Lists

Places I Have Fallen In Love

-Parking garage

-Meadowbrook swimming pool

-Tanner’s basement

-My mother’s house

-My first apartment

-Her apartment

-Tea nook

-Parking lot

-Their apartment

-Laundry room

-Bus stop

-Porch

-Coffee shop

-Her mother’s house

-My third apartment

Cities Where I Have Received Bad News

-Lawrence, KS

-Kansas City, MO

-Kansas City, KS

-Neosho, MO

-New Orleans, LA

-Tallahassee, FL

Streets I Avoid

-New Hampshire

-31st

-Ohio

-6th

-Gateway Court

-9th

-Swartz

-Harrison

-9th

-Wyandotte

-10th

-Broadway

-Grand

-Nall

-143rd

Natural Things That Remind Me

-Sunrise

-Snow clouds

-Tomatoes

-Grass

-Flowers

-Basil

-Lemon

-Tealeaves

-Fire

-Rivers

Things That Have Nothing To Do With Other Things But Still Remind Me

-Church signs

-Iron fences

-Spray paint

-Blind people

-Black dogs

-Glitter

-Strippers

-Pool tables

-Letters

-Books

-Statues

-Cameras

-Playing cards

Things I’ve Said

-I love you

-Marry me

-Forget him

-Please

-I don’t believe you

-I hope

-What if

-I already know

-Don’t be sorry

-It’s my fault

-I’ll be the bad guy

-I’m sorry

-I love you

Things I Say

-I miss you

-How are you

-I’m sorry

-You know how I get

-What happened

-I don’t remember

-Tell me

-Why

-It’s fine

-I miss you

-I’m sorry

Things I’ll Never Say (With the Exception of Now)

-How could you

-Why would you

-But

-What about

-Remember that time

-You have no idea

-Happiness looks like

-I sleep better

-Come back

-What happened to you

Things That Don’t Remind Me

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Meth Mouth and Further Decay

What Joe used to know:

-At least two uses for gasoline, acetone and drain cleaner

-How to get away from any cop

-Every road in Joplin (before the tornado hit and stole all the street signs)

-The feeling of his tongue on his front, left tooth

 

What Joe knows:

-Vows don’t really mean “for worse”

-How to roll his own cigarettes when money is tight

-Payless $34.50, non-slip, fake leather shoes slide more on kitchen floors than his old boots do

-Wash, rinse, repeat

 

What Joe wants to know:

-What his children look like now that they’re grown

-How his sister has changed since his mom’s death

-How to spell words he’ll never say in conversation

-The feeling of the sun

It’s an easy drop

to your rock bottom.

A steady fall,

to the place I have come to know as home.

 

Where were you when I walked the seven blocks, liquid blurring every stoplight, in Neosho? And who were you looking for in potholes, in sticky glasses, in empty packs of cigarettes, when I was only three knuckle lengths away (or so your map would tell you)?

 

I have been down this spiral before.

Clawing and spitting at the walls that keep me out,

and you in.

Scoured these roads for your face

-in dirt and snow and root rot-

but found instead,

some pulsing piece of you.

Something that you left behind;

forgot.

 

 

It was there, in the square of that small town.

It was there, in that empty bed.

I was there. 

Synonyms

Kudzu: Suffocation.

Breathless in the warmth

that seeps through

weakened veins.

 

Art: Substitute.

Cultural geophagy;

satiated

with the land of others’ minds.

 

Silence: Sadness.

Grinding teeth to bone,

with secrets that

sleep in the next room. 

30 Poems in 30 Days

I imagine all southern girls,
Smell like peaches and kiwi fruit,
To keep hold of the memory of their great-grandmother’s pies in the windowsill,
And their longing for far away lands,
Respectively
The girls’ hair, Spanish moss,
Dripping, curled and wild off their tan scalps, thriving,
A life of their own
White lines on the hidden parts of their bodies,
Like archaic borders
Separating light from
The darkness