on closing doors & finding new ones to open to let the light in.

Turn the knob either way and find an opening toward closure. Forgiveness is a language similar to music. It is instrumental and improvisational and often moves through several octaves.

Choose an evening to walk behind the moon. Follow it like a song. Whistle it into the seams of your arms and legs. Squint away the glow until all you see is you.

When you think about an other, think about punctuation marks. Is it an exclamation mark or pause of comma or does it end?

I am safely semi-colon’ing. What I mean is, I am finding a connection between my independent parts. And here, is forgiveness. I forgive the parts that seem to be misplaced. That is, I am finding their place.

Forgive the ones that haunt. The humans and the limbs and the gender identifying markers that do not match our minds’ messages.

Forgive past loves because they showed you other things than hurt. They showed you pleasure and kindness and the flash of safety.

Forgive your body because it’s the one thing that has remained through all the traumas and wars with others and your self. Even when your body changes, it is still yours.

Forgive the memories. The gaps. The flustered darkness that does not want you to remember certain things.

Forgive time.

Forgive loneliness because one day you may be in a dark basement or elevated bridge and you will find someone who…fills you.

Forgive childhood.

Forgive this moment.

Forgive men and even some of the women.

Forgive the cracks in your skin. Also known as scars. Or crashes of age.

Forgive all the silence in you. When you’re really ready, all of your noises will emerge and create the most exquisite soundtrack you’ve ever heard. Get your batteries charged. You’ll want to listen for a long, long time.


on the way to you
was writing verses about you
done with writing realized
was headed in the wrong direction
……Vera Pavlova  (Translated by Derek Walcott)

So instead of inserting your name against the one inch line where words go, I added mine. I have spent these months learning my way out of your presence, but it is my own that has left me this alone.

Last night, I sat beside another and we spoke about forgiveness. When your syllable came up, I could feel the noise of your teeth and spine. This used to make me curdle, but I am learning that to move on, one must move through.

There are humans out there walking out of marriages. Leaving children behind or stains of sterling silver on fingers. A poet recently asked me if I ever wanted to get married again. Again. As though I have already. And now I realize that I have. If marriage is a union, I have engaged in such. And if the opposite is separation, I have felt that as well. So would I do this again? Yes. And no. I am housed inside that no, until I forgive. All this time, I thought it was you, but it’s been me all along.

I need to forgive me.

Years ago, I traveled to the Netherlands, hunting. With weaponry of tiny red notebook (given to me by a handsome dreamer) and black ink pen, I spent every day searching for something in me to care about. I wrote poems with strangers, smoked pot with a beautiful German who gave me strict directions that life is about getting lost. Maps are meant to be written on, not listened to. He told me lost is where one is found. So each day, I hopped buses and walked new streets, misplacing direction. I gathered stories by people in need of sharing them. I ate an expensive meal with a stranger who wanted to know all about poetry and life in New York. I sang a memorial of candlelight and tears in a church. I was desperately trying to forgive all of my selves.

None of this is easy and when love leads us on, it is distracting. And terrifyingly beautiful.

I forgive you.

All this music I distract myself with and the food I fondle with my teeth and tongue and the poems and long walks in cracked air and the conversations with strangers and the ways in which I grow addicted to chaos and grey……..leads me here.

Just a few days ago, I articulated [one of] my trauma[s] into a box and sent it toward the west. I am writing my way out of these bones. Metamorphosing into something I can connect to and trust. All those years I called myself an atheist because I could not believe in myself (so how could I possibly believe in an other).

I’ve inserted my name into this meditation. Repetition will lead me forward…closer to who or what I want to believe in. A different kind of union between self and love.

“And what would you say if you could?”

I never stopped.

Sometimes peach trees exist only to distract you away toward pockets and proposals. I should have stayed. I only lied when I told you that we have forgiven each other. None of this belongs to me anymore. My transition is about forging ahead after giving head. These scars aren’t from yesterday. I no longer bend like that. Staircases and fingers were my first trauma. Allergies are just an excuse to restrict and starve. I lost myself that day.  Please. Speak up and sell your anger to the lowest bidder. Come over. My red hair is not an invitation for you to stir your misogyny into me. I’m the kind of queer that isn’t on a bathroom door. I hate labels but wear one sometimes to rip off and count the hairs pulled. One time I ran away for the length of five sitcoms. Packed grapes and a juice box, some tissues and paper. Climbed my life into a silver robot backpack. I turned around when I realized no one would notice. It scares me that you want to know. I am working my way out of sleepy veins and sculpting a word for this third gender contemplation. What I mean to say is if I could bind my way out of this body and into something else not called male but human or breathing, I might feel more inclined to put on some lace and show you my hidden nude. Or: it’s just not as simple as a symbol. And: I am searching for a hairstyle that helps you understand me better. I forgive you. Sometimes we remain out of fear of getting further lost.

