Cummer in the earliest Fall

The singer seamlessly stops mid-lyric and slings a breathy “hey” my way
as I wait for the waitress, shoulder to the wall.


Plate glass reflecting shifting shades of surrealism (and painted sunglasses?)
refract a popular culture that aged out of power decades ago. 

I’m fidgety at a table by myself, trying to channel this energy properly but
my pen taps mad against the paper.

Brain, be still.

It’s actually still warm outside but
inside the Atrium the best kind of chill has descended,
driving my fists inside pockets.

“Stand by me,” on repeat, three words exhaled through gap teeth.

Listen: to electric guitar somehow quietly shredding,
to the soft back and forth pad of of the singer’s feet.

Listen to the shotgun scooch of cafe chair against carrara marble.

This music is more suited for fields
trodden down by gathered bohemians
than this current configuration of whispering art patrons

And when the singer drifts off key
doubtless no one notices ‘cept me and that’s fine-
I can keep my mouth shut.


Now Showing:

I don’t know you, but you said I do

and suddenly now I want to 

(there’s no harm in curiosity)



1904 // Before Wackness Descended

In Jacksonville the riots are on TV
as a gaggle of child rappers take the stage.
The shrieking faces shrink down to LCD flatscreen height and width,
contained in the space of a pixel and as easily overlooked.
I can no more blame than explain my interest
in a 19 year old plastic pitbull of a human being,
a walking gimmick, a schtick-up if you will.
Stitches and the other youngbloods are glitches
in the pop culture matrix which makes this student
of the universe perversely curious.

Thankfully the pain of aging is quiet, mostly, though
sitting on the floor of 1904 with my head relaxed
against the rattling speaker cabinet I feel the clamor crescendo.
It’s midnight on Thursday and I have work in the morning.

Through a haze of – body heat? Fake cocaine? Wannabe endo?
Who knows what this thickness is that hangs over our heads
but the strobe lights pierce it effortlessly and through it I see
a groping and desperate thirst somehow crammed
and coerced into young white bodies.

I feel like a bully. Like I oughta get this superiority complex examined
because I can’t understand it, the clear rift dividing sincere from riff raff,
the blaring transparency of marketing turning its keen eyes on us.
You didn’t come to this stage by your talent, motherfucker. Who’s paying for these beats?
You disgust me, turning me even against weed, on stage looking like an eggplant
with a skullcap barely on your head, flashing a set of shiny golden teeth.

I feel like overturning every table in this tainted temple,
taunted by televisions mounted on historic brick.
Mmm I’m too old for this shit


Keep Walking

Mellow Mushroom Avondale // Keep Walking

Truth is I haven't felt comfortable in this space for a hot minute. Too many advances in life, too many detours to keep up with, etc. Too many half-written poems lounging in the draft box. Too many new faces that I haven't quite pinned (penned) down yet. 

Or maybe it's just that my new phone doesn't automatically upload my pictures to Google anymore. Even this picture here is from...what, June? I've lived a thousand lives since this neon sign hovered over head, a T.J. Eckleburg of my very own. "The only piece of art here!" I exclaimed, excited that the new Mellow Mushroom had at least one saving grace against the seven flatscreens anchored to concrete block, only to realize - duh. It's an advertisement for Johnny Walker. I haven't been back since.

Which, really, encapsulates the symbolism of this summer quite well. 
The creeping feeling that marketing is catching up to my tastes... it's insidious down to the core. 

But. All there is is to keep walking, keep bringing home suitcases of thoughts to unpack and mull over. I was born into this strange amorphous existence and it's my self-appointed duty to appreciate it as it is...



The Landing // Jacksonville Jazz Festival 2014

On stage is a lion with a fade and oiled slide.
Young lord of trembling roar, summoning the swelter
with tightly buzzing mouth and drawn cheeks,
in the shelter underneath the Coca Cola tent.

The sunken dais at The Landing cradles a diaspora
of Jacksonville polychromatics, a surprise
sector of jazz fanatics in sun hats.

I’m following threads of triplets and flecks of spittle flinging
off of polished brass, remembering returns to silence at the end of class.

Let me set the stage in a tray of formaldehyde so age can’t have its way:
I am still in the practice room next to yours with my face pressed against cool brick,
catching each of your vibrations like a stolen kiss.

Trying to gather the courage to ask
“do you mind if I sit in here and listen? I’ll be quiet…”

A little chunk of maple sugar dances ‘round his mother
in the center of a casual crowd. A woman in a Hoveround barks at blonde sisters
and I sit alone, entranced.

This conglomerate of culture is church reclined on concrete steps, sipping beer.
The elderly gentleman behind me stomps the ground and cheers. “Yes, baby! Yes.”
I understand. Say no more. Yes.

I am whole when the music stands in front of me,
whole when parts of my anatomy become melody
and my lipid layers liquidate to link with written staves
and arpeggiate: F A C E

I still have so many questions
for before the decades pack the horns away.
Are you haunted like me by intervals left unrecorded?
By lyrics long lapsed into the chasmic silence of forgotten?

Man, I dread the death of these refrains the most,
when dreadlocks hop off the A train with giant steps, fading
from the lead sheets like ghosts.



