FLIRT  |flərt|  verb

to behave as though attracted to / but for amusement rather than / an experiment with superficial / without committing oneself to/  a deliberate exposure of/ to open and / a flicking of feel

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Dear Richard,

I held onto another’s limb to steady myself underground. There were no available poles or doors to lean into, so I found the nearest human to flirt my balance against. First, I grabbed their wrist which was red and tinged with many punctuation marks, as though rebelling against José Saramago. Then, they unraveled their tongue like a carpet for me to wipe my fears on. I hooked my right knee onto theirs, clasping cotton to denim. When I coughed suddenly, without warning, they caught my germs with their palm. Fourteen, they exclaimed. Excuse me, I uttered. Fourteen germs, now connected to the lines of my fortune etched into my flesh. And you’re welcome.

Richard, I cannot claim to understand any of this. I only know letters and barely that. When the subway conductor announces my stop, I disengaged from their bones. Already, I felt mourn. I never got their name nor did I ask for their handle or hunger pains. I simply walked off, with a piece of their wrist still embedded beneath my fingernail.

finding love again through the bottom of a glass of language

Dear Richard,

I was not expecting this. I gave up men even before I began, but there is something in the simplicity and omission of your words that causes me to feel as though I should remain. So, I guess I will for now.

I write four letters to you in a book that your daughter wrote, which was all about you. But also about her. And also about loss. And searching. And the hesitance to find.

Did I ever tell you about the time I scratched my name into someone else’s womb just to see how far my fingers could stretch. Or the time I got lost on a railroad track in massachusetts and the only thing that brought me back was the trembling of metal beneath my wrists.

None of this is simple, Richard.

You set fire to telephones and I set fire to memories. But I have gathered up all the ash and resin of months and dates in order to understand. In order to be in my body. In order to keep reading you.

QUEER live(s)

On Sunday, October 18th, a talented group of queers will gather to reveal the magic of their words in poetry, comedy and theatre. I am excited to host!

Come check it out:

QUEER Live(s)
Featuring Kelli Dunham, Trace Peterson and Nicolette Dixon
Branded Saloon
603 Vanderbilt Ave Brooklyn


black out 10/8/15

Vladamir Nabokov wrote, “The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible.”

I ask: Is there such a thing as a blank page? Are we ever really starting from nothing? Pages come from trees, which come from earth, so even in the emptiness, there is a history of something that once was.

Blackout poetry is a form that celebrates this. Finding words from within other words. Creating something new from what already exists. One can take any text and blackout as many words as one desires. Leaving several words, strung together or all apart of just leaving one. But what is left is what becomes newly birthed. Because the meaning changes. And it becomes yours.

Here is a recent blackout poem I created:
into your intestinal/ your weird evolution/ of neurons/ of trouble/ of bacteria/ (yes,)/ and pretty/ of timid/ called “gut”/ also Who knows?/ with yogurt/ Okay, what if/ to stop/ at our stomachs/ go poking/ write, the human/ the privilege/ the self.

how to be found

originally posted on great weather for MEDIA


how long until/ the limbs become/ just/ skin’s memory 


I travel west to contact every doorframe and window hinge I have ever touched. I want to know if they remember my fingerprint configuration. I need to know I am impactful.

In my pocket are three words I did not know before three days ago and one references a fruit I have trust issues with: aubergine. I contemplate renaming myself this word because I like the sling of its third syllable slapping tongue against roof of mouth. Is it ever too late to retitle oneself?

My mother calls me while I am pretending to write and she goes off script. She tells me my uncle has passed away. How long until a body loses its shape? And what shape does it become? Death lay there in his body for at least three days until. Until.

How to be found.          Out.

While living in suburbia, as a teenager with a license, I walked out of my psychology class one day with a mission to drive to my favorite park and hang myself. I was without weaponry, but I much preferred DIY techniques anyway. No one noticed when I walked out, right as the teacher—with three day beard or lipstick on teeth, I cannot recall—was offering a lesson on fight/flight and the biology of mental illness (or perhaps something completely unrelated). Slowly, I walked through the school parking lot to find my car, which really my sister’s, and it was red with only two doors. If I listened to the radio, I would have searched for Nirvana to scream his suicide notes into my ear.

This was the 90’s.

This park I liked was small, with evidence of duck excrement littering the ground like confetti. I did not care enough to watch where I walked; I just wanted to find the perfect tree to keep me elevated.

I ask my mother how he died and she does not know. I use a word like autopsy because of movies and over-saturated crime television programs like CSI and Law and Order. I need to know that even after addiction and depression, one finally reaches an age of understanding and stillness. I need to know I won’t want to revisit that tree with DIY weaponry when I am in my sixties.

I was fifteen when Kurt Cobain died. Less than one year later in 1995, I will try what he succeeded at, choosing pills and knives over shotgun. When Kurt died, everyone around me draped themselves in capes of flannel. When I die, I wonder if everyone will dye their hair red or just head to work because. Because. Why not.