Wait: because there is a promise her innards will speak

Begin in a place with no end
ask because no one knows they should
now because history grows sore on her feminine and there needs to be a remedy


One morning she woke up and spoke, “The most dangerous parts of me.”

Gather belongings: thighs, fragmented collarbone, cleaved lips, fingerprints, clumps of hair, dangling clitoris, breasts almost hauled off body, nightmares, the leftover pills, one pair of underwear without hem or elastic, a needle bent and bleeding, three bandages without adhesive, a condom, extra sweater soiled and weary, loose change offering music while the clank of existence hums.

Her name is daughter. At fifteen, she replaced chewing with swallowing.

The rain came/
wind pushed against her bruises/
too late for a sex talk/


And then

a climb toward her highest window. She could not afford a security system so
there was breaking when he entered


skin grows resistant to carpet threads against kneecaps
push of circumcised erection against unclaimed cavity



Talk about the time he / when he cut / called whore / loaded infliction inside and

Talk about the time he / all doors locked and your bag was / he said he would blur out your face and only show parts for purchasing


Talk about the time your mother approached you like a business owner
I made you,” she said. “I gathered you for nine months. Now

(I) remember…

smoked cigarettes delivered in his mailbox
stroked the cancer that lay benign in his groin
slept against the indentation his wife made in king-sized mattress
swept up reticence while he stole several slices of her my being


Several months later,

Drank orange juice and threw it down her my throat to gag his tongue away.


And then

He said “It is because of men like me that women like you exist.”

He said “You don’t act gay. I can tell you like it.”
She I envisioned his small penis as an oversized clit and bit down on her my imagination


It is different.

It is different when you are white / when you have a mailbox and home to hide in / when your water is turned on and there is soap to suck on / when you can stop if you really want to / it is different when you start to tell people and they ask if you liked it / did you fake it / what does your boyfriend think / husband / what do you mean you’re queer / trans gender / was it painful / and they ask, was it fun / and they ask, did they make you feel good / did you feel good / do you feel /

The men never ask what book she I am reading or / if she I voted for the right person or
her my stance on war or /


She I just wanted to know what it would feel like to be feminine:
pigment of wax hair inching past shoulders distance from floor to feet lace


Someone recognizes her me from when she I . . . .

The next day, she I decide to stop
a reverse strip-tease


She I miss the instability of her my body.

one last time she I whisper

because she I cannot remember what happened the last time
because infection arrives once and then it lays dormant
because boredom is worse than being breathed against by strangers
because she I worry she I like it


The next day, she I sit at a desk and flirt with silence. She I break a muscle in her my thigh from clenching her my right and left together. Then, she I was asked to read a poem. She I was asked to make supper. She I was expected to balance a checkbook. She I was forced to fuck five men in a span of four hours. She I was pushed against bricks and asked to smile even when the blood escaped. She I was persuaded to use her my cunt as a cabinet; with limited space, the objects just kept falling out. She I was mistaken for a human. She I was kissed as though her my lips were clean. She I was held. She I was burned.

What does it mean to be kissed with an instrumental mouth?
to be asked may I continue
to be told beauty exists where trauma ends
an attempt at love
(and there is always an end to a beginning too strong to withstand memory)

Begin. (because we need a reason to understand/ (I need a reason to understand)

Begin with the sound of envelopes unlatching / no, a mother unclasping sanity from forearms and cigarette-distracted teeth / or when uncle hugged her so hard the sound of tearing became familiar / and the first inhale of stimulants / or when she was told masturbation was a crime, so she was already a criminal /


There is need for binding. to strap parts down that have been misplaced, mishandled, misunderstood. to place make-up on parts that are malnourished, malleable, monsterized. to channel first love and think of her/him/them. when being fucked by strangers, creatures, owners. to forget where home is. Moldova. Tel Aviv. Mother’s womb. Orphanage. New Jersey. Manhattan. Boulder. A home. Room. Closet. To understand the why: too poor, too pained, language barrier, body barrier, abuse, rent, for passport, for family, for food, for drugs, to exist…

When I was twenty-six or nineteen or thirty-two, I was a crime. I began inside a body and continue the burden of translation. Here is my reason: loss of/ addiction to/ disregard toward/ removal.

