was born in Montreal Canada and raised in the Pacific Northwest, where he earned a BFA in Drawing and Painting. He’s lived in Oakland since 1989. His work has appeared in such journals as The Blue Nib, The Scarlet Review, Verse-Virtual and The Racket.
Shiny New Penny
Fireflies in Maine,
Chiclets after Chinese food
when three feet of snow
fell during dinner.
Ghosts in Tokyo.
Eating all my grandpa’s mackerel in 1966.
Ice as thick as a man’s leg
seen from an upstairs window
in St. Catherines-
three silvery, ribbed and bowed lines
between white telephone poles.
The lights go out, it’s five below.
Dad takes a fire axe to a ten-foot berm
to buy smokes.
Losing at croquet to the Sahaida sisters,
you have a crush on Maryanne,
their father’s toothbrush
is a smashed stick of redwood
covered in Arm & Hammer
mixed with hose water.
Eric Nostrand spitting on our kitchen floor
for no reason.
The Sangas spreading cow dung on theirs
in a split level near a cul-de-sac
with cedar siding.
Where did they get it?
Watching Todd’s drive train drop,
pole-vaulting his 1950 Ford truck
while returning from the Puyallup Fair-
all nervous flirting and shared corndogs.
Smoking weed in the sauna,
getting fired for it.
Driving through the Badlands,
bored by gullies and grey piles of pebbles.
Drive-in movies with rank popcorn
and scuffed aluminum speakers
honking in the window;
What Do you say to a naked lady?
Laughing at the TV
on a late summer night at 13,
noticing you’re starting to smell.
Fighting in old basements
with dead-eyed men
and gamblers with worse ones,
all hoping you’ll get hurt,
making them money or right.
Learning how many ways
to draw a line
or make light and space
and why it might matter
but mostly not.
Singing after supper
and filling a room with tears,
or just the sound of leaving shoes.
Two sets on the roof for Y2K.
Leaving everything you have in the dust
just to make a fire.
First kiss, worst kiss,
saved for last
and ending on a high note
wondering if it matters
that all this happened
and so, what if it’s true?
It’s just coins under old cushions.
Things that may or may not have made you,
as you gaze at a face looking forward
No Knock Spring
as spelunkers descend,
everything is elevators
smelling of hot oil and sweating rust.
To my mother, March through August meant B-29s,
cities on fire, cherry blossoms and 100,000 dead.
How many bees can hide in a poppy? All of them.
Arithmetic seems like pure insanity sometimes.
The grass has dried, the raspberries are still
tart. Slightly adjusted beets await their turn.
I smell burning hair everywhere and all
my stories are gasoline, so I stay quiet.
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