(based on a true story) Woman of twenty-something reads paper menu on 4 train as though it is a novel: page-turner with characterized ingredients she-- chooses her adventure of heartburn.
As per an experiment given to my students: If you had only 10 words left to speak (regardless of their relationship to each other) what would they be? The words inside the words can be spoken too. linoleum mailbox innards coffee poem handsome disembody queer resplendent quiet *** dent box in hand i embody i queer dent of some innards quiet queer of i hand poem of fee a resplendent quiet of linoleum
I am hoarding wine beneath my tongue. I’ve disarmed my hips for another and this one seems to be carefully slipping love notes inside the marrow of my bones. How do you nourish your memory. In what ways do you feed the scratch-outs on your soul. Eighteen years ago, I paid a stranger to press purple ink into my lower back through single-serving, vibrating needle. He joined circle and lines into a universal woman sign. I carried that female insignia for all these years, which slowly turned from friend to acquaintance to stranger. Are there indentations on your body that no longer belong to you, Rebel. Recently, I paid a guy from Bolivia to alter my gender marking. He told me all about the places he traveled to and the days he scarred his thighs with illustrations to practice being an artist. What would it look like to practice being human. Last week, I carried a rock resembling a tiny egg and an eight line poem by Vera Pavlova. She reminded me that if there is something to desire/ there will be something to regret. But in desire, there is so much breath. The weight of our exhales, Rebel, can turn our forearms into paved roads. Our shoulders into mountain tops. Our chests into stationary reservoirs. Let’s swim in all this burgundy lust, which can be found in Poets, Chefs, Former Monks, Music Makers and Hippies. We can climb our way toward the tallest tree top and swing from the branches of its origin. I am finally digging myself out of all these roots, untangling and recognizing the hybrid in me. Let’s eat up all these question marks and digest the answers that come.
While you listen, notice your hands. They have been waving others away for how many years. They have been been stealing money out of your pocket. They have been rummaging around in the playground of your body in search of in search of what.
“Sometimes my hands, they don’t feel like my own.”
On a day that can only be called employment of understanding, you remove your hands from your pocket. They are dry and cracked from hibernation. Spend a moment comparing them to elephants and deserts, cracked open. Call them sand dunes. Turn yourself into a hunch. Call it bridge pose. Climb your hands inside you because on this day you are mountain. You are venturing toward the genders cohabiting in every tunnel of your self.
Understand that this may be painful. This is more than just labeling. This is more than just recognition of what you are. Sometimes it takes a road trip over someone else’s body to acknowledge something not right on your own.
Call this red dust. The tiny particles of earth making sense of itself as it takes on new shapes. This matter flattens and folds parts away. This invisible soil has no preference for pronoun, rather prefers that you see it as an entity called other.
“Dear body/I’ve been trying to/rub you away like a rash/forcing you away from my bones/And I waited for you to arrive…
“How’d you know it was me? Describe my weight in shapes and sounds.”
“I’d know your soprano-turned-tenor touch anywhere. And weight? Well, I wound up having a difficult time lifting any words off of me due to the heft of your musculature. The weather channel called you significant.”
“Are you hungry?”
“Burgundy and drizzled with cooking wine.”
“Do you mind if I stay?”
“Even as I swallow this last bite, I yearn for more. I’m ok with my shape changing because it’s from so many meals with you.”
“Is this an offering?”
“More than that. This is a stop sign.”
“So we can title this a collision of red?”
“Or a photographic collage of love letters drifting between an eight minute commute of disjointed language and what happens when you fall in love with your pen pal and woo them in cross-outs, haiku and elipses.
Call this Sunday. Order up two hundred kites shaped in sizes ranging from dragon to sperm whale. Turn up your boom box attached to hip, playing a mash-up of Charlie Parker and Tupac. Gather up your grass stains. Dig toes into flesh of earth, meaty syllables of soil. Stop worrying about what your hair looks like or if there is dirt on your face. You are meant to get messy sometimes. Write a poem on a rock, found beneath a leaf. Turn your handwriting upside down. Throw it into a puddle and if there are none nearby, make one with stored up tear drops, created by the wind. Have an impromptu picnic in your neighborhood park with local fruit purchased at nearby farmer’s market. Stain your fingertips with ink of recycled newspaper. Depending upon how bold you are, make love beneath this hunched-over sun and blanket hiding the limbs of you and your other. The ones nearby will leave you alone, too impressed by your boldness to interrupt. Remain until the air drops causing your sweat marks to shiver. Bike toward the sun’s replacement called: moon. This one is dripping lust. All around it echoes of moans. Offer up your black-and-grey lips to a rainbow. Watch the stain saturate the rest of you. Call this love’s contagion.
This is what was waiting. Behind all those Brooklyn traffic lights and spray-painted stop signs: you. We must be reminded of what hides in order to remember what we have been seeking. Get lost in order to be found. Even when it rains, there is enough sun saved up for you to get tan lines beneath a thunderstorm. Don’t be so afraid of love. As a child, you climbed enough trees to grow splinters from your veins. And when you cut yourself while making meals for others, one could certainly measure the sap stored up in your blood to classify your species. To the ones you matter to most, they call you Major Oak. The one who loves you loudest calls you Sacred Fig. Stop running so much. The roots of your gender are endless. You may need to replace ink with lead during this phase of existence. You are in constant revision. Even when all the lights have turned themselves off, there is enough glow in you to survive a forty-two hour blackout. Remain because the ones who came before this one prepared you to grow up.
It happens like an unexpected tap on shoulder. You are walking or riding your bike. You are engaging with the outdoors in some way. Perhaps your jacket is unzipped. You left your scarf at home. If you are wearing a hat, it is only because your hair got lost and has been traveling in opposite directions, not to keep your scalp warm. You are lost in the language of clouds that you are either humming toward or meditating with.
You feel a drop. Maybe two. It’s Brooklyn, so that drop could be the wind pushing someone else’s spit against you or a pigeon excreting its breakfast onto you.
Then the drops turn into many and more and faster and harder and there are no more individual clouds. You look up and the sky has unzipped just like your jacket. You are about to turn mad until you realize how beautiful all this is.
This rain becomes your lover for the afternoon, showering your skin with so many kisses, that you grow giddy. Your clothes become a new layer of flesh. You skip, splashing in puddles, pick up leaves that bathe in this spring moisture. Your bones want to push out from beneath its protective layer and play along. This is when you start to dance. Maybe sing. Definitely holler toward the peeking moon.
In the summer, all of this will get even louder and hotter and this free bath will be even better.
For now, this is spring and this rain is meant to wash winter’s footprints away. It is meant to summon the flowers, planted months earlier. Reawaken the trees and hibernating animals and humans.