Today. Tonight. In more moments that fit inside a memorial service, I think about the doorknobs of strangers and the moments I may not have exited. I think about the parking garages. I think about the hotel rooms. I think about I think about when she stopped having sex with me because my body reeked. I think about I think about the interruption of orgasm with tear loss each time I try to touch myself. I think about I think about what lays dormant in me and the fear that I will go back to it. I think about I think about how orgasms anger my body. I think about I think about the stains, my skin a giant rorshach and I am trying to understand it. And I am trying to move beyond it. I think about I think about loss of friendships, inability to access normalcy, a need to remove the real from relationships. I think about I think about what I keep trying to cut out of me. I think about I think about all those showers I had to take all that soap sopping up the shadows on my skin. I think about I am thinking about I am thinking about forgiveness.

what has not arrived has arrived

What has arrived in me can only be defined as a loose poem. A sawed off slice of petrified wood announcing the arrival of stunted time. A promiscuous sleep. A bitten tongue due to acidic underbite of regret.

I have been carrying around a letter I wrote in my wallet for almost four months now. The sweat in July from my thighs moistened it. After a monsoon in August, it grew wet and stuck. Its pages grew delicate. Several days later, it dried, but now its corners crumble and some words dripped away. It’s for a woman who climbed into my pocket in the late Spring. A woman too tall to see the tops of trees; she converses with the missing pieces bitten out of the sky. She is mermaid-thin. She is mermaid-beautiful. She is a mermaid. Some things are easier admitted on paper, pressed into envelopes, interrupted by a stamp and mailed away. Some things are easier mailed away. In her letter to me, she studied the anatomy of her torso sucked dry by another the way one might devour a heavily marinated sparerib. Gobbled down in a good kind of way. In my letter to her, I tell her all my secrets or the one that matters most. The kind of secret that interrupts dinner parties and sexual encounters. I tell her what I’ve done and what has not arrived yet…….

[back-ordered] love.
a baby.
a heal.
a rest.

a let go. . . . .

My skin flakes off in fearful glances. Where did I come from? Why do I arrive like this?


I announce to a decoupaged dancer that I am contemplating a travel. I announce to a decoupaged dancer that I am worried that the sick stuffed beneath the fourth and twelfth layers of my skin–which has been lurking for years–is oozing out of me.

And then someone sends me a sunset. And then I drink a cup of coffee and burn away the bad thoughts corroding my throat. And then I write a poem. And then I kick a woman out of my bed. And then I isolate isolate isolate. And then I cry kernels of my childhood into steroid-enhanced boulders. And then I eat some more. And then I purge. And then I hum a song I made up while bike riding. And then I forgive myself. And then I change my mind.

arrival of place

Uptown, there is a church.

It is curvy like a woman should be, wrapping around a corner avenue.

This church is made of stone and wood carvings and stained glass and I spoke to God, even though we aren’t always on speaking terms.

You don’t have to answer me back, I whispered.

Elevated, with stage in front of me, and a jump contemplated and a staircase leading nowhere, I sat on a theatre seat. I tried to ignore the smell of mildew and judgement.

There was a ledge, which looked down on the pews and pulpit. It was protected by a criss-cross see-through fence, that I wanted to sew myself into. Or, peek into each diamond eye and notice the restricted images.

I am preparing for a performance. Of movement. Sexuality. A body. Some revelations. Singing, perhaps. Condoms, because I have always wanted to tear one with my teeth in the house of God and nudity because….well….ditto.

We will make sure to clean the stage, said one of the curators, earlier.

No, I said. I like that it’s dirty.

Prayer dust.
Flakes of skin of mourners, sinners, absolutionists.

I scribbled in my notebook:
body as stained glass
three-dimensional rainbow magnifications of angels and prophets
a shatter
a tutorial of how
sex as performance
the nudity of church or religion or belief

I think I want to believe in something strong enough to get me through all my death thoughts.

I think I want to ask God what s/he thinks about gender and push-up bras and botox and welfare and homelessness and anxiety attacks and fat free everything and student loan debt and the rise in gluten allergies and if it’s OK that I used to be a sex worker.

Forgive me [?]

Friday, June 1st, I press my sexual politics onto a stage in a church in NYC at the Movement Research Festival. And I’m thinking about what it means to talk about sex in a building where God lives or Bibles rest or hands clasp and tongues pray.

Will they let me in?