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on sitting across from a stranger at davis libraryi wonder if anyone has ever sat
across from you and wrote a poem about you
even though they don't know you.
i wonder if anyone has ever done
this for me. i hope when you go home
you don't wash your hair. i like that it's messy
and long. if i were a ladybug i would like to sleep
there. i would tunnel just beneath the top layer
and shudder my wings to a close and have dreams of fields
of wheat. i hope you can see how this is a good thing.
and i hope you don't change your clothes. i hope you wear
a sweater everywhere you go. i like that the one you're wearing now
is brown and without a pattern. its not ambitious or pretentious. if i
were a flea, i'd perch on your shoulder for company until i got hungry.
i wouldn't bite you and wouldn't know why in my tiny insect mind.
i hope you never wear contacts, and i hope sometime you fall
asleep with your glasses on. i hope you never talk on the telephone
except once a week to your grandmother. i hope you never peel your stickers
off your laptop, no
on excusesthe floor creaked with a pressing tone
and my toes crept sadly toward you.
i heard the sounds
deep inside of your throat-
before they could come out,
before you could think them,
before you could stutter an
i was up all night and
the thought that, you,
were sleeping somewhere
naked, with your fingers
stretching and your dreams
retching up what you couldn't
admit to awake- was too much for me.
maybe if i
was next to you while you
were dreaming, your body
would admit to me that you
loved me. and you wanted to make
me cum. it had been so long.
you blinked hard, fast
your eyes shaking, dying fish.
i pulled you apart
like the ribbons on
an awfully wrapped
birthday present- slow, and
sad, and then fast. i wanted you
to see how bad my skin felt
when you weren't loving
our feet tangled together,
roots of a forgotten
pine tree with a heart
and four initials carved
in it- and i was never superstitious
but if you make a tree a liar
something bad happens to you, right?
if you make me
on dying youngdeath is senseless, and in this
infinite senselessness there is a loss
of words. a loss of hope. a loss of
the Great unifier- the uninhibited
inhibitor, the petulant bird of prey
soaring over all heads, landing and plucking
from our masses the young, the old, the
wicked, and the innocent- the fortunate
and the unfortunate alike.
i have walked myself through eighteen years-
a small, contemptuous age: bent on destroying
everything, and keeping all the rest-
a timeless, weary age, popular culture demands
that these are the best years of life, when you
have not yet known it. and i am not denying
that i have lived-
many a night, i have sat on rooftops,
questioning my favor, questioning the gods,
smoking was the big fuck you, the proclamation
that i would not tremble at death's feet,
that i would welcome it, that i would
tower over it, my entrails glittering
upon my wrist. my lungs hanging blackly from
my ears. i realize the staunch idiocy of both
smoking, and not smoking, of tryin
on being a woman'what's a pretty lady
like you doin' smokin' cigarettes?'
'if i fucked you
for every time i've
you wouldn't think i was such
a lady anymore,
and what's a clever fella like you
doing minding my business for me,
i am not a lady-
i do not curve my appetites,
i do not curve through the waist and hips,
i please for my own pleasure,
i soak in my own sweat,
i fuck for my own glory.
tiddly tum, hidden harems and come,
i am the singular player in my play,
i am the prologue, intermission, and final act
every love i have known has been fueled by
my own fury, every discovery dug up by my own
destiny, every body of water i touched, i touched
with my own skin, i am not domestic, i am imported-
virgin beer on saintly lips, i am not comely nor
forthcoming, i offer my bed to no soldier, i take
what i can and give what i can, i do not plea or
placate or play the victim with my eyelashes-
my father says one day, i will be a lady and
take my rightful place to the left and behind
i'm writing againthe last few notes
of yellow ledbetter
was the first crackle
of the radio when we dropped
acid by the ocean. it
was the most beautiful sound
i had ever heard.
and when the walls were
filling up with black red
blood and turning, delicately,
my life was wrapped around your
wooden frame, and your eyes
were spaceless visions
of a dead star. your name, ah
i roll it over my fingers
in your car i am a desert singer.
the wind scrapes my arm and weeps
with all the colors of green that
i've never even seen before. for once
i forget the mantra, 'we are the worst
things we ever did. nothing less. nothing
more.' and i tell you that i want to go fast.
well the day passed into night
and the sky was big and black as an oven,
with the moon as yellow as an orgasm, and just as bright
we watched it devour the water and spit
from it's belly to the tide. in your ear i say,
'open wide, open wide.' we are just as
heavy as we are light.
it's good to stay
tethered to the earth,
to have my feet in the ground,
reflections on firstsyou know what really makes
me sad is that i have no recollection
of our first kiss. i have no recollection
of the first time you tried to fuck me. my
memory stops where i walked into
the room in garters with my best friend and molly
rolled my eyes back while you
made my fingers snap and grasp
at musty sheets. what i do remember
is when i fell in love with
you. it was over several
short and long moments.
