the connection of sadness to poet(s)

Dear Poet,

Last night, you glowed on pulpit at east side NYC bar where wooden tables kept us still like trapped sentences. My mouth remained open even beyond my last sip of Brooklyn lager. As you sung, I took the risk and savored the possibility of your notes skydiving between my teeth or lunging onto my tongue and remaining until nighttime mug of peppermint tea. I’d recognize you anywhere, poet. Beyond your height and thinness. Beyond your whimsical approach to hairstyle. Your smile bulldozes every wall in its sight, increasing the square footage. Poet, last night you told me you think of death. You think of death as often as me but I did not tell you this. You think of death like one might think of meals. When will I eat again when will I die? You told me childbirth keeps you here and I grew desperate to search for something on this earth that keeps me here. Coffee, I exclaimed. You spoke about the power of bodies, natural pushing, natural drugs like the tabs of acid found within the contours of the brain. Who would want to trip in a hospital? you announced. Why are we like this? Because we are poets because we are women because we want more than we can fit on our plates or chew at one time why all this sadness? I called my mother tonight and listened to the sound of her forgiveness waft against the crackle of disjointed phone connection. She told me she isn’t sad anymore. I contemplated asking for her pill collection to cure me too. Children have not grown inside me yet. I have not engaged in any marriages or divorce or hedonistic fantasies beyond the ones I was paid for. After all the poets read, I walked downstairs to the bathroom. Engaged in self-gazing. Searched for my glow. Some think it is the sun and with summertime approaching won’t we all be shining? Poet, you are so beautiful in your required sadness and I want some. If emotions were like trading cards, I’d give you all of mine for just one of yours.

a justification for monsters

the monster is the being who refuses to adapt to her circumstances (bhanu kapil)

speak about the hallucinations of night:

3am, a woman raps toward the stars/ a hip-hop howling of insisted insomnia
what is worse
the cats screeching for love and thrusting
off-key slurs roaming the treetops

there is a memory of riding my bike several times around my block in suburban new jersey. was i distracted by the wind or a song in my head or wondering about the menu of suppertime? and then there is a bump and i look down and a child lays flat to the sidewalk. stain of my bike wheel on her belly.

(who do i call to ask: did i run over a child during my youth?)


I fixate on a word
like love
or shaking
or gesture

I may call myself a monster [today]

There is a gruesomeness to my demeanor. I am wearing the same socks as yesterday because laundromat was closed and I was too impatient for my coffee to wait long. My hair is knotted (still) and pushed back, yet growls against my head. I’ve got a rash from a spider that I was not quick enough to catch. I think about jumping out my window and impaling myself on cardinal chirping atop a fence.

how to find metaphor in my belly folds

I can call it wavy like my hair right now, pushed into ponytail to control the mess of knots.

I can call it lumpy like gravel road leading toward mountaintop.

Should I call it sloppy?

{now I’m judging it}

I keep talking about bodies.

White male professor suggests I choose something else to ruminate on.

enough already

But perhaps I keep preaching until I get it right.
I haven’t gotten it right, so I continue.

Woman touches my stomach while bloating my mouth with her tongue. I flinch, suck in, cannot relax now.

Woman wants me on top of her, wants me to straddle her hipbone.

How does my belly look to her, I think.

How can I choreograph my body to look its best at all times?

What is (its) best?

I remove my shirt.

I am left with bra and tattoos.

I remove my bra.

I am left with sweat and hair.

I wipe away the sweat.

I am left with skin.

photo by Francesca Woodman

photo by Francesca Woodman

I think back to moments when I felt most beautiful.

Several summers ago, canoe trip in Western BC, Canada. Watching my body grow strong with each stroke. Dancing naked beneath the sun and moon, while pup trampled land that felt deserted and discovered.

Having my scars traced and kissed by a woman and sharing stories of how each one got there.

That time on that stage when I announced who I was and allowed my nudity to be an understudy to the language that announced it.

When she noticed the hair beneath my arms and asked if she could kiss me there.

I feel beautiful when I don’t apologize away my flaws.

My body is an animal feasting on weather patterns and love and sadness and my body is an emotional landscape of splattered paint. My body is a Rorschach and it’s OK if we all see it differently.

My body is meant to be (re)interpreted and (re)translated and (re)minded everyday that it is meant to fold and flap and creak and stretch and feel excessive at times.


My body can be excessive. In its hunger demands. In the ways in which it wants sex. In the ways it demands to be touched or ignored or pressed against.

So, I scream out toward the west and see how far my vocals get. Wonder about all this obsession toward smoothness and flatness and thinness. I am going to keep this extra five pounds. I am going to allow this belly to be flimsy. I am going to turn around when you ask to see my bum and not hide the fact that cellulite gathers.

You can call me a tree.
With rings and ridges and splinters and rough spots and smelly parts and sap.

You can call me an elephant with curious skin.

You can even call me beautiful and I will try not to question it.

