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.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

So I Wrote a Poem

I don’t have the patience
or vocabulary to describe
the walk well. Light yellow,
soft green, so many greens.

I guess the light was
dappled on the mosses.
It was spring all afternoon,
smelled good and warm.

In the nice outside-ness
I forgot to be lonely
or sad. I felt like me.
I don’t know the science,

there have probably been
studies, poems for sure—
I don’t have the patience
to read them, or research,

but the colors and light,
swollen feet and hummus,
made me feel better, good.
So I wrote a poem.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Bon's Off Broadway

Movie posters covered in sharpie 
on cluttered walls muffle mediocre
juke box—greatest hits albums & Creed;
an all-night diner that closes at 10;

the scent still grieving smoking laws.
Teenager sits opposite me with milkshake.
I nod, study walls, sip bad coffee,
search for late-afternoon conversation.

Questions: how’s school? Home?
Want anything else? How’s your sleep?
Things are fine. Sleep’s not a problem.
Good. It’s important for mental health.

Clean rooms. No screen time. He nods.
I finish my 3rd cup, pay and leave.
At home, I shove clutter off my bed,
binge on Netflix, wait for anxious dreams.

Friday, March 25, 2016


The trees are tinseled with green beards that must have been donated by punks who spent too much time in the sun. Logs piled-up in the river, some branches still have color. The fish are somewhere. Not here. They filmed part of the Revenant here. Those people would have died from hypothermia before getting a chance to be shot or mauled or scalped. It is nice to not worry about those things. My waders have a slow leak—half-way up my right leg. The water is only cold for a minute, then body heat takes effect—similar to pissing yourself. Round boulders—copper, white, and grey-blue make it hard to walk. God tells me my ankles hurt. The river is wide and shallow—quiet for once. I have no beer, but a few crackers and cheap cheese are good enough take a moment to think. I should Instagram this. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

When I look Up

I see him. Still,
in the newspaper—
Mother of Two Missing in Montlake Terrace.
Greasy curls, crazy sunken eyes.

On the sidewalk,
head hung low, plodding gait.
On my sidewalk, outside the fruit stand.
When I look up

he’s not there.
Unoriginal? Maybe,
but tonight will be familiar: chicken

potatoes and veggies.