Dear Hillary Rodham Clinton

first published on great weather for MEDIA


Dear Hillary Rodham Clinton,

I’ve been gulping oxygen as though it were chocolate chip cookies, reminding myself to inhale then exhale because it can be easy to forget to breathe in a time like this.

Of course I knew a woman could be president, it’s just that I kept watching more doors get built just to slam in their faces and I wondered if I could call myself something else in order to be more heard.

It should have been you.

No one ever asks a man to smile more or coif their hair in a way that is more “attractive” or dress in a way to lure more eyes or or or…

Everyone lies.

It’s not that I want to “escape” to Canada, it’s just that I want to live in a place where I can be free and accepted without fear of my civil liberties challenged just for being gay. Just for being a woman. Just for being.

It should have been you.

I wasn’t supposed to still be here. I think about this every day that I wake. All those times I tried to push myself off this earth and here I am and they call me teacher. They listen when I guide their minds toward questioning what they read/what they learn. Each time I enter a classroom, I am reminded of why I stay here because these students (so many of whom are being told they aren’t “American enough”) impress me with their beautiful resilience.

If a bully can win a job they are completely unqualified for, what does that teach us?

When I was nineteen, I said it out loud for the first time. Called myself a lesbian because I thought that was the only word I had to choose from. Never expected to get married because I wasn’t allowed. Didn’t ever think I’d fall in love with someone who encouraged all my vocabularies and eccentricities. And then in June of 2015, suddenly I was told I could get married in any state and I started to feel safe again. But then North Carolina happened. And then and then and then this

It should have been you, Hillary.

What to say to the person who is continually targeted just for being a woman. I want to tell you we need you now more than ever. I need to tell you that I am scared. For my students. For everyone who is being threatened with ‘a wall’. I want to tell you that amidst the false accusations and even some of the real ones, you made me believe in democracy again.

Now what?

Dear America

We are on a break.

This isn’t the first time we’ve declared the need to see other people, but what you’ve done this time, I’m not sure I can forgive.

America, your tongue is dirty. Your knees have not touched enough gravel and you smell. Not like New York City urine drenched, graffiti-ground-up-in-potholes, fourth-day-of-forgotten bath. More like your climate is beginning to disrobe and all our coughs are coughing up smog.

United States of America, you never ask me if it feels good when you touch me. You just lick my bones with your hate crimes and think it will turn me on.

I need space.

This isn’t about Canada, though I can’t pretend she’s not on my mind these days.

America, look at your hands! Covered in blood, slurs, misogyny, favoritism, forgetfulness, and all that locker room jargon lodged beneath your fingernails.

Your red, white, and blue used to turn me on. All you needed to do was wave your flag and I was ready. You’d whisper Eleanor Roosevelt or Rocky Mountains and I’d lift myself onto you. We’d rock back and forth to your mix tape of anthems.

America, there is no welcome mat big enough for you to wipe all your filth on. You’ve lost sight on what made you so beautiful once before. Everyone that came to build you up, with their stories of survival and hope, living out their Dream…….you now seem to have forgotten their names.

Shame on you, America. You’re nothing without the sum of all your parts.

Now I’m screaming out my safe word because it’s just too much to bear:

 P a s s p o r t

Check out this new anthology I have work featured in

Thank you to Candace Habte for encouraging words to come out on the topic of women and bodies.

Check out the anthology:  Theories of HER: An Experimental Anthology 

Because much like this book itself, women have layers.

Over 50 contributors from all across the world, and all walks of life, have come together as they share what it is to be her, know her, and to champion her. Like many other anthologies, Theories of HER is a collection of poetry, essays, literature and art, with contributors ranging from award-winning veterans to emerging writers and artists. But much like today’s woman, this collection is refreshingly unconventional. Each piece stands alone, while also merging together in a poetic tapestry that takes the reader through a lifetime.

More than that, Theories of HER attempts to give voice to the unheard and misunderstood. The writers and artists in this collection refuse to apologize for being women, for being male allies, for being gender non-conforming, for being the L, the B, the G, or the T, for being mothers, daughters, girlfriends, wives, lovers, single, childless, for aging in a youth-obsessed culture, for being politically incorrect, for speaking up, for preferring words to sound, or shouts to whispers…for simply standing in their truth.


Adam Balivet, Aftab Yusuf Shaikh, Aimee Herman, Alison Stone, Ana “Temple” Abram, Andrea Tolbert, Ann Cefola, Brenna Harvey, Candace Habte, Chanel Heart, Christine Brandel, Cici Felton, Cinthia Ritchie, D. Vaisius, Daryl Sznyter, Deidre Dykes, Edward Palumbo, Edward Stettner, Eileen Velthuis, Elizabeth Yalkut, Erika Dreifus, Eve Gaal, FF Merchant, Grace Fondow, HanaLyn Colvin, Hannah Sawyerr, Helmi Ben Meriem, Janis Butler Holm, Jeanine DeHoney, JM, Kathleen M. Quinlan, Katrine Raymond, Kay Retzlaff, Kiara Marie, Kristie Letter, Kyle Liang, Maria Morrison, Maroula Blades, Mary Laufer, Maureen Flannery, Miguel Eichelberger, Nicole Fresh, Nina Martucci, Paul Hostovsky, Rachel Lallouz, Rebecca O’Bern, Rebekah Seagle, Samina Hadi-Tabassum, Sara Walsh, Sarah Y. Varnam, Siaara Freeman, Stephen Cavitt, Susan Holck, TCF, Tom Whalen, Tori Cárdenas, and Z.M. Wise

it can be so difficult to be alive, and then you find words to band-aid you back

I’ve been gulping oxygen like I used to gulp drugs in my twenties. I don’t know how to be. I don’t know how. I don’t.

