Red Light

It was there for almost a second
The green light on the horizon,
Perhaps imagined, but I swear I saw it.
I swear I saw it.

I saw you leaning forward,
Asking questions, smiling
In my direction. You were
smiling.

And God it burned me sent my
Head spinning around the
Dreams I never told you about.

And I talked.
And you talked.
And I talked.
And you talked.
And I talked wrong.
And you slipped out of the dark bar booth
And you slipped out to the night

And I was drunk on my imaginings,
Staggering down the cold damn sidewalk
Beckoning, begging.

And you opened your car door
And I tried to open mine
And I tried to open yours
And I tried to remember what they did in the movies
But the wheels pulled away
And into the street

And there was just enough street light
To watch your face wrinkle and cry
At the red light on Mass Ave and Shepard.

Roastery

I’m applying to creative writing classes. One asked me to write about a favorite place.

My home as of two years ago (and every summer before that) is Buena Vista, Colorado, a town of 3,000 people (when everyone’s home) located at the foot of the Collegiate Peaks. At the center of this mountainous, one-stoplight metropolis is one of my favorite places in the world: The Roastery Café. This corner café, owned by the baseball cap-wearing town mayor (you can’t make this stuff up), is the hub of activity and exchange within my little town. During my time away, I spent many days editing photos in my corner booth, and eventually grew used to the steady stream of visitors and waves from the various people of my town passing through for their daily coffee. Often, my interactions would be brief: Drew, the maintenance guy from the summer camp where my mom works, would say a quick, “Hi,” or a raft guide would ask to pet my dog. Sometimes, friends would sit down and begin long, caffeine-fueled discussions about families, religion, and worldviews. Though I could avoid my Trump-loving friends on Facebook, I couldn’t refuse them a seat across from me at the Roastery. I had to either censor what I say or own it, because private conversations became quickly public. In Social Studies 10, we finished the year off with the German philosopher Habermas, whose hope in society came from places like coffeehouses, where individuals could exchange ideas separately from political or religious settings. I take pride in living in a town where such a coffeehouse exists—where the baristas not only know my top five favorite drinks depending on the temperature and time of day, but also take the personal responsibility of making sure that the townspeople of Buena Vista are happy, cared-for, and safe. This warmth and sense of community has allowed us to develop relationships in a context most societies despise: with strangers in a public place.

I Mounted A Donkey

I mounted a donkey
And asked him to show me the valley.
He smiled and showed me the hill.
The hill was nice, so I rode him still.

I mounted a donkey
And together we walked for a while.
He stopped for a drink and asked for a pat.
The donkey was nice, so I didn’t mind that.

I mounted a donkey
And hummed to his rock and his rhythms.
He spun. Threw the load off his back.
In sweet disbelief, I was bucked by the ass.

A moment’s suspension that quickened my heart
A tumbleweed landing and I was repulsed

I mounted a donkey
And asked him to show me the valley.
The obstinate ass showed me the hill.
I thought about flying, and I rode him still.

Someone Asked Me

Someone asked me if I was an artist once.
I sort of stammered and squinted my eyes.
Artists’ apples don’t look like oranges,
But I’ve got faces peeping at me from margins.

Face.
In the space, I draw shapes.
I draw flowers. I draw his face.

Solve me the story of the chicken and egg.
Of the face I practiced until perfect
And the perfect face I drew to the dregs.
Even when I’m looking at yellow lilies,
My important pages still fill with
Surprised eyebrows and tidal hair.
Damn lips.

And I know he’s not mine anymore
But damn it; he’s stuck in my pen,
Blended into this purple ink,
Bending over this paper over again, and over,
Staining the sheets that won’t hold someone else.
That won’t taste the face of someone less bitter.

So I keep my head filled and hands empty
Don’t stop me; I’m marching up, onward
I’m widening the words I write lately
‘Cause I’m scared of you filling my margins.

Sucker-Punch

Even now, I know that nobody’s reading this. Perhaps that’s why I haven’t written in a while. Because my life wasn’t quite trivial enough to brush off in the French mysticism that surrounded this blog’s birth. I figured I’d write things that would be easily shrouded by the voices in my head; I couldn’t scream about the big things from the rooftops of an abandoned city. I mean, that, and that the people that I write about read this. Bold language favors carpet stains and finicky WiFi routers, not stuff that hurts people.

I’m here though. And I’ll have wanted to know what I felt tonight. And I’ll have wanted it to be buried in raw archives. Maybe artists just use art to hide their feelings from the passerby and show it to the thinker. Wonder, then, reader. What here is purely aesthetic?

Sucker-punched, guard down,
I’m hit after everything’s done
After I’ve told everyone I’m fine
After I’ve kept the right distances
And he’s picking up his pieces

And so comes the avalanche
In silent, secret, abstraction
A blinding cloud of white
Cut hair wet, tired body undressed,
Assassinated in a pocket of breath

Four years ago, I felt this before
When I held a pitchfork in the morning
And a Colorado summer’s floor fell through
A stiff breeze whispered me a name
Until I wilted and wept there in the shade

Fucking idiocy, this stuttering surrender
You got to hate me and hold me
In bruises from the fault lines.
I let good terms overturn me
And rolled away while the fire kept burning.

What if we were laughing?

The cut on my right thumb
Is teaching me that I never
Hit the spacebar with my left thumb

It rests right there
Ready to space space
But habit keeps hurting
And at each damn blank spot
My right thumb sends aches right up and in
And my left is left limp

I just wanted you to know what I’m thinking about
‘Cause I was just here sitting on my couch
Thinking about how maybe you’d be here now
Or maybe we’d be talking on the phone
And maybe we’d be getting along
Maybe we’d be laughing
What if we were laughing?

Space  space  space  space

And now my eyes feel red and
My throat feels broken
And I’m
What if we were laughing?
It wouldn’t have taken too much to fix us.

I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t happy.
But damn. What if we were laughing?

Space     space       space                 space

Something Happened

Perhaps you may have asked me how I’m doing
Your mind walked down that path, perhaps
Of wondering how I’m doing.
Perhaps you checked here just to see
Perhaps you found this
And didn’t know if it was to you anymore.
It’s still to you.

Fine in the saddest way, lover.
Because, lover, I can’t think of the bad memories
I knew this would happen.
I’d walk away, flooded by good times and love
And it being right and good and
I didn’t want it to be that way.

Lover, no matter what has happened
Nothing can make it not have happened
A year is a year is year is love and that’s not gone.
And I’m allowed to not want it back
But to want it back just enough to let it hurt.

Perhaps, lover, you’re just bowling
On road trips with your cousins and
Rolling along like nothing happened,
But it happened it happened it happened it happened it happened
And it doesn’t just stop happening

If you were wondering how I’m doing
I’m still smelling our fumes
From when we were running on empty
But still don’t have the cash to fill up again