#1
Two poems. The first especially is a slam poem, so really only works when spoken aloud. (If you're a fan of slam poetry, look up Anis Mojgani. He's a magician with words.)


For a Girl With a Boy's Name
for R.C.

The smell of maple syrup in the air from the Denny's on Hoover Street
reminds me of home.
That home that's bittersweet
from too much love and not enough mutuality,
from which I stand in self-imposed exile in a 3am crosswalk,
an escape from the red tights and Bud Lights,
the aftermath of a farewell sendoff.
I'm a struggling Olympian, ill-equipped for the challenge before me,
which is to keep history at bay and not submit to that which is
if not right, at least not wrong.
So I walk.
I take to the streets.
I don't drive or bike, I get out on my feet,
out into the real world,
away from the fantasy of black and grey stripes sliding through my midnight door
because I've heard it happened before
in another time and I am praying for lightning to strike twice.
But that's not how it works.
Thanks for playing, better luck next time,
that's the line.
I'm a single-sided star-crossed lover in the City of Angels.
Her floral name and the drinking games
and the way her hair falls across her right eyebrow
keep me firmly grounded in the here and now
which is trouble because I don't know how
but I've got to do something to change my state,
away from this place where I just sit and wait
because it is killing me,
having to see
where she sleeps, the one place I want and cannot be.
I see her kissing lips that aren't mine
and I'll smile and nod and say I'm fine
but I am dying
and all I can do is laugh to keep from crying,
shake my head, clap my hands,
throw a ball, and hit a can,
move to prove my heart's still pumping
going left and right, dancing, jumping,
hoping to God that things don't stay this way,
that's the only thing for which I pray these days.
I've been told I'm wrong,
and she says she's not right,
but none of that matters in the middle of night.
The only thing I care about is what might might might.


Sanctity
for K.C.

Like all men before me I am searching for what is holy.
I find those things sacred that bring joy, peace, and awe.
The sunset over the Pacific Ocean and the sunrise over the Atlantic.
The Joshua trees.
The Sears tower.
Niagara Falls. The Hoover Dam.
Stands of redwoods that have existed since before spoken language.
A full tip jar in a Skid Row bar.
A fire truck careening through the night and the martyrs aboard it who run into Hell to drag others out.
The aftermath of genocide, which proves that mankind can and will survive hatred and supplant it with love.
A mother crying with joy at a newborn's laughter.
The silence of an empty theatre and an empty church and the lack of difference between them.
Clair de Lune.
A Hail Mary in overtime.
The crack of the bat.
Veterans tearing up at the national anthem on the Fourth of July.
A thousand people singing Hey Jude in Trafalgar Square, even if it is only a publicity stunt.
The smell of woodsmoke.
The night.
The moon.
The sky.
The way the streetlights cast a shadow on your face and sadden me because I can see less of you.
The silence on the front porch.
Divinity is silent and love speaks without words;
The dark is holy and in that moment we share before the front door, hushed in the orange night of the Angels, I feel the divine.
The Spirit is in the way you twist your hair, and I want to live forever in the Heaven of your heart, where I will be a saint, because there, I see God.
Can't stop the signal.