Poetry Collection


Relapse implies one stops in the first place. Can one be addicted to stopping? Obsessed with finding things to plug the leaky hole in their heart and soul? Or does addiction mean sick, unwell? Does it mean one’s actions are making them worse off than they were before, but they’re in a vicious cycle to solve all the problems? Addiction means circular reasoning. It postulates that making the outsides match the insides fixes everything.


Sneakers swish and squeak on the floor as he walks, knees bending only slightly, jean padded thighs grinding, hips sustaining a straight, square posture. Chest expands from the hunched over Back and returns in a slurry rattle similar to an attacked cymbal; Twitching, Fingers match their rhythm.

Tongue licks the teeth and sucks on the calcium before dampening pillow-like Lips. Once. Twice. Eventually every calculated stride. Cheeks stretch and smile, first goofily and then with a sober tinge. Eyes dart side to side to take in their surroundings.

All the colors and shapes are new, and therefore, painfully bright and visceral. Light burns Eyes to a crisp, glossy like a hot bubble in a pot of clam chowder. Blinking and flushing only worsen it. Saliva trickles down Throat in an attempt to quell it. Fingers twitch again: Middles dive like dolphins, Indexes and Rings frame them like waves, and Outliers curl in to pierce moisture-deprived palms.

They stop, and Shoulder heaves itself into the drywall. Fingers cling to the bumps on the wall and trace themselves a path to smooth navy metal, over a number plate. Tongue licks the teeth and smiles again. Cheeks emulate a clown or church greeter.

Fingers worry over the polyester polo and khakis; Hands jam themselves into the pockets to smooth what’s been smoothed the minute before. Feet shuffle and screech against the ground, smearing it with the unruly shoes.

This scene is made eponymous by its star. Nothing is right. Nothing is his. This fact is what our story is built upon.

Symphony (a series of poems on the same subjects)

These poems detail the story of a relationship between a boy and a man.


On the doorstep of

my tall red building is

A boy. He likes


Bread is good,

he says.

Bread is soft and

fluffy and good. He likes

bread very much.

Whenever I go out to the

supermarket, I buy bread. I’m not sure if the

bread is for me or the boy. I try to believe it’s for both of us, so we

sit on the dry, dusty steps that lead up to my tall red building, and we eat the

porous, flaky bread with flour-dusted crust.

Crumbs build up in mounds upon the corners of the boy’s

Mouth, his hair bunched up balls that

fold against each other and grow like

moss on his head and over his

neck, dark brown eyes

concaved on themselves, crowded by a wide

nose and

relatively thin lips,

all of which have been dipped in milk chocolate before he was born.

He’s a beautiful boy. A beautiful boy who

likes bread very much. Bread and milk. Because everyone knows

bread is best with milk.

The boy doesn’t wear his

milk like others do. His face is clean shaven; his tongue is

where he wears it, white and dimpled, wet.

I wish the boy would come inside

my house when he finishes the bread. It’s

cold outside, and children should be kept warm as well as

they are fed. He would not wear the

hard-shelled coat I bought him from the coat store, nor the

lice-purged fleece jacket my mother sent me from when I

was a boy. He only likes bread. Nothing



The boy tells me the world is

sepia, a caramelized haze. He tells me the world is sepia, but

I am in the highest definition of color, every one of my features etched in

stone. He tells me the ground feels like nothing, but

I feel like fuzzy peaches. He tells me my hands are cracked and dry,

my shirt is soft, my eyes are sharp.

The boy tells me sometimes he wants to

dash his eyes out and cry. I tell him he can cry plenty and still

see. This moment is when the boy’s

undashed eyes leak developer fluid and his sobs delay like a timer.

The boy tells me I can hold his

hand if I promise not to

hurt it.


I tell the boy the world is

processed like cheese and melts whenever I touch it. His hand is solid when

I take it, though, the sleeve of his shirt

murky like mop water, swirly denim.

I tell the boy the steps

of my tall, red building weren’t made

for him. I tell him he can

come inside if he’d like.

I tell the boy I

would like for him to come

inside. My house is

soft and

fluffy and


The boy talks in

tongues, and he tells me he’d like to

cut it out and give it to someone more

deserving of speech and

fluffy, soft bread.

I tell him that his voice is

soft and fluffier than any bread I’ve ever tasted,

devoid of that crust that insists on caging the softness. I tell him he is

soft and fluffy and good like bread, and I am the

deli meat that can sit beside him on the steps of my tall, red building until he’s able to

stand and come inside.

Tankas (a Japanese art form)

who watches for the small boy

on the steps of the tall red

building? who but me?

he’s not hungry or sad;

his heart beats emptily.

unwrap your hair &

spit it out into the sun

to make Him happy.

make it bounce bounce bounce like a

big, blue, bimbling, basketball.


Brother says the world

is pickle. That if I try to

chew or swallow I'll get

eaten. Brother has some

pointed holes in his palm

from where pickle tried to

eat him. Sister pulled him

out and got eaten herself.

Brother tells me over

that pickles are good,

if I soak them long in

kool-aid they won’t

break the enamel so fast,

but even that won’t stop

pickle from eating me, so

it’s safer to not try to eat

pickle at all. That’s what he

did wrong: dipped it in tropical

punch and followed the instructions

on the packet to destruction. Pickle

didn’t die because it wasn’t sweet enough.


Do you think God gets

mad when we step on

ants? Do you think ants

live? Do you think God

curses us every time we

end a life? Do you think

we’ve stepped on a few

too many? Do you think

I mean lives or ants?


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