going home

first published by great weather for MEDIA

I hid inside the closet way before I knew about its implications. Had two in my bedroom as a kid, but only one which I coveted as my hiding place. In it, I fit my flattened pillow (shape created before I learned of its ability to inform pleasure when rubbed between my thighs), my radio/tape player and a poster, which my memory fails me to envision.

I listened to music, wrote in my diary, and ate food, which I snuck upstairs to my cave-closet. I thought of secrets, fell asleep, cried until I forgot how and chatted on the telephone.

I’m not sure how old I was when I decided to carve out a hidden passageway in my closet wall. You know, like they do in the movies. It was far more difficult than I imagined, realizing the many layers of wall, that caused me to eventually lose steam. But for awhile, my closet floor looked like a cocaine den, with the dusty innards covering the wood.

I’m not sure what I would have hidden in the walls if I had succeeded in my dig. Poems? Love notes? Recipes?

I came out of the closet metaphorically at nineteen. Literally at around fourteen, when my growing body could no longer fit comfortably. By then, I hid in other ways through drugs and secrets.

But this is not about that.

This is about what it means to go home. To remember the hiding places, the sticker and postcard collections. To remember the pile of notebooks with revelations and scratched out coded language. This is about the smells of childhood that still remain in the walls. To remember what it was like to morph into a different body and not be ready for its mutation. This is about milestones and misery.

Going home.

My childhood home no longer exists. Or it does, but is now inhabited by a different family with different problems. That hole has probably been patched up. And my purple-painted bedroom may be white now or striped. The yellow sticky notes I hid in various pieces of furniture in my bedroom are long gone. Ink faded so I probably would not have  been able to decipher its reminder.

I still have dreams that my room still exists. That it needs cleaning. That my mother finds my hidden stash of pills crushed up into powder to snort like the actors in those movies.

Recently, I got to experience the childhood home of my mate. Untouched bedroom, preserved in invisible plastic wrap. Felt fourteen again as I found myself following rules and curfew. Sleeping separately because of our queerness.

I have a bedroom in my father’s house, which I lived in during my early twenties, going to community college. Still searching for my self. There is a book shelf of the books I read at that time: horror and feminism, Plath and Salinger, writer’s market books and various dictionaries. When I visit, I can still see the twenty-three year old me struggling with my vocabulary. I was a lesbian then. Briefly a bisexual. I was a poet. Briefly a children’s story writer. I was a baker and a novice of hope. I was a recovering drug addict and a daughter. I was the past tense of so many things I still am but can no longer pronounce.

To go home is to be brave. To remember. To revisit the selves inside the self you are now. To study photographs and the accumulation of dust.

And then, to walk toward the real home. The one where you pay your bills. Where you can walk around in your nude and not have to call yourself anything but human or animal. To smoke pot or drink as much hot chocolate as you want without judgement. To remember all the homes that led you toward the one that finally feels like one.


I have forgotten all of my things. There are photographs and the rocks collected from campsites and mountains, beaches and gardens. There is my mattress standing like a cushioned soldier, ready to finally lay down again. It is wrapped up in protective gear to combat the bed bugs and Brooklyn mold. I forgot all about that wind chime, made from dog bone and twist of fingers. I missed that red-stained plank of wood, which balanced against boxes and got called desk. I’ll need to fold all those buttons and pockets attached to shirts and slacks. Do I really need all these papers and I will need another bookshelf to house all these spines. Here is the kitchen and there are the sinks. There is a painter here and maybe she will teach me her language. Over there is a music maker and I dream about nights where we can speak in the dialect of keys and chords. There are windows and here on this porch, I can uke. That fireplace no longer works, but we can balance art and an alter on its shelf. These walls are clean and shaded with a hue of welcome. You can call that bathtub. Call this communal table where meals may be shared and poems may gather. I haven’t had a couch in years and you can sleep here. I have forgotten all about my wok, given to me by a wonderful human in Connecticut and my spices, kept sacred in red pot. I didn’t realize I had all that brown rice and how about I dedicate this evening to alphabetizing my poetry books and separating genres of thought. I forgot home could feel this way. I forgot about that welcome mat, originally purchased for performance. But I can wipe my feet on this grass, synthetic but green. And I can call this home shared and safe and warm and Brooklyn.

located between violet and green.

