[written in 2009]

Bang bang. He’s a bullet. Sharp and smart, not like a lot of guys you’ll find these days. He tries to keep the lies loaded and tell only truths to your face, but it’d be a lie if he thought he could do it. The kind of guy that ends only the dirtiest of fights and kisses only vulnerable girls. But what a sweet kiss it can be. Then he walks away smiling the fakest of smiles just to help pass the day while no one visible sticks a foot out to break a common ritual. Telling jokes to get laughs that proves he hasn’t lost it yet- and it hasn’t lost him, while the most important people in his life might have.

Bang bang. He’s a bullet and he doesn’t know it. He plays the big shot, pushing everyone aside. Never settling to ride shotgun. He’s got a grin like a Cheshire cat when he’s feeling devious right before he jumps the gun, going off half-cocked and trying to keep a stiff upper lip as she attempts to bite down on his shell. Holding it in her teeth like a trophy. She spits him out on the pavement like a bitter aftertaste while a scared little one pulls the wool over his eyes in a game of war.

Bang bang. He’s a bullet and he loves it. He can’t break your heart but he’ll run right through it. Make you lose your breath. And when he’s gone all you have left is a hole where he cut for a split second. The worst part is, there’s no retrieval policy to get him back. She had to learn the hard way that it’s a one-shot kind of deal, so maybe she should stop yelling at him and step off ‘cause anywhere he goes is a hazard and he knows it. She can only bring him closer just to send him off again.

Bang bang. He’s a bullet and he’ll wipe the smile off your face just as quickly as he put it there. But he’s intoxicating and addicting and he’s absolutely beautiful. And that may be the one thing about himself that he’s still not so sure of. And he’s always there to catch you when you trip and fall. He’s got your back so well he’s almost in your back even when you don’t have his nearly as well. And he’s always got a word to speak to make you think when the tears are falling and there’s nothing to say. He’ll put you in the situation where you can’t feel as guilty as you want to for having him when he can’t even find himself. But you know you’d jump in front of him to save him from himself when his mind is racing and out of control. He says it’s always an accident.

Bang bang. He’s a bullet and nothing more than a bullet in a world of loaded guns.



Someday you will wake up to the light peaking through your blinds

striping the walls and her face golden, cradled on your chest

and you will kiss her

and you will feel it

and she won’t tell you that you are the only person who has ever kissed her first thing in the morning

and she will feel it, too.


Prompt: write about the contents of the box you will leave behind when you die.

[written in 2012]



carelessly attached to the remnants

of my first car, totaled

never to be driven

handle hanging off to display

things you’ve seen, distant

as if through glass walls


and if you ever get the nerve to touch them

they will speak in softest tones and

life I couldn’t finish and in

my first car, totaled

never to be driven

a glove.

crumpled behind proof of insurance and

crusted with dried tears and granola bars

because I was sad and hungry and ironic and

gloves kept the space between my knuckles warm

when you weren’t sitting in my passenger seat

clutching onto the coat hook every time I turned down unfamiliar streets

for the sake of getting lost

a map.

for when those times getting lost and adventurous

turned into sticky turmoil

and we stopped recognizing the sidewalks and yellow lines and

tomtoms are too mainstream

we craved our front door opening

my favorite cd.

shattered like mirror sprinkles

on the dirtiest cupcake

reflecting the dustiest cobwebs and

your sweetest eyes

music never to be played

in the radio of

my first car, totaled

never to be driven

a love note.

eighty pages long- a love notebook.

each line written to somebody different

apologizing for my sudden absence

apologizing for being unable to accept replies

I’d been writing this for years should something tragic happen

and it must have

a blue traffic bump.

indicator of fire hydrants

helper of steady extinguishment

picked loose from the friction of heavy truck tires

thieved from communal safety by my envious hands

to sit in the cracked compartment of my glove box

I wish I’d ever been able to assist like that pathetic reflective blue square


from the lady at the bank

in case you wanted to re-live our childhood together

and stick them on the windows

just to watch mom scrub them off

so we could smell the sweet orange of a chemical cleaner

used for things like removing stickers from windows and

taking the blood out of the fabric used to make the car seats of

my only car, totaled

never to be driven.


[written in 2013]

My marionette.

His lips and cheeks painted pink to make him lifelike but inside he’s hollow.

He tastes like bubblegum and is good for a game of footsies-

a reminder that cold feet is more than a physical condition.

You can’t trust what he says is genuine since he’ll say anything I tell him to.

Do anything I tell him to.

And I can’t keep this up anymore.

I’ve told him I’m not good at this heartbreaking business, but he says this is love.

This is what love is.

He says he feels free.

He says since he’s met me, he’s got no strings to hold him down.

But I’m just playing with the ones that hold him up.

What I am

I am poetry scribbled on post-it notes littering your desktop.