1. the water murmured softly
underneath the wood and underneath
our bodies. the rushing of our blood
seemed like too much,and so it calmed
down and pulsed gently like thump.
thump. thump. thump.
and you called me sweetheart and this is
what you said. "i hated you so much because
i was attracted to you. you are so beautiful.
so smart. so talented. i hated you so much."
and then i sang the same song for you
that had made others fall in love with me
but i never felt it the way that i did then.
my voice was almost shaking,
new year'sgotcha all loved up on pills
your hair feels sexy and my
eyes are thin and filled
with jelly. you go as deep
as my belly and then go
deeper. i say 'you can be
the steeple and i'll be the
preacher.' i say 'you can be
the football and i'll be the
bleachers.' somehow i was
trying to tell you that you
can have all the glory, you
can read my palms and create
got me all fucked up on pills.
my body eats pain and pukes up
thrills. the thing i like most
about it all is pills or no pills,
frills or no frills- you're still
my sweetheart. and i love you and
god couldn't have made you apart
small musingpeople are always so
sad about caged birds
the fish in the bowl?
the nature of the soul?
the arrow and the bow?
the turtle, a slave to his shell
never running, always hiding-
walls, small devils and taut strings.
i am not so sad about the bird
in the cage.
what i am most sad about is
the look on my own face when i heard
you said you wanted me out
of your life for good.
i am a slave to old
grudges and i am
too proud to
body tunefor matt, still
in the dark.
you will hear
the quiet hum
of your body.
it is vibrating
with the tender
love of each season.
this is a call
to strengthen the hum-
but believe in everything.
challenge the barriers
of skin and claim the atmosphere,
stroke your nature
and become a radical,
radical in the sense
that you're doing
what you were meant to
do, which is never what
they want you to do,
become a radical in the sense
that you can lay in the dark
and hear the quiet hum of your body.
and know all that it means
to ever-bleeding eye
cut me offpeter crying on the phone
still a little drunk
"i fucked up so bad. i'm so sorry"
yes darling you did sweet sweet peter with the blue eyes
like little doves.
i just wanted you to love me, i wanted you to touch me.
the tiny prayers of your fingertips across my body that would somehow make me better
or at least that is what i told myself.
peter kissing me in the staircase
tasting like coke and freedom. the bruise coloured
feeling of wanting you.
peter tapping on my knee
peter crying in my arms
peter yelling at me
peter without me
we landed in oklahoma
and drank cheap martinis in the terminal;
you carried my guitar and fell in love
with my voice but not my tongue,
not my hands.
there's a man with a garage
that looks like a plane because nothing
meant more to him. will you make a model
of that bar? will you make a model
of my red cheeks? or will you live in a townhome
with her and three children?
the problem was you're not gay.
the problem was there was feeling
but it wasn't for us. i had you but
it wasn't for us.
i'm not sure if i resent you,
but i remember that bar and every pockmark
on the stool you sat on while i played
the song that parted your lips;
you remember every pockmark in oklahoma
like they were ours.
tangled up in blue eyesHer hair was the kind of brown where you just knew she was born blonde. Eyes, big and bright, filled with a wonder I couldn't name or place. She kept a ribbon tied in her hair; never yellow, it reminded her of mothers and children. She was a mystery to everyone and a misery to me.
They said that the colour of her skin was something that resembled perfection. White porcelain with peach undertones, something of a doll; a child made from china, painted colourful with deft fingers scarred blue.
Curiousity got the best of me and I looked too deep, too quickly; oceanic blue eyes that shifted like they'd already drowned every living soul that had stepped too close, sand-lined belly full, sated. I started to wish I'd learnt to swim but the waves were almost poetic, I kept yelling and each of my syllables would form a bubble that would float the surface and be lost. That was easy enough to explain with the laws of physics and the taste of salt water in my throat.
