My poetry explores a range of topics including queer sexuality, the lasting impacts of global pandemics and parallels between the aging human body and global climate crisis .
(photo credits for this page - K. Max Mellenthin)
FONT, from The Unbuttoned Eye
I like your blonde curls in bar light. The silver
foil peels from a beer. There’s a little ocean
in your green eyes, a lot of sad. You talk about the drive
down from Skowhegan, pulling over twice so he
could heave. A long day of waiting at Maine Medical,
beloved backbones a constant reminder the body once
had weight. I take you to my room, the Motel 6 in Portland.
You whisper how he’s lost the strength to walk, so for weeks
you’ve carried him like a child learning a waltz. You tell me how,
lifted from the bed, he places lesioned soles on top of your feet,
how you walk backward toward the bathroom, how in all
those weeks you haven’t cried. You roll white socks,
slip them into Reeboks. After apologetic sex, I tell you,
Get up. Towering, I tell you, Put your feet on mine. Arms
wrapping shoulders, cheek against chest, I walk us
to the motel window, listen to your jag of breath,
whimper of weeping for a man I’ll never meet. I memorize
the font of a red 6, the cigarette smell of your hair.
- first published, Tar River Poetry
A BREAK IN SHADE, from The Heavy of Human Clouds
I’ve named the boulder
shaped like the corpse of a horse
Quartz, dappled with lichen
and moss. In the shadow
garden, I water
the bloated belly, drooping
Coleus, tender Bishop’s
Hosta I split with a spade.
The hose coupling
clacks over stone, a tap
like the case of a childhood
clarinet dragged along
the wall of an institution
called school –
sweet armpit of the bully –
to watering –
the horsy bulge in a bad boy’s jeans
and the shade –
percussive retreating wood
- first published, Passages North
HOW TO EAT LOBSTER, The Chestnut Review
Softer than college friends, my lobsterman
is solid as a callus, a desired scratch, sky-eyed
with an upright I don’t trust, sexy as sunlight
on a harbor seal. Tight bearded, blonde,
he takes me to a pound. At our table on Cape
Porpoise, steamers, bibs we don’t wear, hot sea water.
I confess, I’ve never ordered live ones.
Mom bought me rolls. There’s sweet meat
in the legs, he says. Start there, break them off,
bite down, inch it in your mouth. Now,
snap off the tail. We peel back green tomalley.
Dipped, his bearded lip meat, chewy.
He calls it eating watermelon. The sailor savors
my slice of pink – beach blankets, belly down,
the open bills of gulls. Flying with those high
grey birds, I wonder – If I give him tongue,
will I taste his heart? I flip it up, find slick force
in the boyish body of an older lover.
Bent in a shared breath, we smell the salt
of crashing. Now, split the claw, use the cracker,
open knuckles, shove fingers in the shell.
We rinse, drop sea flesh in cloudy water.
The nut pick slips and bloodies my thumb.
He reaches across the table, takes my hand
and drinks. Blood and butter, the taste of touch
with a tongue. Love, a shattered urchin smashed
on stone. That pile of shell. The hammer of his hips,
skinned outside a cabin overhanging cliffs.