And then, I drink coffee with a friend who reminds me why writing is a salve. And then I read words by misfit goddess writer Lidia Yuknavitch and my wounds suddenly feel less wounded.


Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Small Backs of Children writes:

“I hope that we write ourselves back to life. I hope that we double down on what we mean when we say ‘writer,’ so that the definition explodes and reconstitutes around writing as a socially vital activity, not a market-driven dead zone. I hope that when we step into our writerly lives, we can only come alive by and through each other, by and through our beautiful differences. I hope that ‘hope’ doesn’t come from looking up ever again, but from looking each other in the eyes/I’s. I hope we stand up inside our various languages with ferocious love and courage and that we aim for what matters in the world, whether or not anyone remembers our names. Let it be true that we wrote the world and each other back to life. Let that be the new book.

“We didn’t get here by accident. This is not a new brutality, it is a very old one, and every time it circles back around in a new form, we have to look again in the mirror and stand up differently ― writing can yet invent new forms of resistance and resilience in the face of brutality.

“And the wonder of that.

“And how this is our present tense calling.”

make america safe (again)

Dear America,

I am queer. I am emboldened. I am angry. I am peace. I am white. I am an atheist. I am gay-marriaged. I am trying to believe in you again.

America, I am a teacher with students who are being targeted. I tell them their brains must keep them loud, must keep them present, must keep them learning. I tell them to remember why they are in school. They are making America better. Because they are working hard to succeed toward their dreams.

America, your graffiti-hate-crimes, your misogynistic superiority, your fists, your intolerance will only cause us to grow stronger. Not meaner, not violent. But firm in our beliefs to remain united.

America, your flag has never just been WHITE. It has included other colors, which is why it waves so valiantly. To bleach yourself, America, is to forget what has made you what you are.

We are a country of immigrants. Of people who came here with dreams. With nothing. With hopes. With empty pockets. With love. Exhaling trauma. Desiring opportunities. We are a country where we need to be holding hands now, not wrapping them around guns or insults.

Dear America, it is far easier to love. To accept. To be kind. To say hello.

Grab a ginkgo leaf. Hand it to a stranger. Let them know these trees date back to the dinosaurs. That they are medicinal and their leaves are shaped like wishes.

STOP being mean, America. We all belong here. We all deserve a chance to succeed here. To fulfill our dreams. To be kind.

Are you listening?

Climate Change

originally published by great weather for MEDIA


It begins to feel amiss once you walk inside it. 

If one of my students had written this sentence, I’d write: who or what is “it”?

It is this election-aggression, this chaos of season change, shift in age bracket from young to invisible, status of single shifting to a bit more traditional.

It can be racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamaphobia, transphobia. All the isms and ‘obias plaguing us too loudly these days.


Hélène Cixous wrote, “In the beginning, I adored. What I adored was human. Not persons; not totalities, not defined and named beings. But signs. Flashes of being that glanced off of me, kindling me.”

I’m just/looking to be/kindled.

Instead, I feel like the residue– the ash, the dust, the remains of what was but no longer. Our climate is changing or we are and perhaps we need to pay closer attention to the scorch of storms clearing us out.


I send a message out to my friend out west, “I am failing at being an adult.”

Cixous wrote, “Perhaps being adult means no longer asking yourself where you come from, where you’re going, who to be. Discarding the past, warding off the future? Putting history in place of yourself?”

Replacing it, I guess, with thoughts of things:

Accessories, adornment, matching placemats, furniture upgrades, grocery shopping, electricity bills, daily selfie uploads, health care coverage, car payments, doctor appointments, pap smear, teeth cleaning, arnica, paxil, lithium, clonazepam.

We are I am so deep inside the distractions of external, that we are I am forgetting to work on within.


Yesterday on the 4 train headed uptown at just before noon, I hear a woman (out of eyesight) yell at a man accompanied by bike. I am standing, suctioned between the other commuters, trying to balance book in my hand. I hear her yell at him for being in the way, “you should ride your bike, not take it on the train,” and so on.

We (fellow travelers) do not respond. We don’t react. Until. She says. “Go back to where you came from.”

Suddenly, a chorus of gasps fill the 4 train mixed with how dare yous and eye rolls.

Two stops later, I get off at Fulton Street and climb away from the anger fuming through the train like a smoke bomb. I feel hurt and disappointed and very, very tired. I am worried I will be coupled with this person. This woman. This white woman. Worried I look too much like her and people will assume we are the same/feel the same/act the same.

Which is what we all keep doing: assuming those in particular groups, similar genders, religions, ethnicities, races, sexual orientations, … are all the same.

We. Are. Not.


The climate has changed and I am manically purchasing rope. Everyday, five block walk to hardware store, buying out their stock until the next day, when I go back and purchase more. And with this rope, I make knots to add to its length. Longer. Longer. Create a noose. (This is not what you think.) And when it’s long enough, I aim this lasso toward sun, and bring it closer. Force its light in. To lift us out of all this all this dark.

Things in Do in New York City (# 2)

To call it dark, would not be enough. A campsite at 3am after all the wood has burned and the stars have shut their eyes. Lungs, after a lifetime with nicotine. Or meat left on a flame, forgotten due to a lover’s quarrel. That dark. The pigeon led me down to where the rats grow old, to where humans learn new ways to be human. The mole people. The subway shadows. Where garbage grows wings, fluttering over the tracks like ghosts. Here, we gathered to share one slice of New York City pizza together. Cheese congealed after waiting too long–slowed down by the other: short legs of humans, lack of wings on I. As we gathered up calories, we spoke in languages neither of us shared, on all the ways we’ve loved before. Seventeen times for me, and only once by this pigeon, unrequited and undisturbed. Towards a letter it once carried. Many, many years ago,