As men grow older they lose their ability to hear high-pitched sounds.
Perhaps this is why they prefer the steady company of dogs—those
who will hear these for them. Women aren’t much better off. As they age,
bass tones become inaudible. Nature will keep the peace.
put your
fingers over
your earbuds
and slowly
press them
back and forth
to hear the
change in pitch
and you
will understand
why you
will never
satisfy a woman.
the change is subtle and happens faster than the second;
you will notice the tonal shift only as white noise below
your conversation.
understand, this is how she hears things all of the time.
you both listen to beethoven’s 7th in your car with the windows rolled
up and rain marathoning down.
neither of you looks at the other. it’s as if some game show host
has promised you fifty dollars each if you can burn holes through
the windshield with your eyes.
she sneezes and you hear the crescendo,
you blink and she hears the pause.
dumb, you sit in stupid silence
wishing you knew falsetto.

published in INSCAPE Magazine, 2006


Nothing is malleable in an age of deadlines.
But at three, bones are still figuring themselves out,
deciding how they want to grow and if they’d
rather be firemen or attorneys or investment bankers.
Three is a flexible age,
the doctors said as they examined
the damage to the bones in my foot from the benevolent wheels
of the garbage truck that would pay my way through college.
my mother repeats,
breasts sinking toward the floor, the womb pained thin.
She needs to hear this and she needs to sit down, having
rushed me to the hospital in her manner
usually reserved for cereal sales,
one arm holding her infant son, one elevating my leg
wrapped in a rust-colored hand towel.
Twenty years pass before I return.
This time is different.
No industrial-sized scar to scare,
no drug-spiked pudding, nothing intravenous.
The doctor actually looks about the same age as I do
as he prepares the tetanus shot and cautions me
about the dangers of barbed wire.
I can’t help but picture him three years ago
in braces, the orthodontic barbed wire
trapping the fleshy bits of carrots and not-quite-ripe tomatoes.
He hands me paperwork, asks about career goals,
and guides me to a perfect rectangular sheet of tissue.
I am thinking, you and I, we could have easily been classmates
using this tissue to make paper flowers and triceratops,
but instead I sit on it in trousers
(and I say words like “trousers”).
It’s daytime and the white of the ward is
non-threatening as the chemicals enter my skin and torpedo though the veins.
I don’t know if the slight shudder is from the needle
or the nonsensical figures of nurses who still, years later, frighten me,
wandering in and out of the room like hungry ghosts.
published in INSCAPE Magazine, 2006


an evenly matched
sumo wrestle between
your taste buds
and your gag reflex
ending in a glorious
tsunami of vomit


I forgot the Alamo
but remembered just a second ago
where I put the trail mix, so that should
make you happy, or distracted.

I'll feed you from now until Abilene.
Here comes the cashew, that damn foetus
of a nut, but something with even more
protein is growing inside me;

twins actually, our love child and
our hate child. The car is all but silent this afternoon
but they provide us with the appropriate duet


and it overpowers both the radio
and the lingering psychotics of the cowhand
we asked for directions forty miles back.

Still, we kiss each time we hit 100 miles.
Dangerous lipping, because you take your
hands off the wheel and put them on my neck,
roping me mouthward to your teeth,
which are candy corn sugary.
I want to strike a match on them just
to see the sweet burn.
Or maybe it's that I want to see you lit
by fire instead of sun.

Smoke settles down and out the window
and with the words break free,
at home on this range.
I'm paint out emotion
in long, swollen drawls that are as hot
as the middle east middle seat.
But you

You are keeping your eyes on the road,
the impossibly straight highway
You only hear the pothole hiccup
of me swallowing so many clouds whole,
those fruits of this pink
bruise of a sky that
we are over

we stop
for the night,
play ring toss with accusations
and I send you to sleep with the tailpipe.

We detour for the second
time in our lives, find a farmer's market
full of fat women with zucchinis
and cinnamon loaves the size of suitcases.

The vendor stares at us in jealousy
what an attractive pear
we buy a few of them, the hourglass Hummers,
and we meditate on the power of fertilizer to grow.

We're entering Arizona, your land,
and it's your car, after all. You can drive wherever you want
bolster and bend with the ease of a fruit fly
drunken from the vine.

We are stopped
on the great open canal of roadshoulder
out of gas and conversation,
glaring at each other with great fury.
tie my hair into angry braids
you sway, nervous.

Let us remember the heart means blood
and the swastika means peace.

Let us burn our bridges in this life
only to reconstruct them with
technologically advanced and superior tools in the next.