i smell lemons

There is a forest of memories inside my head and they are pungently rotting. If you are too busy to decipher the remains of voices echoing like a gang of pigeons, then you need to turn off your Internet.

Television screens are washing out conversational interludes.
Statuses of human interactions are pressed into computers to validate existence.

If you tell no one of your day, it still happened.

If you forget to post a photo of your face or bulging body, you will not cease to exist.

In the olden days, electrical outlets occupied less space and if we needed to raise money for our cause or wanted to invite others to our party or wanted to wish another goodnight……….we tiptoed over to that person’s residence and asked or wished.

There was a time when we would walk miles just to kiss a lover goodnight.
And that kiss made the miles of toe crunch against concrete worth every huff.

Pause lips.
Taste the day.
Is it sour?
Does it burn?
Is there a poem hidden in the gathering of spit leftover from dream sequence of nighttime?

Let go of typing for awhile.
Send a letter.
Collect enough stamps to send several letters.

Turn.Off.Television. (realize that you are far more interesting than “reality” scripted on screen)

Tell me about your day.

Tell me about your day. If you let me see your face, I can interpret your status.

I forgot what you look like.
And you have no idea that I no longer take sweetener in my coffee (I never posted that change).
And do you know that I cut out five of my dreadlocks? (I forgot to post that too)

If you want to learn me, gather up your finest sneakers and walk your way here. I’ll meet you halfway.

beauty in the eyes of the surgeon……

If you ask, you may receive a free surgery.

A fourteen year old girl in Georgia is bullied for the width and flutter of her ears.

Forty thousand dollars later: granted to her by a charity that provides, “free corrective surgery to children born with facial deformities,” and her ears become hidden through pinned procedure.

When I was younger, they made fun of my last name.

Should I have changed it?

Andy Flemming threw a three-piece dissected bee at me in science class. Called me a screen door, as the severed insect slid down my paved chest. I was twelve.

Should I have gotten implants to save us all from the humiliation and disappointment of small tits?

I was taunted because of my scars. Called crazy.

Maybe I should have just given them the knives and razors. Asked them to properly press me off this earth?

When I held a girlfriend’s hand on the subway and kissed her, some guy called us dykes. Yelled out: disgusting!

Should I have hidden my sexuality to make others more comfortable?

Where do we draw the line? Hair straightening, skin bleaching, liposuction, lap bands, chin implant, lip inflation, botox, botox, botox, butt implants, lifting and tightening and toning through needles and numbing………

No one allows room for aging, drooping, wrinkles and cellulite.

Beauty is just a word airbrushed by talented surgeons and make-up artists.

Imperfections are no longer permitted in this society.

We are all about smoothing out and pumping up.

Beauty is just a word, gathering up dust from the shards of inflictions from the ones who came before us.

Let’s create a new language for it……..

slate. charcoal. gunmetal. (storm)

A man in China awakes from sleep to find his penis has been stolen.

Men spread rumors that blow jobs cure morning sickness.

A young South African boy is drowned in a bathtub full of boiling water by robbers after the brutal murder of his parents with machete, golf club and gun.

In Brooklyn, the sky gurgles like an overfed stomach.

The darkest shade of dark is challenged when a storm arrives.

The rain drops like non-threatening bullets and press against exposed shoulder blades. A damp shove. The kind of bullets that need to replace the more popular variety.

On a night like this, sadness becomes an afterthought, because one cannot ignore the ghost of Pina Bosch entertaining us with her weathered choreography. These clouds are bodies. The best kind of bodies. Big, voluptuous, curved bodies. Fleshy and supple.

This is the kind of evening that reminds me why I have disposed of monogamy. This night, my mistress becomes the traffic lights blurred by the mist of precipitation.

This night, I let the wind wash away my own secreted salt. The storm arrived inside me hours ago, dare I say, decades ago. This storm is far more radiant.

Am I looking for some destruction? An interruption from this speed of city life?

I’m digging out my passport. It’s time to follow the right one.

Storm, lead me away.

forgotten are the days when we speak into/ rather than away from/ a movement

Tracing The Shape…
Daniel Dissinger

I forgot to stop you and mention that before I heard your words, my innards were in place.

I forgot to stop you and mention that after I opened your book and devoured the spaces and language, all of my organs shifted their position and grew into thunders.

I met Daniel Dissinger in a mountainous village called Boulder, Colorado. The ghost of Ginsberg and Kerouac floated between the tiny buildings that resembled more of a summer camp than a university.

Gender did not matter when he tore open his binder full of thick lines, fluttered like a mad DJ between poems, scratching one into another. Anyone who ever experienced love for any type of person could enter into these ruminations.

