a visit back to exit signs and U-turns

What is there to do here besides loot mother’s pill stash / cover limbs in preservatives and aluminum slashes / memorize the pattern of face expansion and bleach stains on adolescent scalp in framed photographs / watch television for less than ten minutes after realization there is no substance to these moving pictures / eat crackers coated in the aroma of childhood / look through cupboards and count the deer marching in backyard/ & / wonder what part of this exit still exists in you.


she makes love to the hysteria of inscriptions on sternum

stop me if you’ve heard the one about the gender neutral pronoun and the one who got away because that one did not prefer leashes like this one or the time the basement flood like her body on that Wednesday in August or when her lover threw fire against that pile of bones and what they wanted were ashes but all they were left with were doctor’s bills.

On exit 9, one may collect residences like sexually transmitted diseases: a starting place of hope leading toward infection and regret. On your right is the time she almost hung herself with view of geese and donated benches. To your far left, the school she ran away from.

She used to wear dresses; she still cuts her own hair; she is no longer a virgin; she still dreams of death; she has replaced Plath with Bukowksi; she still cheats and hijacks bodies; she hoards secrets and screams; she stopped telling them what her plans are.

What is there to do here besides transcribe the vital signs from one doorway to the next / feed limbs to the ghosts / memorize the way cracks and weight gain allow room for swallowed analyses / memorize mother for signs of openness / eat enough meat to bloat away the aroma of aged vegetarianism / look through self to search out what has changed, shifted, evolved, calmed down / & / wonder what part of this exit still exists.

home – o sweet home – o

dear brick and streaked wooden / dear ghostly walk-up / dear burnt-up confessional / dear stacked & sturdy studio

Yesterday, I house hunted for a closet called one bedroom and memorized the view of pigeons scooping out their yawns.

Fifteen years ago, I lost hand-carved flip lighter with built in gasoline pump off drunk roof from drunk fingers forcing it to its death.

Six years ago, a grove with fern and paw prints.

Four years ago, composted meals from seeds stuck together like bodies birthing roots.

Two years ago, an addict and his blood replaced paint and refuge. Dripped his skinny breaths into wallets and extracted. Thirty-seven poems stolen and money from an occurrence better left undeclared.

Twenty years ago,  a swimming pool and barbecue and built-in-family before the fracture. A bedroom painted purple where screams suffocated behind hoarded pill bottles and there was blood here too — wiped before it could be unraveled.

Five days ago, I built a callus on my pointer finger from strumming invisible songs. My wrist grew phantoms from the reverberations of rhythm.

Thirty years ago, my words were less ruptured and gender was a word existing decades later in a way that would wind my hair in circulatory patterns & cause my body to feel puzzled and unglued.

Tomorrow, I will twist my ankles like a cursive Q and there may be a teardrop so big and illuminating it resembles a disco ball and yes, it rotates down face and into the first crease it catches.

Right now, all I need is this ink and enough bricks to keep me warm and if closets are big enough to hold my breaths–full-figured and agoraphobic, then I can live here. Amidst the crowd. The graffiti steam. The urine and judgements like chain mail. Window-less views of obstructed earth. I can do this.

dear sun-dried cinder and spikes/ dear brownstone beauty / dear stained glass glare / dear exercise regime of fourth-floor climb / dear new york / dear new jersey / dear borrowed bedrooms/ dear denver / dear nooks where sleep existed beside against and alone / let me know when I am home. 


condemn winter and the inability to get inside this cold

“The music is like a passport and how to make a donut so lonely it forgets its fried birth and your fingers may find mine like a fixed-gear contraption but Saturday is a mourning of leftovers and–”

I’m leaving you.

“Your feet are curdled, crossed at ankles and I like that my tongue memorized your teeth ridges but here in Brooklyn, an audience of newspapers and muffin crumbs touch us with their blinks, skimming the salt drips on my face.”

