Wednesday, May 31, 2017


I’m tired of the 45

in my mouth
in our thoughts
metal element of hate
invading the phone calls from Aunt Wendy who asks, “how’s ‘em earthquakes?”

The cold 45 in the steamed-up locker room
hefty and heavy           heaving heralded hatred          with rhetoric of
            this is America’s gun.
my mouth is still fucking trying to spit this 45 out

                        I’d pay to find the body of a 45 in my backyard.
I can see it now
            the barrel fired too much and turned
orange and hot and grabbed whatever it wanted by the pu—

I still love you, 45—that took something from my tongue.

After The Beatrice Letters by Lemony Snicket

After The Beatrice Letters by Lemony Snicket

I will love you as long as the grass leaves stains on a white t-shirt, as long as kids love to play in the dirt, and as long as their t-shirts are grass stained. As long as dogs will stick their nose out the window of a car and as long as cars have windows, and for as long as windows love for dogs to stick out their noses. As long as roots seek out water and as long as water runs to roots. As long as the ocean has a grain of salt and as long as waves keep moving sand, and as long as salt and sand are subject to the movement of waves. I will love you for as long as the sun melts the snow, as long as the snow is cold, as long as the cold makes you shiver, and for as long as the sun that melts the snow warms your back. I will love you for as long as the Robin symbols Spring, and as long as the birds sing. I will love you as a book loves a reader, and as a pen loves a hand, and as a hand loves to spread the pen ink. I will love you as courage loves a hero, as water loves sailors, and as vengeance loves a tragedy. I will love you as war loves husbands, sons, brothers, and daughters. I will love you as Mars loves mysteries, as humans love calamity, and as Mars loves creating calamity with mysteries like love.  


Be Careful What You Wish For (A Cliché)

It’d be easy if I could write about you
your blonde twisted hairs tied—pulled up and never cut—24 years of split ends
                                                Dare you succumb to a virgin cut? You did with him.

Easier to write to you
Get lost in our written world of deceiving ink—
Every time I hear this song I think about dancing with you. I think it's bc we both, to a specific extent, hate our lives equally and there's a particular dance that matches that level of hate.

I think I’m lost in dancing with you—in some imaginary wedding
where I wipe a tear from your face and you tell me I always knew it was you.

I can’t listen to music without seeing you—
                        you harmonize with the high octave coos of Bon Iver.
I want to write about war—how it tears up the mind—how it destroys the ability to hear fireworks             without hearing Marv scream tell my mom I love her.
                        But those screams faintly die and I—
 your sea green eyes exploding into Sinatra blue
just before you burst into your cackling laugh.
                        Oh, damn your eyes

Keep me on your long line                 I’ll keep tugging from the backburner

Escalation of Force

Escalation of Force

We never marched into trenches made of mud-soaked ridden rot and rats
            woodbones of ziggedzagged mice, lice, and glory—No Man’s Land           
advancing across cratered terrain with hundreds       thousands        of hatesweat killing
machinemen. Trudging trench knives sharpened with wetted stones. Waiting to feel the crunch and pop between the 2nd and 3rd rib bones.

One bomb is too much to live through—millions shift to shadows stenciled in cement
                        grasped in the knuckles of                  God doesn’t do justice.

We write of war in the essence of its struggle
Like waking up to bodies                   dead and hollowed and not,                don’t let the inner war of oneself
to live—
to fight the good wavy struggle of life. Don’t let that fight die.

The guns blasting into the                   night    guiding us down like a biplane,
ripple-holed and spu spu sputtering down
            Our selfie banners       still marquee   showing allegiance to ourselves, to our flag.

Be my brother and take this gun out of my mouth. Be my lover—
We kicked doors down and said get the fuck on the ground with a .556 barrel thump to the chest              exit wounds pumping blood between our gloved fingers  they took a break         when Doc called it, and I could have taken my camera and focused on his face—

            but I looked at his shoes, thrown on sandals
probably just out to catch a ride home…. and we yelled

we shined lasers                      we shout, shove, show, shot to warn, shot to kill.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Crown of 7 Sonnets

Currently being review by NYT, Cincinnati Review, Boston Review, Iowa Writers, and more... will update accordingly.

With A Spotter Kneeling, Watching My Back
I study a man’s mustached olive face.
a crosshaired ballistic loophole—three blocks.
He twitches—at the whips of ricochets.
His iris—brown— glossed over with white—I’m
dialed in with tension on the trigger.
As I adjust for wind from east to west
He peaked around the wrong corner—I fire.

The jolt and jar – shoulders to soles—recoil
Pinging ears ring a high pitched major C—
Exit wounds splash against the grainy, egg-
-shell, white-walled butcher shack. I create an
abstract realist Starry Night—garnet brown.
Swirled coagulate—puddled and sunbaked.
Creation from a gentle trigger squeeze.

Creation from a gentle trigger squeeze.
I killed a bird when I was twelve with a
shotgun. I had hunted with my dad, but
this was different; we were camping. I woke—
and snuck before the sun—and crawled out—in-
-to the Black Kettle grasslands and found a
bush near the Washita river. Leafless
trees silhouetting the pink and purple
sky as a breeze from the north cooled my face.

