barren wasteland

sticky tree sap
the twig twitches
it seeps into pores
reaching naked + charred
black limbs
yesterday’s fire
–a mirage
long since tasting its fill,
of charcoal delight.

the young doe delicately lifts a hoof,
leaving behind a print in gray ashes
as the white dawn chill
fills the empty waking sky,
the forest waits for

written 10.19.15 for Carlene


inside distance is a light

dim + non-threatening
it beckons seldom
illusive to meaning
cups and saucers
without liquid
pretending to exist
in empty fingers
prepared to lift
this thirsty light
searching for an oasis
as relentless time
churns milk into butter
seeking purpose in
a conference room without
table or chairs
gazing through a hollow lens
a glimpse through darkened corridors
sunlight retracts
dry erase markers with no pigment
I become depth-less
wrote on 9.24.13

I’m unfinished

I’m unfinished  [click to see the original format]

I become
I taste
tiptoe in
let’s pretend
the cursor blip

echoes failure to proceed
momentarily categorized
by score after test score–
can you define identity
by mechanized calibrations
numerical awareness of
our barcode ID–

written 9.24.13

Frequently Asked Questions: #9 Camille T. Dungy, 1972

Frequently Asked Questions: #9

Don’t you think you should have another child?

This girl I have is hardtack and dried lime
and reminds me, every groggy morning,
what a miracle it must have been
when outfitters learned to stock ship holds
with that one long lasting fruit. How the sailors’ tongues,
landing on its bitter brilliance, must have cursed
the curse of joy, as I did that morning the burst
of water brought my sweet girl into our lives.

But, already, she hates me sometimes.
Like I have sometimes hated my mother and she
must have sometimes hated her own.

After weeks at sea, the limes would desiccate and the meal
fill with worms. They would have eaten
anyway, the sailors, but taken no pleasure from anything.
Or taken no pleasure from anything but
the fact of their sustained lives. Which is to say it is all
I can do, most days, not to swallow
her up and curse her maker, I swear. Like I have not
sworn since the morning she was born.


who– who I am– isn’t it
bottled up, a mixture of his words + interests,
walking up to them,
I step out of faceless + into their costumes
like warmth.
why not become the ones I love?

we lie together naked each night–
who am I?
we sway at concerts and drink the same beers–
who am I?
we dream in twos– unison of our favorites,
but what were they before?

Lost in my fantasies,
only a child could find a hundred uses for
a discarded stick in the mud–
when I see it now–
I wonder, where did that fantasy go?
And I with it?
A child could find a hundred people to be– like I did–
riding high on the world of adventure,
no need to be me–
when I can embody– make pretend– I am anybody–
but when the sun goes down, when there is only today–
bills to pay, responsibilities,
who am I?

written 4.11.14