I see you down the aisle of condiments
fingering the different brands of ketchup,
trying to decide which of the cheapest
tastes best.

For a moment, I am frozen
until you feel my stare
and match it with eyes that transition
from indistinction to anger.

I turn quickly
to avoid the reality
that I ever knew you

Because I’ve forgotten your name.
Then I remember

The first time we kissed,
your eyes were shifting between
the future and the present
unblinking to consecrate the moment
we became.

And as we pushed and pulled,
opportunities fell quickly
into the past,
leaving nothing
but sore shoulders.

And now,
with my back turned once again
I hope you’ve forgotten me already
and that you’ll never have to remember.



The last time I let you borrow my pen
you chewed the clip off the top
and offered to glue it back on.

And then, after I showed you
step by step
the proper way to re-assemble your phone
you still brought your broken technology
to my attention.


But this is my humanity.

The same way that I inherit
all the supple gestures and earlobes
of those budding lovers of mine,
I also part my lips
to suck the blackened air
from the burnt rubber
of a cocky foot on the petal of hell.

So as we quiet down,
settling our notes in our bags,
and you scramble for the ink
to complete your final test,

it is not ironic
that you have no choice
in your natural selection.

Fred Meijer Center for Writing & Michigan Authors Who May Never Publish Books But Will Get a Better Idea of What “Flow” Even Means

In the morning, the center is quiet
with the stillness of the neatly arranged tables
contrasted by the wilderness in the windows

Until new consultants file in.

Coffee-driven to climb out of their dreams,
this reality is filled with excitement and anticipation
to service writing and self-efficacy

And maybe, if there’s time, build relationships.

So with papers sprawled and pens scribbling,
the roar of conversation buds and blooms
with torn sheets flying up from pads and

Falling to the ground like leaves.

In the lulls, the silence is brief
as the water cooler clicks too direct;
conversation growing out of insight

And connections made over Tootsie Rolls.

And there’s questions, and struggles, and answers,
And Pat, and Lisa, and answers,
And calling, and ringing, and answers

And the wilderness freezes outside

As the work grows for consultants on both ends
From class-to-work-to-class-to-home and back
It’s the candy on the cabinet the brings us back

To the day that student was excited

Hands up for ideas and found theses
A snap and a shout for, “Well done.”
And Hemmingway’s niece? Overwhelming!

As, overhead, the sun rolls on.

And there are panics and breakdowns in time
Broken hearts and shattered minds
But we return to the solace of the center

To find, in our search, inner peace.

And the warmth will return through our windows
like crawling squirrels and chattering birds
as our mailboxes fill with new letters

And faces become familiar friends.

Our dreams shift from grad schools to comic books
and we mark on the walls and our hands
the hours we’ve enjoyed together.

And the other days… where have they gone?

The center will come to a close
as the monitors whir into silence
and we’ll leave with our names intact

Ever-changed inside and out.

But this new home, an old place of living
will settle in peace at day’s end
with the stillness of the neatly arranged tables

Waiting for our return once again.


On the day I awoke in the field of the cosmos, I was content.

Affirmed by nothing but the sun and my existence, I was free beneath the spread petals.
In the wilderness, I was the only civility; but incivility was all I felt
Reflected in the surface of the lake, beside the sun.
I was a coiled wire undone, to stretch and connect with every beginning and end,
freed by my own being; seeing myself as one without essence
but emanating radiance in continuum.

I was the palindromic sign that returned in recursion: the interweaved cursive dispersing within.
Drawn beneath my skin to the depth of my soul: an internal explosion creating my whole

And with closed eyes and softened heart, I knew all that I was, all that I wanted to be, and I was

It was in that moment I realized, in the middle of perfect peace, I was totally alone in my joy.

Two Poems In Spite Of Existence

I. A Wake

My eyes tear through these shades
like chicken claws
through egg shell fencing
that keeps them safe
from the day.

This is life

Spread like butter
with a knife over my heart,
and it’s melting
beneath the stars

Falling for the Earth
to be grounded.

My rounded irises
twist and twinkle
as my body creaks
into motion,
laying my sleep
to rest.

II. A Sleep

The length of my feet
stretch from my dreams
into the next.

Step by step.

This is my breath
processing what it means
to be alive
and alive again.

Toes pointing toward the future;
eyes pointing toward stars.

I am.
We are.