The Mats at Midway Tonight

I’m going to start
wearing a money
belt to pretend

I’m traveling
in a foreign
country. Wide enough

to hold
a passport
and a spleen

in case mine needs
to be removed.

I would keep it
so I could still vent.

No one will accuse me
of being passive

aggressive. Where am I
going tonight?
Saint Paul. You never know.

Will have to cross
the Mississippi, you know.
Maybe, you don’t.

Despite What You Believe In

Just because she takes
pictures of snow-packed trails
with her iPhone doesn’t mean

she’s a photographer. Writing
a text to his lover
doesn’t make him

a writer. Just because
she flies
first class overseas

doesn’t mean
she’s a pilot (or
waitress in the sky). Singing

“You Sexy Thing”
in the shower doesn’t make you
a singer or rock

star I might fall in
love with. Just because
I checked out

of the Take No Heroes Hotel
doesn’t mean
it will happen again.

Laugh Phoenix

You are my laughing phoenix,
I am yours.
Our cackling woke the dead.
Endlessly we cracked jokes
waiting for the fire engines (not red)
to arrive.

No, wait! Hurry! Get back
inside. Let the smoke
choke us out of five hundred years’
worth of played-out puns.
Six hundred too many Arabian nights
have us cracked up under the moon.

Reduced to ashes, we could ask to be blood-red,
winged beauties next to one another
shaking feathers forever in the desert.

But you would not reinvent yourself
with me. For me,
the ashes scatter irreverently. For you,
tradition’s fire in the belly burns
as you wait for ladders and hoses.

Dry as the skin of wakened dead,
the puns will reduce me
to tears for five hundred or so
more years. Unless, of course,
you weren’t my last,
laughing one.

Brackish

She threw
nostalgia in—
along with your initials.

“Turn all
post-war, pre-washed, personal works
over for good, or
for as long as it takes
to forget
again.”

Another message
written in poor
handwriting, stuffed
in a glass
bottle to be tossed
into another body
of water—salt or fresh,
or in between.

Routes and Revivals

Nobody would mistake
a runner’s
log for poetry. No true

run could be
anything less. Or honest
obsession begin

any way other than head
first into the deep
end of risk

and nostalgia. I am
nobody waiting
to meet you

again. Then again
who am I

to be so mistaken

by fresh water
over warped notes?

Take No Heroes Hotel

Everyone has reservations.
A porch no one
can describe wraps
around its house—tightening,
tightening. Hugs

the footprint as a disciple
of home is
where you check in
without a check-out time. Tin
tile ceilings in the two-story

lobby. A triangle
park and a bluff
anchor all activity
in the oceanfront garden. Bonfire
night after night where effigies

of the over-worshipped burn.
What washes ashore below

erases questions and desire
for answers. I could drag
my dinghy across the sand
and know it’s time.