I am campfire smoke soaked into curls tickling your chin

I am sprained backbone, stuttering at the microphone, forgetting my lines quite often.

And piles of books pushed into the shelf all summer

I am untuned piano keys that make beautiful music

I am the raging fire of a candle wick

I am a great story with a terrible ending

And I will always be too much for you.


The Night Sky

When you decide to fall in love with me know that

I have been the night sky for as long as I can remember

Hosting more darkness than light

My thoughts, a constant, quiet wind

My body, endlessly untouched

When you decide to fall in love with me, love me like the moon

Do not take the night, just make it easier to see

And know you’d better come with the will of a shooting star

Or do not come at all.



He will come into your life with lips smooth like buttercups

whispering forevers in the summertime.

Finding the softest parts of your heart

and making promises with good intentions.

He will wipe away your dewdrops in the morning

and find ways to hold your darkest moments

that will make you feel safe in your own structure.

He will paint you with sunshine and kisses.

He will grow you up like a daffodil,

stand you tall, and blossom by tomorrow.

He will be the thunderstorm that pushes you down,

dirt-covered, broken-stemmed, drooping under rainclouds

and he will not be the one.

And you will wonder how you will ever bloom again.

But you will.

You will.

The Gypsies

Beneath my heart

my soul

and dancing gypsies

resting with a hip sway in oblivion to the chaos of my


If every cut, scrape, bruise were not a portal to my insides.

My internal nomad,

inhaling and exhaling in the space between my lungs.

Beneath my heart

my soul

bleeding out, clueless.

Squeezed from soaking hip scarves

Red cell after red cell

jingling like coins

draining from the rain-catcher

of every human experience I will ever have to face as an artist.

People see my eyes and assume there is more than life behind them

the way they assume gypsies dance because they’re happy.

And there is not a day where I don’t wonder

if people have caught glimpses of themselves

reflected on the edges of dull blades

brushed across their skin

ever so gently like a pen gliding seamless across

lined paper.

And I know writing is a form of self-mutilation

and I sleep uneasy.

Beneath my heart,

my soul,

what I’ve hidden inside my shell of flesh

squirming deformed

like an infant newly amputeed.

It’s shrill cry so loud it’s silent,

reshaping my carved mind into carnival music

building and unbuilding wordform compulsively.

“Poet” they say


Like a mandate of Shakespeare.

I am sonnets and rhyming and roses and violets

firmly pushed beneath visitor glass,

pulsing to the beat of tambourines.

Beneath my heart- shhh

If you’re quiet sometimes you can hear them.


You, sir, are a shark.

Teeth sharp, wit to match, gleaming bright, entrancing,

mesmerizing the fish. I see you,


Eyes narrowed, focused,

moving slowly with grace and impure intentions

like many men before you,


Teeth sharp, wit to match, gleaming bright, entrancing,

mesmerizing every woman you smile at,

every stupid fish. You


Eyes narrowed, focused,

watching from the edge of the tank,

like any intelligent woman. I, too, am


You muster your guts

and feed through the fish to approach,

but that’s the thing about


They don’t mess with other


So you are either brave or stupid.


Or, god, I might be a fish.


Don’t call me captain.

We are past the times of pretending the other is on every plane we see.

Hoped to see you at dance recitals or at the train station to meet me.

Call me impatient, call me jealous

but I am in the backseat

and you can see my gaze drift out the window

like a ship at sea.

Why is it any surprise that I am soaked salty in disappointment

as you remind me that there were other captains before me?

I’ve seen enough to know sometimes you miss them.

Your wheel turned by other hands, perhaps more soft,

perhaps more experienced,

and I am only good at working with mine.

My grandpa used to tell me I belonged in a garage-

my heart, a porsche convertible beating red with engine revs under a sawdust-covered hood,


I found your initials keyed into my love handles,

unlocked every journey I might ever hope to have,

you told me my eyes were beautiful like mirrors and you could see sunlight in my teeth.

I told you that holding my hand doesn’t mean you’re forgiven.

Telling me to come back home doesn’t mean I want to be there.

Moving forward doesn’t mean you’re not leaving me behind.

You said you’d always wait.

Now you say I drive you crazy.

Well I want to drive you west to the beaches I grew up on and show you how fragile oyster shells are so you can see what happens to my chest every time I hear you say her name.

Wonder if you notice how her hair blows in the ocean wind.

Ex-lovers, just friends, but I know better.

And I have no one.

And I know it’s not fair that I’d feel less lonely if you had no one, too.

But if you stop letting your wheel be guided by memories and stare hard enough at the water maybe you can see I’ve fallen overboard for you.

My feet heavy like car tires, meant for solid ground.

And I am not sure your wordless apologies are still enough to keep me afloat.

So don’t call me captain.