Thursday, August 3, 2017

Joe Laughs

Joe paddles backward in the eddy
behind a rock, riffles like fu-manchu
frame Joe as he lingers in the river
soul-patch and checks his fit-bit
equipped with paddle-boarding app—
“6.1 miles” he shouts. An Osprey cheers
from it’s house atop power pole.

Joe is impressed I know
Osprey from Merganser.
Joe lives on this river,
confuses me with ignorance
of names and lack of fear—
standing on shaking legs down rapids
between rocks with igneous flare
like punk-rock bracelets we bought
from Hot Topic. Joe laughs at danger
even as he drops his lower half-in
to warm the river and mark it


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Dennis Lake

Cutthroat trout slurp gnats on the surface 
of shoals reflecting the Telkwa Range’s
sloping shoulders, somewhere hidden 
there a remnant Caribou herd munch lichen. 
Two clouds hover above a loon’s eerie call.

Who could give language to this grandeur? 
What name could contain this sacrament? 
Difficult tasks beckon the brave.

A pioneering settler, a century ago, 
ignored first peoples, remained 
unpolluted by native tongues, beheld 
this place and thought "Dennis."

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Drive to Telkwa


Sun slouched upward:
a free-range yolk
over-easy in a dirty
rusted cast-iron pan.


Smoke from the interior
mingled amongst pine
and sage, tawny hills and
sometimes green valleys.


The gas station clerk
said it’s always busy:
no gas either direction
a long ways. And there’s an A’W.


Mountains were marbled with snow,
like a python’s black-and-white self-portrait—
a transparent but ultimately unsuccessful
attempt to appear artistic.


Clouds like white corduroy
dissipated over leather-skinned
road workers. The slow-stop
binary waited for deconstruction.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Something Something Deep Love of Jesus

I asked if she was still reading
Infinite Jest—it’s the only thing
I know about my barista. She is.
I took my coffee and sat-down,
considered the day and worried
that would be my only conversation.

My mom asked me about a bank
account she set-up for my wedding.
I love my mom. I told her to leave it.
It’s good to be optimistic. Her text
tells me she laughed out loud.
Her text did not make me laugh.

I asked about what to do next.
I’d take any instruction: nap,
move to the Yukon, smile
at the next woman I pass.
My mind flipped between
an Eagles song I hate and

a hymn I forgot the words to.  

Saturday, April 22, 2017

This Will Be On the Test

Over a month in nothing
but rocks and sand
and shivering then
sweating, fever dreams
for people who wouldn’t
stick around and no one
came looking, it was a long trip,
people had families
and this was his thing,
training, practice
for the final: abandonment

and thirst.   

Books I Read in Highschool

I read a book with
hell as sprawl
like suburbs or
Houston expanding
like space and everyone
moved further and further away
they complained
about public transit
there were no conversations
except self-talk
arguments about neighbors
who lived out-of-sight
and I thought it was clever
and creative but
now I have coffee dates
scheduled a month in advance
with college friends
who will be moving soon to
states with reasonable
property values to
buy homes and
have kids whose names
I’ll forget with faces
seen occasionally
on screens flickering
in a dark but affordable
studio apartment that
isn’t a metaphor.

All Grown-Up

No one ever told me,
that’s a lie (probably),
but it allows some anger
to disturb the lethargy.

People were always droning
on about growing-up.
Warnings I didn’t hear.
I listened to myself, and ska.

I didn’t envision: crying bored,
staring over plain oatmeal
at ugly house-plants, hour-long
walks looping around

gentrifying neighborhoods
waiting for the sun to finish,
an early bedtime and another bowl
of oatmeal to start it again.  


David Attenborough tells me
the Sahara is expanding. There
used to be giraffes and elephants.
Red paintings now. David thumbs

through a thesaurus, desolate:
bleak, empty, forsaken, lonely,
bare. But there is life. Spiders.
A snake. Ants on stilts.

They only come out at night.
Satellite pictures. David flips
to the back, vast: immense,
expansive, massive, endless.

Wind hisses over blank dunes.
Now David tells me about climate change.
The futility of action, drying up of hope,
play lullaby as I slip into an afternoon nap.

Malaise: Jimmy Carter Was Right

A Hyundai—best in class,
used, some version of
off-white, mostly dependable
but starting to rattle.

Kraft dinner with basil
and oregano, microwaved
broccoli, and beer leftover 
from a party left early.

A beta fish named
Joe--for the gorilla,
an inside joke with
a friend who move away.

A Moleskine notebook filling 
with doodles of robots, sad 
thoughts dressed in Sunday
best, and unread reminders:

call Mom,
change oil,
book appointment
with counselor.