from far away, see gizzards

Dear Amy [sic],

I think your hair has gotten too long. You may want to start wearing caps more. Pretend you follow football or care enough about basketball to advertise a team on your forehead. Your curls are too feminine unless you want to be feminine, then I might advise you that that tie around your neck does not go with the lipstick you forgot to put on. Put on some lipstick. I can’t really tell what you are & that makes me uncomfortable. You’re comfortable? But I’m not comfortable. Tuesday, you wore mascara and a skirt too high and your breasts were visible like cleavage and supple or whatever and today you want your dick sucked. How do I label this? What do you mean you’re queer? Are you a top? You like mini-skirt-women or dykes who pack? Do you like men or something? I mean, bio men? I need to know which color you are on our rainbow because I’m thinking you’re not queer enough for us. For me. You aren’t gay enough. Like you hang around with too many straight white men. How many gay people do you know? How many times have you read Stone Butch Blues? Listen, people are talking about you. They are talking and you should know this because you can’t just call yourself queer and not have a uniform to match. Like the way you dress and speak is kind of confusing to us. Do you know enough about our history? How many prides have you been to? Did you march or did you just buy some rainbow flag that day and tucked it in your pocket while you waited on the sidelines? I thought you were different. You talk about gender like everyday, but you don’t even know what that means. What does that even mean to you? I think you are going to have to work harder. Be more clear with us. You want to know why we ignore you? You’re hair is too….you’re messy and inconsistent….I heard about what you used to do with men. People know. So if you’re gonna call yourself queer, represent more. Know our slang. Hang around with our people so maybe you can get more of our behaviors down. I don’t mean to be rude. It’s just we need to be in solidarity, you know?

what exists besides the night where sunsets swell

I’ve formulated a hypothesis on the elegance of dreadlocks, dandelions and mailboxes.

I arrive home to heavy wooden door where walls welcome me in yellow and framed art. Now, my mailbox is shaped as a tabletop, no flag or key hole or hollow box containing echoes and spiderwebs. A universal table for each tenant’s envelopes, packages, magazine subscriptions. Before heading up two flights of dark-tree-stained stairs, I search through pile of rectangles searching for you.

Remember the birds? The pea pod. The feathers and wood shavings. Remember the music stuffed deep into the pocket of business sized envelope because you lost all yours and I wanted to send you something more romantic than a sunset: music notes and harmony.

There is a swell of sky in my belly. I am engorged with change, repetition of worry, unclaimed body in need of a devour.


I may be having a *secret* love affair with Anne Sexton. I held her up to microphone Monday night. She was slightly heavier than expected. I watched as she crossed one leg over the other as though left knee was the right knee’s lover. And perhaps I should not admit this. Perhaps secrets are meant to climb so deep inside a whisper that sounds become a hissssss. But…..but…

All she could talk on was suicide. Emptiness in walls, which are just slumped trees pressed into poorly postured beams. Oh, Anne. I have loved you for decades. I gathered up enough dandelions to turn this planet blonde, neon lemon scented oceans with daffodil-hued horizons. I even grew my hair long to cover you when we run out of sweaters and sheets. I grew so distracted by your sorrow, though, that my red grew confused, tangled and dreadlocked.

Anne, your lean.

Anne, your clutch of cigarette.

Anne, your need to gargle pills and red lipstick and poems.

I’ve no mail today, nor yesterday but I believe in tomorrow.

I’ll keep you in my throat, Anne.
And I’ll keep that other woman against my sternum.
And I’ll poem my way toward another evening where sun disappears into star formations.

Compare coffee table to love affair: hard, awkwardly-shaped, pointless

An early morning walk back to my Brooklyn and as I pass by bodegas, unopened restaurants and cafes, I think about love.

How many times have I been written on by lovers in bars where pool tables act as backdrops to flirtations like:
“They’ve run out out of chairs, want to sit on my face?” (QJH)

Or scent of western saltwater separating our thighs and I write:
“Real love like Mary J. sung about.”

I am thinking about pace, pause, stop signs, traffic jams and foreplay. I am thinking about how often I have given it up and what it means now to hold back.

