desolate (adj).


I looked around the Mojave Desert
and could resonate with its shape and structure -
I bring my hands to the curve of my ribs
they encompass like the mountain range encompasses
all of the dusty houses made of clay,
the dunes match the sand in my stomach,
the heat is unyielding not unlike the fire
that was started in my chest
and makes it difficult at times to swallow.

I looked around the Mojave Desert
and could resonate with its shape and structure -
I think about how my heart feels dried up,
its lips and skin so dry they are cracking, 
and then I brought my eyes to the cracks between
the rocks and think, “things grow here, see,
even in the driest places, even when the
rain forgets to visit, even here
the flowers insist on surviving,
even here the trees, jagged on their way up
rise closer to the sun.” 

tourist (n).


To tell you the truth
I didn't expect to hold
all of this from you,
it just stayed on the shelf
when you asked to see my apartment - 
we walked right past it between
the part of the tour where I show you
the framed letter from my cousin and
the gold painted dinosaur on my dresser
(which has a perfectly phrased
 anecdotal story for another time). 

I wanted you to ask for
the stories that make me up
and the words that hold me in and
the dreams under which I take shelter
and here I am
telling you about this coffee table
I started planning on replacing
the minute I got it through the door. 

agency (n).


You tried to take, and you took
some of my optimism, maybe, some of
the gentleness I used to have but
you did not succeed in draining
the ocean that swells in my heartsong,
the fire that ignites
the wildness in my eyes.

One year later, and
I still belong to me.

There is no other kind
of surviving
that matters
more than this.


[photo by Jamie Delaine]. 

semantics (n).


I am learning about
the way you say things, like how
"are you ready to leave my house?" means
"I'd like it if you stayed longer," and
"I made you this meal," means
"this is how I can take care of you," and
"are you comfortable laying
beside me as you are" means
"I like your proximity to me."

If our language is born out of
the land we came from, then
where is this place that taught you
to speak in code, to hide
your longing in the folds
of your punctuation, to leave
your softness to your glances, 
your affection in the care of
straightening the collar
of my jacket before I go?

My language is that I know how to say everything
and your language is the sonata we play
to keep us calm on the drive back into the city. 

hemostasis (n).


The world is hemorrhaging
and we stand around with
hands full of gauze
blinking at each other. 

May we be quicker to speak, "This
is where it hurts, " "This
is when I have felt silenced," "This
is how I need your help." 

the world is hemmorhaging
and we stand around with
gauze in our hands, 
arguing about the side of a coin
we can't put down.

conifer (n).


I now understand the growing of trees, 
their rings showing all of the ways
they have survived their previous selves. 

I now understand what it is like
to watch all of the color fall out and away
and wonder if there will be
another day that the wind will
brush through your hair and write
a song with the sound, and wonder
even what the ground is made of
that you were planted in, surely
this isn't god's green earth. 

I now understand the growing of trees,
their branches spilling out of them like arms
reaching for contact, reaching:
is there a posture more defiant
to any force trying to make them
recoil back into winter's cold breath?

brew (v).


Don't you see? Your words
are like honey, 
sweetening my tea and
soothing my sore voice, they
coat my neck as I
take them in. 

Don't you see? Your words
are like honey, 
how honey sticks and stays
stuck to the spoon, 
lingering down the side
of the cup that runs over,
cemented like drying glue
in a ring on the table. 

Don't you see? Your words
are like honey, a heavy
varnish of goo that does
not clean easily, it lingers
on my cheeks, my hair
it rests where it lands
even after I rinse
my hands and face and you
leave the room.  

Don't you see? Your words
are like honey, they can
sweeten or spoil
my drink. 

Posted on September 5, 2017 and filed under the word project-.

gale (n).


I wonder what is left
of our love, and where
it went - I imagine
our love on our sea
that leaves from the
coast we came from
and weathers like
a hull in a hurricane,
lost in sight but
holding breath in hope. 
I imagine our love
some sweet wind
through weathered windows
and into whispers of friends and lovers.

I imagine our love reincarnate
to two more gentle and deserving, 
because I think our love
could use some rest after
weathering our storm. 

certain (adj).

It came as a surprise
to me and those who know me
the shift in air and heart
when you came spiraling in.

I think myself joyful enough
I think myself a man who
has goodness enough, and
was building a house
that stood, I was building
a life that allowed sleep
to come easily.

Imagine the disruption
not unlike spring’s heavy rain
that, unannounced, soaks through
a quiet afternoon and sprouts
the garden to grow its tallest tall -
I found myself a man shooting through
the earth when you arrived.

You are made of wonder
you are made of life’s favorite colors
you are made of more questions than
I knew anyone could ask and
I will spend my life gladly
finding answers with you.

I am sure in the same way
the sun is sure of its place and
the mountain is sure of its stature,
in the same way that the sparrow
leaps off branches without fear
in the same way the ocean
returns to kiss the shore each evening,
the same as these ways I am sure
of my place beside you.

I am sure in all of the triumphs and
all of the things we will lose,
in all of the disappointments and
mysteries that may never be solved,
in all of the stories we will live and then
tell to our friends over dinner,
in all of the things that will grow us
and will alter us from before,
I will end each day grateful
and with such relief
that you are here with me
and still marvel at what goodness
has stumbled on me that
I am here with you.

soft (adj).

There is a moment after it rains
where the sky settles into itself
like the sigh when the sprinter
starts to catch his breath after a run
like the stillness between night and
morning, like the hush when
you finally reach the water
after weaving through brush and hill. 

This is how our love feels: nestled
in between sighs and sounds
in the softness of the day ending and beginning
in the delicacy of the light and heavy things
in the gentleness of your hand
when it reaches for my hand. 

Posted on July 26, 2017 and filed under the word project-.

bestow (v).

please take                           
care of my love;                  
I have sent it      
over fully, with        
its itchy corners and    
dark spots exposed,    
my greatest stories   
and the softest       
secrets that still
make me gasp,                  
I even sent
the dreams that
I now see include
you beside me. 

I have placed
my love into your
hands and
I watch you run
your thumb over
its grainy edge, the way
you run your thumb
over my nose
as I am already
halfway to sleep.