this may be the real thing.

“if i could be who you wanted/all the time…” –R H
I think I might have inhaled you/i can feel you behind my eyes –S
all along it was a feeling of fevers/ and this dizzy weaved circles of you/ even before and now  –A H
I can’t change/even if I tried/even if I wanted to  –M L
that I would be good /whether with or without you  –A M
how about this sleep that weeps through the feathers/ there are more doors and this floor has let loose its save   –A H

When is that moment where we decide to announce a feeling. So often we enter rooms full of humans of varying strengths and genders, inclinations and dents. How about we address the ones who cause our limbs to remember all the ways in which they can bend and speak.

I enter a room full of strangers. I was not invited, but brought along by a friend who was. I find a corner to lean into and spread my web of skin to cover me. I imagine myself as invisible, even with this hair and these poems on my skin. When I first notice this human, it is as though I am remembering my birth. It is as though I am taking my first breath, my ribs expand into a smile that only my flesh can feel. My eyes finally understand their parts: cornea, macula, iris, retina, optic nerve. I channel kundalini and hope that my exhales will be inhaled by them.

I let go of magic years ago, but in this moment I wonder what hides between us that can be turned into realism.

Label (noun):  small piece of paper, fabric, plastic/ sewn into garment/ instructions for care / classifying or clarifying phrase applied to a person or thing/ identifiable marker

I let go of these years ago. The only times I choose to label myself is to stick over the incorrect ones forced on me. My attractions to humans have wavered like Winter and can no longer be tracked or understood. It just is. I arrive at an attraction due to the words that speak out from their mouths rather than the shapes on their body that tell me what they are.

So this human stands beside me and cannot see the web I have threaded around me. I notice their lips, darker than mine. Not from lipstick but from the pigment of their family tree. Their chest is flat like I want mine to be. We speak about the competency of caffeine and efficacy of gender. Their hands are veiny like the most beautiful trees tangled by flexible branches. I want to ask them to use my dimples as a P.O. Box; to write letters and slip them in there. I want to tell them that I cannot be found on screens and much prefer paper. I want to hand them the stamps I keep in my notebook and extra pen and paper (not skin this time) and we can channel the decades when there were no outlets. I want to ask them to write me their morning. I want to ask them to sew me into their evening.

want to.

Instead, our knees remember each other even though this is the first time.

Instead, I eventually leave and write several poems that I wish had been birthed earlier.

I let go of magic many years ago. Too many hearts squeezed like lemons, burning open wounds. The pain of muscles trying to let another in. And then…..the eventual…..let go.

In the first hours of this new Winter, I search for them. Call out a line-up of lips and knees and hands and tongues, because I can recall the way they licked their top lip when they were cooking up a new sentence. I have become a sleuth. Sometimes one needs to be in order to believe in what Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote about.


it is not yet the end.

for K who lives beneath the moon.
“Everything will be all right in the end. If it’s not all right, it is not yet the end” (Patel)

Nothing is thicker than love. That molasses you drip into metal bowl for the cookies you make this time of year does not compare.

The sky drenched in fog that forgets you need a light to get to the end of the block and causes you to lose track of space is not even close.

The layers that live beneath our steps that go from hot to cold to hot to mold and matter and all those animals, still alive, that arrived centuries ago. All that rock and soil, still not thicker than love.

Try to push it back. Challenge your stamina. Force it into padlocked closets, so dark that it is difficult to remember what really lives there.

Remember that you do not need another human to help you to feel this. Go without coffee for five days. Then, wake. Pour water and watch the bubbles heat. Measure the grounds and rain it into french press. Drown in heat. Sit. Wait. Drink with oat milk. That feeling is love too.

Sit inside a home that although locked and warm, is thin enough to remind you of the sirens and screams outside. Unhook your restricted thoughts. Call everything a poem, even your screams. Even the gashes of tears that interrupt your face. Each cough or sneeze. Each twitch of bone. PoemsLove.

Put on your shoes at 4am. Admit that you are still asleep and you can call this an interruption of night. Fill your skin with fabrics that are heavy enough to fix your nudity. Walk outside. Not too far, but enough to get a perspective of sound. Admit it is colder than you desire. Wrap scarf from neck around head and ears. Look up. Yes, like that. You know this as moon, but call it something else. Just catalogue how its thrill makes you feel. Count enough stars to make you lose track of the chill. Do not photograph this. Do not tell anyone of this late night encounter. Just feel it. Breathe in this entrance of genderless satisfaction. This feeling is detached from politics or trauma. It just is.

Stay away from others for awhile. Or. Move toward the ones that remind you of all this.

It is not yet the end

pr _ y _ r.