On my travels west, I reach a doorframe found in an old school house, now called apartment complex. I licked the doorknob to see if it still tasted of me. All I can report is my tongue felt like pocket lint and pennies for the rest of the day. There was no sign of recognition.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, an American commits suicide every 12.9 minutes. In the course of writing this, at least four people have died.

I ask my mother once again about an autopsy, sounding out each letter slowly. Don’t you want to know? I ask. But I know that I am really asking me.

The last song Kurt Cobain recorded with Nirvana was titled, “You Know You’re Right” and I wonder if we ever really do. The lyrics haunt like the loudest lover you never could get over.

Kurt growls, “No thought was put into this/ I always knew it’d come to this/ Things have never been so swell/ And I have never failed to fail.”

The tree refused to elevate me on that day I casually escaped the confines of high school. Instead, I carved my name into a bench that faced a manmade lake. I contemplated what I was contemplating. Almost twenty years later, I look up that lake on the computer, and find that it has a yelp page. People express joy for its vastness; a perfect place to picnic; a spot for fishing or handholding. I ponder submitting my thoughts on the trees and how they may have saved my life that day, when I might have contributed to the census of Americans who end their time. How many stars would I give and would I mention that I used to think this park was a perfect spot to die, but now I just think it’s the right place to remember how to be found.

but also because of this.

[for Lily.]


You asked me when I started writing. Where did it begin and what caused it.

I mentioned Lou Reed. Bob Dylan. My sister’s old boyfriend, my favorite, who encouraged me to poem and to hippie. I mentioned that assembly freshman year of high school when I read a poem that caused all the teachers to warn my parents that I might try to Sylvia Plath myself. I mentioned open mics and giving up my dream of being a pastry chef.

But also because of this.

I started writing when my razor’s blade grew dull. And I started to write when I ran out of girls to kiss. And

I write when I binge on too much food, and feel the need to purge something.

Here’s the thing:

I’ve been writing letters to this old, white guy named Richard Brautigan, who keeps feeding my book shelf.

And I think of my student who asked me: Prof, why do so many writers off themselves? 

And I said, because so many come from tragedy & addiction & too much sadness to be cured by prescriptions, and it is the writing that keeps them alive, until….it just no longer can.

So I write to stay alive. Until I no longer can. And then maybe someone who needs a reason to remain will find me. And I will feed their bookshelf. And we all can just keep saving each others’ lives. One poem, one story, one page at a time.

in celebration of breasts and surviving

When I was fifteen, I was still writing letters to my breasts, asking if they got misdirected. Sent to the wrong address? Used incorrect postage? (There was no FOREVER stamp at the time).

I thought I wanted them. All my female-bodied friends had them. Many in size extra large and abundant. At that age, we want what is around us. What other people have. Or…..we think we do.

And then I got them, but in size small and some people touched them and then I did not want them anymore and then and then. The End.

I think a lot about breasts because I think a lot about bodies. Therefore, I think a lot about knees and collarbones and earlobes and hypothalamuses.

When I was asked to read something for a Breast Cancer fundraiser, I immediately said yes and then I realized why I was asked: because someone I really care about has had it: my mom.

So, I’ve been thinking not just about breasts, but my mom’s breasts. And it’s hard sometimes to find time to grade papers and write poems when you’ve got four breasts on your mind, but more than that because….as I said, I think about bodies quite a lot and I live with another set of breasts and I walk out the door and breasts and and and. The End.


Research is being done to learn more. To catch it before it climbs further into body. More and more people are surviving. But more and more people are getting diagnosed.

Please support a night of honoring those who have survived breast cancer, those who did not make it, and those whose loved ones are still fighting.

Come to The Parkside Lounge on October 4th at 7pm 

317 E. Houston St.  NYC

Tickets are $10, but if you can give more, please give. 100% of the proceeds go to The Pink Daisy ProjectEven if you cannot attend, you can STILL support by buying advance tickets online or donating directly to The Pink Daisy Project.

More details:

The Inspired Word Presents its 5th Annual PinkSpeak: Breast Cancer Journeys in Poetry, Music & Prose – a breast cancer fundraiser in Manhattan, New York City.
Dedicated to the memory of poet/author Pamilla DeLeon-Lewis, a beautiful, inspiring lady who performed at our first PinkSpeak and passed away on January 6, 2012, and Dorothy Geffner, mother of Inspired Word founder/producer Mike Geffner.


Featured Artists:

Singer/Songwriter Khadijah Carter

Poet/Storyteller Phillip Giambri aka The Ancient Mariner

Poet Keisha-Gaye Anderson

Singer/Songwriter Samantha Leon

Poet Aimee Herman

Author Sofia Quintero

Poet Cindy Peralta aka Black Angel

Writer Bob Lemoullec

Singer/Songwriter Natatia Allison –

Singer/Songwriter Matt Jacob –

Spoken Word Poet Lana Rose –

Writer Regina Woiler –