Nice Guys

I am sick of nice guys.
And this is not to say
that I see myself hanging
on the arm of a leather-
jacket wearing badass
who will call me “Babe”
as he condescends me.
Who will pretend he’s single
out with the guys. No,
I don’t pine for bad boys.

I am sick of bitterness,
which I would find fitting
if women, truly, plotted
your demise over their knitting.
I can see them
crafting twisted stories
of love and then leaving
while you boast online
about what those man-
hating whores are missing.

Nice guys. Stop.
Good people don’t slander
women who know
their bodies are their own.
Their stories are their own.
What I wear or drink
are choices of my own.
And who I took home
or didn’t, last weekend
is none of your goddamn business.

But perhaps, I lie,
and this is the big cover-up
of our time. And misandry?
Well, that’s the real crime.
After all, it was Eve
who tricked Adam to eating
that apple off the ground
in the back yard last weekend,
full of worms. Full of lies
and women’s words.

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I’m growing my hair out just to cut it

so I can stop

scrolling through pictures trying to find myself

so I can stop, knees grounded begging

how would you have me?

just so get back

Blonde. To get long dark and silent.

To get, without a forehead and lips that lead to nothing.

Some days I long

for wind through nothing but freshly-shaved stubble

for showers with nothing but a bar of soap.

Some days

I want Captain Shakespeare’s magic comb

to grow locks luscious rolling

to grow locks black like pen-ink

or red fire or pomegranate

or pure blonde and straight

like you would have me.

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Fish-eye prize
beneath compressing carbon,
footsteps all over
every part of her,

and the mighty beyond
is not a fairytale
but sci-fi,
but gritty elemental histories.

Fish-eye prize
suffers gas, suffers chills,
suffers BOOM,
the cracks,
the heat,

and cares not
who bares the shiniest incisors
and the shades of them,
for she sees colors infinite.

This prize,
she truly is the gift of gods
of all of us, cradle
to disintegration.

She needs not words
of disciples of disciples
all good things,

for this prize
pushes poison out it’s pores
like a youth, sweaty
in hallucination.

Fish-eye prize
plays host to love
and birth and industry,
and man-made.

Fish-eye prize
in echoes
of a former fate.

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A question–a quip
and laughter with clenching grips
and a flashback
to ignorance. Tears
and balled-up paper
over dark green plastic seats,
close enough
for the bus driver to see.
This is the order. The totem
planted plastic in a white man’s
front yard. This is your tell,
that you were birthed
upon your throne expecting
all to fall to knees like Good Wives.
Even when you kiss
and say Be Strong.
Be strong and know
you’ve got your man
to protect you.

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Chutes and Ladders

I have been clumsy,
with one foot charging, forever,
toward truth, as the other turns
sharply, as it wishes.
I have been foolish,
unable to predict my body’s
periodic lunges toward illusion,
unable to remember
the length of the chute and how
it beats the ladder, every time.


Gray haired firm bodied ladies
and blonde haired slouching,
young women acting old while
old women clutch youth like their new
knockoff purses–but wait–

the eternal fratboy screeches
to a halt, eyes widening–then why
do I celebrate my bros, all ages at that,
and through chuckles at the course?
Could this be what the women meant

when they scoffed at Boy’s Club?
and retorted Yes All Men? and asked
for once to be taken seriously?

Oh, no, no, no, he sighs in relief,
it’s just that day-sympathizing again.

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I Am My Exes

From one, a collection
of large tee shirts from concerts
I did not attend. From another,
echoes of judgments because, really,
no one appreciates taste anymore.
There are leftovers, little ziplock bags
full of ideas I still consume,
that were not mine, at first,
but to my new loves, to my new world,
they are as much me as poetry
or whiskey, as pool or crows.
And then again, the first sips, do I recall
who passed me the bottle?
And when, exactly, did it take the place
of the gin Levine gave me or the vodka
out of plastic handles? Perhaps,
our webs are woven thicker
than your social media posts suggest.
Were we always so malleable? Light,
get back to it. I’d rather sway than just
compress. I’d rather spout a few clichés
than hold the hate my heart once felt
for those who left. From one,
a handful of inside jokes and movie quotes
that I still spout 3,000 miles away.
From another, sounds and then
a sinking feeling of rejection and then
another, louder now, of guilt.
These things stay with us. Forever
the shift of gifts we pass between
our loves–imprints and holes
we all possess. And we are better for it.

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Wise Eyes

My baby calls me Wise Eyes
when we lay in bed, his brown,

his youthful, into my graying
witness to a crumbling world.

In his dreams, he insists
in his truths, I was born

of a Willow, of my own accord.
He knows I will become her

once more and he prays,
not so soon. I show him

a painting of my youth, willows
around a country pond,

the little wooden rowboat
left to float graciously, lovingly

across its own reflection.
Ah, the clairvoyance of youth,

the unabashed joviality of truth
in sparkling eyes–his eyes,

from whose gaze I might borrow
more years of waking, walking life.

Do I lower pink lips
into the stillest pond to drink

even a sip? Or do I continue baring these
empty branches toward eternity?

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He knows
when silence exists no longer
and the pinpricks
and the shouting
and the blood-boiling redness
how the Earth will crumble
before his eyes
between his fingers
below the souls
of his graying, worn-out sneakers

He knows
when she is leaving
she is leaving
the night will drive her in again
He knows
that she leaves her things
like claws
for the reminder
of what’s to come
for him and He knows
this is the break
the breaking
between thoughts and love
between thoughts and sane
between he and rest, the rest
He knows
sins of women
sweat of women
curse of women

and they will know him
for his fists

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Writer’s Block

The problem was that love did not

multiply as she had expected,

as it had in kisses and glasses of beer,

but drained into the inanimate

like blood

into a single layer of gauze.

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