Wednesday, November 1, 2017

if play our lives backwards

the bright swan between us rises,
a falling star in reverse,
low tide of our shining origin
exposing the trash and treasure
between where we stand and stood
the moon slow-talks its blank verse
makes us repeat it back:
blink and long, the stretch of the sand
how the sea licks your name
licks it from the earth, the damp relief,
the mouth of it

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

You Can't Put That in There

When I was 37, my partner came into the room with a handful of sticks. He had pulled them out of the garbage disposal. “You can’t put that in there,” he said. He thought it was I who had done it, rather than my 8-year-old. 
When I was 8, I was alone in the house and the phone rang. A man started asking me questions. Questions that made me feel uncomfortable. I thought it was my dad’s friend Ken, who ended up in prison. Maybe it was. He asked, “Would you like it if I licked your toes?” I laughed politely. “How about if I put my tongue in your pussy?” 
You can’t put that in there.
When I was 16, my brother’s friend Jeff came into my room while I slept. He laid on top of me and forced his tongue into my mouth. I fought him for several minutes. I fought him with my body. I fought him for my body. I said noI said stop.
You can’t put that in there. 
My partner thought I had put the sticks in the garbage disposal. What would and would not go down? How big could the sticks be? I cut some flower stems and put them in. A couple hours later, the machinery stopped working. I told my partner that the garbage disposal was broken. I had a puzzled look on my face. He took it apart and then brought me the flower stems he’d found inside. “I think it’s from these,” he said. 
You can’t put that in there.
When I was 24 and working at Home Depot, my coworker Angelo asked me to go out. I went out with him on New Year’s Eve. He made us drinks. He pulled down his Murphy bed, and kissed me there. I wanted to leave, but he wouldn’t let me. He got on top of me. He removed my pants. He raped me. I said no and Angelo raped me. I said no
You can’t put that in there.
Ken. Jeff. Angelo.
I said no.
And I would feel guilty if I said their last names. 
You can’t put that in there.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

I go down on bones and stars and stones
I call down the dead and bring them to bed
I lay down with gods and beggars and frauds I go down in history like any good mystery

Friday, July 21, 2017


we are colonizers
shot across the water
projectiles of pain
crashed out past
our own keening
who but desperation 
would pursue such
we come from
we come from fire
we come from night
we drink the sea
as it pours

This is your love poem.

It can’t get any worse, 
so we might as well be in love.
I hold you like language, gravity, sleep— 
the things that hold me back.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

untitled 13

Standardize your child. Primer: Neat rows of square desks forsake the circle. (Passive-voice) lines are drawn between math and language, art and science, music and movement. Math is a living, breathing, moving mass of color, sound, and light. Find the stained glass window to the temple deep in your meaning. You will recognize it by the shape of your gaping mouth.

Correlate anything with everything. Forge philosophy in a fire, not in the upper stratosphere of academic ash. Fuck meatless metaphysics. Look infinity in the face. Take the gut-punch. Take its air in your lungs. Bellow into the depths and befriend worthy echoes. Pound for pound, this is smithery. We step over the homeless woman dying on the sidewalk.

Justice is the gavel in my heart, pounding when I see myself in the mirror of you. Register the demons to become human. Justice rests on our convictions. Parole the margins.

Let's count the things we know. 1. We are whole. 2. There is no land, so let's stop flapping our wings. Let's freefall through the winds of change. 3. Not a muttered shrug, but a diamond-eyed revelation: I don’t know.

Where the head reigns without the heart, walk out the door. Only read philosophy that holds up from the curb of a crackhouse. Wear an amulet against what? Be a selfless sieve, so ghosts drift through. Ante up. Be the paradox of taking ownership of no property: I have nothing, and I stake a claim on it. 

Pedestals make parallax. Evolution does not imply upward mobility or improvement. If you don’t build a tower, you can’t fall from it. We forecast our own future in the turnstile of oppression. Prescription: A sprig of thistle. A fervent blip from the vagrant who spouts deep, unbidden truth. Forge with your hammer a cradle that holds the old woman you will never step over again.

Poet, heal thyself! Form with your tongue a remedy. Every pronouncement, a decree. Your body will still become ash. Cremation is a cure. Until then, we break in fragrant throes, the scent of truth hot on our hands.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

we are evidence of old magic
bodies are an ancient language
some of us are still alive
we are endurance artists

the brightest are the darkest
rainbows are broken light too
the oracles are convulsing
the dead are near

even the saints are fucked up
certainty is rooted in terror
some lies are honest
we are what we deny

we are enchanted pain
small tragedies are easier to grieve
black magic is self-harm
all of these are spells

we are the only animals who think there’s something better
we are fighting the sky
we are forbidden books that must be read in the night
we are fugitive clouds, destined to rain

Medical Sonnet #8

art by René Milot

Hear ye, humble followers: my image shall be held on high! 
Neglect hath shrunk my heart, a weight 
that moors us to the blackest sea, while I apply 
a golden gilt that fashions an alluring bait.
Depth of sight I haveth not, and thus I do collect
façades that shineth hugely brighte;
my biggest mirror is a wall, unfairest
since I needeth not to contemplate nor self-reflect.
I grant to ye my gravity from such tremendous heights.
What’s slick as oil causes falls, embarrassed
from the tower’s suite
(no room for anyone but me, for I, of course, am self-replete).
Revolve 'round me like I'm the sonne! I’m just as full of gas—
I lighte the way by leading with my egocentric ass.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

sky and sea

the sky is meant to lie against the sea
every night line between them disappears

the sea is always wet for the sky
the sky is covered in signs

the sea sobs its ecstasies
the sky beholds it all

the sea conceives of everything
the sky withholds its beholding

the sea spills over the lip of its cup
the sky reads the remnants

the sea comes in long lines
the sky opens like legs

the sea is prone to lunacy
the sky is over the moon

the sea is always pregnant
the sky delivers us all

the sea spits out all glittering things
the sky inhales your last breath

Medical Sonnet #7

In winter’s hoar, thy absence leaves me chilled
with fitful feelings tugging at my breast.
Uneasy, restless, desperate to be filled,
A breathless, longing woe: I must redress.
Spring wakes me from below, and insects stir.
A thousand spiders hang upon their thread,
While I dangle from the open sky, in turn,
by a solitary sigh of whispered dread.
Now the grasses blow in summer’s seething,
A gasping roused and kindled by the night.
Yes, summer is a time of heavy breathing,
Yet something also keeps it very light.
Autumn does a strip-tease, leaves are falling.
Desperation suits me not, I’m on my knees.
I beg for inspiration; now I’m crawling,
While waiting to exhale without a wheeze.
art by Miles Aldridge

Friday, January 6, 2017


all artistry is an act of translation
beauty is not fleeting
silence is a form of generosity
lace is a woman’s web

the best magic is restraint
time is a graceful suicide
confusion is fertile ground
mystery is not fragile

a kiss is a portal
chemistry is not love
home is where the art is
absence is a form of presence

naming is an act of recognition
the discipline of love is not passive
people are not meant to be solved

the sky is a matter of fact
earth is a revolving door
the silver lining is torn

levity is rebellion
cremation is a cure
heartbreak is trending

the break is the blossom
the best pedestal is the floor
love is a war you will lose

You make me hard
Pressed to go about my day
Want to pin you to the wall
Like a thangka, 
Still wet when you touch it
Made for the altar
Meant to be worshipped
(In a way)
Like the View
From my knees

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

(science is magical realism
romance is generally haunted
infinity is none of your business
my therapist is out of her league
this dream is getting long)