Many of my poems have appeared in various
poetry anthologies, some of which are highlighted below. I have also had
the opportunity to serve as editor for six different anthologies (in addition
to my work with Dos Gatos Press),
five for the Austin International Poetry Festival
and one for PoetWorks Press. Both organizations
have been wonderful outlets for my poems.
Coming soon: "Ants"
will be published in the new July
Literary Press anthology, Celebrations.
She squats in the muck
at the water’s edge
as she has for a week,
fixed to the spot
like a lighthouse
Her weary eyes stare down
the cinnamon-colored sea,
as if willpower alone
could control its roil,
force it to return
the child she could not
cling to, cannot beacon—
or sweep the urge
from under her feet.
Also includes my poem,
She hears gargled whispers,
not the ahs of an open throat:
something’s caught there.
She hears it again,
a small bird lodged in her larynx:
She curls in a nest,
not a womb,
but a briar of fear.
Hidden within the sinew,
among the muscle’s twigs and branches,
in the bone’s gray shadows,
a snake closes about her,
its thick black rope
She rasps for release,
for the ah, ah, ah of life,
but gurgles the word amen.
Suppose Plato was right:
that we are only half a whole,
a left shoe useless without a right,
a negative stammering through life
in search of its elusive positive.
Suppose our search is innate,
a desire so strong, so primitive,
that without that other half
we ache from constant hunger.
No matter how satisfied our appetites,
we seem always to starve for more.
Suppose we find that other half
and slide hard into love’s spell,
our unfulfilled yearning as intense
as our need to eat or breathe.
As mysterious as levitation,
our lives are bound together,
though we never know exactly why.
Suppose Plato was right,
that love is the pursuit of the whole,
the fulfillment of an ancient need,
two halves becoming one soul,
melding one into the other,
the end of endless questioning,
the beginning of true union.
Also includes my poems
"Asparagus," "Size Queen,"
and "Coming Out"
You just called
to say happy birthday
and to remind me
that you're not
speaking to me.
prickles up my stomach
for no one
doesn't speak to me
like you do.
When I hold you,
it's not to make
a political statement.
When my hand rests
warmly in yours,
it's not to prove
a point to the world.
The world fades
far in the background,
fizzles to white noise
when I'm with you.
My kisses have
no hidden agenda.
I am just
a man in love
to be a man.
I lived in the coffin
known as Sonny White
for almost twenty years.
Long before wearing them,
I dreamed of sequined gowns,
thick mascara, debutante upsweeps.
When Mother caught me in her camisole,
she booted me from home,
like she had Father years earlier:
she couldn’t abide prettier men.
To make ends meet, I took to drag.
As Snow, I was a natural:
paper-white skin accentuated
by hair black as olives
and cheeks bright as blood.
Hormones came later,
and—not unlike Cher—
finally, the surgery.
When I glance at a mirror,
I often catch you, Mother—
Also includes my poem,
"A Week in the Life"
The Weather Inside
Clouds amassed for weeks
where old ones failed to leave,
till gray skies glutted
and light was crushed in their blotter.
With air too black to breathe
and rumbles echoing down streets,
the storm ached deep in his bones.
It felt like a coming heartbreak.
Also includes my poems
"Presence" and "Archaeology"
Her index finger shadows
the coarse hair of his forearms,
connects the dots, freckle by freckle.
Her hair smells of moon and mist,
untroubled by combs or discipline.
Her eyes are kaleidoscopes,
laughing one minute, crying the next,
daring him to discover her secrets.
Her tiny smile hints at confusion.
Pink fragility pouts on her lips.
She will stand in a downpour
with no thought of umbrellas,
rain giving shape to curves
as pretty and useless as tulips.
Like an abandoned puppy whimpers
for someone to take her home,
in her thinnest voice she solicits a hug,
nestles to his chest, and waits.
You waste no time. I’ll give you that.
While grandmother’s hull folds in on itself,
shrivels with tumors and chemicals,
I await the call to fly off to her funeral.
But you couldn’t wait for another victim.
You crawled in bed with my youngest brother,
unfurled yourself while he lay dreaming,
and spread your shadow over his esophagus.
They say the way to a man is through his stomach,
but you’ve perfected every technique;
no organ is exempt from your dark embrace.
When your fingers clasped my mother’s throat,
her voice immediately dropped several registers.
Teams of doctors loosened your grasp.
She didn’t end up with an artificial voice box,
but I hear your echo when she speaks.
I was the next to escape your clutches,
and you let me off rather painlessly,
a bite on the leg, black as a horsefly.
Not that I haven’t taken your visit seriously.
I check my skin with the diligence of a curator;
like you, I’m forced to stay in the shade.
With my father, you attacked the prostate,
spread your scaly fingers up his dark cavity
and pushed down like a rusty piston.
A buckshot of radioactive pellets chased you off;
yet you lurk in the air like a scavenger.
Circling my family in a restless gyration,
you’ll be gorging again too soon.
(for Matthew Shepard, 1976-1998)
To pull the trigger would have been too kind.
They broke your nose, crushed your brain stem,
battered your flesh till it grafted to bone;
left you burned, lashed to Laramie split-pine,
spread-eagled, barefoot, a bloodied gay totem.
The night froze black around a scarecrow alone.
A day later your body was discovered,
limp as the straw of a weathered bale.
You never came out of the coma; I pray
you slipped into it early in the night, hovered
at heaven’s thin edge, unburdened and pale,
before hate spilled over to the light of day.
Anthologies I have edited for the Austin International
||Hotel Room with Six Vigas
You wake to sighs and groans,
the creaking of long spines.
You can't sleep,
so you stare at the timbers overhead.
They've had a tough life:
scars and fractures,
knots like ancient bruises;
splits you could fit fingers into;
cracks riven in crooked lines
like a river canyon
marked with imperfections.
And if you lie long enough,
they are bending to the wind,
releasing cries and whispers
as if they were yet trees.
from the 2006 di-verse-city
Comments greatly appreciated!