Your temperature is hungry and I am without.

“What can friends become once limbs grow like mattresses and sleep stretches into inter-locked dreams but you’ve    …     you’ve–”

Insomniac’d and sleep walked on fire escapes just to–

Escape recycled napkins splintering my face and all these tears happen because of your puncture…this Spring is scratched and wretched from the translation of your spit gone dry for me.”

Let’s stage a puncture.

“I climbed billboards to see your point of view and then I jumped.”

The shadow of your blood echoes against my ribcage.

“My sadness is contagious to the ones who listen but you are immune.”

How about we grow our wrists until August to see what shapes we become and compare.

“Or we can tie our organs to each other because tangling so often leads to–”


notice what you notice when you notice it

Notice a tree.  Write about it.

Bark  infected like homeless mother’s limbs with skin weathered from winter and bed bugs. 

Go outside.  Write about it.

I stare at an open field and search for the bodies held captive by tall wheat or poison ivy.

Visit amusement park for children called zoo.  Write about it.


I see an elephant and describe its skin as heated crust. I count each fracture disrupting the smooth. I call it monster call it mammal of wild grey call it me in the evening when enough bodies have rubbed against me to feel bloated and heavy, a swell of weight.

Climb up staircase of memories in body. Question what needs to be questioned.


Why do humans violent away their childhoods?



search urgency


Treat body like leftover supper and microwave toward normal


(an urge)

I want to remember the days when nothing occurred.

a poem should not mean/ but be

a poem should not mean/ but be     — Archibald MacLeish

Early on,  s)he]  troubled those brave enough to listen. Teachers contacted hir parents, worried for hir safety. Suddenly, the poems were jumping off the page, growing sharp from tumbling through the air at fast speeds and forming sharp angles. These poems split hir wrists open. When  s)he]  was newly sixteen, several poems turned hir forearms into a gingham criss-cross pattern.  s)he]  horded several bottles of poems and swallowed over forty-two of various milligrams and side effects. Doctors attempted to pump hir stomach. s)he]  threw up the poems and they splattered against the floor like scattered bone particles.

In the years to come,  s)he]  began to experiment with various forms of poems, some digested through nose or ignited and inhaled.  s)he]  learned the power of serving size.  s)he]  grew loud, rather, the poems grew so loud, it was almost impossible to remain silent within the pain of hir body.

In an interview by a New York Times reporter after the release of hir third book of poems,  s)he]  said:

“Of course there is an urgency in my work because there is an urgency to live. I spent  years tearing into my body, swatting it away as though it were a swarm of mosquitoes. I wanted to make an imprint. I wanted to make an impression beyond the scars, beyond the jilted lovers. In life, I am a liar. A pretender. I am not very good at being alive. But when I write poems, or when I perform them, it’s like I’m taking a giant seam ripper and undoing every scar, every lie, every emotion. If I could only live inside my poems, breathe off the fumes of their intentions, I could make it. I could last.

think of poems as suicide letters

desperate medications

press into carbon and oxygen and choke


To exit: how it feels to be entrenched in these poems, write the pain of it, the journey, trauma, translated

hurt-songs, scar chants



{how to} walk off a stage or poem and be normal.




strap magnifying lenses against pupils                   detect hidden fibers defining each line




feel it before she dies and no clarity can be given.




Look away. Diagnose. Crush pills onto tongue repeat daily. Repeat daily. Repeat daily.

                                                                                                                Repeat daily.




Quiet the crazy creative emotive


create a tunnel with body & excavate & root

Fur from underground tells us to remove our wool, our zippered necks, our hibernation. Ignore the ice seizured from the sky. Pretend not to see the purple clouds, twitching out poor circulation.

This is Spring.

Notice the root vegetables. The twirl of wheels against iron between bodies called bike ride. Notice the drip of petals falling then flying across city blocks. Notice exposure of ankles and slippery shoulders.

