a poem says
“you know i really
mean this, right?”

mental games

some people don’t play mental games. they play tetris, maybe walk the dog at the same time on the hour of every single day that they wake up and they’re breathing and they’re okay. some people play chess. because they want something to change but they know that no one can ever do anything about it they can try and they can train and they can watch every single move and match it all up just right and never know what it feels like to lose. but then they stand 3 inches from someone on the bus and they lose control of the equations. Some people use emotion. They use it to take out the trash, park the car, drive to the mall or laundry mat, nearest 711and they hope that they won’t ever have to feel the uneven road or the murky-water draining down the gutter. they know what it is they don’t want to feel and they make sure to never have to.


my brother asked my father once
“what language do you think in?”
he laughed, thought for a second
and said “i used to think in Arabic,
but now i think in English.”
we drove on to our favorite
Saturday night burger joint.


metal bones will ache you
he runs his forefinger across the
spine-length scar and you cringe at
the first touch of recognition

it burns

do you have a toaster?
yeah, just don’t burn the
place down
is it even plugged in?
why wouldn’t it be in working
i don’t remember
what we were talking about
it seemed important though
scratches from a woman’s heels
can be
same with toasters
if they aren’t used
don’t forget the cat scratches
that shit hurts and then itches
i guess there is no proper way
if there are chemicals involved.

glass house

being a writer is like
living in a glass house
you learn to tolerate the


anxious smoker
flicking the butt of your
cigarette. wasting the pack
of Luck Strikes you promised
yourself you would



there was an offensive seagull nesting below our balcony.
we watched the ocean with tired eyes as the seagull
attacked every person brave enough to get close.
we gave her a name and a home and we nested
there until we were ready to grow.
playing poker on a pillow drinks at steak, chemical gambles
betting a bottle on a colorful hand and now i see exactly what
i’m gambling on i knew nothing easy is good enough.
i gulped the night quickly to feel it hit faster.
the next day the seagull’s beak warned us
we stepped too close to beauty.

city underwater

the day is knocking on your bedroom window. pull the covers over your eyes—
refuse to see it. refuse to understand the world you occupy—refuse to be it.
when the time finally comes to knock the nails from your coffin and rise,
wipe the night from your face. wipe away yesterday let it drain down the
sink. don’t let anybody see. don’t let anybody know where you’ve been
what you’ve done.

walk the halls of your house. back and forth and back and forth
try to find purpose on the hardwood floors try to find the thoughts
as they float away catch them like fireflies place them in a jar and
watch them shine.

get ready for the people. get ready to break the dam of your front door
get ready to emerge in the current of civilization, to be knocked around, prepare for the force prepare for the worst. you have to make it through the day just keep with the current don’t let yourself drown come up for air
come up come up come up come up

stop worrying about the things you cannot control. let your fears wash over
exhale them throw them into the arms of the air in the garbage bin, the sewer.
we are clean people with sewers and showers and trashcans we do not let waste suffocate us we are a city underwater we know how to cleanse to let go to float on.

let your heart be the sun. let it rise. watch it fall. don’t let anyone too
close, warn them about catching fire.

make amends with the cliff side. tell it you know a thing or two about gravity. tell it you will not allow it to drag you down. tell it the world has a place for you and you refuse to