“He Cleans”

Three p.m. on a warm Monday afternoon. The air is thick with the stench of holiday celebrations: alcohol swirls on the breeze intermingling with the smell of smoked foods and sunscreen. Alexis sits, twitching every minute or so, in her burnt orange hammock. Strung up on the back porch beneath a hand-made turquoise tarp (an unnecessary preparation for rain that never seems to come).

Inside Cory moves with precision, a ghostly figure behind the closed screen door, cleaning the one-bedroom apartment in comfortable silence. He wanders between the kitchen and bedroom in a seeming random pattern, fluidly cleaning the bedroom light switch, kitchen counters, and bathroom mirror in what seems to be one extended movement.

Alexis has often wondered what Cory’s mind fills with as he cleans the space. Every Sunday afternoon, without fail, he pulls out the neon pink duster and grey rags to brush away whatever dust has gathered in six days. Alexis rarely partakes.

She sits and observes his movements. Watching the same dance with fresh eyes, always wondering if she should be a partner in the whole affair. Yet, the dance seems to be intimately choreographed, a secret language Cory speaks with only himself.

“Do you need help?” Alexis shouts through the screen door. Her body tenses as she waits for his answer. Her toes point to the concrete pavement beneath, her fingertips curl into themselves, her neck arches towards the door – she appears like a lion prepared to pounce, but desperately hoping something or someone else will intervene.

“No – I’m fine” Cory’s response floats from the kitchen where Alexis can hear the silverware clanking against their marble counters. Alexis’ body relaxes, her head falls into her hammocks’ embrace. Cory is never angry with her for not picking up the cleaning supplies, he’s never bitter or passive-aggressive. It’s become a source of humor at parties and family dinners with their respective parents, but Cory never seems to hold it against her.




I think of it as a
natural right,
so what is revealed
by the fact
we are fighting
to obtain it?

Does an artist ever stop being an artist?

When paintbrushes are tucked in the way back of the closet, when canvases grow dusty, when notebooks filled with old poems become bent and battered from being moved between a variety of plastic boxes, when you answer in an interview “I used to be an actor, I haven’t acted in a long time”. . .is that where it ends?

Or is the life of an artist something that never quite comes to a close? Does the artistry stay alive internally even when the external choices don’t reflect the inner fire?


I have considered myself an artist for as long as I can remember. I have canvases tucked in my bookshelf, I have notebooks filled with mostly crappy (occasionally gripping) poetry and anecdotes, I have photos upon photos from plays I’ve been a part of. I went to college for Theatre Arts, I’m attending grad school for Theatre Education – art seems to live within me, but I ponder this question because externally my artistic habits are waning. It’s been almost a year since I’ve been on stage as a performer, I haven’t seriously taken the time to paint in longer than that. The only remnant of artistry I have is my habit of journaling and writing crappier poems than when I considered myself a poet.

But – will this artistry die? As I step away from the stage and towards the classroom – will my own status as an artist fade away? Will I become the epitome of “Those who can’t do, teach”?

Obviously that is a sentiment I don’t believe in. I want to teach because I love to teach not because I can’t do anything else. I love to teach theatre, I love to share this art I have fallen in love with.

But more and more, I find myself wondering – am I losing my artistry? Will I lose it if I keep going down this path? Am I letting go of my artistic side because I’m afraid…..afraid of putting myself out there in this new state, afraid of not having financial stability, afraid of not being “good enough”?

Or is it merely that my artistry is resting and waiting? Is this merely a time in my life where I have other things to accomplish before my artistry can resurface?


the serpent’s deceit

the world coils tightly
burrowing beneath the skin on my back
a snake


delicate curvature

hunches collapse

with every blink
every sound
every distracting chirp of technology

the serpent grows aggressive
tearing at my ligaments
urging a union (a cyborg relationship)

begging me to forget

“I’m human”


it knows
if I remember


I could destroy it all.

the tragedy of mufasa

claws tangled deep
in the thinning flesh of his face
as he clung desperately
to the crumbling edges of his life

his eyes locked with those
he thought he knew –
emerald eyes laced with a hatred
he’d never seen
never noticed
never grasped

his lips slowly formed
words of love
syllable by syllable
scrambling to save. . .



with a scarred wink
everything fell away.

Advice from a 4-year-old

“We’ll just take it easy”
I say to the limping young man at my side

“. . .like a rock” he replies


“what makes being a rock easy?”

“. . .because they’re still. . .”


like baby giraffes –
they take the stage

limbs stumbling across the flat surface

hats falling over their tender ears

bright face paint adorning their cheeks
slowly melting under their incessant fingers

as their eyes rarely leave
the comfort in the direction
behind my nod.

30 Day Poetry Challenge – Day 30

We made it!

This is officially the first time I have decided to join the 30 day poetry challenge for National Poetry Month and it has been a success! Thank you to those of you who have followed along and sent some love my way. Here’s the final installment and hopefully this month of creativity leads to many more!


30 of 30

a snowy trail
turns to rock
beneath the arches of our feet

exploring with each
thought-out step
delicate creations

shards of ice shatter
newly-bent branches
as Spring begins to whisper
in every creature’s ear

with each forgotten footfall
Winter melts into the earth
making way for
Spring’s dear sirens
to dance barefoot
in the dirt.

30 Day Poetry Challenge – Day 29

29 of 30


and in a single sleep cycle,
deep in a burrow of cheap blankets,
the world fell drunk
with winter’s soft seduction

springtime birds peck at nests
filled with broken flakes
tulips shiver under icy blankets
while the sun cowers behind blanched clouds
and people slowly stumble,
into the wonderland they thought they left behind.

30 Day Poetry Challenge – Day 28

28 of 30


shattered snowflakes
melt between shivering blades of grass
as spring
comes tumbling from the sky
with a boisterous laugh
and the warm touch

with low-rumbling giggles
spring climbs through tree branches,
digs deep into the once frozen ground,
jumps on every garden bed
“wake up
wake up

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