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)

Ode to Candy Corn

rounded wax wedges, waning; a tawny
base that tapers towards a soft point
white like tundra, in taste and texture,
bleeding out from burning copper ribs
hardly mellow hardened creme
of candle crops to harvest fat
free treats, a sign of times once pagan-
human, uncivilized, re-captured,
re-claimed, costume the dead alive
and turn the season, turn to shovel
handfuls into mouths full of rotting
teeth a special offer, a limited time only
exciting when available but hardly
missed in memories of stomaches
turned to sick, in children as in men
but indulging in each dish we find it
harder to resist the solstice sweets
and let ourselves get lost inside
that sadistic sugar maize

Massachusetts License Plate [REDACTED]

This was originally published in Dig Boston's "Oh, Cruel World!" column

A-pedal left, a-pedal right, a-pedal side-by-side
down Massachusetts Avenue, headed swiftly Cambridge-side,
when by the corner of mine eye a creature did appear
who rode atop a dark blue steed and wreaked of hate and fear.

Though I held green, the beast turned right on red, so full of pride.
He cast no glance around him — I careened into his side!
“What are you, fucking retarded?” he spoke, “You dumb fuckin’ little shit!
I’ve got four fucking wheels, so get off the goddamn road you asshole!”

I turned to him in shock with piercing daggers in my eyes:
“Indeed, good sir, you broke the law — and neither did you rhyme!”
“Fuck you, you little cocksucker. I’ll hit you again if you don’t get out of my fucking way!”
I said I’d call the men of law to see what they had to say.

He disembarked his steed and lumbered forth in my direction,
“Go on you fucking prick, I fucking dare you. Go ahead, call the fucking cops. You’re the god damn retard here.”
“Forsooth, dear sir!” I doth protested, “for thou art in the wrong!”
“You shit-eating little pussy, go ahead. Here’s my fucking license plate.”

With that burst, he mounted back upon his armored steed
and drove away, leaving me to contemplate his deed.
I paused for breathe, considering the issue challenged me.
I grabbed my phone, called 911, and told them everything.

So I write to you, owner of blue jeep with a license plate of [REDACTED]:

Have fun paying off my college loans when I sue your ass for aggravated assault with a motor vehicle, dick.

My City Is a Fickle Mistress

My city is a fickle mistress, one
whose kisses drip with history
from chapped lips, coarse and
warm. When she wails, her rough
winds break through skin, and her
icy knuckles crack against my
cheeks. Flushed red from the
impact’s heat, her rage strikes
hard ’til nostrils bleed and fingers
plea for numbness over pain.

But then she radiates with yellow
eyes and smiles through a silver
sky and whispers softly, sweetly
through the breeze. She drapes
on me a blanket made of balmy
love and memories, convincing
me to never want to leave.

Inches Away!

An army of inchworms parachute
in on strings of silky steel. They
scramble and squirm as if frightened
of falling as they slowly descend from
some invisible biplane. The
first few reach the ground, their
camouflaged flesh allowing them
to easily infiltrate the perimeter
of spring foliage. The rest of
the platoon still drifts from the
sky, swinging in the wartorn winds
of May. Three soldiers are stolen
by this violent breeze and cast
off to shores unknown. A spot of green
writhes upon the table down
below; their sergeant stands before
me, defiant and poised, prepared
to strike that crucial blow. I
push my chair backwards
as I stand up to fight back;
it slices through a wall of
tethered strands, sending
the remaining troops to
plummet to the ground. The
sergeant squiggles safely
away so he might fight
another day, and I the giant
turn back to this page, fully
unaware of the battle being waged.

The Manic Mirror Maid of Massachusetts Avenue

Mirror, mirror, in your hand:
(one reflection if by land)
tell me, of the two you see,
who is fairest — you, or me?

Is there some thing you hope to spy,
echoed in your own two eyes?
What is it that you pray to find
in those of us who walk behind

you — enemies, or maybe friends?
The prospect of your madness’ end?
Three blocks walked in every way,
along the same cow path each day,

both ways looked when crossing streets —
the fate you left as fate you meet.
But sallow glass won’t keep you safe
from that which lies beyond your face.

