A small sampling of things I've written over the years that could arguably fall under the general blanket of "Poetry." Much of the poetry you see here was originally published on Five By Five Hundred, and you can also find my stuff in upcoming issues of Asimov's magazine. (please note: this isn't actually structured into any kind of order or anything)


Winter’s wicked claws tear across my
face; they draw no blood, but shred my skin
until I fall awake
inside a doorway, in a city,
under blankets torn and old
I am choked by dirt and worms
but still protected from the cold.

When the freezing rain is falling, I
am certain I have earned my discontent,
just as I deserve this green oakpark bench as my bed

I could use some conversation;
I could use a warmer heart.
But I sleep with ghosts and needles
in this dead, abandoned park,
mumbling between my failing breathes:

“Excuse me, mister,
can you spare some change?
This city is cold
and these shoes have holes.”

I caught you in an eye-to-eye
and still you kept on walking bye,
naked but your three-piece suit
and a tie around your neck just like a noose.

Chekhov's Gun Registration

It's one of the most important rules of dramatic storytelling: for before a gun is left resting on the mantelpiece,
or hanging on a wall or other inconspicuous location at the start of the story, it must be properly registered, the
characters having undergone thorough background checks before
obtaining such plot devices      and thereby        ensuring
the satisfactory resolution       of the story.        For while
it is true that the gun must       always go              off, it
must also do so with a                                           purpose, a
reason that enhances the story and ultimately delivers
some form of catharsis in
the form of a well-aimed
and well-regulated bullet.

Missionary Position

She spits at my feet but looks to the sky
as she is blessing me, so full of grace.
Like Seraphim wings, the whites of her eyes
glisten, wide open like Saint Peter’s Gate

at the Endtimes, with no one left to save.
She drove three-fourths of a revolution
to arrive, humming hymns along the way,
but never thought that she would be the one

abandoned by righteousness, left alone
as Mary ails, asphyxiating faith.
Her whispered conscience knows not what it’s done,
now, or at the hour of her death:

Her only sin has ever been her pride,
a trespass greater than the sum of mine.

i'm just saying

as opposed to talking, speaking, verbally
expressing myself, articulating, perhaps
enunciating, or maybe even communicating;
I’m just saying. Words have power when
they’re stated, spoken, told, disclosed, but
those linguistic weapons are swiftly disarmed
if we simply say that our saying is “just,”
because just makes us blameless and right.

This poem originally appeared on Five By Five Hundred.

I Carry My Grief In My Armpit

I carry my grief in my armpit
just so I can keep it warm,
and though some times the smell
escapes, at least I’m not alone.

You won’t find me in sleeveless shirts
or shaving off my hair, for
as long as she lives in my lymph
I’d like to keep her there.

Originally published on Five By Five Hundred

something to do with your hands

instead of gesticulating, gesturing,
balancing akimbo, crossed along the chest
or thrust deep into pockets, fingering
the holes and fiddling with change
or sticking lint beneath the nails;
an alternative tic that keeps the time
ticking while you await your turn
to speak, and so you lift and sniff
and sip and swallow, let the glass
drop slowly to the table, listen,
rinse, repeat.

Originally published on Five By Five Hundred

1UP (for Adam and Debbie)

An extra heart can save a life,
or offer one more try to beat
the dungeon-level boss, and
empower you with fireballs,

laser blasts, or some kind of
flying raccoon costume. But
sometimes it’s a superpowered
fusion reaction, forging two

disparate lives into one united
future that can overcome the
obstacles and enemies of every
wild world they will discover,

a love-fueled level-up that
far outlasts any star-powered
invulnerability and guarantees
a game that never ends.

Plus maybe an extra flying
raccoon costume, just in case.

Ghost Light

When double lives are done
and every curtain has come down,
after echoes that once filled
the air have settled to the ground,
a glowing guide remains alight
throughout forgotten times
should those who fled return
to find that which they left behind.