The way you hang your prayers can be seen like a halcyon kiss; there are waves within each lifted question from mouth. Go there. Huddle beneath the secret lair of your sadness. Make a promise to your toes that you will be aware of them with each press into planet. Stop. Even when it is cold enough to claim your tongue, pause for the man huddled over during snowstorm because liquor stole his balance; help him to rise. You were that bent once. Promise. When the blood in your body feels spoiled due to the words which loiter in the drums of your ears, promise you will switch rooms. Promise to let go of the ones who never really loved you. The one who left before you could. Promise to still leave space in your musculature to let another in. Not everyone arrives from pain. Some understand the breaststroke enough to paddle out of it.  Press palms together; listen to the ocean that exists when your skin meets. You never need another to validate this geography you create. Call this the expanse of sea that sees all of which you were and all of which you will be (once you are ready to get there).

closure: (n) shutdown; termination, discontinuation, cessation, finish, conclusion; failure; informal folding

Four more weeks of this and then you will be rebirthed into new date and new month and new new. Humans resolve to lose weight (during this time) and they join a gym instead of working out their sexiest body part called brain.

We are on a desperate seach of how to properly end this year. With booze or boys or favorite lover. What music to play and what hors d’oeuvres to serve. At a cabin in the woods or in an overcrowded club in Brooklyn. With hundreds of strangers or one other or just yourself.

You line up your goals for the new year in a neat row like diligent soldiers. If you have time for organization, you alphabetize them. If you care enough, you prioritize them.


Some things must be taken from one year to the next. That jagged vocabulary on your body from every fall and attempt at leaving. Your roots (coming out of scalp and family tree). The pain from broken relationship. The mourning of lost friend or family member. Your crooked teeth (unless you have dental insurance and a low pain tolerance?) Your moodiness and sex drive. Your overworked schedule. Your lactose-intolerance. Your sense of humor. Your cracked heels.

Perhaps this is the year you let go of habits: biting on nails, midnight binges of food or cocaine, falling in love too easily, promiscuity, loneliness, and _____________.

Perhaps this is the year you meet that soulmate. And you are going to be stunned because they look nothing like the ones before. And this may make you nervous; use those shakes as an instrument to drive you further in.

Perhaps this is the year you grow closer to the language of your body. You may make some changes. You may get some stares and questions. But how marvelous to live all these years strangled by question marks and now to replace them with a new punctuation mark.

Perhaps this is the year you further your education through formal classroom settings or self-diagnosed syllabus of specified materials.

Perhaps this is the year you birth or make a baby. Or unplug from all your gadgets. Or cut all your hair off. Or get something else removed.

Perhaps this is the year you finally use your passport again. Or go camping in woods many miles from your own. Or taste something new like fenugreek or lipstick.

You’ve got some weeks to figure all this out. And you’ve got time after that as well. Nothing needs to be permanent. We aren’t, so why should our resolutions be.

beyond the view of what can be swallowed

There is too much to take in right now, so you must remove some things. Who needs both lungs. The air breathes against you enough to make some room in body. Tree slopes toward shoulder and itches hip, which is exposed because clothes can be alarming and nudity is where you began. Some of these teeth can go. Remember remember remember when you pulled some out that day because loose means lucky available and ready. Sometimes a tiny twist is enough to exit away some roots. You are being selfish. You don’t need all that skin. Cut some away and lay it over water—a raft for the birds too tired for heights. There are some bones that exist for breaking. Brake those off like shared fortune. Wrapped around the skeleton are poems. Read them out loud. Let them go too. Give away blood to the highest bidder, even if all you get is twenty dollars, some eye rolls and an encore. Someone has taken your cells home for the night. Be grateful they have air-conditioning and a question-marked tongue. Peel off layers of words—weight of water-logged driftwood.  How many hers do you still love. There are two hims now. Here is a handkerchief to wash the soot away. Stay far enough from the flames of this bonfire because sparks are promiscuous and looking to take you too.


where to find your breath

First, remove city clothes. Jacket. Scarf. Jeans. Shirts. Socks. Breathe.

Look at clock. It is early. You are early. Aren’t you always early. Grab borrowed mat and walk back downstairs. Choose position. Toward back and to the left. You always tend to take this spot. Fold knees and stretch bones a little. Breathe.

The people start arriving. Teacher introduces himself to you. He is a he. Tall and soft. You notice the others. Older and younger. Curved and skinny. You are surrounded. A cocoon of stretchers. Breathe.

The music begins and it’s not moans or harmonium hums. You notice this track from the radio. When class begins, the pop songs twist into something more traditional and the elongation of body / mind has begun. Breathe.

