New Poems: “a haunting” & “Annular Eclipse” in Manzano Mountain Review #2

The online literary journal Manzano Mountain Review released their second issue today and two of my poems are included! I wrote the first draft of these poems back in early 2015; several revisions later I’m happy to be able to share them with you.

“a haunting”

Link to I started this poem in 2015, but it’s based on an essay I wrote in 2013, after I left a lizard alone in my bathroom, and the next day found it dead. I don’t know how it died. I couldn’t stop thinking about how my decision had turned out so badly for this poor lizard, and I was frustrated by how little I know about caring for other life forms that wander into my living space.

After I wrote the essay, I self-published it on “Hi”, the fantastic photograph and story-sharing site co-founded by Craig Mod that closed down in 2016 but is now archived online and “on a two-inch by two-inch nickel plate […] stored in five cultural institutions around the world (including the Library of Congress).”

In a poetry writing workshop in 2015, the instructor had us bring in our writing from other genres to repurpose as poetry. I printed out the essay and took a pen to it to whittle it down to something that resembled a poem. In later drafts I played with form and white space, with grammar and syntax, with images and concepts, trying to capture that hopelessness and guilt I felt.

“Annular Eclipse”

Partial solar eclipse through the shadows of leaves on pavement at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona on August 21, 2017
Partial solar eclipse through the shadows of leaves on pavement at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona on August 21, 2017

I keep returning to unrequited love in my poems. It really annoys me that I do. Let it go, Richard! Move on! Leave it in the past!

During solar eclipses, I’m reminded of a particular summer day, and I’m reminded of how unrequited love is a kind of eclipse, a seemingly impossible geometry, how the other seems to always eclipse the self, how they seem to form a bright ring around you that sort of leaves you absent, how dangerous and blinding that can be, but how we all keep showing up for it anyway.