Dear Kazim,

Do you know how many offerings of blue there are in the sky? I call them offerings because these hues arrive and they remain as a gift to our sight. There are many things that we forget to notice, such as what exists beneath our feet or the vast field of water’s reflection above us.

Kazim, there is a red hook. It exists in a watermarked area of Brooklyn. My soul sister and I follow the trail of salt and orange-scented horizon welcoming in the evening. Our toes twist into strands of grass that tickle and tease our summer calluses.

Here is where I collect thoughts. I ignore the scab on my shoulder from the weight of things I carry from borrowed home to borrowed home and feel gratitude toward the one who holds me on a night I feel my insides attempting an escape. I’ve been carving love letters to Brooklyn into benches and brick walls. I haven’t received anything back or perhaps I have……I’ve no mailbox anymore.

Let’s call this color squashed blueberry or sorrow’s lust. This sky is our rooftop and suddenly I feel home. 



all of this will soon be past.

“If this life isn’t enough/ then an afterlife won’t be enough”      -fanny howe

Dear Kazim,

There are presents to be received when remaining in the present.

You wrote, “The body is like a day: it begins with the darkness of evening, ends with the ebbing of light.

I say to you: Within this wander, I recognize who remains. That in this present, my past exists like swollen gifts. Some I sense the need not to open. Some I must not only open but rummage and fondle. Kazim, I am tangled. The knots wrestle themselves into my hair and my loins and even in my words. I like your sense of beginning in the dark in order to travel toward light.

There are these humans hovering around me: a music MAker, a soul sister, a brother, several lovers, the satellite that exchanges shapes each night, a Rebel, a father, a gender warrior. Each one tells me in their language how to remain. How to remain.

Kazim, you remind me: “If the plot of my life is writing then I have nothing but time.”

What is this rush to unpack my boxes. Perhaps I need to wander in order to remember what it feels like to be still. The writing exists in me; this earth has many desks and “rooms” that permit and encourage our creativity.

A traveling human tells me that all we really need as writers is time. Space is everywhere.

Several months ago, I met a woman who wore earth on her skin. One day, we sat beside each other in a room full of others and we painted. We were each given blank circles and asked to fill them in with our souls. With our souls, Kazim. Can you imagine this task? So, I painted a tree with branches of words and she combined colors into a womb and sperm and there was dark and light and I could smell her tears even before I noticed them bungee-jumping from her eyes. In this human, I saw hope that even in such sadness, there is desperation to live. To remain. Before I said goodbye to her, I gave her a tulip, which someone else had given me. This flower is like youI said. Alive. Watered. From the earth. And breathing. And giving. And giving. And giving. 

it’s been in *here* all along

Pay no mind to the dripping roots, which dangle from each limb. I’ve been dug up but I have some time left to search for a stretch of earth to replant myself in.

A beautiful woman named Audrey serves me a fresh-baked spiced muffin and cafe au lait. Tells me spirituality is everywhere. Calls me fire. Tells me that the poet in me is a fighter. I will give you a book, she says. And I’ll mark the spaces that you’ll want to read twice. This book will take a year to read. Maybe longer. Come back, she said. (As though she sensed my inner EXIT sign).

Young red-haired boy named Rainer asks me for my autograph at a secluded island where poets gather. In turn, I ask him for his. We curve the alphabet into each other’s notebooks and admire the spread of our names like a slow leak.

For several days in a row, the moon drips out of sky and saunters toward me. Tells me that monsters exist in hallways and dreams and some look like three-legged creatures and others masquerade as housemates. I house the moon’s glow within my pupils and between my fingers. I find that home is no longer attached to an address, rather housed inside my hips and the drips of my mind.

Human out yonder calls out to me through the wind. Curls their language into mine and we create long-distance music together. Another home: inside watchtower as we watch each other breathe through moments of remembering.

But if you leave, remember to leave a note. Remember that the poems on your flesh are not enough to explain all this. All along, these mailboxes and square footage have all been distractors. The real residence lays on your tongue. With each spoken word. With each admittance of pain or panic or promise or please.

what happens to you.

Dear Kazim,

As you walk through this day as though it were an infinite hallway gathering wisdom from its length, I travel beneath the plaster of earth. Underground, I contemplate how hungry I am for home. An old man once asked me: where is the place I call home? 

In that moment, I was sitting with my knees together, surrounded by other writers in a classroom with no windows. Everyone else’s answers could have been found on a map. I could not help to say: My bodyMy body is my home. 

