enjoy my work. i post what i write, what i see, and what it means to me. good or bad, comment away.


My dad can beat up your dad, but he'd rather just lay hands on him

My father wears suits to work.
My mother still helps him match his ties to his shirts
so he always looks presentable – in my eyes, his only real flaw
is not being able to differentiate between black and navy in twilight.

He flavors his morning mocha with a mixture of gospel and binary.
The mochas replaced his coffee because caffeine isn’t good
for his blood pressure. He sees the contradiction here,
but refuses to talk about it. He’s funny like that sometimes.

My father stands 60 feet tall. His hands can span a family,
bring them all together to pretend pumpkin pie
is an appropriate cover-up for bruises,
support his six surviving older siblings on the strength
of his knees; my father repairs homes with his footsteps.
He lays foundations with supplication, builds walls
with his wailing, lays roof with his hands stretching
skyward. My father finds peace in prayer.

I have learned to find peace in the silence that often follows them.
He has learned to be happy that I find any peace at all.

My father used to launch me and my brother across his room
with his legs, carpet-bombing his bed with toddlers over and over.
His legs were missile silos.
This served as target practice for having to re-launch his children
back into the world far too many times. I have yet to hear a complaint.

My father’s voice is a storm when I am desert, bringing thunder and life.
His words fall heavy like the fattest of raindrops;
my cracked skin may take some time to absorb what he offers,
but I store them all in a pool in my belly for when the dry times return.
I know that I never need to go prodigal.

When I was 10 years old, I was being bullied by a neighbor kid.
As he held me by my throat, I yelled out “I rebuke you in Jesus’ name!”
He let me go. Upon telling my father this story,
he affirmed my suspicion that a large angel
had clearly thrown this kid across the yard in my defense.
Years later, while recounting this tale,
he recanted, told me that the boy probably threw himself
off of me because he thought I was crazy.
This was the first time my father unintentionally taught me to question.

My father moves mountains with his mutterings.
But sometimes we are on opposite sides of a canyon
we can’t cross for our shovels.
They don’t work as fast as the backhoes that built it.

When I was a child, my father taught me that my eternal soul is his responsibility.
He said that he would be judged for how he raised me, told me that his father was always watching. He meant God. He called him Abba, which means father in Greek. He said that God became the father he never had.

My father is the reason for my contentment and my restlessness.
He is every poem I’ll ever write,
every demon I will ever battle.
My father is afraid that
I won’t be at his right hand in Heaven.

He also taught me that God is love.
He taught me to love.

My father, I see God in you. You have done your job. 

Chicago winters are the longest ever

I have grown tired of slush-covered streets and Ramen noodle dinners. My poems come
slowly and with far less frequency than I claim. Most nights named “at home writing” 
involve too few words and too much wine. My weeks have consisted of half-working the 
job I already quit and half-writing the applications for jobs to replace it, and all I want 
right now is another beer and another bowl of greens and another episode of some poorly 
written but somehow still captivating television show.

Chicago, you’re pushing it with the days and nights inside.
With all of this snow, ALL SIX FEET, I used to long for mountains
 but now I long for flamethrowers.

You are an animal I have not yet raced with, city streets, and you are a lot faster than you look. 
You’re a relentless competitor. I have gotten good at convincing myself that I am 
winning when I am not. I have spun my wheels in Shenandoah river sands and Oklahoma 
gypsum pits. I welcome the traction of your concrete.

Chicago, I need you to be as alive as I was led to believe.
I’m growing accustomed to your grays and browns, but
I need to see your vibrant colors. I need to smell your breath.
I know you take far more pride in your presentation than these odors
of salt truck diesel fumes, these dressings of oily snow and months-buried
garbage. You are way, way sexier than that. I know this because I’ve been
hanging with your poets. Your artists. Your musicians. I’d love to sashay
with them across your parks, but that’s a little difficult when our heels keep getting frozen to your skin, Chicago!

The walls of my apartment are alive, but choking on the snowmelt. My carpet 
is soaked for the cracks in the foundation. There is a massive hole in my kitchen floor where I have placed my dreams. I bury them in coffee grounds and cigarette ashes. They make for good compost, but I’m ready to move them to outdoor plots. I want to help your colors reveal themselves. I’m finally putting down roots.


1)      The couch was tweed and I was five.
You told me that Jesus loves me. You told me that
He wants to save me. So I poured out my heart
Matthew, John, and Romans over the couch cushions.
I was saved now.

2)      My feet were pool-bottom tender; wet hair plastered
to my forehead like over-sheltered innocence. The two men
approached me in the locker room. It was the first time I had seen
another man’s penis. My mother’s voice bouncing off the lockers
was grace in action. This was the first time I learned that salvation
comes in many forms.

3)      She told me that she loved me outside her mother’s office.
It had been a week and a half since I said it for the first time.
It is so good to feel loved. The salvation of love is too sweet a gift.
I hope to one day permit myself to feel that again.

4)      His hand formed to the shape of my throat and pulled me up
onto the stage with no malice in his heart. The thumps
in my chest matching the beat of the drum track. This was rapture.
This was the first time I realized that I hear music differently.

5)      Someone decided he needed to break into the lockers
in the gym, and several students and I lost money
and belongings. I called my mom. She called my dad.
They prayed. I received everything back except
my ring with the cross on it.

6)      Sometimes, when I relish in something as simple
as a hot shower and a cold beer
at the end of a shitty day.

7)      Every time I cross the Chesapeake bay
and no matter what time of year,
what type of weather,
my windows come down so I can
breathe in the salt air

8)      Every time my parents tell me
that they are proud of me, even though
I don’t always feel proud of myself.

9)      Every single time I close my eyes
and remember how blessed I am
to live the life that I live.
10)  The first time I was kissed
like she fucking meant it.

Salvation is personal. And it is not finite.
For some there is a god involved.
For some, it is a moment deemed holy only by the one
experiencing it. Ask me to tell you another. Then hold your ear to my chest.
I will say it out loud, and you will hear only “Saved” echoing back.

This is my Collective. This is my Holy.
This is my Salvation.