We Will Become T-Shirts

No more dates engraved in stone — now when our bodies grow weak and die, we become t-shirts instead, emblazoned with an image of our smiling faces captured in our youthful prime and frozen in a moment how our friends like to remember. Our souls are screenprinted in vinyl on a 50/50 cotton blend and passed out to our loved ones so they can wear our memories on the outside and then take them off when it’s convenient. Most run in XtraLarge so our family and friends wear our souls to bed to comfort them while they dream; the rest run small and find their use as undershirts or painting rags. Others still wind up in a four-sided wooden box, buried beneath the catacombs of clothing in the bottom dresser drawer. Some lucky few end up on plastic lunchboxes with matching thermoses for soup, plastic frisbees, or kitchenware, and find utilitarian purpose in the afterlife until they are conveniently misplaced or warped in the fiery depths of the dishwasher. Our fabric memory is not as weather-resistant as granite, but at least it’s portable — itinerant, like our own weary lives. But if death is a fashion, then immortality is merchandise, and these days everybody wants to live forever.

Freshmen Weekend

The crisp, pre-autumnal
scent of perfume, vomit
and underage drinking
wafts through the air
on Huntington Avenue.

Wherefore art thou pants,
sweet maiden? Why dost
thou mate lie incontinent
along the gutters of the bridge
on Massachusetts Avenue?

Cellphone screams, the
clumsy click and clack of
stilettos slice the stillness
of the early morning light
on Commonwealth Avenue.

While I nestle softly in
my bed off Centre Street.

The Collapse of the Theory of Evolution in 50 Themes

Get ready for this beautiful story:


First, let me reassure you that
this is not your ordinary house.
The main goal is Interpretation
of data in the network. Now,
within just 3 minutes, the stream
ran shyness in the zone of the trades,
holding and using the reins. Stress
is laid upon raising goats to awaken
your partner’s desire. Let me improve
your riding and the miracle of flowers
(roses, daisies, vanilla, spring and more).

Bow, lie down, and shake hands —
the church bus will be taking off
on Friday, and every punctuation rule
is at your fingertips. A fascinating
cross-cultural voyage, and it takes
only two minutes. These secret tactics
do not turn into legends; it’s a great
deal of fun even if they do discover
and separate the pleasure functions.


The painted butterfly took blood
into the air upon the edges of its
home; it can never lose its beautiful
story guidelines on injector cleaning
and flow testing, the one process that
destroys 93% of her profit before and
after each days’ play. How you can use
a marker pen to draw on balloons to
create a specially designed calculator
to help you run this system?


Dear Friend, wouldn’t there be
so much more wealth in questions?
Are you looking for a way to jump —
embarrassed, humiliated and defeated
again? Do you suspect that it rains
during the summer? You will only bet
the races with the absolute best: a girl,
a horse, and the the real reason why
laying systems do not work. You will
undoubtedly look back on this moment
with shock for many years, Daily and
longer in the regulation afternoon,
considering a horse at last: What
does it cost? No special skills get
respect around town now that we have
entered the Millennium, and phobias are
no more. Natural principles may not be
exterminated, but regulated and transparent.
There s a great deal of money to stay
legal, with the additional help of
the racing world that were once truly
a great benefactor of the human hearts and designs.


Ambling sloth-like through the wasteland, breathing in a noxious haze of tryptophan and sickly sweet liquor, I plod past the pestilent pond of porcelain piled high in endless pillars, towards the puddles of putrid fat liquidized and pooling on the plates, once poured steaming over broken bones now dripping down the drain while the last vestiges of flesh hang threadbare off that osseous matter. Small hands have left their mark behind them, stained and sliding down the wall as if grasping for some invisible rungs to rescue them from wrath. Meanwhile, that gelatinous glob of congealed red mass continues to vellicate on the floor, a ceaseless tremor that suggests its sentience. Yet somehow, the empty glass and glasses have survived the slaughter mostly intact, only weathered and worn by overuse though now dirty, discarded and disheveled down among the grateful undead whose virile corpses litter the living room furniture until such time tomorrow that consumption might continue.


gin makes a Man mean
that is what
He knows thats
what he has
been told before
this happens
for a Reason he
sees it float
A way
a lone a
a Love he knows
the fate of
such a Stone

NINA Never Loved Me

When I was just a wee young lad, so bright and true,
me father told me. “Son,” he said so, “NINA never loved you.”
When I asked him what I did to fill her scorn at my affections,
he just sighed, said that’s the way that it’d been for generations.

I asked me Uncle Reggie, who from north of Eire came,
why her bright green eyes had filled him after with such shame.
He said a girl would never care for savages like we
and only fools would ever let such blood just to be free.