What is an alternative to love nowadays?
Screaming a song at the top of my lungs
Dance party sans pants sans strangers humping legs and hipbones
An uninterrupted indulgence of spooned peanut butter into mouth
Woody Allen films
A nap on park bench with the soundtrack of dogs barking and bike wheels churning
Thrift store shopping
Dread locking

Maybe I am longing for the grey

with just a hint of howled love
vulgar love
vulgar enough to replace bathing/ food binges/ and habits like hair removal and loneliness
condemned love
decoupage’d love
award winning I want to thank god for you love

I am in search of the [ ] who can influence my shadow to glow in the dark.

climb over mouths over each other

What is the color of your battle?

I am going to watch you can I watch you I am going to watch.
I am going to watch the way you cross one leg over the other as though the left knee is the right knee’s lover.

I am going to study you can I study you I am going to study.
I am going to study the shade of your lips as they become stop signs
or is your mouth a letter, safety clipped together in need of a proper tear and unfold?

What do you like to be called

Can you climb inside my morning and drip sips of coffee
color of your forearms
on my shoulders

Can you press your Spanish
your religion
your Massachusetts
your drawings
your ocean
your grease
your patchouli
your asthma
your confessional
your passport
your collarbone
into the weep of my thighs

You call me up and thank me for the orgasm you received after you clicked
I am over the age of 18
and entered into lit screen of nudity and sex talk.

You draw out images of what your body did what your body does what your body wants
after moans move limbs to grow longer and shake.

will you rough me
pull on me
will you grab
will you lick
will you kiss this / kiss this
remove what needs to come out / come out / come out

you say.

There are a couple of things I can claim about sex:
1. it does not matter how many times one has had it or how many partners accumulated
with each new body it’s like starting over as a virgin
2. there is no such thing as a professional even when you are a professional
3. kisses can feel like eleven thousand erections.
there is no need to rush toward unzipped pants and fisting
4. beds may used for sleeping, while walls and alleyways and dance floors and tents in the middle of forests and park benches and underneath trees and rooftops and laps
may be used for sex
5. Sex is like a radio. Keep switching stations, speeds, genres and experiment with volume control because there is a reason all those options exist

for Mary in Lagos and the man with blurred eye due to punching

justify monsterism:

remind me to sharpen my fists into callused bullets
and i will remind you that these animals live beyond your cell and interrupt me when i masturbate.

photo by Francesca Woodman

photo by Francesca Woodman

these men these men these men these savages these beasts these men
flatten themselves like cockroaches and they cling to door knobs.

these animals these animals these animals these brutes these men
linger on stairwells and wait in mailboxes to bite the fingers of readers.

What I am trying to say is they linger outside of prisons and cooped up concrete entrapments.

In my land, monsters do not wipe their limbs before plunging their screwdrivers into women.
Men light their wives on fire because of assumptions and poor manners.

Mary, your skin will never grow back and
somewhere in Lagos, you must lay on your spine to insist away the burn of bubbled shadow.

humans shut out the sounds of screams when they become too frequent.
a settled weapon.
a death of normalcy.

I gave up collecting stickers and stamps and rocks found in gardens.
Started collecting humans and hideaways and addictions and diseases.

I gave up on straightening my hair, my sexuality, my walk-away.
Started growing tangles and teased limbs and touched as many genders as I could find.

[ … ]

The sun is engaging in a love affair with the clouds today. The clouds are holding her down. She likes it. Because of this, the trees need an understudy of light to guide them toward the direction of the wind.

practice insignificance

(excerpts of a letter for *C)

[you ask]: What do I listen to?
When I write, I often listen to Bon Iver. There is a haunt to his voice and the instrumentation that surrounds him. However, I’m always looking for something instrumental to move me through the lines. Jeff Buckley’s version of Hallelujah makes me lose my breath.

[a sliver of time]
It is almost midnight and I am gathering up the final moments of a day. Night is raining above me. Crazy, crazy, maddening rain. I cannot see because my glasses are coated and my hair is caught on my face, but an umbrella would have just ruined it all. Because then I wouldn’t have felt the squish of rain in my shoes or bath of sky on my body.

What did you do wrong? Tell me about your isolation. Tell me about it in a way you’ve never allowed yourself to describe it. How do you handle loneliness? What interrupts your silence? What led you toward me?

You want to know my favorite color and movies and you are hiding out in a square without knobs or windows and I am hiding out inside this body that has me locked up.

And you want to know if I shave my pussy but then you want to know about (my) god.

And you want to know about my dreds [sic] and your insignificance reminds me of reminds me of reminds me of

You’ve learned how to light a cigarette with a single battery and how to masturbate quietly.

I want to tell you that I used to rub a pillow between my legs until I decided what gender to go for.

