I grew up in a small town called Colden just outside of Buffalo, New York. I completed my M.F.A. in Creative Writing - Fiction at California State University, Fresno. I have previously published both poetry and fiction in The Trident, Lipstickparty, and The San Joaquin Review. I currently work as a professor at Medaille College and as a journalist for Mix 247 EDM.
Orlando Kept Me Up at Night
When we slept through my alarm
the third day at magic kingdom
I woke up to your screams and
mad twisting like strings on a loom
though you weren’t disturbed at all
as the blow and amphetamines
still worked themselves out
in every bucket of salt and water
threading into the off-white sheets.
My first memory of achievement
that doesn’t involve a podium or plaque
but the ever-lovely influenza instead
happened when I was eight
I closed the Jurassic Park ride
by furiously coating the exit gates
with ten dollar hot dogs and stomach acid
I remember hearing the announcement
it would stay closed the remainder of the day
I laughed through the blisters of fever
marveled that one body could do such a thing.
One Pill is a Windmill
For Mike, after Marilyn Chin
One pill tastes like grit and wheat
One pill is blue, oblong like a daisy petal
One pill snuffs easier, one gums quicker
One pill has black specks, one has red flakes
One pill makes you see a windmill
One pill takes the windmill away
One pill, kissed toxic by dragonfly wings
One pill is synthesized with countless, nameless others
Understand they killed you more than they would ever save you
Understand their vacuity; that broken on/off switch buzzing in the back of your head.
Pedagogy for Heroin Abandonment
A close friend’s father
stayed awake for three days
his first time
with one deep inhalation
of bronzed powder.
He wrote essays on physics,
created electric gridline diagrams,
and scaled the fibrous texture
of black lithograph
all while working his night shift,
digging graves in Cedar Hill.
And on the third day
his eyes, like a discarded pet
abandoned on a country farm,
~ ~ ~
I passed a man on Venice Beach,
uncouth in ragged leather, caked in caramelized dirt,
track marks visible as any wristwatch
his eyes red as any shelved wine.
He wasn’t screaming, but begging,
not begging for money, or even acknowledging
the mindlessly vibrant hipsters walking past,
but asking himself in curdled, humid bouts of air
where his mother was.
~ ~ ~
My third year of undergrad
a close friend relapsed after two months,
suffering spasms that could’ve evolved
into catatonic heart failure
and pneumonia from passing out in his car.
The night before he went to rehab,
we played Cards Against Humanity,
a game with where the goal is to play the most shocking,
offensive card to get the best reaction.
And my same friend played
8 oz. of sweet Mexican black tar heroin,
to answer What keeps me up at night?