this is what i’ve memorized.

Dear Rebel,

Someone invaded my reflection last night. I swear those curves could not have belonged to me. In a room full of so many bodies, I tried not to find mine. I tried to keep my eyes closed and grant permission to all this bending and choreography, but the more we repeated these movements, the more I wanted to weep.

What happened to my hip sway. Why am I so distracted by the cluttered clog of my gender.

Rebel, there is so much salt in me that you can surf on my bones and swim in the atlantic of my blood. I hear your curled voice telling me to give in. And also to pause. And also to sit with it and in it.

You are telling me to spread my legs to my cracked palms and find the prayer of my moan.

You are telling me to sip this cold from beneath wool and wine.

You are telling me to keep walking toward the brilliance of unexpected spirits.

You are telling me that these thoughts do not need to alter my label, my gender, my sexuality.

You are telling me to fall in love with every human because it gives me reason to remember my musculature.

Rebel, this is what I’ve memorized:

Touch: It is like I am being set on fire with language. I am body dysmorphic. The sensation of carbon dioxide which lifts up my veins reminds me that I am three-dimensional. I love love. Wine can slur me into sleep, poems and honest dissections of my childhood. Gender is something I think about more than breath control and perhaps this is why I hiccup so much. I have no desire to be a boy or man, and find myself messily settling into other. I am more than addicted to coffee; it has become like a love affair (intruding on all of my thoughts). Sorrow. A poem by Vera Pavlova about definition. The way my mouth feels after eating peanut butter. Regret.

You tell me to be careful of the devouring of wounds.

Rebel, there is something about this sobriety. Not to booze but to lies and how potent is truth. Tell me how to paint my skull with a chorus of climaxes.

Here is this skin and it is white and this winter makes it like paper. You can inscribe it or crumple it. Crows and pigeons live inside the creases. At some point, I need to locate all the soldiers, stiff and ready on my flesh and tell them the war is ending. To go home. To disarm. At some point, I need to just start colliding with my soul.



you can be mountain and i will be skyscraper

Dear Rebel.

Johnny Cash sings to me from a Brooklyn cafe. Somewhere in the walls, he lifts himself through circular cracks called speakers and haunts me into this letter. Are you writing. A woman on the 4 train with dark roots and red-drenched locks asked to read my shoulder today. I watched her from the Bronx into Brooklyn, read local newspaper out loud to her partner. I first grew distracted by her voice, which sounded carved out and scratched up like acidic-graffiti on subway windows. I watched her mouth move, a bit sunken in from lack of teeth, slowly sound out each word. With invisible straw between lips, she sucked up each syllable, then looked at her partner. That’s from a book, she said.  I can tell. I wanted to tell her that humans hit the height of their beauty when they are reading. Humans who swallow literature in ways that sometimes cause indigestion or sometimes create strain in the gut. This is the stun of cognition.

Rebel, I wonder about the state of your mountains: the peaks of earth that grow inside you. Perhaps I can lend you some of my bolts and windows. My glass is streaked but so is this planet. How about you throw ink into the air and let the wind bring your liquid permanence toward this side.

Johnny twangs his teeth into knee-slapping rhythms and I’ve put on some weight. It is either a baby or a prose poem gathering dust inside my womb and I may need to whisper into my body that I am not a fan of over-population, and much prefer the narrative of metrical structure. Can we yurt soon. There is a home that is red on a street made of crowns and it waits for me to insert my key. I think about what home has meant to me this past month of wander. Suppertime with a human who has reintroduced to me the importance of starting over. Adventures with a three-year old who notices everything that gets lost once you reach a certain age. Sleeping in a room where a pile of bags remind me of impermanence. There has been love and some wanderings of grey. Contemplations of exi(s)ting. Rebel, I will cook you kale and poetry. We can drip coconut oil from our curls into a cast iron pan and devour the days that cling to our twists. I’ll keep my windows open.