The roots are just toes pressing in to the autumn and cold that hide not so far beneath. Keep your fleece away. The night still shivers but pretend it into a whisper. There is green out there and it peeks out from the grey. Tulips like turmeric can aid away the wounds of winter. Call out the goose bumps on forearm as inspired breaths. The moon awaits your nude.

when inspiration hits, cut and paste.

What does it mean to arrive at the point of one’s departure? Like setting off into the sunset of oneself. Like finally getting it. As though your entire body is on the tip of your tongue and finally, finally you have the words to describe/translate it.

This can be the power of words pressed like a trace on a page. This can be coming into contact with a Human that is carving out the languages so deeply rooted that soil and blood drip from the ends.

This must be shared:


My Take on a Trans Article

by C  Vallario

Puberty was like “walking around in a suit you couldn’t take off,” says Skyler, a FTM transgender teen who Margaret Talbot writes about in this month’s New Yorker article, “About A Boy.”

Within the first page the author name-drops a celebrity couple whose son has recently transitioned. No, it is not Cher, and if you Google this article, just to find out, you are very well part of the celebrity absorbed population. Today, more adolescents are coming out as trans because of literature like “Parrotfish” and largely because of the Internet.When I was growing up in the early 90s, we didn’t have these resources. My mom nicknamed me Tina. Society named me tomboy while my basketball coach called me Chris. After a game, my mom politely scolded him, “No one calls her that.” Talbot’s article uses Skyler to show that some teenagers are transitioning earlier with the support of their parents. Skylar was reading the Epic of Gilgamesh for a class, and one day he told his mother, “This is so interesting to think about—my teacher had to sit us down and say, ‘Yes, Gilgamesh and Enkidu are lovers. No, they’re not necessarily gay. They just didn’t have a concept for that.’ “Another time, he declared, “There aren’t two major categories of gender—every person has their own gender and will deal with it the way they deal with it.” He wasn’t just engaging in intellectual play, however; he was putting theory into practice.

While I was writing an autoethnographic thesis, gender-identity became a thread throughout my work, and my advisor who is an openly gay woman suggested that I call this thread “sexual orientation” rather than “gender identity.” Because she is in her 50s and comes from the era that outing oneself was difficult enough, she does not fully grasp it and/or chooses not to. However, “Sexual orientation and gender identity are separate matters. It can be hard for some of us to imagine a sexuality that is not inextricably linked to our gender.” When one’s brain does not link up with one’s body, he or she goes through life without balance. A balance beam is one’s path, and when one deters from the beam, which is quite often, it becomes excruciatingly painful. Because there are others who have transitioned and have documented their lives and struggles largely on the internet, generations today are able to refrain from suffrage.
Skyler co-taught a workshop on breast binding at the True Colors Conference and a hundred people attended. At his transgroup, the group leader describes the difference between gender identity and sexual orientation by using a model called “[t]he Genderbread Person [which is] shaped like a gingerbread man, has a cartoon heart denoting “sexual orientation”; a cartoon brain, for “gender identity”; a crotch area that represents “biological sex”; and a dotted line, surrounding the figure, that signifies “gender expression”—how you present yourself to the world, in behavior and dress.” This diagram can be applied to anyone; for instance, a person who identifies as straight can see that these characteristics may or may not link up entirely.

There were other parents who Talbot interviewed, and the most problematic statement for me was said by Danielle, a mom from the Bay area. She declares, “There are tides of history that was in, and when they wash out they leave some people stranded. The drug culture of the sixties was like that and the sexual culture of the eighties, with AIDS. I think this could be the next wave like that, and I don’t want my daughter to be a casualty.” This article progressed into a highly dangerous one when this woman compared the AIDS epidemic to TRANS people. It sickens me to think that this woman actually believes that the widespread of AIDS was a trend. Talk about “The Gentrification of the Mind” (Schulman); this woman grew up in SF and has no respect or commonality to the numbers of bloodshed. Instead, Danielle turns TRANS into another hate crime. First of all, children, teens and adults who know that they are biologically in the wrong body are not choosing to feel this way; this is as much a part of their makeup as someone born with a sexuality that is inextricably linked to their gender. At the same time, one must go through an extensive process in order to transition, which includes therapy and medical care.

