The Process x River People

Settling my hand
on a bur oak’s 
bare chest. 
Flailing distantly 
for the giving reach
and feeling encouragement 
from limestone
crevices beneath -
I leap. 
Hints of living
where fish
swarm in silver darts
for lunch
and never hunger.
She holds enough.
They have two children
in thick, wool hats.
A transparent bond
below a howling dog’s
wounded voice
caroling softly 
across the bristling stones. 
More here!

Limón

Sometimes, 
if only cherries
had a kiss. 
Sprouting 
endearing pestilence. 
Most, yes - 
alright - 
all
of the time, 
I’d rather 
have lemons’
early dew. 

in the soft torrential curls that
pool at the base
in that fresh morning milk
comes the caustic awakening
sonrojo en su sonrisa
the same flavor as sunrise

I’d rather 
tener palos para
construir una cabaña.
I’d like you to
scratch my chest,
claw at the limbs,
burn from the roots,
and watch my fruit



fall. 
In collaboration with Caitlyn Salinas. My deepest gratitude and respect.

Could Never Pretend

I am not the carbon copy,
but rather the rough
suffocating diamonds.
In these dank caves,
nothing comes through -
signals upon waves
upon kilojoules of pixels.
Time to turn off the news. 

These Mutts are Near

No dogs on the bridge.
No bikes either,
for that matter. 
But definitely no dogs
without leashes. 
That’s how they get you:
you say, 
dogs without leashes,
we can cross that bridge
when we get there.
All of a sudden,
you can’t cross with the dog,
so, you ditch the leash
and boom,
you’ve violated the sacred
oath.
No dogs without leashes. 

cream


i.    

Elt tripped over his thoughts stepping into the light, swinging against the weight of his gun. The matte black Impala soaked in afternoon sun while waiting for backwoods dust to settle. The thick pine wood isolated the road in a semi-circle around them. Elt didn’t think he needed the piece, but it made him feel good – powerful.

“Even when we go to the fucking McDonald’s, he’s ordering oatmeal.” Mosely didn’t retort, just grunted back at Elt’s whining. Elt always did the talking. Mosely knew these jobs made Elt nervous. Mosely liked his job. He pretended Elt’s monologues beset him, but despite the squealing pitch, Elt could find humor in the long pauses of their job that gave Elt the creeps. Elt figured it didn’t bother him, but never tempted fate over the line. 

“I mean who does that? Pretentious prick.” 

Elt eyed the meadow between the trees and the woods suspiciously. He flicked the safety of his piece on and off, then stopped when he got nervous that he’d lost track of where he left off. 

“Alright, flip for it?” Elt tried not to sound too casual. Mosely took the bait. He left his wide frame straight on as he turned to side eye Elt. Heat from the Impala filled the space between them. That’s the closest Elt got to confirmation. He called “tails” on the quarter pinging through the air.

He smacked the quarter over and allowed himself a slanted smile, “I win.” Again, he timbered his voice to stay even. If he knew one thing from jail that stayed true no matter what, don’t piss off the big guy. Especially when you only made it up to 180 pounds soaking wet. Mostly grease. 

Mosely grunted and uncocked the gun he had resting at his hip. If it wasn’t the cops, it was the farmers. If it wasn’t the farmers, it was Elt’s pale, pretty face and screeching to ruin a good job. Not sadness, but something relative to Mosely, pagned a bit at the thought of the loss. 

The Final Rising

“Here lies a man
who laughed at everything,”
a speckled, gray stone declared.
The name “Ulta Mareis”
sunk into its brow.
“Even his own pain,”
a woeful voice agreed.
Faceless and gowned in black,
uproarious laughter broke through
solemnity
as they dropped their flowers.
Loudest and highest of all,
when the last rose
found its resting place;
Ulta Mareis gave his last laugh.

The Stylist’s Curse

Foreword: Though the elements of horror fiction commonly make their way into my writing, it is oddly one of my least common reading choices. The bulk of which, when I do partake, is centered on a psychological component. In appreciation, few other subjects offer a laboratory as free for exploration. I felt, in holiday spirit, what’s the harm? Hope you enjoy.

A Moonlit Garden

Foreword: I have wrestled with myself for about two months now as to whether or not I would share this story with you all. I wrote this as I pondered potential edits and revisions for my “Midnight Rose”, and when the story came fully to fruition I was, admittedly, somewhat displeased with the results. I may yet make another version of this story which I can find more entertaining, but given our current situation I wanted to release more content that I hope you find entertaining. In these awkward times we must find other ways of connecting.
That said, I appreciate your patience with me as I indulge myself in the perpetuation of this little fantasy. Though it may not set itself completely apart from the original inspiration, I hope you enjoy it all the same. The original poem came to me as I thought about rewriting an old assignment from school and from there this developed. After all, “The thorns of the past can become the buds of the future.”

All the best,
Josh