If you 

have never had

to pretend to sleep

in a bed-bug 


motel room

for fifty dollars a night 

in the middle of 

The United States 

with crusty old blood stains 

halted in mid-drip 

down the walls

unidentified substances 


on the not-so-white sheets 

ashtrays on the bedside tables

which have not been emptied in years

A Bible in the drawer

its binding torn

and pages burnt 

alarm clocks blinking 1:57

with a man working in the lobby

wearing suspenders 

and a filthy beard

whom you were

almost certain

would try to kill you 

and your lover

at some point 

before the morning 

then you, my friend

have not really 



Stop Sign

My lips are like a stop sign

once painted bright red

but beginning to fade

due to age and vandalism


They boldly say ‘STOP’

but never with an exclamation point

‘do not come any closer’, they plead

they taunt you, tease you


But they are stationary

they do not ever move or attempt to push you away

they may tell you to stop

but they do not ever enforce this rule

unless someone else catches you.