In a Puddle of Valvoline, She Eats an Apple

He may be soiled in grease

from complicated mechanics

and short

of perfection, but he’s so real

that Chica can’t help but to

notice. Her lips slide over the skin


sinking her teeth in the crisp cracking of a giant

pink and yellow apple, a Pink Lady.  His thoughts

grope her scent in Español. He can’t look

her in the eyes too long because (despite how manly

the auto-mechanics field is) all the dudes

have a flare for drama and some can nose around

squawking about nothing that’s their business.  No

one need notice how he looks

at Chica, but her.  The garage is a place

where a beautiful thing is only touched

from time to time

then it rolls out.  Chica spits a seed across

the concrete as she sees

him watching her.  The seed slips into a crack

in the floor where it could sprout

if it weren’t doused in toxic waste.


Just Fun Right? or The Language of Glancing Eyes

There are puddles of oil polluting
the environment surrounding us, and you
made me like it. In a glance, we read each
other’s pupils without even being close enough
to see them clearly, then quickly
avert the eyes. As we look away from each other,
so no one notices our noticing,
we whisper the name of God
catching our breath. All of the filth climbing the walls
around is a memory for an instant, so we keep looking
for that opportunity again, calling it all just fun.


A token of beauty in
an otherwise filthy garage,

she labors as hard as the men

around her, her scent
on their fingers if they use the same shop rag,

in the humid noxious space
of the garage. She wipes the sweat

pooling between her breasts
with the stained, stinky, soiled shop rag.

She can be sensed
by smell, despite the insistent stink.

Feel Me

I don’t know what
it is, but the Seas
that reflect back in your eyes
are haunting, like images that somehow translate

to people, and that person squinting in front of me
is a Caribbean blue bouncing

off the breakers of Lake Erie.

Mess With my Water’n I’ll Come After You

The man with expressive eyes scoffs
at the smell of Lake Erie, in a slightly Americanized

Puerto Rician accent, It just stinks. And it’s dirty
water. Caribbean currents rain in his heart for something

even being bilingual can’t help him describe. Her skin has

been ripening under Misery Bay sunsets to a toasted almond
glowing plume radiating warmth of the short humid

summer. It makes her eyes glow

some bioluminescence. She utters, Just give me water,
no matter where it is, or what its name is, or in what language

its name is spoken, and I’ll be fine.

Fishin of a Different Sort

You didn’t throw me
from a moving airplane,
but sure as shit my love is
raining over the high tides of Misery
Bay. The strength of those choppy waters
can pull anyone under, no matter
how strong they are. Turns people
into bait for fishes.

Noticing Machine Suicide

for DFW


Why would you choose your last physical
movement of air? There’s so much
real: a cashier in the grocery line overworked,

agonizing from a stress
fracture in her right foot, suffering
since her husband’s not what she thought

he was—last night, she caught him wearing her
wedding dress as he stared at himself
in the full length mirror exclaiming, I’m trapped

in a man’s body. She has an unfriendly
look to her face, while she inquires, How are you
this evening? It’s 2:43 p.m., there’s no response to her

apathetic query. Is she really paid enough to care
about your lack of manners, or her indifference
to anything you or anyone in her line

has to say? The vine fresh tomatoes
in your rusty cart with the wild wayward wheel
are modified to look bigger, better, brighter, being nearly

resistant to aging, while the unnatural
compounds do strange things to us, but you try not to
think about that because you want

a tomato. The minutest particulars of every single
thing complicate and drive your mind
from each encompassing exterior

visual, sounds praying
for your engagement. These things
want astute observation of what they are, you

making them real. It’s the obsession of unearthing
contemplations evoked by consequences—
the externality—interesting. Only words like yours can

deconstruct the culture in one book, which no one can
read—still they know they should—because the book
demands so much from the reader. You can’t escape

yourself: you being the center of your
world. Like you: so center you become
a vacuum no longer able to touch

the things you thought to write
down, or had written down, or that missed
sensation of touch, should have touched

because it might have saved
you. The mind’s verbiage is vertigo
leading to dead, lifeless sentences being

stuffed in boxes marked, Burn when I’m dead. Stupid
self-imposed turning blue
then stowing yourself into a trunk, a casket.