Friday, June 17, 2016

A Poem for the Anxious Dogs Along 10th Avenue

Smooth and quick—the bikes pass
your window. On the main route
East to West, they float by quiet,
unheeding your shrill alarms. Hundreds
each afternoon, confident and teasing.

Pacing marathons, whimpering, paws
massaging the glass. Dance interpretations
anxiety and claustrophobia. The long wait:
for food, a leash, a miniature door within
a door? Yawning—she returns tired.

There is no empathy, only urgency
in your trembling whines. She reaches
for the leash, leaving the way open, release
from bondage, the Red Sea parts, you dart
a false charge, a biker swerves into parked car.

Circling you survey: your own brand of justice.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Fries and Butterfinger Blizzard

Reverb and beer, lyrics
written for an unnamed
you caught me unaware.

Vague nostalgia—stars
above summer camp,
the milky way, silly names

Pickle-tree and Shim-Shimmel.
Crushes and otter-pops and
symbols and codes for youth

hid underneath a balance
raspy emotive voice
over simple chords.

The song reminded me
of friends basements,
songs about break-ups,

Dairy-Queen after youth group
and every first original feeling’s
shallow claim on authenticity.

This is all to say Julien Baker’s
new album really made me crave
fries and a butterfinger blizzard.

Sunday, April 17, 2016


20 years ago we  
all had their t-shirts,
insider knowledge
of their cover-art

origin and meaning,
and mushroom cuts.
Now in an empty shop
I’m bored, reading

classic books professors
raved about and then retired
to Gulf Islands—hippies and
gardens, a lyric surprises me:

Slim. Relax. Fine wine at the QFC
on a snowy Saturday night
Now, I’m a stranger mumbling
half-forgotten lyrics, estimating

the distance to the nearest
Quality Food Center.
Maybe100 miles?
Probably more.