the fresh
eggshell walls
create a pungent scent

replacing the purity that
once filled your lungs and
year after year of calming
hues as taste came and went

distant screams of young
children laughing
become sucked into the
quiet humming echo of a
rattling vent in the other room

and after the wet strokes
from the thick brush initiate
the decision to finally go,
the heavy collision of tired
crooked nails versus
dry calloused hands
and manmade tools
strategically pierce the clean canvas

a few minute wall particles
escape between each breath,
and patiently waltz in a drift beneath
the bent rust after each moment of impact;
slipping between the fibers that kiss your heels

hazel eyes that smiled
and hugged crows feet
now hang in your face,
covered by marked fingerprint glass;
a preserved memory now beginning to fade

the paint has already begun to crack

I wrote this about two months ago and finally decided to post it. Feedback is appreciated as always. But also, I would be interested in hearing what you think it is I'm telling with this poem/story/I don't know what this is exactly :)


Numero un: Train...

missed the sand and sea
missed the backtrack
missed the rails that split

myself and others hidden from the waves

somber olive green rustles tenuously on
arid limbs in a stray wind
an arms length away
the abandoned homes
the graveyards
the loose blades of grass
sleep on the edge of earth in morning fog

all of it dashed past my seat
freezed in each window frame
a sliver of the breakdown in tune with the
crackling heat and tangerine coal
the countryside smudged among perception
all of it blurs

it left me

abrasion, inertia, metal scraping against metal
hasty and abrupt, jarring placid caffeine
cooling the exhale of a boiled twist with sweet vanilla
disrupting the warm, molded ceramic resting between my lips
the jolt

eyes shift ahead, empty, strained, unresponsive
lonely directive geometric outlines gild calm, plush, beige

a hotel manner embraces champagne, glass
so neutral
fairly so
everything is lost
grounded by gravity

In the middle of a major edit.*


the delicate strum, strum, strumming of the quiet strings humming
of the beautiful twisted wire pulled so tight and clean
of the wise, calloused fingertips stretching its sleepy daze
of the polished, scarred timeline, keeping it all in place

the slices of Sitka Spruce still breathe fresh morning rain
a carefully crafted and mended work of art
where a hollowed mouth remains
near a grounded Indian rosewood bridge
guiding cheap silver across the satin finished plains

but strung about so firmly it quivers in a dance
leaping across lost notes
swirling within the single ring rosette
north on the path to a charming mahogany neck
where the strings must kiss with a steady hand a gold foil peck

all this perfection lying within frame of the glazed tortoise binding
its vowels rippling a marble pond pair, slowly seeping into a warm vacancy
the inner workings of its shell cradles voices of the chords
nurturing, perfecting, carving
the shadow smothered grain breathing, exhaling, echoing
show the world what you can be, show the world your inner beauty
the delicate strum, strum, strumming of the quiet strings humming absorb the air we breathe

During CW II we had the opportunity to write a song and have James Hersch play and sing it. It was awesome and he helped me tweak around a few things, although it's not EXACTLY how I wanted it to be, but whatev it's all good.


Buckled > 21 Grams

Final Version

A pale, smooth, effortless,
branded past grazes across sliver ridges
ringing around the center of your fingertip.
Sliced by the mirror. Admired.

A paralyzing fate of serving time with his eyes closed.
A malfunctioning matter revoking the right to breathe.
A matter in the hands of others judging side by side.
Twisting their calloused thumbs, soft palms, crooked knuckles.
Judging the way he blinks.
Judging the way he dictates lost words.
Judging the way he grasps his thoughts in the upper left corner.

An urgent memo to the translucent
black cavity in his skull that his face must
wince when he hears blue jays sing into his canal.
That his tongue must swell when he brings the coldest,
purest mountain water to his lips.
That his eyes must melt when he wakes to sunrise.
And that his skin must unravel when he lies on a swaying golden hillside.

Buckles choke his veins, numbing his limbs.
Wires weave violently about the scratched Northern Oak.
Rustic tap water seeps from the sponge through the black ink veil,
colliding into the fear from his brow.

