This poem deserves a codpiece.

*EDIT: This poem was accepted for publication by World Enough Writers for their Last Call: Anthology of Beer, Wine & Spirits, released July, 2018!

Notes from April, 2017:

I challenged myself to a poem-a-day for April (NaPoWriMo). I’d made it to April 17 before Life Happened, but April 13 is the most exciting day to me so far. It’s when I wrote this poem while waiting for a friend at P&G. Yes, I was drinking a stout at the time. Yes, it was that good (a Founder’s KBS, in case you’re wondering, though the poem contains an homage to another favorite of mine, local Swamphead Brewery’s Midnight Oil).

I can’t get over how much I love this poem. I’m not sure why. It feels like it must be shouted at top volume in pubs and hole-in-the-wall microbreweries and seedy bars around the world while holding aloft a snifter of thick, well-muscled, knock-you-on-your-ass brew. I haven’t made a practice of recording my poems to share, and I’m generally protective about posting unpublished poems* on this blog since many markets consider that tantamount to “previous publication,” thus exempting it from submission.

And yet. Here we are.

Hope you like it. If you recite it somewhere aloud in some half-lit dive, I hope you’ll let me know 🙂

Text is below. Enjoy ❤

Ode to a Stout
First appeared in Last Call: Anthology of Beer, Wine & Spirits by World Enough Writers (July, 2018)


© 2018 Samara. All Rights Reserved.

“Implicate Knitting” (2010)

322 Review is now defunct, but before that, they published this (no archive available):

Implicate Knitting
First appeared in 322 Review (2010)

The warm bamboo needles slide mathematically
within the curves of my practiced fingers:
loop back lift.

The pear-green wool links to itself
in the recursive continuum of a single knot
any physicist would recognize—
string theory.
a scarf emerges.

The equations of warmth are indecipherable to me,
like the dozens of people who call me friend
but who wouldn’t know the heavy stitches
that bind me together
if they tore them out personally.
Some of them have tried, seems like.
The names they use for closeness
are scratchy like the wool, and odd—
their friendship, mis-stitched and holey.

On these cold days,
I’m divisible by zero.
I knit, and watch my stash of scarves grow.

2 poems — “The Laureate and the Lothario” and “Grand Falls, AZ”

“The Laureate and the Lothario” and “Grand Falls, AZ” are now live in the freshly-minted print edition of The Wildhood Project‘s second volume, your voice in the wilderness.

Thank you so much to Cristina Falcone for including me in this beautiful volume!


** EDIT, April 2018 **

As of this edit, it appears as though this fledgling market has gone defunct (it happens often, sadly). My poems are therefore reprinted below. Hope you enjoy!

The Laureate and the Lothario
First appeared in Wildhood Project (2017)

I ran into James Dickey once
(in a campground, not the afterlife).
The Congressional Librarians—
academics, all—
put up a rally-in-the-woods,
a well-formed senility
Chronus could really get behind.
            *snortchuckle* frogs and crickets
bowled their raucous caucus
into our ears, yeah,
the reckless blood
was in us all
(deliverance from gall).
Guitar tones and trails wound off into trees,
all the options of darkness and firelight,
songteeth wide, the jawing, the brews—
the glories, oh, the stories!

The dandelion head moon
puffed up white behind
its cloudseed blooms—
yeah, all that midnight jazz
the poets write about,
playing their trills and saxy tones
while the jerry-rigging scholars
rocked and rolled their way
into the holy hag stones’
time-hewn silence:
mossed, pitted, and
certain as sex.

Grand Falls, AZ
First appeared in Wildhood Project (2017)

It sneaks up on you in summer.
Driving, you will think you’re in the wrong place,
that this is not the place for a magnificence of water.
There are the known rocks and gravel,
and the long view will be all ruddy brown and hazy,
a martian landscape of high desert under Arizona sky,
which is not a sky but a verb—
the blue a borrowing of depth,
an IOU to the lungless black behind it.

So there is the gradient:
blue to dust-blue to orange to brown,
a paradox of flatness that curves itself
from sun-hot roof to dust-borne wheels,
and you will turn that one corner
near the oddly Bradburian, solitary bench
with the requisite shelter and garbage can,
and you will turn that corner,
and there it begins.

You thought the earth was a table here,
but it was legs,
and suddenly they open and open,
and you are looking down into a scrappy kind of eden,
tough where it’s green, and
where the strange math of erosion
worked its long division with water
turned cocoa-brown from dust.
It’s flowing easily, playfully—
slow and gentle for falls,
on vacation from the flooding spring—
over rocks flat and large enough for sun-bathing.

There are rocks and all the
familiar elements of surface down here,
tumbled among the exposed monolithic mysteries
in this untoward tecton footprint,
where depth is not itself but a verb—
and it’s a secret of the snowmelt,
that it can do this to the earth
the way the outbreath rim of cosmos
can do it to the sky.

“The aroused scientist” (2010) is now defunct, but before that, they published this (no archive available):

The aroused scientist
First appeared in Watterlogged Words (May 2010)

The aroused scientist
walks bow-legged across the crisp split
of her wanton wholeness,
stepping spider-oblique
among her nettle-spring dreams
and the crisis/opportunity of motion.

The green burr-sparks stick
in odd, arrhythmic places,
collect in the overlapping buzz of crickets
until she is 12 again,
coarse and brash,
curved in time and space,
picking at her socks
against the persistent seeds,
or running on sidewalks that rhyme,
wearing tomboy-striped shirts
and eating pepper-weed to see if it’s poison
and she never gets sick, she is alive—
animal all loose in her
and divine.