But even as I spoke this, I knew it not to be true. I was still searching for my coordinates. My own body’s map was water-logged and torn. It was faded and almost unrecognizable as a means for being found or locating an elsewhere. However, I spoke this as my answer because it was my hope to feel home in this construction site.

Kazim, I am moving again. Change of address; new route; another attempt at peace. This residence I leave now is cracked like sharp confetti hitting  me into bruises and tears. I may need to lock all these boxes and things up into a rented square with no windows as I roam. I need to air out this body until I understand it as whole.

The moon last night pushed through a curtain of clouds and called out to me. REMAIN!

I breathed in its romantic shadows and fierce eye contact. This lover changes shapes each night, but it never tells me to go away. The moon flashes me through this darkness as I begin my walk toward elsewhere.

Kazim, you wrote: the day is a hallway I am/ walking through

I respond: this Brooklyn is a fist challenging / my breath control 


home is where is where is where?

(for adam)

A jackhammer in the distance and I turn the music up. Everywhere, urine reminds me that not everyone has a home to piss in and sometimes we need to sit inside that. Home is cramped, shared living space with mice and mold.

Home is pigeons professing poetry against my window. Home is underground and scraped sky and art painted on brick walls, dripping. And when I am here, I am away or want to be or need to be. And I’ve tried to run away for three decades searching for this home inscribed on greeting cards and etched on doorways. But within me is a vagrant and I am searching for the address hidden inside my body.

far away is where leaves may be found and they are musical.

New York is familiar now. I recognize corners and smells. My favorite still: west fourth street or grand army plaza on Saturday. And the scent of halal trucks stirring up the hunger in my belly.

New York is not exactly home, but it is where my mail can be received and it is where I write poetry and it is where love can be found and harm and passion and overwhelm and museum and music and memory and there is still new to be found there is still new to be found here.

New York is where I fell once, split open my chin and received nine stitches. New York is where I fell in love and fell out of love and fell in love again (and the pattern continues). New York is where I picnic and nap outside on patches of grass (where it grows) and study the moon at night.

But sometimes. Sometimes one must leave in order to remember that maybe it is more home than one is willing to admit.


Far away is where leaves may be found and they are musical.

Or perhaps right now, they look a bit more like this:

I do not have to travel very far to find this musical instrument beneath my feet. So, I dance above them and listen to their harmony. And if I’m in the right mood, I push myself on top of them and roll against their hardened veins and faded colors and smell Winter fumes seeping out.

When I travel, I notice the sounds all around me. In New York, honking and sirens and reveling and buses stopping and starting again and children and and

In the country, or where homes are bigger and transportation is above ground, I hear crickets and various multi-colored birds flapping their wings and tire wheels slushing against wet ground. I hear my father. I hear peace.

New York Brooklyn may be the love of my life: one that accepts my weight gain or moodiness, my mismatched outfits, my hairy legs, and my anxieties. But it is still necessary to go away sometimes to remember how good it feels to miss it.

Far away from Brooklyn, I’m listening to music. A band of leaves tapping against my window. Tree branch. Howl of wind. I’m having an affair (pre-approved) because New York and I are polyamorous. This state slows me down. Removes my schedules and routines. I am younger here and that’s ok sometimes.

oh bridge, oh breadcrumbs, oh night of graffiti’d silence!

I am looking down a lot.
I am looking down for the crumbs to lead me home. Lead me into the kind of love that shocks my poems and lowest rib. Lead me toward employment. Lead me closer to where the moon naps during the day.

There was a walk.
There was a walk across Williamsburg bridge where graffiti lit our steps and to look up was to read the stories of every climber, every dreamer, every escape artist and mother and poet and traveler.

I thought about jumping.
Does everyone think about jumping and wolves and the rising cost of stars in the sky when height is involved? When there are cables and wires and metal everywhere and trains slide by right below and how wonderful to jump on top of one and see how far it gets me/us….

how much longer will we be able to afford these nights?

there are lists written on my forearm and they contain the code to my cerebellum.
these words include the password to that memory from five years ago when I traveled up that roller coaster called parking garage and gave away my gave away my

a movement.
don’t call it a dance.
call it a bridge between others
call it a poem through limb’s language(s)
call it making love on stage
call it the intricacy of tangles and hitchhiked bodies
call it:
an end.