What time am I?

my blinks are blue and dripping midnight
two trillion time zones just between eye lid and upper lip
molecular pendulum swings proteins & hunger

breaths triggered by a.m. or p.m.
tiny patch of cells like controlled machines
make me yearn for breakfast

blame moon once again for theorizing body
or rhythm of sun staining worry into skin
because it is evening and more of a bully then

those are not freckles but dust from
convulsing stars
settling like photographs into my skin

it is 2:21 somewhere
and this somatic mechanism
makes me want to lose track of its duration

a different kind of high

My breath is held captive by my ribcage, caught up inside the complication of my neck and even my lungs are gasping for some sort of rescue. Do not ask me to clap or lean forward. There is music playing but for once I practice stillness. Down below are drunk bodies, heavy bellies, sports fans fondling their partners just to get noticed on a giant projection screen. I am clutching my limbs, holding on to the one beside me understands my fear of heights well enough without having to ask why I am wincing.

I feel like the haunt above clouds which nap above rooftops. I feel high enough to converse with religion, if I were inclined to believe in such a thing. I feel like I can tell you what brand of weather will arrive next: this is how high up I am.

Far down below are men wearing tall bones and sweatbands on wrists and foreheads. They are agile and seductively graceful as they press callused fingertips against leather/rubber/synthetic wrapped sphere. This is called a dribble.

As I am practicing how not to be frightened from my fear of these heights, I become mesmerized by how many times they take a break.

Time Out: Bring out the “dancers” or women wearing very little spandex and bright red smiles and carmelized hair.

Time Out: Commercial break. Beer run. Refill of overpriced nachos or greatest hits compilation of meat pressed into a bun.

She asks me if I know the rules and I tell her yes, even though I don’t. But I also don’t fully understand how to engage in this odd twenty-four (continuous) game of life, yet I seem to be an active player.

What keeps me distracted from the extreme height of our seats is the woman behind me wearing netted stockings and a piercingly inquisitive voice. She is asking her boyfriend/brother/friend/cousin questions about the point system and why they rotate players. I overhear her say to him, “I don’t know what you just said, but I laughed.”

At the end of the evening I want to thank her for inadvertently distracting me from my fear. I want to thank the handsome human beside me acting as my seatbelt.

I used to not be able to travel up stairs with spaces in between them. I will never skydive. And as a child, I fainted inside a hot air balloon. This fear is bullying, but slowly I’ve worked out ways to move through it.

Kind of like life, I guess.

an observance of winter along the inseam of two bodies

“Tell me again what it is like,” she said with eyes like Pluto: distant, cold, removed.

“Kind of like what I imagine Winter to be. My limbs were icicles buried into her. Enough time pressed against each other and there was melt. We remained on her wet sheets, which reminded me more of Spring because they were romantically yellow.”

“But. But tell me what shivered. Tell me about frostbite. Don’t pretend pain did not exist just because parts of you disappeared.”

“How about this. There is something magnificent about understanding the strength of my skin when it exists against another. Her tongue proposed marriage inside me.”

“You don’t believe in that, I thought.”

“Belief is like religion. Sometimes it just happens on holidays. Every other day I am an atheist, but when our bodies are making Winter, I am reverent.”

(it’s just) hair.

I am twenty-three. Living in a state where I curve my body in such a way to resemble a scoop. A ladle, attempting to gather friends and experiences. On a night called Saturday, I remain in the bathroom for much longer than one should with plugged-in plastic hair iron, trying to turn my curls into heterosexuals.

Or simply: straight.

And on this particular night, I notice a difference in the way I am perceived. My smooth strands slow down the blinking and suddenly I am hating myself because: I. Feel. Pretty. And that hatred rises from the fact that I am feeling this way just because my knots are gone.

Many years later, I attempt this unbending of hair once again. I take heated iron to hair and remove the volume twisting around my head like red wind. I take coconut oil to smooth away the stubborn locks. When I look up and into the mirror, someone else exists. This is not me.


What is your hair regimen?

When I was younger, my grandmother treated my curls like delicate trophies. Don’t ever cut this, she would tell me. But if you do, please save some for me.

This led to years of hoarding my cut ends in plastic shopping bags each time I clipped away length. Even now, a small bag full from my last haircut rests in a box marked alter even though she is no longer here. I still keep my curls for her.

My relationship to my hair is spotty. Sometimes I feel enlightened by it, while othertimes it is more of a burden. Hair is what I notice first on the humans who pass me by. It is what often attracts me to another. I fall in love with their hair: afro, mohawk, mullet, bleached or shaved…..then, I start to fall in love with who the strands belong to.

Media tells me that curly is just not as pretty as straight. This is why we go to salons and spend our money on chemical straighteners. But the curls are really just like tangled words, a nest of magic, knotted gestures.