Dark Sprout by Brian Frus // Jacksonville University Glass Department

I was grateful
for the air conditioning
on the ride to the studio,
already alight with adrenaline
in anticipation of what fires might await.

Here is the professor’s desk,
holding class in cauldrons of molten glass.
Here is where sorcerers clothed in breathable cotton
wield glowing gazing balls at staff length. Jacks scrape

against hardening glass; my fumbling touch
is not hard enough or too much, ever adjusting
under the constant influx of instruction.

I listen, spidering my fingers
along a rolling rod, contemplating form. Aesthetic.
I grab at my glass arbitrarily in search of the organic
but this is not my medium.

I prefer the stool off to the side,
guzzling water, far enough away from alchemy
but not out of the heat. Sweat drips

yet masters never lose their grip, smoothing shapes
with hands of aged newspaper.

Any set of practiced hands
is sure to capture my glance
and from yours I can’t look away.
What is it that you are made of?

This is your every day,
a constant chosen crucible.
You stand fearlessly
before the murmuring bellies
of dragons. I never knew

you to be so in tune, I never knew
the ripples of gleaming forearms moving fluid
in the flowing waves of energy.

In between flashes of heat
the master gaffer gathers laughter
and swings the rod in circles
as preconceived perceptions
slowly soften in the fire.


Stacks on stacks

I could be the empress of a place like this,
queen atop a stack of pens uncocked.
so there’s a stigma here, obviously.
We’re drawn to a seductive essence,
what is it? What is her name?

We aren’t supposed to tell them
that we’ve met...

and she shouldn’t know who I am
but she does... I’ve come before
and I’ll darken her doorway again, I’m sure.

The bitch knows who I am.

So now we’re interacting like you haven’t been there either,
feeling the building swell up and sigh peacefully about you. 

The frame exists for us to pull beyond,
or ooze from, set in place by someone
yet we grow and crack up around sidewalk poured

by someone. it’s always someone,
the face that speaks of normalcy,
and we’re bored.

(it makes sense that audio bytes of our madness
make sense to me, stacking stacks
of clacking seconds back
on stacks of repeating
recursive stacks
of seconds)



My car has been in the shop for three weeks. I’m back on the road again, but not unaffected.

In this absence from driving I have discovered a few things:

- driving fuels my creativity and my sense of self-worth.
- though, immobility can also be freeing.
- there is a pond out behind my office complex.

The pond has become a place of midday solace for me, with the added delight of unafraid ducks. These guys sat at my feet and slept while I sat on a bucket and wrote. The past few weeks have scrambled my brain - this temporary dose of surreality (and constant pondering of “normal” and if it is a thing one can actually ever “get back to”) has been very good for me in that regard - but I am left feeling disoriented and a little shell shocked. I have three or four poems that are all being written slowly and at once, in scattered pieces by accident, revealing themselves to me one important sentence at a time.

I need to do all of it justice, all of this life and all of the comprising faces... but when I am lifted up by the scruff of my neck, at the mercy of the universe, it is difficult to make the words come together. 

That being said. I am ecstatic to be reunited with my KIA. 


Dames Point Park

Dames Point Park // Jacksonville, FL
The sunset was somehow Egyptian, spreading
vertical rays of Ra’s golden blessings on the union
of the Dames Point bridge and the horizon.

“How far can the eyes see?” he asks of me.
I have to admit ignorance in all of this. 

Dames Point Park // Jacksonville, FL

I know what I can see, but only barely.
I can barely see and furthermore barely
believe what I see as the truth. 

It’s only the illusion of control that life is offering -
"You are who you pretend to be, so be
careful who you pretend to be."

Dames Point Park // Jacksonville, FL


For the Now Child

It’s on the edge of established lives that I catch a touch of lumpy throat,
bouncing someone else’s baby at someone’s else kitchen table
lovingly sourced and made from hand felled oak.

At least, I think it is. It doesn’t matter.

It’s always a tree, right? There’s no better imagery
for the ways the children feed themselves on our roots,
for the ways the fed are disentangled and shoved
off to their own desperate journeys for truth,
for the planks of disembodied souls
catching errant drips of morning milk from cereal bowls.

“Now Keri, write in your book that I love Keri and sign it with my name.”

My name now is Now Keri and I can’t even tell her how correct she is,
hitting the mark so accidentally.

“Now Keri, I am putting this sticker in your notebook.
Now Keri, you will always know that I was here.”

I want to thrust these colored pages into your hands so you can see
your words washed over in strokes of easter blues and greens.
She asks, with tiny brows and jellystains but no words,
with grubby hand of vibrant wax posed kinetically over stacks
of poems bound together searching endlessly for perpetuity.

How do I say no to her? How do I tell her that this the only thing that anything means?

I want to say “now child, you can write in any book I own.”
or “now child, the very act of my hand touching the page turns white to red”
or “now child, please, please don’t let us die.
Please pass me around and love as I have loved,
please carry me and foster me in the eyes of your own children,
let them know that you should say ‘hello’ to every sidewalk
and ‘hell no’ to every heavy task.”

Instead I say “yes, baby. Anything you ask.”