And so we sang our songs to celebrate what came before
my father’s father left his love behind on kelly shores.
And though I’m told to leave the pain of heartbreak in the past,
I keep her still with me for fear that mine could be the last.

Electric Lights

The selfish unawareness
of a window painted blue,
and electric lights that won’t reflect
but sound so clearly overdue.

It permeates the smell of sanitation
and of jaundice under skin that
has been peeled away by saline
soldiers crawling on their knees
across a bridge of gathered lives;
maybe this time,

she’ll sound so
much better in this sweater than this dress
that leaves her back exposed
so all the coldest air can make a nest.

All the stabbing, all the dripping,
all the fevers and the cries, and the
poorly picked out tiles on the wall
have watched a million maidens die
underneath electric lights.

She’s so
mixed up like metaphors;
it’s better for her. So
when all the shallow echoes
fall and settle in her cheeks,
she’s still demanding
all that I can V.


Hear the knock, knock, knock
of the man in the box
trying to escape,
a stick white man
with a red right hand
who’s never known the way.

The Ballad of Gideon Stargrave

In a city full of strangers,
or a town that’s drowned in dreams,
I’m the albatross, awaiting flight;
a soldier’s greatest scheme
before his life and pride are blown apart.
Locked on target for her heart:
His pen’s his only missile that he flies.
But he’s still stuck somewhere
between himself and I.

Oh, if I could be him
he wouldn’t have to be me.
There’s an albatross around my neck
and we both know what that means.

So he’s offering his blessing
to the boy out in the cold
because he’s given all that he can give.
He’s left with just a face,
and though the girls all swear he’s handsome,
it’s just not to his taste.
Without his arms, without a neck,
without his feet, without a heart,
he’s more than alive,
and that’s more than a start.

He gave me most of his mind.
He asked me to write,
to color his life
but a poet is lost
when his life is all right;
when the girls are in love;
when he sleeps through the night
without a sound.

St. Elsewhere

at half past, work is over; time
to watch the changing guards
as they dance their canine cares
away, or hide the smoky veil of truth
from pairs of pale men, pockets
lined, to brown bags hiding
closing time’s desires. There’s a fight
on either side–one with claws, and

one with knives. Across the street
They hide beneath the shade and
gamble lives, but no one on the
other side will stop to bat an eye.

While some may wear a leash of chains,
the other side is held as fast by bars
and by the rain and by the promise of
a supper that He prays is not His last:

Patron Saint of Somewhere Else, please
bring Us greener pastures and better days,
otherwise entitled to those good enough
to pay. So We laugh it off like child’s play,
endearing simple-minded pleasures–stay out
of the way, of the teeth They bare and call a game

beneath the watchful Eye of telephone lines.
There is a Man who stares across the street
in silence, and in envy, of another man’s best friend:

They will not let You play, and They will not let You in.

Dad's Diaries

Dad’s diaries are waiting in the top drawer of
a bed stand in the places that we go when we
get lonely for an hour. The paper-thin parchment
crunches when I turn the page, like autumn leaves
that fell from burning trees too soon;
translucent and impermanent, the noises
keep me company in every bawdy tomb.

I read my favorite stories to a girl that I
won’t Mary from the time when you were
thirty-two, and think of all the shit you carried
with you on your back (you never let it weigh
you down) and I am hoping to remember all
the things you taught me back when you were still around.

Dad, I see your diary was written down by
someone else’s hand, but I still remember
everything you taught me about how to be
a man. You’ll be glad to know your grand
daughter is working overseas where she is
farming in a fertile land and does it all for
free, and how I almost tied your grandson to
a fence the other day, but I just pelted him
with rocks until he bled out all the gay.

See, I’m trying hard to live my life
just the way you told me, or at least
the way I read it in this dusty little
story book where your friends had all
your best intentions written down.
But Father, I have got to ask how you
drank from that bloody glass and split
the fish while we were killing kingdoms
in your name, and how you loved the lonely
lepers and you knew your mother’s whore,
when you told me that the wicked
would not be let in your doors. But you’re
not around to give me all the answers
I might need, so I am forced to watch
as Mary takes my sixty bucks
for a fuck and leaves.

