My grandfather

When we lived with my grandfather,
He did community work as Santa Claus.
This was before the stroke, and
sometimes after.
His garage was full from top to bottom
with donated gifts for sick children
at CHOC.
I would walk through the stacks of
trains and Barbie houses with reverence
and envy. I wasn’t sick, so I couldn’t have these toys, even though they were so very close.

Once a year on Christmas he would let us rifle through and pick out one toy from the Santa Claus garage.
One year I got a wooden train set,
the next a board game with little
plastic cherries you put in little
plastic buckets.

When my father grew ill and yellow
from alcohol, he didn’t get a kiss on the cheek and a toy from the garage.
Instead my grandfather kicked him and his whole family out of the house and into the dirt.
My father died shortly after that.
My grandfather never came to his funeral.

And now my grandfather is dead. I want to remember him fondly as the man with the toy garage but all I can do
is think of my father as a little sick kid,
while Santa Claus flipped him
the bird.

But at his memorial they’ll say
oh what a nice guy
oh what a man full of grace
oh how much good he did

oh how he abandoned us,
oh how he abandoned we.




admiring the world at a microscopic level
produces a distracting and unparalleled fondness
for fibers

flakes and hair


when you decay i will discover you matted under my
fingernails and sucked deep into my lungs as fluttering
dust motes during an ill-timed yawn

i only think these things because i know you think them too—
stop telling me you believe in heaven
and start falling apart with me here

let’s become tiny pieces, together.

after taste

you told me in time
I’d eat my words,
but I’d prefer to eat
your words—
filled with false promise,
the delectable nectar of your lies
is a reverential pleasure behind my teeth.
I think if I had to describe it,
I mean,
if you were to really put those
words in my mouth,
I’d imagine them to be a cinnamon wine.
sweet like a sticky bun,
they get me drunk
on fake love
but what a delicious
after taste.

the metal coffin

You must be talking about me,
or you’re passing over my grave,
because i feel chills here from the underside.

I’m looking up through the grit and the dirt,
spitting up the weeds growing on my tongue,
reaching up through
the molding mound with hands of bones alone,
and i emerge with a sigh.

I am afraid that i am not afraid to die,
But you are dead by my side.
Two dead souls
on a lonely midnight drive,
sweeping through the fog with cloudy headlights.
Is that a deer or a doe or an oh no
and we pirouette into the shallows
drown amongst the shadows,
and no one finds us for a good
long while.


I’d run to the woods and cry
I’d cry my eyes out, if I could,
And I’d go there alone,
as alone as one soul could be.

But there’s nobody to tell
about my aloneness, how life changing
that moment crying in the woods
would be. There’s no one to shake
their head and say “Wow, you’re so
brave, and so tortured” and plant that
beautiful twisted image.

If there’s no one to tell
I might as well
just turn on HBO and watch a show,
curled up in my bed with Fritos,
like real depressed people do.