Tag Archives: Poem

Miles Away, and Here


Miles Away, and Here

Some ascribe the label: The War on Decency,
for some given definition of decent, given by pastors
driving luxury cars, eating lavish meals. Your indecent hunger,

yes, but for nourishment from a different venue.
Our mouths open. Not to receive your communion of charity,
but to speak: There are already empty seats at the table.

So, yes, we fight your war–

For the young minds watching this unfurl, a wish:
that our unkindness will not be yours, that reason
blossoms within you to look past

hubris, malice, preconception — rusted tools forged
by people, not for the people, and breaking with every swing.


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Burning Bridges


Burning Bridges


Of course some deserved it. Some

didn’t, and it took years of wiping ash

from my soles to properly discern

one from the other (with any degree

of certainty). One was arson,

plain and simple, but without witnesses

no charges were ever filed. Thankfully,

no one was killed in the blaze, but crowds gathered

in the days it took to burn, voices cacophonous:

What a shame. Separate reasons. Another was covered,

weathered by decades of exposure to the elements,

but treacherous to cross. Nails stuck out

in the strangest places: rusty, jagged.

When the wind hit just right, it threatened

a collapse with every guttural creak and croak,

until one day one of the supports gave way—

after that, some called it a mercy. Sentimental

souls called it a tragedy. I called it closure.

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What power a day may hold.

That awkward moment, Kentucky

boy crossing the Manhattan street,

feigned nonchalance. Still,

“I have no clue how

to comport myself.”

That crosswalk, seared into

my worst remembrance. Holy,

holy, holy sung in my father’s

tabernacle. Traitor

to my own voice, abomination

singing a solo to fervent applause. No.

I misremember. We didn’t clap.

Dance. Drink, or…fuck


Seventeen. Reading a Star Wars novel

in the jacuzzi at a youth retreat.

Pastor sent me

across that uncomfortable crosswalk,

hand between my thighs,

“Tell me anything. Tell me, but

say nothing of tonight.”

I sang. Not for him, his wife,

or my father’s polite congregation,

but I found my song

as I pushed Pastor’s hand away, stood,

then crossed against the light.


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