birth day.

It is difficult to say when a poem is born. Thinking is a part of the writing process and I am always thinking and stewing and marinating in jumbles of words.

One year ago today I gave birth to the biggest puddle of words, pushing them out into a carefully constructed, bound and ISBN’d book.

to go without blinking was published by BlazeVOX books in March 2012. After collecting forms, stories, voices, echoes and various translations from numerous bodies, I created a narrative out of the webs of disjointed stanzas.

Over a decade ago, I started sending out my work. Mostly poems, but some stories too. In those days, you sent out pages in an envelope with a SASE (self addressed stamped envelope) inside. I began filling a lime green folder with rejection letters, which traveled in the envelopes I addressed. Most were form rejections: an insertion of my name cut and pasted to memorized NO, THANK YOUs. Sometimes, they came back a little more personalized.

These days, most submissions are through the computer. And you wait. And you wait. That green folder busted loose, ripping at the folds. But it needed to grow fat in order to reach the moment of YES’s.

As writers, we let go the moment we hand our work to someone else: reader or editor or publisher or mother. With this book, I have enjoyed hearing from readers– their interpretations and questions. What it meant to them and how other people’s poetry can impregnate a reader’s body with swarms of more poems.

As a young writer, many many years ago, I dreamt of this moment. I used to go to bookstores and visit the section of poetry where my book would be alphabetized in. Perhaps beside Marilyn Hacker or Langston Hughes.

Calling myself writer is the one label I will proudly own for the rest of my life. Self-inflicted and permanently inked on body.


i was never really taught how to be so is it ok that i am still finding out / so is it ok that i don’t fully understand the function of my palms and the meaning of their itch / and is it ok that i need to run and when i remain i am still running / so is it ok to hoard my breaths for the times i lose track of where they come from / so is it ok to mourn so much / so is it ok to (still) think about jumping, cutting, gassing and swallowing / so it is ok to have poetry as my mistress–the one I run to when I don’t want to explain myself / and is it ok to still prepare for how i’d like to end / and is it ok that i spit ghosts out of me each morning before breakfast / and is it ok that i quietly gather them up and swallow them back inside me / and is it ok to need these ghosts / and is it ok if i am one of these ghosts / and can you just let me know if you’re ok because i am not or maybe i am / and let’s just be still / let’s just be still /let’s just be still (in this)