Even though it is more acceptable to be a “tomboy” than a “fairy,” MTFs are much more likely to get the full surgery whereas 95% of FTMs do not get bottom surgery. This is because it is much easier to cut and build than to make more of something. Biologically born males are still able to get what they ultimately want. Yet, a featured story about a man transitioning into a women would not be published in the New Yorker. There are even gender hierarchies happening within the transgender and transsexual communities. However, “the availability of intervention and outspokenness of the transgender community are causing a lot more people to see themselves as transgender, and at younger ages.”

How to Kick Poetry

When I moved back to Brooklyn a few years ago, I had some hopes of what I wanted to do. Become a student again and work toward/complete my MFA in Creative Writing. Read books by people whose names I have never pronounced. Wear poems on my body because clothes never quite fit me right. Meet other poets and performance artists who would challenge me and inspire my thoughts. Learn. Love. Locate.

Some things we can control, some things we must create.

After a magical journey to Boulder, Colorado several years earlier, I attended Naropa University, home of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. I found stages, ACTivists, music makers, gender warriors and….my fire. I lost sleep– in exchange for beautiful love affairs with patchouli-smoked skin and marathon poetry evenings.

My arrival back to NYC was emotional, but as I shifted my body into overpriced desks, I soaked in Baudelaire, Virginia Woolf, Frank O’Hara and others.

This led me to completing a book, which later got published.

This led me to finding the most supportive group of performance poets and writers, who led me to their stages and spaces and into their lives.

this surprisingly led me back to some of the magical folks from Boulder, Colorado.

I learned of an extremely innovative project by the Quens poet Megan DiBello, who was poem’ing in Boulder at the same time as I all those years ago.

Megan wanted to create a space…an experimental school…where people of all backgrounds could take affordable creative workshops from artists teaching poetry, song/music writing, photography, fiction and the business of writing.

She pressed her thoughts and dreams into an action, which led to Poetry Teachers NYC.

I am so proud to be a part of this collective, which hosts monthly open mics at Milk & Roses in Brooklyn, creatively diverse workshops and various performance events.

But like many dreams, there needs to be some more movement. And through movement, we must:

We have officially launched our KICKSTARTER.

In a time where many of us are trying to live out our dreams, there is no time better than NOW to support each other. Even if it’s the amount you set aside for your cups of coffee for the week, this money will lead to artists working and teaching and creating.

Watch our video. Learn more about who/what we are. Support. Because as humans, we need to give back sometimes to recognize the beauty and inspiration from collaboration.

what it means to feel what it means to feel

Unravel what has happened: death, four lost limbs that belong to another country, hunger, a mother that sips pills as breakfast, fear, that time a staircase lost its angles and tumbled away, silence, that memory that exists like a movie trailer with gaps and voiceover and who really knows what is really real anymore.

  • Continue reading
  • how poems arrive

    You remember exactly what you were wearing when you wrote that. You can recall the stench of your breath the instant that stanza arrived– lunch of peanut butter and spoon. You know your socks didn’t match that day and the one which wore your left foot was longer, yet rebelled against elastic and gravity. After you erased that last line, you felt around in your mouth for your tongue. Remember. You worried it was swallowed– how irresponsible of you. You had a rash on your elbow. Both of your elbows. Derived from the heat, but it was Winter, so you blamed it on your over-active imagination, longing for summertime swelter. You licked your lips three times after each completed line because you somehow grew addicted to patterns. The title arrived inside your mouth after a nap: your teeth were wide open windows and snores were like a welcome mat to the three words you finally decided on.