When i yelled at her in the hou
things the hurricane season taught her-don't make tea when your insides are more
blue than pink.
the leaves soak it up and leave it watery and bland
- its the things that aren't really there that stick
in your throat the most
- goodbyes never get easier
- far away looks better until you get there
then you want somewhere else
- don't poke the ache. it won't
just turn off like you're pressing a button
it will run further and deeper
or burst and spread
- the fog in your chest
wont disperse from breathing
in and out as many times as you can
you'll just lose your sight
and hit the floor
- she had loved him from
i wrote this on a beach at nightjack jack jack
j-a-c-k jack who became all
jack who layered pink on blue on purple in the sky
jack who kissed the mountain tops as
clouds and softly sighed
jack who moved like tides but was still
the moon (the call)
jack who kicked and yelled and screamed
but was still loved by all
jack jack jack
j-a-c-k jack who put salt in the sea
j-a-c-k jack who put blood in me
last season's mix tapesin every story, there is a plot.
this is called “what happens.”
what happens is usually someone dies and someone rebuilds, someone buys a wedding ring and maybe she says yes.
what happens is we lose touch.
what happens is we stop at the laundromat, and i don’t know if i am inventing the men smoking cigars on the porch, or if it is really thursday. what happens is i am nine and you are a few years older and we are in the laundromat with three baskets full of clothes.
what happens is my parents are waiting in the car and we have quarters weighing down our pockets and we are grown up as we press coins into the slots on the washing machines. we giggle because we are the youngest occupants of the one large room lined with washers and dryers, and we giggle and we wait for the buzzers. we grow unsteady, confused, younger as we realise that we have been wrong. suddenly we are infants and we glance around the room and we feed more quarters into the
What angels inventedi.
The ocean of air above
you swells with voices
deathless skippers leaving
dust of meteorites
in gusty mind-
but you, an airborne antigen
You trammel inspiration
off the tallest waters. The poems
you could have written
I go on and they go too,
skating away on pitchey ink
The ocean of water beneath
my trembling fingers your hand
closes over them so clasping
so out of breath and quiet
skin which I am carrying
on top of my skin paints
the blush of every flower
in your state opening up
to spring at once
you can put your twangy spin on stars
(but you can't keep me off alone)
The firmament of earth between
us — automatic: I write us
like the cosmos happens
dually — miniscule,
the firmament last
time you held that stare I could
have built castles on
(the way you looked
at me, astronomically)
Prufrock Seduced My ExI dreamt you up a sonnet
about going back in Time
with you and offering my
virginity on Venice Beach
With a renewed freshness
I recited my recent hymn,
but a famished Hurricane
drank my rhyme schemes
of Petrarchan sandcastles
before the really sad part
was able to convince you
to run away with me, my
gargoyle heart sunburnt
(camouflaged to the hue
of your rouge cheeks, to
the dance of our bodies)
But the wisp of revisited Love
evaporates with the saltwater
of a utopian seashore. This is
no fountain of youth; no well
for quarter wishes; no spring
for fallen nymphs. Soaked in
Acheron's reincarnate, let me
kiss your coy hand. Crickets
echo the apocalyptic tides of
the raucous waves, the stars'
choreography. Read my lips:
kiss the fine print. Shoplift
my innocence; you have my
I awaken to the clamor of swan lullabies
& Michelangelo's mermaids making Love
to one another. How I envy them, those
hedonistic princesses. How I hate them,
reducing my soul to a puppet
Late Monet in a Boy's Bedroomyou have mourned for a childhood spent
siphoning color's touch from men with your eyes
unshut, begging at the heels of lovers who
wanted to know your shadows. you accepted them
into your bed, reminding yourself of such moments when
you lay back: powerless, aroused. his hands knew you
in wide spectrums they shouldn't have, but you lusted
and lust for another whose brush is careless, whose teeth
will paint your neck without praying to consequence,
who will have you jealously, selfishly: who will let you
call him by that paternal name that rots your liver, that
makes your tongue soft for affectations. he was a liar,
but a charming, intelligent man: an artist, blending his
i just liked the way this sounded in my headmy breath was like dropping cold
keys on a colder kitchen counter. i was gray
with an a for a day when you went
a way. on your own you trumpeted
the clouds and sent for "Los Angelos"
as your mexicana abuela would say-a.
you asked me what
to do with my
mother's china set. throw it away. i said,
burn it. you did not
ask me about this.
kay. babe i loved you a long time
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