Screams from Hell scoff at his throat;
Death breathing in the mask now.
Voices muffle, chatter, enrage.
Impatient now.
No health benefits and
long hours pulls the switch now.
21 grams
l i g h t e r



First Version
Prompt: Karma

A pale, effortless, branding past
impressed across sliver ridges ringing
around the center of your fingertip. Scarred.

A reminder to the black speckled
cavity in your skull that your face must
wince when you hear the blue jays sing in your canal.
That your tongue must swell when you bring the coldest,
purest mountain water to your lips.
That your eyes must cloud when you wake to sunrise.
And that your skin must unravel when you dance on a swaying golden hillside.

A paralyzing fate of serving time with your eyes closed.
A malfunctioning matter revoking the right to breathe.
A matter in the hands of others judging side by side.
Twisting their calloused thumbs, soft palms,
and crooked knuckles.
Judging the way you blink.
Judging the way you dictate lost words.
Judging the way you grasp your thoughts in the upper left corner.

Buckles choke your veins, numbing your limbs.
Wires weave violently about the scratched Northern Oak.
Rustic tap water seeps through the black ink veil,
washing away the fear from your brow.
Screams from Hell scoff at your throat;
Death breathing in the mask now.
Voices muffle, chatter, enrage.
Impatient now.
No health benefits and
long hours pulls the switch now.

21 grams

l i g h t e r,


Chicago Mornings

Final Version. I despise this. Really.

7:30 am slowly
filters between the
loosely woven,
machine wash cold,
curtain black polyester.
There, the quiet pockets of light
nudge the dozens of wispy onyx blades that
crown the dead end of slumber
until they lose their stance and
finally give way to sunrise.
The exposed tired emeralds fill a sage
halo mapping out the rigid white terrain
stretching across the entire room.
You connect the dots until you see stars.

After finding Leo and Sagittarius
you let the mesmerizing voice of a
humbled somebody's husband
working in your plastic electronic box
sink in and tell you, you're late.
He tells you it's 7:40 am,
time to play your favorite tune.
Your empty seat quakes with the
notes with the L-train far below.
Rattling cheap silver pans
you got on sale last week
Rattling your space and
balancing its speed on the fragile rails
it severs the smooth trail of notes from your radio.

Your body snaps up from your warm cocoon.
Thrown in shambles it continues to
sleep and bake from the rays that woke you.
You dance about in shock and fear as you
fall into the routine of adorning pale flesh
near twisted golden ashYou dance
about as you slip on a Vogue copy
from this month's issueYou slam your locked
door and race down the stairsRacing those
stairs like a child to free ice creamracing like
an adolescent to money and drugsracing today like
there's no tomorrowSo you hit the asphalt running wild.

Running and racing soon turns to waiting.
Only you wait in line for a craving.
A filtered product from a lonely village in Brazil.
A free form need strategically mixed with
clear metallic minerals that live within the
core of which you stand.
But the first sip is never tasted;
the degrees wipe that away.
So cradling with care you cup the cup.

Avoiding a collision on the streets against
the stampede of rubber souls crushing thousands
of tiny pebbles and grains of sand and dirt in their way
with CEO alligator leather lurking beneath
the surface of ordinary wealth.
Unhinging its locked jaws to
strike and smother the poor old deer bending
his head to far in the water.
Minimum wage never had a
good reflection, anyways.

Clearing away from the infested waters
you seek refuge from the busy
morning shuffle onto the narrow
sticky stairs that descend into artificial night.
Your shadows transition foot by foot.
Becoming darker and bolder
with layer upon layer of
crumbling Chicago timeline concrete.
The sparking electrical wiring
and eroded toothpick steel
support frames highlight its age.

After you swipe your plastic for a ride,
you push your heaving body and
now cooled free form Brazilian bean
into the revolving twisted bars
that cage the entrance.
You accompany a lonely,
yawning flickering light
with an equal stance and
feel the dead heat poking at your spine.
You watch night spill from the
black hole channel onto monstrously
grooved bones hundreds peer over
from the ledge to glance at each day.
The sharp fumes choke and invade your lungs
and you never, you never take this train.

But it's the fastest way to get to
42nd street then Jeffersonthe lobby then floor seven
the place you make your green.
Your jeweled eyes collide into the
blinding perpetrator that swallows
all echoes beneath city streets.
The halt scratches at your eardrums
and opens its mouth; consuming
you whole while you cross the
gap in its teeth, taking you where you need to be.