I Wish I Lived IN 5/4 Time

I wish I lived in
five-four time, one beat
ahead, or one behind of
marches, or a steady waltz,

where songs continue through the
halts in patterns that begin
to grow beyond the rhythms
that we’ve known while breaking

up the measured pace of
music filling oblong space with
low bass notes and treble
tones exploding through our gramophones

that settle into some new
groove and welcome a familiar
tune: Oh, I wish I
lived in five-four time.

Mal Means "Bad" (in the Latin)

How heavy, thine heart?
I’ll weigh it on a grey scale
and then I guess we’ll talk.
Do you recall the time you told me,
“Mal means ‘bad’ in Latin?”

I still speak in tongues and lips and fingertips,
and I keep stuttering semantics, and I always
let you fall for it, making meaning out
of every fated kiss; and I hoped that it
would never come to this

but it always does its part
I’ll weigh it on a grey scale
and then I guess we’ll talk.
Do you recall the time you told me,
“Mal means ‘bad’ in Latin?”

As always, art is open
to the interpretation
of the patron, and while I may
have lost you in translation,
I was found sleeping soundly
in a sea of constellations where
I drowned beneath the comfortable
blankets of abyss, its never-ending
nothingness reminding me
of all that I had missed.

Though I’m hardly a scientist, it seems
to be my density, and not my mass,
that helps me stay afloat; I guess that I’ve
been lying to myself all along. My heart
has only half the hallowed substance of
the ocean that it swallows (albeit eloquently),
but like drinking too much water, you
can drown your cells and suffocate yourself
until you choke; if that’s a metaphor,

I meant it for my heart
I’ll weigh it on a grey scale
and then I guess we’ll talk.
Do you recall the time you told me,
“Mal means ‘bad’ in Latin?”

My betrayal knows no tragedy, and so
my greatest stories have all spilled
from my own pen, and my authenticity
is never called to question, like the
greatest of the dead white men; it seems
I will not go down in history as the
soft romantic man that I believe myself
to be. Instead, I leave my Juliets for
dead and carry on, never stopping
long enough to wonder if I’m wrong.

A Catalog of Thoughts; Or, Sorry Lena Dunham, But Our Generation Already Has a Voice

It’s called Every 20-Something With A Liberal Arts College Education And A Smartphone Who Was Reared On Pop-Culture-As-Literature And General Memetic Awareness With A Knack For Creative Nonfiction Who Also Probably Lives Paycheck-To-Paycheck In An Urban Environment Not Because You Have A Family To Feed Or Anything But Because Your Actual Salary Isn’t Really Comparable To The Lifestyle You Lead Because You Know Happy Hour But I Mean Who Really Cares About A Savings Account Anyway That’s So Totally Just For People In Their 30s Or God Forbid Even Older Than That But Now That You’re Out Of College Life Is Pretty Different And You’re Struggling To Find The Balance Between Growing Up And Growing Old And You’ve Started To Notice That Your Body Can’t Quite Synthesize Alcohol The Way It Used To Even Though You’re Well Aware That You Probably Still Drink Too Much But I Mean Like You Drink Too Much In Moderation Instead Of Just Binge Drinking On The Weekends (Thirsty Thursday Obviously Counts As Part Of The Weekend) So I Guess In Some Ways That’s Still Kind Of An Improvement And There’s Something About Turning 24 That Offers A New Perspective On Life at 23 And All Of A Sudden You’re 25 But It Feels Like 25 Ta Life Ya Know And You Feel Like You’re Still A Kid Or At Least You’re Not A Grown Up Unless People Don’tThink You’re A Grown Up In Which Case You Are So Totally Grown Up You Are Mature You Are Successful It’s Really Going To Start To Happen Even Though You’re Still Not Entirely Sure What “It” Is But You Can Still Talk About It Probably In The Form Of A List Or Some Other Kind Of Clever Post-Ironic Creative Non-Fiction Form In Vague Language And Terminology But With Just Enough Specificity To Make “It” Seem Real Or At Least Real Enough To Invoke Empathy With Your Fellow Liberal Arts College-Educated 20-Something With A Smartphone And A General Awareness Of Pop Culture And Internet Memes And The Technological Know-How to Share-Tweet-Tumble-Like Everything You’ve Said In An Electronic Acknowledgement Of Camaraderie That You Are Not Alone They Are Not Alone These Experiences Are Nothing New Nothing Unique But It’s Your Voice And That’s What Makes It Special Because You Are Special You Are Unique You Are Every Liberal Arts College-Educated 20-Something City Dweller You Are The Voice Of A Generation You Are Not Alone