Maybe later.

paralysis of gaze as pants unzip toward puddled ground

photograph by francesca woodman

photograph by francesca woodman

From far away, see gizzards.
See Stockholm commuter train and newspaper unwelcome mats by throbbed feet.
See dancer or poet or unclaimed daughter or unemployed prodigy.
See airbrushed beautiful.
See exercised appendages grow frigid from the pinch.

Move closer now.
Closer still.
Get in there.

Notice the tear.
The point of reference from childhood.

Notice the frugality of sound.
The desperation for audience.

Someday your lonely will rock against me and create a baby.
This baby will have teeth where arms should be.
This baby will smudge like erasable ink.
This baby will be the weight of dictionaries and have skin sutured with semi-colons.

Someday I will feel clean enough to ask you to puncture me with paper clips–
to keep me together

Someday I will offer my real resume flooded with suspended spermatozoa and handcuffed to-do lists.

Someday I will send that letter.

Someday I will find you where I left you on train track where you lifted my shirt and dripped sofrito down my throat.

Someday paralysis will be more than a frozen and closer to a communication of stillness.

Unzip pants.
Walk away from clothes.
Hug the first puddle you see.

how far apart can we stretch these love letters

“the number one cause of death is………life” –J.L.

You have remained in my body for so long that without you, I am grey.
I am elephant.
I am suffocate.
I am drown.
I am dumpster.
I am mudslide.

How far along are the sobs?
My water broke and there is a flood of tissues beyond my toes that curl into helium balloons, expired of air.

Oh, splinter.
Oh, poorly calculated postage returned to writer.
Oh, distance.
Oh, distance.
Oh, journey.
Oh, organs of yearn.

Paint saliva on lips and revel at the glow of cells on mouth.

I am not going to ask for permission to kiss you, to cling to your sternum, to detonate your hips with my nipples.
I will grab onto your longest hairs, the dark ones, the dyed ones.
I will pull you into next year. Into yesterday.
Into the ice cream shop where trivia board allowed for free choice of cone or cup.
I will steal your family tree and press my name into the roots so I can grow there. Naturally.
I will knock my teeth into the gender between your legs. Let me in let me in let me in.

oh bridge, oh breadcrumbs, oh night of graffiti’d silence!

I am looking down a lot.
I am looking down for the crumbs to lead me home. Lead me into the kind of love that shocks my poems and lowest rib. Lead me toward employment. Lead me closer to where the moon naps during the day.

There was a walk.
There was a walk across Williamsburg bridge where graffiti lit our steps and to look up was to read the stories of every climber, every dreamer, every escape artist and mother and poet and traveler.

I thought about jumping.
Does everyone think about jumping and wolves and the rising cost of stars in the sky when height is involved? When there are cables and wires and metal everywhere and trains slide by right below and how wonderful to jump on top of one and see how far it gets me/us….

how much longer will we be able to afford these nights?

there are lists written on my forearm and they contain the code to my cerebellum.
these words include the password to that memory from five years ago when I traveled up that roller coaster called parking garage and gave away my gave away my

a movement.
don’t call it a dance.
call it a bridge between others
call it a poem through limb’s language(s)
call it making love on stage
call it the intricacy of tangles and hitchhiked bodies
call it:
an end.

the most beautiful boy in the room or contemplations over coffee and banana peel

Last night, I watched a body curve into more letters than the English alphabet has ever revealed.
Last night, I watched a boy’s body curve into a new breed of animal.
Last night, Whitney Houston slipped through the cracks of Brooklyn’s walls and gave this boy reason to move.

Rain rode alongside me and rain fell over me and rain took away partial sight to see my way home and rain carried me into bed and rain made love to me.

How beautiful is ink on a forearm or how haunting is a drunk man gathering up the language to weep or how revolting is a woman collecting (inconsistent) labels in order to climb her way to the top of earth.

Dog outside window barks for me/ sirens outside window churn for me/ squirrel outside window scavenges for me/ birds outside window sing hallelujah and hip-hop intonations for me.

i wanted to ask him to dance but my pants were too tight but i wanted to finish my drink but i was too shy to show my body but he was too magnificent to interrupt but but but–

I’m thinking of a word that rhymes with forbearance.
When you think of it, come find me and take me back to that lake, that cabin, that tent, your bedroom, that rooftop, that field of mosquitoes and dandelions, that alley, that porch swing, that backseat.