And I will try not to question it…..

is this body rent-controlled?

After a weekend workshop where I bathed in body-talk, body-language, the discourse of body,
I wake up Monday morning and wonder:

how lived in is this body /
how to find comfort and sexiness within the curdles


how many windows are in this body

document the scratches and dents
search for mouse droppings and facial tics

if my body is a project,
diorama this body
papier mache this body
war point lanyard water color this body.

summertime flirts outside my window
I curve my eyes toward undraped apartments where woman leans over sink
where shirtless man waters plant on sill
where poet peeps the world one mailbox at a time

how to put a call out for deep tissue loving

my veins are in need of an orgasm
where every clot of blood bursts

leave my genitals alone!

lick everything but that (please)

how necessary is pleasure

[can you tell me how to get it back?]


how approachable are pigeons

dear oscar,

I thought of you this early morning as feet pushed me forward from fort greene toward crown heights. I walked toward the farmer’s market and noticed a man walking slowly, holding a glue trap with a tiny mouse stuck toward the end of it. This man was carrying a ledge, and I wondered where he was headed. I watched, as he tilted the mouse toward Brooklyn gravel.

This must be a metaphor for my Saturday, as I find myself tiptoeing over cracks on streets. I purchase a bag of apples for $2. I sing a song out loud, though quiet enough for only pigeons and I to overhear. One of them hops toward me and sneaks a bone between its beak. I think about taking this bird home with me. How might my life change if I slid my body over its feathered back, as we flew toward my apartment.

Last night, a woman said:
sometimes I think about drop-kicking a pigeon.

Pigeons are my favorite birds, I announced. They are curious and disheveled and independent adventurers. I think about approaching pigeons as they feed on baker’s crumbs and pizza crust left to curbsides. They are food-oriented like me. But. Are they lonely too?

you fell in love so freely and doused yourself in the aroma of longing. I do this too. I long to follow that mouse and watch it wake against the alarm of freedom. I long for a woman who lives far from eastern standard time. I long for xray analysis to serve me up an explanation for the hurricane in this body. I long for kisses to paper towel away the stains. I long for letters. Mail. Postage stamps.

I would have followed you into that field. I would have handed over all my blood. All my skin to cover your bruises like heavy quilts. I would have asked you out. Watched a movie with you. We could have shared a grilled cheese sandwich and ginger ale. You could have read all your stories to me. I’d have waited. I’d have remained.

sunday times

Keith Haring

Stand too close to a Keith Haring and wait for the swallow.Build a bridge with question marks and flaps of skin.Pray in Italian and see if it means more. Engage in a conversation about the representation of darkness on bodies. Eat a slice of cake made out of despair and nude bodies. French kiss Rodin statue too tall to reach and challenge its boundaries. Walk inside the worry of a wound. Search for the missing head of Cybele. Unfold kneebone. Climb on top of painted reflection, push out push out push out subliminal skeleton. Present table top with split ends and empty bowls. Say a prayer before bingeing on nothingness. Place various historical women’s vaginas on hand-embroidered place settings and decide which ones look most appetizing. Reimagine religion through tar and plastic bags. Call out muse against the magnified hole built into front door reimagined in a painting. Find out where meat comes from, then lick up the trail of blood left from the source. Coat body in chalk/ Stand on head/ Wait for the ache of brain swallow. Place art and sin in alphabetized columns. Organize filth. Request a receipt when purchasing animals, artifacts and love. Remove baby from cartoon-drawn woman’s pixelated womb. Dare the body to promote silence.

photo by Chiharu Shiota.

Reading @ Bluestockings Bookstore

Bluestockings Bookstore
172 Allen St. NYC

Tuesday, April 10th @ 7PM –FREE

An experimental reading from to go without blinking (BlazeVOX books)
With Puma Perl and Jackie Sheeler

Tonight, queer performance poet Aimee Herman celebrates the release of her full length book of poetry, “to go without blinking.” Join Herman and dynamos Puma Pearl and Jackie Sheeler for a night of ferocious renegades and poetic erotica.

172 Allen St. NYC

determine the need for cross pollination

Bones. Fat. Veins. Scar. Scratch. Roots. Mother. Remnant. Scar. Flaw. Fat. Wrinkle. Liar. Homo. Thighs. Daughter. Hazel. Curls. Knots. Scar. Fat. Fondled. Wrinkle. Knuckles. Belly. Fat. Callus. Flaw. Hurt. Angry. Scar. Scar. Scar.

things to do
things to think
things to catalogue

perhaps an appointment must be made to regulate blood cycle
hair growth in hard to reach places
interruptive coughing sprees
and that lump

how fat is fat is fat so fat

photo by francesca woodman

photo by francesca woodman

when you notice my fat fat fat
fondle it
suck out its glycerine and
use as lubricant


it is spring now and trees end their monthly rotation of nudity in honor of yellow leaves, sap and wind