A Rose

I have an idea that Gatsby himself didn’t believe it would come, and perhaps he no longer cared. If that was true he must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long with a single dream. He must have looked up at an unfamiliar sky through frightening leaves and shivered as he found what a grotesque thing a rose is and how raw the sunlight was upon the scarcely created grass. A new world, material without being real, where poor ghosts, breathing dreams like air, drifted fortuitously about . . . like that ashen, fantastic figure gliding toward him through the amorphous trees.

-The Great Gatsby

Cigarette Love Letter

Call it chemical,
ashtray amour,
candlelight by coil.

The mist feels rosy
on that lonely face,
and really,

poison never looked
so much like love.

It’s enough
just to breathe:
to wither,

forestalled like
still warming embers
in discarded ash.

Touched to those lips,
love is wounded:
free to bleed,

to erase, to wander–
held to a moment
that must end

in a heart
blown to smoke.


There is no collective imagination:
that is death.
Scale it monochrome,
I will find cosmos
in the twilight,
rhythm in a voiceless page.
And when color retreats
again to stonewalls,
I will bathe in transmissions
of those stellar stations,
gold-plated on the Horizon
like Apollo’s solar wings.

Already the mythic
ecstasy of that capital
aurora claims what it
deems selective in the absence
of the uniform,
yet we are all still
children of the stars:
free in our pursuit
to their expression,
both holding and bending,
together alone.


The night drew its curtain deep over the world, soft and quiet. Its lonely ashen shimmer like a whisper retreating. And all alone, a small girl sitting in the crescent of the moon, toes dipped in that endless puddle, rain boots dancing. She wore a white raincoat, bucket hat, and boots. Strapped to her back was a small black and white striped parasol umbrella, the name Ashley stitched into the hemming.
She sat there humming Claire de Lune, moonlight gliding from each note, swaying with the lunar dust. In that moment—a moment she could not herself explain—a tear began to swell. It wasn’t sadness or happiness, but it was from the heart: a dormant heart and innocent. The tear fell swiftly from her cheek, and though she reached to catch it, it fell through her fingers into that vast ocean beneath her feet.
It was then she felt it in her chest: that feeling of leaving home for the first time—both wonderful and terrifying. She just didn’t know what for, but maybe, she thought, her tear did. Without another thought, she dived head first into that breathless embrace, courage trailing at her heels. She could see the tear falling still, reaching for the sun. She knew she had to reach it, if only to look inside for a moment. She turned her head back towards her feet, puffed up what little air left she had in her lungs, and exhaled, propelling her forward.
She reached the tear just before it vanished for the sun. She looked in its reflection, and saw a woman smiling, waving goodbye with soft hands. The woman blew a kiss, eyes searching the way a mother’s might watching her child leave for the first day of school. They were eyes that would linger long after everyone else’s had turned away, but in them something so afraid. The tear vanished, and with it the image.
The sun was close now. The umbrella rattled on her back, and burst open like a sail. It veered her course far left, swinging her around the sun, and launching her towards Earth once more. In the commotion, the umbrella fell from her back. It was drifting now, again towards the sun, but she could not stop it this time. She knew she had to let it go, the word Ashley shimmering like a star in all that lonely night.
Falling back to Earth, the day had just arrived, reclaiming what it had lost. Reclaiming what it had lost.


Take me
sinking, leather bottles
hand to hand, white heat,
on a road to Barcelona.

Paint my hands, blade, and flag
with the lust of a matador.
Give life to the dust
with my heel—

hear it dripping:
bullpen, mad snout,
hooves carving
runways in the earth.

This is sickness or it is love:
wound of forgotten nights
Hemingway dreamed once
before a melting sun—

And the still beating heart
of those wistful nights in love,
too close
to end in steel.