“Song to a Mirror” (2011)

The Furnace Review is now defunct, but before that, they published this (no archive available):

Song to a mirror
First appeared in The Furnace Review (2011)

5/2 was the day you got good at “Whatever,”
that game of leaving-first without leaving.
You’d had the scent of happiness
over that last hill this morning,
but now it’s lost,
dispersed into untraceable atoms
across the neighborhood—

the same neighborhood where things have changed,
and M_____ and R____ stand in the yard screaming
for two hours in the morning.
“You promised me something!”
I don’t deserve you!
and you didn’t know what that meant, either,
not really.

Bending without breaking
is easier than it seems,
and more dangerous.
It leads to standing in yards at 7am
and hurling decibels at your love
who volleys them back,
well-placed arcs that shred the neighborhood
with their fictions we believe.

Nearly 40,
on loan to the planet,
you believed in “special” until this morning
when you lost the scent of that, too,
in the untraceable atmosphere.
It must be fluttering among the dogwood blooms
and Confederate jasmine—
40 feet up the pine, out of sight
among the unremarkable tree limbs:
you’re just like everyone else
and you’ve lost so many poems that way,
you can’t possibly be bitter—
maybe now you can get some sleep.

“the angry boy” up at Right Hand Pointing (2010)

**EDIT: “the angry boy” was also accepted for publication as a reprint, and is now up at Ekphrastic Review (Dec, 2017). Many thanks to Lorette Luzajic! Head on over to ER for some wonderful poems, all of them art-inspired.**

This poem first appeared in RHP Issue 33 (2010). It was one of the first where I received an acceptance that then included a fairly substantial revision via editorial collaboration. Thanks to RHP for the confidence and support!

the angry boy

the angry boy with one hand
will cut you up if you’re not careful
or just because he feels like it
and don’t you look him square
unless you want to fight or fuck
the cogs and screws of pity
just don’t move things around here

The concept was inspired by a self-portrait taken in 2009. A previous version of the poem included the phrase “…lifts the smooth blunt / hammer of his rage…” *:


* Please note, I am not an amputee nor can speak for those who are, nor do I desire position myself in any way that could be construed as marginalizing or ableist. The photo above has not been retouched — it is a trick of the shadow captured by chance that inspired a creative moment for me, moments which arise out of a desire to be more empathetic toward my fellow humans and the variations of the human experience, and to tell deeper and truer stories as best I can. 

“The Press of Time” in Filled with Breath

This sonnet first appeared in print in the anthology “Filled with Breath: 30 Sonnets by 30 Poets” edited by Mary Meriam in 2010. Thank you, Mary! Dedicated to my son, with love.

The Press of Time
First appeared in “Filled with Breath” Sonnet Anthology (2010)

I watch my son, asleep here in his room—
His arm’s gone wide, his mouth’s gone wide; he snores.
His hair’s a loomless, amber bale— not white
like mine was at his age. He’ll soon take flight

from coddled nestling ways, he’ll lose the down
and comfort of his youth—time presses on.
There is no lift in words; I have no right
to use my landbound tongue to speak the light

that splits me in the prism of my core.
With all the atoms in my I’ll adore
him through the thermals and the chartless course
he’ll call his life. For now, I’ll watch the moon

chase pencilled inches up the jamb; too soon,
too soon! There’s nothing empty as a womb.

“My Body is an Uncapped Mason Jar” in 5×5

This poem first found a home in the “Clear” issue of 5×5 Lit Mag (2010, no archive available).

Slight edits were requested, to which I agreed. The published version is shown here.

My Body is an Uncapped Mason Jar
First appeared in 5×5 Lit Mag (2010)

The clear liquid and light of me
is visible to you.
Color presses along my seam,
and I split myself like spectra.

I lift myself, thirsty, to the sun —
my heart, the glint along the edge,
questions the window of my skin.
The distance of my years is soft, unmolded,
like the verbs and pronouns
that spill me into the slow,
free-fall globes of good-bye,
until I am dropping without landing,
and there is light refracting everywhere —
shards of it, and waves —
a vertigo of curvature.

Every glass holds the thought of its own breaking
in its slow and heatmelt atoms,
more fragile than knowing,
and translucent like a warm breath.


“Breathe: Agent Orange” at Shine Journal

This was first published as the winning poem in the 2010 Shine Journal Poetry Contest. Winning this contest also secured me a Pushcart nomination that year, for which I’m eternally grateful and will continue to brag about as long as possible.

Because the Shine Journal website was minimally functional last time I checked, I include the poem here for archival purposes:

Breathe: Agent Orange
Winner of The Shine Journal 2010 Poetry Contest plus Pushcart nomination

What you see is not him.
Soon he’ll be born,
hungry like new insects
and full of tangent youth.
His eyes that are not eyes
but spunsilk pockets
deeper than truth,
carry you in them
without comfort.
They are wondrous and dark,
warmer than his lungs,
which are chipped and stripped
and crumbling, two broken promises—
fiberless and musty,
like logs that unfurl
the dirt-thirsty gills of mushrooms
from their flanks.

As a child, I sought cicada-husks
on pine trees in the park,
the split back and empty legs a mystery
more perfect than a deep breath.

The body’s misunderstandings
are so weighty,
to leave behind a thing
so light.