I am so uncomfortable all the time.

I am so uncomfortable all the time.

Every morning, I cut the pattern of my discomfort from fabrics of chagrin, ambition, shame, boredom, fatigue, sensitivity, anger, intellect, hope, desire and indifference.

The texture of my discomfort shears against my skin. I occupy rooms, but barely.

It feels as though there is not much of me with which to occupy anything.

There is more of others. Others who fill rooms with their generous spirits. They are clamorous and demented, supplied with talents foreign to me:

Like laughing, loudly
opening wide their mouths and throats and just
without constraint.

I only have so much air in my lungs for laughing.
Most things in life are not funny enough for that much air.

I am not a serious person
but I also am.

How do I explain that to anyone?

I can’t help the words I use. I like words. More than pictures.
Try making friends in 2018
with those credentials.







Until now, no one spoke of dams:
chalk bowl rain-catchers
big providing things
big contained walled things
bolted fonts, ready sources.

Until now, in my city,
there was little cause for talk –
for naming, counting, measuring, predicting
for remembering, blaming, urging, pleading.
Years we forgot the tardive rains
until our own,
began to ebb away.

The great dam, on the river-without-end, is ending.
Not too long ago there were speedboats on it.
People cannot sell those speedboats
fast enough.

The fire-blown mountain passes
brindled with blackened brush,
are unscenic
as the dead lawns in the suburbs.

In the deep, on the Flats,
in the Place of the Sun and the Place of Moon,
the taps are communal (it sounds better than it is).
People there wash in buckets, anyway
and so will we, soon,
when our tubercular shower heads splutter, cough
and our swimming pools vanish into the ground
as the Sun drinks his fill of what’s ours.

I live in a city that was long thirsty
before the water ran out.


Is this how the city I live in
will finally be equal?

Trembling on the vast waste
of one, singular experience

when all it’s ever known is water
when all it’s ever known is drought.

What is the new normal?
when before,
normal for most was buckets and wind and heat
when before,
normal for some was flood and fountain and flow?


My city is a refreshment station
that provides no relief.

Those with their own pieces of ground
drill deep to loosen the springs beneath.
To justify the verdure of their lawns.

In the suburbs, competition soars,
between those who’ve never known thirst.
Like golf
but higher stakes.

We forget that it’ll not be long
until our comforts are made useless,
bodily functions brim to the bowl,
and smells tell others
things about us
before this
were so much easier to mask,
And the queues for life, for water,
start to form.


I live a city that is touched
by two independent oceans.
Not a drop to drink.

The time has come.
I have lived to see the day when inflatable pools
became contraband,
Alive to witness
patrons clawing each other for table water at restaurants,
gazing on the lawns of their neighbors
assessing their greenness
and whether any one was green enough,
to raise the alarm.

The public fountain
where children and drunk businessmen used to bathe,
stands silent in the square
A dirty car’s a badge of pride
fingers slide
in the dirt more often now,
drawing what you can think of
on rear windows.

wash me


Sonnet 8 | Curriculum Vitae

Author’s Note: This Sonnet was inspired by the list made by painter Agnes Martin, whose own menial, often oddball jobs provided her with the boredom she needed to be creative.

I have worked:

  1. As a salesperson at a crystals shop in a bird park.
  2. As a waitron just once.
  3. As a volunteer dog-walker.
  4. In a cat hospital, at an animal shelter.
  5. Teaching someone the International Phonetic Alphabet.
  6. As an au pair.
  7. As a freelance writer for a doomsday prepper website.
  8. As a volunteer facilitator for special needs kids.
  9. As an on-and-off writer for a local travel company.
  10. In a witch’s costume, promoting a Disney Channel movie.
  11. As kidtrepreneur, selling shitty microwaved candles to my neighbors.
  12. As a gift wrapper in a children’s toy shop.
  13. As a user experience designer.
  14. As a summer intern at the national museum, putting labels on taxidermied animals.


Sonnet 7 | The Avoidance of Flossing

  1. The Age of Universal Authorship
  2. The canon of the self.
  3. The simulation of life.
  4. The concept of dread.
  5. The spirit of ennui.
  6. The terror of possibility.
  7. The wordlessness of memory.
  8. The skinniness of affluence.
  9. The 5th of November.
  10. The gorgeous face-pulling of a cappella groups.
  11. The avoidance of flossing.
  12. The bleeding of gums.
  13. The reliability of box wine.
  14. The tonic of my gin.

raising poems

I do not claim to write poems
I raise them.

Sometimes, I haul poems from rocky places,
pulling them
like stubborn tubers from the dirt
peeling them
until I see the glistening flesh.

If poems are seeded,
I need only water them
and hope they don’t turn out poisonous.

(I have already raised
a sprawling poison garden of poems.
that I lost control of years ago.)

Some poems are bricks that I lay, one by one
until a wall is built
And then I try to climb it.

There are poems that I rip like old paper
from walls I thought were strong
to expose other poems underneath.
Sometimes I want to paint over these.

Other poems I pull at, like feral threads
unraveling my imitations and the lies I tell myself
unraveling the comfort-truths I weave.

Some poems I raise from wells.
Dipping my bucket into depths I cannot measure,
giving and taking and giving,
until it gets at something
It plunges into water that I cannot see,
but I draw it anyway,
Bringing it up to daylight
and hoping
that I can drink what’s there,
that it quenches me.

A poem is the divining rod that directs me
to water
to bewitch it.

A poem is the germ that leavens the bread of my discontent
so that it may swell and become something I can cut open
even eat.

I raise poems.

Each poem that I raise, in turn
raises me.