letter to editor.

cursory tales of
happenstance, in your hands
become classifieds
penny saver
what’s black and white
and red all over?
all over again
wanted ads
south Chicagoland
I once said I’d write a book
“All My Exes Hate Me,
and Other Lies I Tell of Them”
so you’d finally see your name
in print
to sleep perchance to forget
I keep novels about the
times you meant to write me
my obituary is just
a passive aggressive note I’d like
to pin on your fridge
and fold up in your
childhood lunchbox
scrawled in crayon
asking forgiveness for all
that you did to me
that I let you do to me
that you said I made you do to me
put it on the front page
extra extra
I kept myself sick in the head
so my mother would lay the Tribune
next to my bed
like lining a dog’s crate
try to spy the secret ways
they work your messages into copy
if I rearrange the automobile ads
they could spell out I MISS YOU
but there’s a bunch of letters left
they didn’t think of that when they
christened them Mitsubishi
and Yamaha
so word jumbled
trying to relearn how to read now
and I love all the words you have never seen before


tear down

put your tongue on those metal rods
in my jaw
tastes like your white knight fantasy
of gunshots and firework ashes
more like factory work though
and labor strikes
IRA widows and trouble sleeping
less romanticized than expected
am I sorrow?
aged out of that hubris
drove out of the night sky
walked down spiral staircases
into the memory
of coming from not to life
vice versa
guess we gotta stop worrying about when we go
guess it kinda misses the point
guess I’m a bad shot
still go from the hip
still that young
still that special kind of response call
to 911 hang ups
to dispatch mismatches
take off your clothes
cried in his arms in my most raw
in a dream before dawn
I was led to her bed
she wore face paint
turned her back
step outside again
recognize these streets from REM
never remember magic phrases
presented to resurrect the dead
not meant to leave
frozen food section resting place
told me you had magic powder
give me back the lie
always the same house
when I close my eyes

people i don’t hate

i. still in that bed with your hands
wandering like you were lost
and you stopped saying sorry once
you stopped getting something out of it
your name is never on my tongue

ii. people don’t change that much
can’t grow with no light
you’re no special flower
even weeds need soil and water and spring
but I loved the stem of what you once were
the absence of your bloom
avert eyes

iii. remind me
who wrote you letters
got a shoebox of your leftovers
jumper cables
sit still so you can’t see me move

iv. if i had to walk away
if i followed through
if i said your name in my sleep
don’t blame you for
not wanting to be buried alive
self immolaters don’t typically hold hands
it’s okay now
i’m okay now

v. thank you

vi. we, the people
we, the family
we, two trees
i saw us sway in the wind
we looked up at the same stars
a level of distance, this atmosphere
i smile

thoughts from my childhood bed

I would be somewhere else if it meant
with you
another man with
no meaning
can’t sleep these days much
I wake with a start to your non-body
and realize it’s my father knocking
on my sister’s door
ten years later I still feel stainless
steel on my wrist
but I remember how it didn’t help
and I don’t want my mother to cry again
remember when I thought us invinceable? uncontrollable? the underdogs for each stolen moment in your bed?
people have stopped asking what it’s like to have won your love
lost the luster when I stopped polishing
lost the bite when I chased it down with more whiskey
lost the whiskey, lost my love
lost the girl I was supposed to be
lost your punching bag and hold gloves
threw them all in the Grand Canyon
though I never been
not a fan of deserts
too many niches to fall into,
prefer the aimlessness of city nights
singing out mathematic equations to remind me of feeling safe in a lover’s studio apartment
did you know the gospels are all letters?
put words I wrote you in a book and wait until I wander
I return when I hear my father knock


bear trap:
tight teeth on you
surprise, below foliage we
each leaf is no fingerprint
no snow(flake)
i crush
in my nature
i used to shine but
this blood rust
makes me so teary eyed
mechanisms set
and don’t know why
you walk back
you know you step on me?
hairline trigger
you know you don’t see me?
no one looks until they hate
what i did to them
always wrong
always got my teeth in you
you know my joints wear down?
wanna keep stepping? my jaw is tired
wanna be mad? secondary emotions
don’t remove the metal in your leg
like a charm bracelet
weapon you use most days
but today you stepped on me instead
don’t do what I don’t
all teeth and no talk
no eyes to see what i don’t
all chain, all choke
i’m alone in the forest

sorry I went through your phone two springs ago.

did you know you can turn sand into glass?

more economical i guess than

making your windows out of

did you knows;

did you know someone else is loving me now?

is that why you called?

one alarm fires rarely make the news

unless it’s a slow day

look out windows at burnt up frames

write down did you knows cause the old ones burnt up now

put their ashes in your hair, rub them into your skin

set your honey-dos next to the lighter

pretend we made good terms

if it’s not in writing it’s not real

I still remember what I read while you slept next to me

drifted out of love and into bondage

never blame the ones that leave with arson

hope you learned a lot of why

on sinking or swimming:

you can tread water

with your head under

you can push off the floor of lake michigan

his hands are tendrils

on your ankles

wrapped silent

your love was once

like a wave

on the back of my throat

so salty

remember when

we knew how to swim

i have memory in these muscles

lungs ache for air

no pocket rocks

posthumous, present

i never died when you left

i felt gravity pull on my floating body

eventually graced the shore

i am picking sand from between

with friends like these who needs life vests? with friends like these who needs buoys? with friends like these who needs submarines below? with friends like these who needs planks to walk? with friends like these who needs to drown? with friends like these who needs the Titanic in my palm print? with friends like these who needs to return home? with friends like these who needs to be bloated and bobbing? with friends like these who needs baptism? with friends like these who needs a port? with friends like these who stays on ground?

i can’t believe i cried this river. i can’t believe i’m still mostly water.