Now, I own his chapbook, put out by Shadow Mountain Press, Tracing The Shape. This is a digestible journey of longing, body/earth salutations and connect-the-dot images of soil and skin.

and moving onto this skin of rain to get to her throat…

Dissinger questions within the observations of bone’s movements.

and then your hand reaches me where (?) I first feel thirst/ behind my lungs where (?) I realize the shape of dreams/ …she pulls at their arms and kisses the fragile forearms and wrists I imagine she could see mountains where (?)/ an explosion leveled this city and tulips where (?) a/ mother lost her child…

Within disfigurement, there are beaches. An ocean of want and promise. How to erase the stains of life from another?

this perfection
that is your(s)

scar …because he places
his lips over it


I am often moved by the oddities around me. Beyond poems. Sometimes, it is just through a simple gesture of a man getting up to allow exhausted woman a place to sit on subway. Or, maybe it is a tiny bird testing out its wings in the middle of an empty street in Brooklyn. Or a performer on a small stage revisiting childhood and the memory of what used to be in a (newer) body finally executed correctly.

When I am moved, I rarely say so. I just gather up its sound and sensations and continue on.

Into this book, I speak:

I feel:
gathered and guessed

I want:
more of this

sometimes you have to lie to tell the truth

I am moving.

I never really owned any traditional luggage: matching bags with wheels and retractable handles. It’s always been backpacks and garbage bags.

Perhaps I will just gather up enough books to keep me occupied until I can replace them, a toothbrush, my notebook, black ink extra fine pilot pen, an extra change of clothes and a map.

Just me and my bike and an open rode where schedules and student loan hauntings are past tense.

I will collect community at each state line. Queers who look beyond my spotty gender. Poets who want to write with me. Strangers who will drink a pint of beer beside me and reveal the unabridged version of their lives thus far.

There is no rent on the open rode. Just highway signs and fields of grass where I can carefully lay my bike (Heleanore Herman II) and sleep beneath the aroma of stars.

The complication of love and its demands and my inability to commit will be dust. Thoughts will move from fragment into complex sentences due to lack of interruption and complete awareness of unplugged surroundings.

No cellular phone.

No internet.

No television programs.

No social media outbursts.

Just air…the wild beasts hidden in trees…and the ones napping on porches.

* * *

I may miss New York, and the 8 million people clustered inside of it.

I may miss my Saturday morning Farmer’s market at Grand Army Plaza, where I purchase dinosaur kale, carrots, beets, tomatoes, peaches, apples, cabbage, yams and a morning treat of blueberry or strawberry rhubarb muffin. I may miss that patch of shade I tend to lay in where I rest my bundle of New York Times. I may miss the nap I often spontaneously take after the sun lures me to sleep.

I may miss the New York Times and my weekend subscription.

I may miss all those poetry readings and the brilliant minds I’ve met off stages, gathering at various cafes, theatres, bars.

I may miss this home in Crown Heights where I have memorized my bike routes, the pattern of scents wafting, the pigeons with barbecue sauce dripping from beaks.

I may miss the sunrise here.

* * *

Sometimes, you have to lie to tell the truth.

I am afraid to remain because what if I really can’t make it.

What if there is no job for me.

What if (my) community is just a shadow blurred from lack of commitment.

What if New York doesn’t even notice I’ve gone……………..

sky rejuvenation

A replacement to alarm clock: annoying buzz of pre-programmed song on flattened radio called ipod. Large butter knife spreads raspberry jam into sky and preserves drip into the shadows of morning.

Hello, sunrise.

There are those days, which turn into weeks, then months, or more accurately described as years that are meant as lessons. Without the school desk or pencil case. There is no homework, but the lessons extend into the evening and through midnight dreaming.

This can also be defined as finding oneself.

Or: the act of living/ gathering selves into a cohesive whole.

Sky brightens, alerting birds to grind beaks together and howl their songs toward windows and tree tops. Grass glows from the spotlight above. Airplanes are visible again. And squirrels.

It is necessary to notice how it feels to breathe in a Monday. How different a Tuesday feels from Saturday or Thursday. Days are like lovers, all so different and yet, so often blurring into the other.

the dust is alive

Beneath my bed there is a phenomenon of thunderous clouds, otherwise known as dust.

And when I reach my scratched arms out to collect what has gathered there, I find a receipt for a book.

I find a love letter that I never signed, that I never licked into envelope, that I never owned.

I find a meal that is unrecognizable under this chaos of soot.

I find a song attached to a broken guitar string that I also did not own.

I find a reverie of anger, of disappoint of lip-less fury.

I find my reflection without the red, without the skin, without the smile, without without.


The dust asks me: You run from so many things, how come your ankles aren’t sturdy/ how come your thighs are loose/ why don’t your calves display muscles?

And I answer: The kind of running I do doesn’t get me very far.

This weathered dirt says: Go challenge the wind. Plant a garden across your belly and see what grows. Engage in three versions of lust with a musician or botanist or star gazer or sidewalk. Nap along the seams of the earth.

None of this is easy. The realization that the dust will continue to form no matter how many times I sweep it away. It follows me. Creeps out from corners and dark crevices. Like the powdered age bursting from forgotten books. So, I attempt a collection of these particles. I pretend to be a scientist as I gather up hypotheses of what all this leftover waste could mean. None of this is easy. The search for a job that qualifies me as an adult, as a functioning member of society, as someone impersonating someone else who can afford rent each month. This sense of belonging.

I want to be able to say: I belong to this earth. I came from the ocean. From salted womb. I am a poet. I am heard. I am understood. I am gathered.

