The Limited Perks

on the rooftop on Dearborn
with the sun setting slowly behind us
and all the light coming through the awnings
and lattice-work
the wooden deck aswirl with color
unidentifiable shapes, like they all are,
pink and green and blue
we say hellos and collect drinks
we stand at the table, invited but separated
trying to enjoy the limited perks of the Press

“Obviously, I want you to go with me.”
I won’t/can’t/mustn’t accept
the tour offered alone
that’d be too easy
I’m too wander-prone,
which you know, and like me anyway
which I don’t understand

as the other side of the party
turns to dancing and 90s music
my heart is, like they say, on my sleeve

coming out at the wrist

my propped up posture holding an empty can
with both hands in the center of the table
you knew right where to touch to
stop the bleeding

“I’m sorry you’re going through this.”

which is a lot

it’s a lot to say, I mean
like a salve made of syllables for me
saying forged from listening

my small word:
but in fact:
what a lucky friend I am to have a friend
like you
only, it didn’t come out that way


inside your roots

For my friend Elizabeth.
I remember sitting on the floor
in Orlando with you
playing cards
your sister nearby
our dreamer friends in a circle

you had sung that day
I’ve tried, I can’t remember the song,
but I do remember thinking
how much you sounded like hope
“like hope” is bad language in a poem
don’t use abstract concepts when you
should use an image
you sounded like the future
there I go again with bad language
for the third time you sounded like
a tree squeezing out green leaves
from somewhere deep inside your roots
like it was easy to sing
like you were made for it

and I know
dreams change

it’s been a few years since,
I think, you believed in a future
as a singer
but you still seem green
pushing out what’s inside
like Jesus and hope,
and in the end,
what’s that but music?



Taken from my verses in collaboration with Alex Zarek, Feb 2014.
no you don’t have to be alone to feel alone
and we all know more about it than the farthest star
could learn over all its eons of existence
the difference between the connections of constellations

can’t compare to the constant separations we put ourselves through
the way we push and pull one another
the way we let ourselves be enveloped by the expanses of our loneliness
how we stretch out

like the empty space between stars
and how we’re all dying for gravity to pull us back together
but I can remember days where I wanted to be alone
and I would walk for miles out into the dark

searching for a solitude that matched that of my heart
now I don’t have to try so hard to be distant anymore
I can drift as easily into my thoughts in a crowded bar
as easily as I can on an open road and the


is just the same
it’s not made any weaker for any friend I claim
so it must be one of friendship’s quandaries
that it’s not a cure for this disease

we’re just

to solve these mysteries
and I end up watching like a ghost as it happens all around
sometimes loneliness is not an absence, but rather
much to much of me


like how we are completely and utterly different
and yet loneliness proves its irony
tapping each of us on the shoulder to turn to it
as generations come and go

we still find ourselves here
surrounded by a crowd of lonely faces
still in the same places
walking the same roads, past the same houses

where we hope to erase the memories flooding the basements
where the attics are still holding the same dreams
of the fires we wish we had the guts to set


for what it’s worth
you can count my matchstick embraces
as ember hopes we’ll be pulled back together
I promise I won’t walk out now if you don’t walk out now
and we won’t be alone forever


to have it known

last year when I was in
the hospital for that thing
with my


you wouldn’t say it back
and I’ve known since
things had changed deeply in you

a person doesn’t confess love to have it returned
only to have it known
and, love, I’m too honest to
push or pull

I want you around like god, everywhere
all the time, shining
if she’s here at all, she’s like that
and we try to imitate

glints of your light fleck my shadow
my memory is a cosmos of your shining
and I hate any goodbye
but I can only be me to you
a mirror can only tell the truth
you’ll have to step in front of me
for me to see anything


a thousand thousand windows

what a view it must have been
from up there

her apartment in the city like another

traffic sounds far below you,
machines driven by ants
a thousand thousand windows

I wonder, did you wonder how long you
could stay there and miss me?
did the planet feel different with
so far away

did you hope that it would get easier
with time or distance?

I know the answer, and it’s okay to be honest,
who could blame you for honesty?

after all, the city is
they’re all so busy and alive, aren’t
they—look at the bastards living
down there

I’d want to be an ant too

still, someone ought to give warnings:

on a trip to Mars, bring a good book
because, my god, there’s nothing
out there