The Black Kettle plains’ grass shift. There was a
blue jay on a branch—dove on a fence—I
aimed my rifle and pictured blues and whites
feather down with the red splattered bark brown.
The canvased tree would moan with the wind, but
a quail came from hiding and I caught it
peaking from the brush on the path I crossed.

Peaking from the brush on the path I crossed
A camouflaged man loomed—carrying a
Dragunov sniper rifle—as he peered
through the scope—reticles illuminated
A triangle with ticks lined up on sergeant
Clark’s nape. He fired—Clark dropped. Yells. Medevacs.
Helicopters inbound—outbound—crimson
Coagulate in the sandy dirt. I—
Gazed at the sky blue—black smoke on Tigris
Screams shift to ringing ears and then silence.

Floaters in my eyes win the battle, I
see nothing—hear nothing. I feel nothing.
I am back at home, listening to the cicadas
singing in harmony from the peach trees.

Singing in harmony from the peach trees
a mother quail sleeks the shortgrass hills
rolling with the barbed wire—skirting horny toad
spitting blood, blinding the red ants in their
attempt to evade, but the invader turns to prey
by the heart-faced barn owl, still white in tanned summer.
She glides in the night, over the blacked out ponds—

red-brown when the sun’s up, the only green
where the water level once soaked my leathered brown boots
--while waiting for whitetail to sneak a drink--
Only to be drawn on with a .50
caliber black powder—like Clark, big buck
dropped, flopped, tried to run—slung blood on the grass
To lie down in brush—licking exit wound
To lie down in brush—licking exit wound
I am the ball bearings in the playdough
—C4—homemade explosives marked US.
I blast my way through flesh & armor—legs
arms—severing dreams of Iraqi boys
playing soccer in the Olympics or
in the dirt field across from the market,
where a woman wearing black walked past the
butcher, to the Shi’a mosque. She never
yelled Allah Akbar— flash first—Bam explosion
rusty nails, molted copper chunks, shrapnel.
Collateral victims of war started
squirming, sulking for refuge in shit like
the maggot larvae in the sewered streets

The maggot larvae in the sewered streets
all but had their final feast once the shots
ceased and the dust had settled—no more screams.
The ringing in my ears won’t fucking stop
the floaters in my eyes morph to the teen
boy I caught leaping across the rooftops.
To find his next ballistic loophole—to
steady his breath, to give his Shehada—
To drop a big buck and help feed maggots.
I was steady first—my prayer was said. POW

The larvae evolved to flies—I turn green when
I realize they can leave this place. I’m stuck—
voluntarily forced to feed the white grubs
with my talent—a gentle trigger squeeze.

With my talent—a gentle trigger squeeze
JDAMs don’t have to drop from planes
on a missed target and fall on a house
crumbling on a family of ten—to create
a new generation of boys with guns
that want to kill Americans for God.

With my talent—a gentle trigger squeeze
dads can go home to kiss their newborn babes
and sleep between the dreams of mopping up parts
of suicide bombers or the dreams of
watching cranial chunks spray with Pinkmist.
I won’t sleep, I’ll talk this gun out of my mouth.
But first, I play the hunter of Clark’s killer—
I study a man’s mustached olive face.

I saw a boy

I saw a boy
around nine years’ old
Run toward me, a fearful smile on his face.
            Mista, football?
He rose his hands in want.
Dirt crusted his fingers and eyes
I was wishing I had more than chocolate

Most of the guys have become jaded with the kids
With the war
With watching death spiral them
And waiting for the rattle to shake their minds.

We are waiting for the scorpion to strike
The scorpion struck

I feel the venom before the creature comes from its hiding
I was dead before I returned home
Will I return home?
Have I already?

            Mista, mista, bomba
Imshi, Get away
I am acetate. I am the salt of the scorpion.
I bring the venom and kill slowly.

Cries for habibi scar my mind
I drink to the wails at night.

I wiped a dampened tshirt across his blood caked open eyes
            Ma’a Salama habibi

I Should’ve Caged Her

And she knew that day I
wasn’t coming home for some time
longer than she was used to,
but she smiled and kissed
my face and I said, “I
love you.”

She knew how to occupy herself, even if it was just her thoughts, or sleeping, or
talking with her friends across the apartment hall.
But I had gotten busy, I
had to work longer, I
should’ve gone home, I
could’ve             I didn’t.

I could tell something was wrong when I
Opened the door.       Her tail wasn’t wagging
As I walked down the white walled hall, I—
Realized I didn’t close the bathroom door, where
A rat trap—poisoned—was empty.

How could I have forgotten to close the door?
Did I forget to close the door?
How could I have forgotten to close the door?

I should’ve caged her, I
Would’ve closed the door, but I
Had to get her to the vet…

“If she makes it through the night, we’ll know if she’ll make it.”

Cries all night, in my ear, whimpers and paws digging into my arms,
She wouldn’t drink water, she
Only yelped
She wouldn’t look at me, she
Stared at the wall          through the wall
She died in my arms.
The poison blocked her vitamin K cycle, it
Induced internal bleeding
And she took her last hurtful
Death rattle breath
In my arms. I’m sorry.

I wish I would’ve closed the door.