For now, I’ll just push my limbs deeper into this web of dust and find my way out of its mystery.

an ejaculation of visibility

This may have been the longest journey of my life. Searching through the wreckage of memories and indentations to decipher what it means to be beautiful.

At a local cafe, I still taste red velvet cake on my tongue as I leaf through discarded “men’s magazine” with blond-haired breasts woman on the cover. The theme of this issue is: America’s favorite things.

I searched for:
peanut butter
black ink pilot pens
summer rain storms with rainbows at the end
love affairs
french-pressed coffee

All I saw were various breasts attached to similarly shaped/hued women wearing strings and strips of fabric.

Tomorrow night, I undress my mind and attempt to translate an array of memories and movements in a show called: ejaculating beauty

For over a year, this performance piece has been formulating on various sheets of paper, and within these past few months, I have begun to fully understand its meaning.

What is my first memory of beautiful?

Growing up, it was always about my hair, which was slightly less red and what some may have defined as…….dirty blond. It was long and curly, and had I not been so restless, I may have had a future in shampoo commercials.

My grandmother begged me never to cut it. But. If I ever did, to save it and give it to her.

Strangers would tell me how beautiful my hair was.
Everyone wanted to touch it.

I was being upstaged by my follicles.

So, I did what any sane person would do, remove the part of me that got all the attention.

I thought: If my hair is gone, they will notice my words more.

When I cut my hair, something shifted in me. I realized I had been hiding behind it. Once it was gone, all of me was visible. Or, it felt that way. So, I began to cut other parts of me in order to sever the screams on my skin that only I seemed to notice.

None of this was very helpful.

A lover tells me I am beautiful, but this word has been so misused that it is difficult to gather up its intentions and accept it.

Airbrushed faces on magazines and billboards are called beautiful.
That woman on the 4 train with exposed bones and belly, flatter than the paper I write on, is called beautiful.

I call the earth beautiful, sometimes.
On days where trees reenact a Pina Bausch movement.
That moment she found a heart-shaped rock on the beach in western B.C., amidst thousands of others.
The feeling I get when first drip of coffee teases my tongue and slides down my throat.

This is beautiful to me.

I am trying to be visible in a way that re/defines what beauty even means.

I am covered in mosquito bites.


(I’ve been told) one breast is slightly larger than the other.


I’ve got freckles on my skin from too much sun and not enough sunscreen.


I’m emotional and unsettled and moody.


how do you exist

I enter into a classroom built by a prison-enthusiast. The shape of our learning today is circular and I stare into the faces of students with my forearm on their desks.

Intimacy is defined by the reveal of first time of menstruation and the ways in which I handle my sad.

I explain to a young warrior, with periwinkle-dipped fingernails and a mind with more stories than hours in the day to recount, that amidst all this sadness, there is beauty.

There are footprints, which follow me everywhere. Between the toes, sand. The sound of heels against Brooklyn pavement, like shells crushing toward a new formation. I can only dwell on the grey for so long, then I fondle the magic of life around me.

I’ve let go of the pills. There are none in my wardrobe and my pockets are empty of anything sharp, outside of keys that allow me entrance into safe buildings.

But sometimes I do think of gathering up handfulls of incantations that end in the illumination of my shadow looming.

“How do you exist?”

“How do you love/ how do you know to love?/ how to know when love is safe enough to sit inside and remain?”

/ / /

Allow time each day to cry. For the length of one pop song or three television commercials or a bike ride from one part of (insert place) to another.

Regard emotions as friendly reminders that you are still breathing, still existing, still searching.

Love tastes best when it is delicately placed on collarbones or shoulders. You can feel it by the way it makes everything around you seem like a Broadway version of life: glittery, loud with bodies dancing to the rhythm of language, musical.

Remain. Not because others ask you to, but because there are way too many poems (songs, stories, paintings, thoughts, sounds, movements) still birthing their way out of you to leave.

in defense of mo(u)rning

Wake up.

This may be the moment limbs remember their reasoning.

Perhaps they are sore, mosquito-bitten and hungry.

If bed is empty, but for one, the sheets are far less disturbed.
If bed is joined by another, prepare for disarray.

Allen Ginsberg whispers: first thought, best thought.
And this is when fantasies of coffee, poems and (sometimes) masturbation arrive.

I gather up my body like a thick folded newspaper…more specifically, the Sunday edition of the New York Times.

I feel bloated by words leftover from incomplete dreams and ink drawn on me from the previous night smeared all over my knees and bendable parts.

Good morning.

Coffee boils in pot, while my nudity retreats to the bathroom to break the fast of my bladder. I take cold showers now and enjoy the immediate rise of goose bumps on my flesh as the temperature shocks my heated skin.

As I wash myself, I mourn the day before. I sing made-up songs (poems) about women who used to wear the inside of my panic. Or, I whistle a story about the time I tried to eliminate all mornings, experimenting with days full of evenings instead.

Good evening.
Good day.

The heat is troublesome and I want to engage with this day through gestures, rather than sounds.

Today, I leave Brooklyn behind and enter a classroom full of poets and readers.

Today, I engage in the language of metaphorical discovery.