I’ve learned quite a lot over the years by avoiding what I was supposed to be learning.
— Margaret Atwood

No Space Left in the Night

I want to get the long green Volvo into the poem,

the one I passed on my run today–

a looser color from the one my mom drove.

This station wagon is a poppy, awhile-ago green.

But it might not fit.

I think it’s too long for any space here.

I didn’t give myself enough time for circles and prowling.

But I can tell you about it.

I was alongside the Presidio, going west.

It might still be parked across the street, going east.

Let’s move along though,

barely twelve-minutes left

before the cashier’s drawer shuts, locks.

before the dog turns three times and buckles.

before the bussers smoke cigarettes on the stoop.

On Saturday nights, midnight is a tick in a half-thought.

Because I’m late, I know that it’s just about tomorrow.

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My doctor says a mind like mine is “a mind that’s trapped in rewind.”

But do you remember the sound of a cassette tape in rewind?

It’s not that shuffle back sound, it’s the click.

The click never holds.


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If you're wondering what shame looks like,

Google: Climbing vine on a tree.

If you’re wondering what shame tastes like,

Hungry breath.

If you’re wondering what shame feels like,

A punched fist in hand.

If you’re wondering what shame sounds like,

Exhaust that triggers alarms of parked cars.

If you’re wondering what shame smells like,

Cut onions in the fridge.


Cheyenne Canyon

And this is the place we drove into,

to kill time for a little while.

For a little while we were just on this road

driving up, winding, and you felt sick,

and I laughed so hard at your weak stomach

and you had no idea that I felt weak so much of the time,

which is the way I like to keep it.

On the dirt road with those goddamn potholes,

we were up and up until we turned

right at the boulders―

that bulk of red and age and heft.

We pulled over and stepped out, dwarfed

by the mountain, by its red rocks,

its clouds screening the peak,

by the raw exposure—

so that even you,

my older brother,

couldn't hold authority over it.