't going to surround myself with loud noises. drunken rowdy groups playing with fire. laughing at their almost disasters. but the results of the night brought me to this safe ledge. watching glorious explosions. dangling an expensive glass of wine and my sandals. right over the edge. i even held a sparkler. let it sputter colored lights like christmas trees down and around my arm in the green night of smoke and fire. popping and dancing like bacon grease from a hot pan around my head in slowly disappearing circles.

this desert dance of independence this year among the gravel of the back street among friends and wine and the smell of the slow burn of things just gone out. it's me. this year. that i celebrate.

aside from the obvious statements many people are already making about the ridiculous wave of low-carb everything these days and how these kinds of fanatical diet crazes only reinforce bad eating habits and anorexic body images for women --

low carb diets advocate abstaining from fellatio*

manufacturers and mass media marketing can mess with coke and breakfast food cereals -- even cranberry juices -- but think about it this way and it seems even sillier.

* sperm is rich in fructose (a simple carbohydrate).

what i did
eleven years ago

pausing for too long moments in the front entry where he sits now in his perpetual smile in the silver frame he complimented several years ago when he was still alive and which at the time held a picture of my brother. it's perhaps this part of the year or the months now that have gone by since i tried to think of him without pain and lying under a blanket of sugar coated rose petals or the idea that i'll never quite figure out how life is supposed to sound or taste or feel now that he's gone.

i miss you howard.