Death Camp

Standing in the train ghetto
where people share feelings, expenses,
space for thinking about places
they left and why
they’re leaving.
The Jews had their lives to fear
and I have no phone service.
It makes me think of the atomic
life, particles pushed together
for touching or blown apart
for breathing but we only see
strangers similar to strangers
we’ve stood against before.
I’m a death camp welcome mat;
I kill people like pretty furnace doors.
She covers my body the way clothes do,
you cover yourself in front of me
like bases are covered by limbs.
This cart is a ghetto because it holds
that same sad grinding
as simulated sex.

– North Hollywood, CA


Taken in Los Angeles, CA



Taken in Table Mountain, CA

It took 20 to forget you
but this one is yours.
I had to do it,
you had too many doors.
She bit my lip on a sidewalk
the first night we met;
people moved around us
having seen it before.
The dark makes me miss you
before and after the sun,
like you were there when this started
come back when I’m done.
I’ve got to remember you’re just a name
like the title of these words
before and after they change.

– North Hollywood, CA

Small Talk

People talk about the weather
to not say other things
but if you remove the buildings
and the jobs
and the fashion
they’re really describing
being placed on this earth
on this day.

Today it rained.
Four thousand years ago it rained
on my head
but now the roof raps like a high hat
and the weather is just something
to talk about
when you have too much to say.

– North Hollywood, CA


Taken in Seattle, WA


The rain is moving to your side
of town, the train stutters along
while I stand soaking —
waiting to arrive with it.

I want to be the fat splatters
hitting your windshield, missing you
the same way god does,
the same way a phone keeps ringing,
the same way an arm reaches over
a cold mattress

but I miss you differently.
I sit in a room with a dead ballerina,
I stand in a tower watching
a downtrodden god lie dormant
while the devil is pieced together
like news clippings on a message board.

– Hollywood, CA


Taken in Seattle, WA


You push people long enough
and they’ll stop coming back.
You dwell in your darkness too long
and you’ll stop being whole.
Everything ages, that’s all
we see; you last enough
you’ll find something to remember.
The deathbed man dreams his first love;
The mother sees her first child;
I see myself before I was alone
like the killer sees his first victim.
Pray your demons are small,
walk the tightrope or be hated
for changing, loathed
for not changing; the world
is an ashtray of memories
we see painted on buildings
and pressed in cement
but the people have moved on.
Pray it means something,
say my art in this
is enough.

– North Hollywood, CA


Taken in Seattle, WA


I can’t write because she won’t stop talking.
I can’t write because this wine won’t make me.
I can’t write because my teachers are dead.
I can’t write because I didn’t write yesterday.
I can’t write because I don’t know what writing is;
I want to write like anyone,
I want to write like you;
I want to know poetry and I want to know sadness.
I can’t be happy if I can’t be sad.
If I can’t be sad I can’t write,
I can’t feel anything anymore.

– North Hollywood, CA


Taken in Seattle, WA