I never brush it. And I’ve been told shampoo should be left behind. Maybe these curls look messy to you and perhaps your fingers get caught when you rub at my scalp, but I’m quite content with this chaotic mane and I think I’m going to stay far away from its heterosexual counterpart. My hair was born to be crooked and queer; I think it’s time I just let it be.

what it feels like to think about wombs

How strong am I? Forget visible muscle definition or the amount of weight I can possibly bench press if I were to ever try.

What I mean is, can I juggle toddler, stroller, large bag full of necessities such as extra pair of pants, underwear, wipes, books, snacks, water…and can I hold onto all of this while reaching into back pocket to retrieve wallet where metro card lives in order to swipe us through. And can we make it through turnstile in time before it clicks closed.

I have met many women who feel the urge to produce. It’s more of a yearning. A need to push freshly squeezed baby out from between thighs after nine months of baking inside of body. A need to feel/see their genetics drip out from various movements or gestures. They want to experience the birthing process full-force. I have never been this person.

There have been times in my life I put myself at risk for procreating. But this is not about that. This is about feeling what it feels like to be a mother (or appear to be a parent/guardian) to the gentlest little boy I call nephew as we searched through an entire day together: one adventure at a time.

Here is something: as a childless human, I travel everyday and watch other people’s children on the subway on the streets in the grocery store in museums. I notice the variety of energy levels and communication skills. Some parents soothe the cries from high-pitched screams to laughter. Some look away and have lost the ability to remain calm. I try hard to notice, rather than judge. As a non-parent my voice/ my opinion is weightless.

So on this magical day of exploration with my nephew, I realized how hard a parent must work just to get on a subway or fill time while we wait to get into filled-to-capacity children’s museum.

I have always adored children; took care of other’s as a nanny for many years. I wonder –especially now as body tick tick ticks toward that time– why I still have no desire to birth.

As an aside, I fear my genetics.

Between you and me, I cannot afford my own care; how can I possibly afford another’s.

Does it depend on partners and love and if I met the right one would I want to make babies now now now?

Could it be that none of the partners I choose produce sperm and I’ve yet to make any of my own so so so….it’s going to be slightly more complicated than just waking up pregnant one day.


A woman…a mother…helps me up the two flights of stairs at Bergen Street with sleeping nephew in stroller and I do not ask, she offers. We wouldn’t want to wake him, she said.

I wonder all day if people think I am his mom and I like people thinking I am responsible enough or brilliant enough to produce this earth-warming boy.

I’ve thought about adoption. Maybe when I am ready if I’m ever ready. Because when my womb aches is when I’m with children who will make up songs with me for over an hour while we wait to get inside a museum. Or a boy I know who lives by the mountains in Boulder, Colorado who finds as much joy in farmer’s markets as I do. Or two great kids in Denver who devour books like cake.

My ears are clean, so when the ticking starts, I’ll hear it. And I’ve got health insurance in my future and soon I’ll have my own place and maybe maybe maybe sperm will just be a formality because maybe love (when it exists and when it’s prepared) can produce a life too.

become an inflection

Thank you to Wilde Magazine for publishing my poem, become an inflection.

Support this new publication of art and literature with a queer edge. Purchase their first issue in print or online. There are 76 pages of high quality work for the price of $20 USD for a printed copy, or $5 USD for a digital copy.

you are yellow like that dandelion

I think you’re okay with your dandelion yellow braids that measure in miles down your back and huddled over your shoulders. I tried not to let you notice me counting them so I lost track at thirty.

I think you’re okay because while your friends were judging another because her teeth are too crooked and her weave is wicked, you said:

Why do you have to be so mean?

And before you spoke, I watched your mouth. Your lips moving in and out, popping breaths, waiting for the right moment to cut them up with your question.

Weeks earlier, I was sitting across from two young girls on the 3 train and I could hear them whispering about me. Without letting them notice me notice them, I could hear bits and pieces of their judgements. My hair (kind of frizzy. weird color). My jacket (all ripped up). My face (ugly).

But you: yellow dandelion braids and large green sweater knitted past your knees…
you made an effort to question the need for meanness.

Why must we notice the stains in someone’s shirt before the vibrant color wrapped around that smudge?

Why must we focus on someone’s weight (too fat/ too thin) when we have no idea the history of their skin and bones and health and need to be or hesitance to be that way?

Why must we be so afraid of the man on the bus who screams out words when maybe this is the only time in his day when he feels listened to?

You with your yellow dandelion braids twisted into your scalp like a tapestry…
I will not judge you for pronouncing the “t” in listen, if you look beyond my crookedness and knotty, stained demeanor.

Because I also notice how eloquent you are.
And if you gave me just a moment, you might notice the same in me.