how to talk about love when it stops talking to you

The floor of your voice smells like slow-dancing globes

trotting over scratched-up versions of songs

I used to know the words of but now

can only whistle because it hurts to pronounce the reek of retired

love stops swarming around me like honey hungry wasps wishing for foreheads to sting,

and do you remember when I hijacked the music video of your loins

but it happened so quickly that what you used to love

to kiss

blurred its way out like an erased track—

that hidden song you had to wait through twelve minutes of silence

to listen to.

the one about mouths

“Your mouth is a liar,” she said. She could no longer forget his teeth and the way they were like squares of concrete with someone else’s initials etched in.

“You know my mouth. It has sung to you for years. Don’t you remember the first thing you said to me on that afternoon during that month of that year?”

“I want to eat your song,” she answered.

“What happened to us?”

“Your lips trembled and you slipped fourteen lies between my lips.”

“I apologized.”

“And you left. You left your tongue on the kitchen floor of someone else’s apartment and–”

“But I got it back.”

“But it never moved the same.”

“Sometimes people need to leave in order to remember how to stay.”

“I’m looking for someone who can stay long enough to forget how to leave.”



“only be afraid of the words you’re not saying”

They prefer darkness to loneliness. And when they speak, there is a hiss of moan.

A cockroach crawled slowly on the floor of my bedroom as I typed words out of my brain and into computer. My body tensed and screamed itself open. Quickly, I covered it with an empty brown mug, turned upside down. I expected it to scurry beneath my bed, but it allowed me to capture it.

This reminds me of the last time I saw a cockroach. Ten months ago right before springtime. Just after a break-up with a lover that left my skin charred and exposed. There was no need to chase this insect away as it had died before my eyes found it. Fear aside, I scooped it up and flushed it into the walls or wherever toilet water goes.

This time, though barely moving, it was alive. After brave roommate trapped it between porcelain and paper, she brought it outside. Go, she instructed.

Cockroaches were around during the dinosaurs. They have survived atomic bombs and wars. Gentrification and global warming.

try. I try to find an attribute attached to them, offering more than just disease and contagious fear. Now, I realize they are a reminder of resilience. And each time they find me, I am in need of this reminder. When lovers leave, we are tricked into thinking something is wrong with us.

So we make lists of what we should change about ourselves and when I write we, I mean, me.

There is elasticity within all of us. There is only so much that we can bend and twist until we find ourselves tangled.

And by we, I still mean me.

Although these cockroaches are difficult to look at, so is truth and loss. Survival is deliberate and these hissing species always find their way in. So when you think all of this is too difficult to bear, channel the cockroach. If they can remain, so can you.

And when I write you, I mean me too.

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–”