Bitter as it is red


we sang walking beneath the trees
and down the concrete sidewalks
from the marble stoop of our hostel

you wore your favorite handcrafted beanie
as we walked down the stairs
and you told me your knees were cold

on the landing below the staircase
the people on the street could hear us yell
and sing the words chalked on the building walls

I'd been growing out my beard
and hiding the scratches along my chin
from when my arm clipped the motorcyclist

in france
it was then that I learned not to trust you
and the way your eyes lure a pressing danger

your lipstick bitter as it is red
leaving evidence like prints at a crime scene
that I had once been in love


oh Lord i'm overcome

still air in the hotel lobby
prayers reverberate in my mind

i tried to remember your words last night
or the smiles you once gave me
whenever you met my gaze through a window

your eyes were either red or green
depending on your dress, or the last time you'd cried
and i thought i'd taken you away from that place

i want to take your face in my hands
and tell you everything is fine

but today we'll go for a walk instead


I held her body in my arms
my face against her stomach
her legs kicking beside my head
and she was laughing

she rested her arms on the pillowcase
her wrists crossed above her tangled brown hair
her body rising and falling with every deep breath
and I was reminded of the tree dying outside our window

she slept the winter by my side
and we watched the frost creep along the glass
like splinters and frigid spiderwebs
hiding the light so we could sleep 'til noon

we eventually left the French countryside
with a bag of chalk and bandages on my face
a book of poems and kindness in her eyes
and set off to find a city where the streets still echoed desire

I'd met her last summer outside a bakery
standing on the busy streets I could never navigate
but with a taste for wine and a lust for her ruby red lips
I thought her light in me would never fade

now I hold her body in my arms
my face against her stomach
her legs kicking beside my head
and she is weeping


Rainbows gilding her waist

inspired by the painting "Colors Unseen" by Sarah Guiffrida
(named from the poem that follows)

I found the Lord's presence
in colors unseen,
racing clouds across the sky,
on a chariot carried by
wings of the wind

I found the Lord's grace
wrapped like a dress,
brighter than the heavenly host

I feared the light,
but returned ashamed,
like a moth draws to the flame

I heard the Lord's voice carry
like birds of the air,
traveling the wind like the breeze itself,
hiding like the moon

I saw the work of the Lord
green like sage

Everlasting the light of day,
like smoke that trembles
from the mountains

I found the eye of the Lord
and prayed when it found
me, that my name
could be pronounced holy

I saw the heart of the Lord
hiding me like darkness,
igniting me like fire, and
holding wisdom in love's embrace

Rainbows gilding her waist

But the face of the Lord
I cannot tell,
from the leviathan of the sea,
or the shadows in me,
but I feel His hand
guiding me down the shaded narrow

For the Peace of God
rests in your branches
when the sun steals night
with the rise of day,
and your shade waters
the harvest planted
when thunder flees
the darkest sky.