He tells you to hold this position and look in front of you. You notice. You notice the woman right in front of you with sheer leggings and thong and you feel dirty and like an impostor and everyone else is in the moment of their bodies and you…you are mesmerized by the body of this other. You don’t belong here. Breathe.

You are a warrior amidst the dirty thoughts swirling in your mind and there is no room for a hard-on in yoga class. Cut it out. Twist to the other side. Blur your eyes. Do not look. Practice mindfulness. Practice restraint. Breathe.

You are getting warmer. From inside the sweat, find anguish, wrung out. Find sadness. The grey. The longing. The mourn. Downward dog into plank pose and you are hardening. That is called strength. That is called resilience. This is the time you often get weepy. Allow whatever surfaces to color your thoughts. You are yellow. You are burnt orange. You are lime-green. You are charcoal. Breathe.

The lights are going to sleep now and it is darker. He instructs you to lay your body down, slowly. With intention. Palms up to the sun that waits for you outside behind night sky. Let bones rest into the earth beneath the concrete and brick and subways and filth. The soil exists beneath all of this. You are soil. You are of this earth. Breathe.

You want to cry now because you have slowed down your day enough to do this. To take your body out, remove its layers, be vulnerable amidst other mindful humans. You’ve let go of worrying about being one of them. You are not wearing the same costume as them, but beneath the cotton you are all the same. Just skin. Skeleton. Construction of bones. The woman in front of you is flat on her back and her exposed panties are hidden. You forgive yourself for your dirty thoughts, stained only by your own self-judgement. He instructs you to slowly move to your right side and then lift your body up into a sitting pose. Palms up once again. Eyes remain closed, watching the darkness within yourself. The rooms. The memories. The flashes of time clocked inside your limbs. You chant and notice the extra room in your lungs. You bow to the earth, to him, to the woman, to the others who shared this space with you. You bow to your body that is weakened but holding on to strength in this moment. You bow to this space. You let go. Breathe.

civilized sewage

collect lovers like baseball cards: trade up trade up trade up

On an evening so close to morning that the aroma of coffee confuses the air, feet fumble over railroad tracks as the moon plays phone tag with another part of Brooklyn.

Glass is everywhere, crumbled like love letters.

Spiderman hides beneath the rubble as fists turn into paper, scissors, rocks.

What time is it now and does it matter that my hips are bloody wings beneath these layers and if I pick the scabs my complexion will weep.

We are plugged in even when we are not and why can’t sewage be romantic, since reflections can be found within its oil slick and the smell is no different than our breath in the morning or death. Or death. (or death)

I may only be alive because I am aware that you are next to me. Because I felt the wind from your lashes flap against your tinted skin. Because I asked for death last night and the line was busy.

This whole world is a wasteland so grab a corner and fold this earth into something neater.

The sky is freckled. And bodies can pretend they are amused due to the shared aroma of whiskey, banjoes in the background, lunges against loft walls, thrusts of confession.

The truth is love can only be mad if you strangle it daily.

This Brooklyn likes to top from the bottom. This Brooklyn cross-dresses only when the lighting is right. This Brooklyn is a tour guide through graffiti swamps. This Brooklyn likes to high-five strangers to push out the bad thoughts in [its] head.

* * *

[so what does this mean]

Go to Alaska. Order a pint. Sit in a corner. Connect straw to candle light and suck it in and suck it in and suck it in. Question the chosen decor. Fondle someone else’s foot with yours. Memorize the way she pauses. Grab a needle. Suction this night into its torso. Press it into your forearm that has been warned. Get high on evening. Get high on stories. Get high on something that can never be found again.

when you are left with nothing and everything and that is the truth

I need to breathe out the fumes of some people/places/things.

Body wants to snooze, but mind needs to press itself into vinyasana. Clothes climb on, bones unlock bike, make it move, make it wheeze. I pedal toward a yoga class where I find myself getting turned on, tuned in and unbearably aware of every sigh retreating from me.

I watch the women around me. Gender is difficult to ignore in this tight space. I don’t miss the presence of men and perhaps we are all men trapped inside these soft bodies. Yoga does not really leave room to question one’s current gender status.

I remove my jacket and shirt, and notice the scent trapped inside the hair beneath my arms. I love letting this hair breathe out with me. I love the smell of it, spicy like trapped hours and no air flow.

Watch the others to understand where to put my palms, hips in, arms wide. There is a language to this movement and although I do not speak it, I study the gestures of their bodies and allow mine to respond.

Instructor begins with meditational accordion, squeezing air out of its wooden body as we squeeze air out of ours. There is a chant. Her voice is like an extracted cloud; it is unexpectedly magical.

My first tear drop falls. Several thousand to go and then I am free.