I’ll bar no doors against you, dear
Though high stone walls surround me here
My moats are filled with bitter rain
Watched over by a barbican
To test your will to persevere

And when you creep with bandolier
And bayonet across the plain
Expecting steel and lock and chain
I’ll bar no doors against you.

When in the closing of the year
You come again to commandeer
My citadels, my heart’s domain,
These keeps I’ll yield to your campaign
You’ll need no sap nor bombadier
I’ll bar no doors against you.

Little rondeau here for the poetry slam at yeah write.


It is 1997. The room is full of suitcases chalked with names, dates, numbers.

“When first I came,” the professor says through his grey beard, pointing, “I resented hearing always it was our fault, Germans. But this little boy, with my birthday.”

Houses of Worship

I can see it in your sly eyes
Your conspiratorial look, that you think
I look like you, I am you, Cognito ergo same
That we share not only a haplotype
But memories of hymns, the old cross on the hill
Or whatever that song is, that I don’t know

The doors to your temple are barred to me; your gods are not my gods.

I move, invisible, included in every in-joke
But mostly they’re not funny jokes
These petitions you pass me
Save your marriage? That’s between you and your spouse
Yeah, I said spouse
I said Happy Holidays
I’m sorry, did I upset you and your expectations
I’ll go back to invisibility, then.

The doors to your temple are barred to me; your gods are not my gods.

And rationality is no refuge
When you don’t look like Dawkins
When Bernie Bros and Roosh and Elliot Rodgers and Gamergate and
I’m sorry, did you not know those were problems
Maybe they’re not for you
Maybe you’re confident in your vote

The doors to your temple are barred to me; your gods are not my gods.


It does not seem enough, this single candle, to fill my lantern’s belly, spread its ribs, to coax it from my hands and steer its body windward. I burned my finger lighting it; another regret, another weight holding me to the earth.


In third grade

I reached out a hand

(Fascinated by the improbable crispness
the silver-slick edges
and the vulnerable pinkness beneath)

and touched Mr. Main’s combover

I’m sorry.
I was curious.

(it was harder than I thought, and sharper)

(like his voice)


The lamplight’s my companion on this trip
to nowhere but the pages of my book,
and outside night is falling drop by drip
by drab- light’s not the only thing you took
with you. I’ve promised that I will not look
back now on then and sometimes I believe
myself when I tell lies, when I unhook
my moorings and prepare myself to leave.

I want to be the only one to grieve,
imagining you’re well set on your way;
but words are not the only shrouds I weave
and someday they will bind me where I lay
myself down all among the starry sky,
remembering the good in your good-bye.

Kicking down a Spenserian sonnet for this month’s YW poetry slam. I only screwed up the rhyme scheme three times. Go me.


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