Blue Sky, Part II

They want a poem

about jazz music

as an understated triple clef, a hip

to trombones tapping that ash off

syncopated soft curves, because

that bared marrow crackling

of rap on the avenue

won’t sound right.


So speak the jangle of lawn chairs,

the rattle of revolvers locked in

broom closets, conducted by

passing car door speakers—

keeps an eye on the breath of children

over dark night. Having already

turnt the soil, the earthworms

into sour milk from that timbre

of slouch and high lark.


So when the skies feel parched

remind them of the Mayans

tossing human heads down temple steps

to the same beat that built the calendar


and a fire’s smoke

inventing zero.

mayan wayne

Blue Sky, Part I

They want a poem

about fingertips

dipped in sugar,

how they reek

of blue sky,

even while jazz

muddies up

the corner.


Where scrawls

of Tobago

in tobacco chips,

calling brown from

way back, re-encrusts

the concrete

like Oklahoma



Before we worshipped

the sun, we worshipped

dirt. All that was above us,

brought us fire.


But sometimes

just the pale drought

of blue sky.


Disappearing Alan Smithee

Utah 2005 0630 10091711 - Comb Ridge - Fish Mouth Cave - Hands on wall

When I’m low

I’m binge watching

the ticker tape of

closing credits only.

I don’t have to tell you, but

everything ends the same.


I pretend

I’m in the movies, but

just the scriptwriter,

just the sound guy,

better yet, fed up director

revelation left

on the cutting room floor.


When I’m low

sop ink up from paper,

backspace the subtitles,

reuse old taglines to the show.

That racket of anvils—

after lunch like Hannibal

sacking the score.


Hole up in wardrobe,

better yet, throw out

those costumes, rub out

my thumbprints then walk out

that door. Scrub graffiti off

the gargoyles, my address

from curbside, delete

all my profiles, text

both of my parents—

I renounce my tickets to the show.


When I’m low

host reunions in my apartment

where dead ancestors squat silent,

passing secrets in the living room,

something ‘bout

times before the internet,

but what it is

Grandpa won’t say.


You can hear him in

the woodshed, returning

digital back to video, cellulose

reels to flash lamps, canvas

back to cave walls—

drowning buffalo

in too many coats of paint.

Je Suis Pablo Escobar


With thanks to Narcos

Dodge Caravans pinch sunsets of pink gulf coasts

closer. So crawls traffic, Medellin to Pensacola—

on all fours. Drift of pickup trucks drag South Pole

equator-bound, while detectives echo-locate

cell phones atop alkaline canopies—gash

of jet fuel tugs a bow over drug-lord’s

last words to mama. Turnt


this Jungle Book to snow showers, ice

capades divot in purple light of nightclub floor. Disco balls

huffed up, cut with credit cards down to latitudes—

Javier tripping refugee glass


distending in champagne lounge door. His

brown face crawling back to me across

Miami coffee tables, Chevy tire-tracks

like lines of TV static

in the storm.

A Query for Elliot

mr. robot 3.jpg

With thanks to Mr. Robot


Pictured you peeled back from sunset, that shadow’s step

ahead of rusted tabby receding hairline, pulled taut across


square-tusks of rooftops, shivering loose all the dandruff

ain’t fit to be gold. Compose a glow holed up from daytime,


drumming notes from the underground, rapping angles at

keyboards to bring a satellite down. Thought you would’ve


tapped the telegraph, crunched bitrates of Oxycodone,

compressed clouds into conversation, until tugged at, then


dispersed by slapping paw. Instead, tail wag at the terminal,

slip under Hubble without a scratch or a claw. After all,


favor that orange crush of windowpane from empty-set

of boxes, preferring Amazon over analog directions posted


by the front door. Coiled upon asking price, what do you

whisper in when tickling blank-space of search engines?


Ordering kitty treats to rid yourself of mouse breath after

a kill?

Way of Papyrus

bible toilet

Find me by the hours, the ones

you’ve slept through, in the jokes you missed

and graffiti paid no mind, in the fungus of books,

the parchment gone the way of papyrus, and the long view

doctors might’ve mentioned that day

you were born.


Look for me by the rusted car parts, husks of steel beetles,

no sinew. I’ll be scraping the cuticles, the charcuterie

down to slivers of tungsten, while batteries

turn since there are other

ways to pay.


Catch me, toasting by the post office, emptied of letters,

stuffed to the windows with pigeons past

their carrion point, hollow bones

won’t ship ground

nor express.

“On Devil’s Food 1919” by Miguel Aldaco

Got into the Penn Review!

Penn Review

Ask those Black Sox
those ballplayers if Arnold Rothstein’s lips smacked of milk sweat
drunk on devil’s food when the fix was in.
Luciano in the upstairs lavatory, hamming it up in the abattoir,
turncoat henchmen boil down the bathtub in a hiss of lye
while Lucky sits
as if poolside by poppy plants.

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