Never her lover,

Nor even a friend:

It cannot be over,

If it never begins.


Let me sing this song,

A tune for her ear:

It will not be long,

Before I am near.


I watch from the margins,

As she moves through her day;

I wait with chagrin

‘til I do what I may.


Without cause to my intent,

I won’t rest until I am spent.


(January 29, 2018)

as I speak



let me define you

not as the fantasy

you think you know

as the one who listens

but the transcendent you

who listens vaguely

into silence

as the roiling dark

devours your edges

like slow kisses

traced across

your tense skin

until you vanish

beneath the words


(December 16, 2017)

Blood in the Mouth



As if thrown into the sea,

I drown in myself. Adrift,

Worn from lack of sleep again,

I berate and taunt my past.


Each faux pas, each arrogant

Act, repeated and rehashed

Until each cringe inducing

Detail is nailed to my skin.


Time does not layer armor

Tightly enough to protect

Against the internal thrusts,


But rather sharpens the blade

To more precisely dissect

Each vein flowing from my heart.


(December 14, 2017)

Inarticulate Roots Tangle

“to try to write love is to confront the muck of language: that region of hysteria where language is both too much and too little”
                        –Roland Barthes
Another day whistling phrases from pop song melodies
Hours after they’ve played on the radio on his way to work.
Another night as he twists in sleep worrying phrases he heard
Other people say as he wandered haplessly through his day.
His silence and blather pulled him ever deeper into the morass.
He said too much too late, and too little when it could’ve mattered.
Fragmented and inarticulate to the end, he parses his phrases
Sharply between all he said and all he wished she had heard.

(July 9, 2017)

she did not respond

“for it is always that the other will simply ask no question whatever about these unaccustomed glasses that the other will see, in the fact, no sign.”
–Roland Barthes
and there he was the person who
he was looking for all this time
as if anyone else could step forth
other than the one who waited there
his pen obliquely scratched the page
like an old dog lost in his sleep
there is no other other than you
he said to himself slowly
so even he could comprehend
that his words had no meaning
except to the one who listened
except to the one who heard
he lay down next to the still water
and admired his reflection in the pond

(June 25, 2017)

No Echo

I’ve whispered secrets
To you for years,
Without response.
Who’s deaf? Me,
You? Is silence
A response?
In a winter’s vault,
I am a ghost;
You, a projection,
A bat’s lyric cry
Without a wall
To reflect definition.

(April 26, 2017)

Note on Writing

“to combat the resistances of language you must keep talking”
–Anne Carson
I write most everyday. Since the end of last August, I have filled up two 150-page notebooks, completed close to 80 short poems.  I have written, if not so obsessively as now, since I was 15. I write poetry, with the occasional venture into essays like this one. I have trouble with narrative, one event leading into another befuddles me, as does conversation between people.  So I do not write fiction. Yet, I do have an interior running commentary on the narrative I am living, snipes and admonitions on my life as it unfolds. To push back against this cruel eviscerating voice, which adheres tightly within my skin, I write. I write to explain the world to myself, to explain myself to myself, to resist the world, which is lain upon me by the world. I write to resist the temptation to settle into myself without a thought. I am uncomfortable in most social situations. It’s discomforting when others try to define me, or attempt to interpret me from my writing. Yes, I am aware that all writer’s expose their minds in their writing. Even writers of fiction expose themselves through their fictional characters. Nietzsche wrote that in the end we only experience ourselves. Yet, I believe there is also a separation from oneself, a leap into the universal other, which occurs when one writes: a transubstantiation of individuality into a larger third person narrator, who watches and observes with more objective, more just, eye. Of course, I also know this is pure bullshit. I am as clotted with my biases and situation as anyone. But it is through writing, through the transformative nature of writing, where a third space can open, and one can enter along with whomever can follow into a changed world, a different, perhaps better place, if only for the time it takes to read the poem. And to keep from being defined, trapped even in these new spaces, I continue to write, to find a way to exist with myself.

(February 28, 2017)

that begat the troubles today

he thinks what he thinks
as he walks his walk
through hallways out doors
into rooms as if space
could be contained separate
from himself in thought on
thought of something other
than the next step the next
possibility’s assumption
that’s then parsed thin
like prosciutto melting salty
across his ravaged tongue
there the world wavers anew
into another and another
as each singular event perishes
into itself and the other trailing
ahead like snail’s antennae’s
pulse and stretch toward some
sense until it  too’s devoured
in obliteration’s wet maw
(February 1, 2017)


“in which things explain each other,
not themselves.”
            George Oppen
there is no absolution
beyond himself
beyond the self
beyond now
his explanations he explains
as if understanding
can be divined
through incessant attention
to the minutia of motive

(November 10, 2016)


then he’s seventeen
with all the awkward
hems and haws and
hesitant responses
there is nothing
except everything
life and dreams
fold so to the other
one tense shifts
present to past
no difference
to be parsed
love endures
words fail
(September 1, 2016)