Your current mood transitions into hesitation.
It’s you and them. Heels and harsh words.
Still you settle like a blood cell into its temperature controlled core.
The train rocks forward, germs whisper in a dark corner to your left.
“What it is mothafucka, this is how I roll bitch.” Culture.
Pure history rolled into a booming base.
Spit greasing the handrails.
Chaos ensues as a brother germ boards.
Wife beater loud music vulgar using scum.

Scum, scum, scum.
That’s all this is. This train, these people, the dirt on this floor.
Infecting lost grins, infecting lost moods, infecting the shift of your weight.
The “fuck you’s” and “I love you’s” engraved onto cheap plastic orange
and faded ivory chairs accented with brown. How ugly. How fucking ugly.
But I need this. I need the ugly because I paid for it,
I get the ugly because I had to wake for it.
But this was new once.

This was beautiful and clean and top of the line transportation, once.
But the fresh mask, polished aluminum piping,
and vibrantly molded comfort has long passed.
This beautiful scum got bruised ugly.
Its joints don’t move right.
They jolt and shake,
they creak and scream.

And its eyes.
They are so clouded and scratched, marked and cracked.
But the breathing. Its lungs will fail soon.
So slow and heavy. Twice as slow as its heart beat.
Its damn heart will fail soon, too.

But the smell still lingers.
The smell of black coffee, stale cigarettes,
and a complex crossword puzzle between a cheating widow.
The smell of white lies and a cherry Coke between a brother and sister.
The smell of the sun slipping through inch thick plastic,
melting slight cavities into the flooring from unoccupied glasses.
The smell of tired bodies in moonlight sprawled over Clementine,
Eggshell, and Auburn during rush hour in the heat of night.
The smell of a livid loner engraving his four by three motto into
Clementine’s smooth, sturdy back with his grandfather’s Swiss army knife
and teacher’s permanent marker, just to make it clear.

The rails stick more than usual.
Gravity pulls your purse to stained plastic squares.
Spilling contents upon contents of your cheap synthetic necessities.
You gather what didn’t roll.
A raspy muffle is announced overhead.
Lost vowels spinning from the tip of a parched mouth.
You didn’t catch that, either.
But this monster has had enough of you.
Lips finally part and those familiar fumes get lost in your lungs again.
You can feel the city breathing. The constant mechanical motions are in tune.

Yet now you retrace your steps with a slight backward form of deja vu.
You ascend from the inferno, past the twisted bars,
and past the antique timeline. Emerged unscathed.
Sweet winds from the west carries Giuseppe’s Flowers,
hushing those flushed cheeks. Trailing behind weak petals
then waiting at the corner of 42nd you watch them dance in the breeze.
The light flashes safety and you must leave.

Jefferson greets with his brittle foundation,
the doorman pleads with a smile of anticipation,
your heels click the floors of a thousand tribulations,
and you stand in a box raised to higher elevations.
Then you notice once the doors part from your staff’s organization,
that it’s Saturday.
A day of relaxation.



The words condensed the air,
perspirating tragedy through the
pores of the speaker of the plastic tool.
The voice on the other end
hung lower,
hung vulnerable,
hung fragile.
Days after passed
slower than seashells could form,
and we were untied for once, but in

That stifling summer afternoon,
oh that afternoon.
After the organized
gunshots went off,
after the man nobody
knew arrived late,
after I peered through the
jet black lenses glued to the cheap frames on
every person sharing my last name.

I remembered the day
I sat on your bedside and you told me,
“You are the light of my life.”
But I never got around to give you
a satisfying response; I was too busy
glancing at the clock,
waiting for the moment to pass us by.

That phrase was automatically profound,
too much for my head,
too easy to ignore,
too easy to forget.
So it was only until I noticed my
Revlon Blackest Black,
and Covergirl Medium Beige
smudging on my dress I knew on your
bedside you were waiting, too.
I needed to whisper, "I'll always be there for you."

But that day the smooth polished tomb
kept my mouth shut, and now
I’m all too familiar with the silence.
I’m all too familiar with skipping the chorus.
I’m all too familiar with the indents on my

bottom lip.