threshold exhumed

“The hunger is something you dig a hole in yourself to bury.”          Kazim Ali

All of this was ripped. Part of something else.

There are words, which used to be part of other things and now reside as this.

There is a pelvic blueprint, reminding me that even an x-ray can lie.

There is a swarm of vegetables shaped into a heart, symbolizing healthy love.

There is a body that can not be called male or female, rather satisfied and comfortable.

There is earth.

There is an Italian cookie. A newspaper. Modern Love.

There are trees and water. There is sun. There is a city bridge. There is a fortune. There is hope.

This is my vision board. This blue square of paper is a guide of desires, goals, dreams.

When I think about what I hope to manifest, I feel overwhelm. For so many years, I have buried my hungers so deep behind bones, caging them in.

Who/what am I waiting for.

I cannot stop with just this paper. It is a visual, but the rest must come from me.

I hold my left palm in such a way that it sinks, fingers lift up as though being pulled by invisible string. My palm is a cup I can sip out of. It is a bowl I can eat from. I can subsist on whatever fits inside my flesh. Parts of my skin, dry, pulls. There is a web of creases.

I am growing stronger on the outside, but if I were to photograph my innards, what musculature would gather?

My vision blurs, shifts, squints, takes in.

What do others notice that I do not; what do I notice that others can’t.

I want to see myself in this paper. Hybrid body. Floatation device. Loved. Traveler. A climb toward.

Do we ever reach that moment where reflection matches what we want or think we see.

Tell me how to get there.

how transmittable is this feeling

A bar of soap stuns skin into thinking it can forget.

A shower of ice from the sky that closes all the universities and office buildings and that one person who forgets to listen. Walks outside. Slips on top of a shutter of melt. Remains fallen. Finds a love letter frozen beneath it all. Waits for the water to soften. Reads it. Says, I haven’t forgotten this.

Forget chocolate today. Give her a box of bones. Or a pamphlet full of your warning signs written in poetic stanzas. A fluffy teardrop that she can cling to at night. A bouquet of teeth. A bottle of whine.

Risk something.

In cupboard, there are three dates left. Cured, like caramel. You peel away their harvest with the strength of your appetite. What you want is something bigger. What you want is something promised. With food, you never have to practice how to approach it. With humans, you tend to walk away engulfed in starvation.

Today has nothing to do with love. Today’s currency is grandiose flirtations. How big are your flowers. How expensive is that appetizer used as foreplay for later.

A holiday shouldn’t be the catalyst that reminds us to say things or do things.

In the morning of two days from now, grab her wrist and spell out your wishes in imaginary shadows. Whisper a love letter into the tattoo he got when he was too young to think about aging. Sing a song that harmonizes fear and commitment. Make a mix tape full of songs that bleed stains of lasciviousness onto her floor.






this is where we said goodbye.

You wanted to know all about risk. I drew you a map of my bloated feminine. You kissed your atlas into my pockets. I responded in a self-addressed explanation of why I long for you every day that I breathe fog from beneath my tongue. You moved in; I moved away. I take the ink climbing out of my cells and force-feed you a portrait of my bones from different points of view. You tell me that you preferred me when I was soft and still. I shake. I fed you lentils. You fed me your mother’s Spanish. We decided to form a band where we played music from our scars.

This one, I sing, is from that day I told you I’d remain if you did. 

Then we said goodbye.

And yet, I still follow your crumbs; they’ve become my meals.

“I am here to tell you that someone was” *

* Joan Didion

In my previous life, I was a child with blond curls, sequestered into various circular shapes. And in this previous life, I ate far more sugar and less vegetables and there were crushes on boys that never led to kissing only gift giving or phone call slurring. I thought I’d grow up to be a dancer or veterinarian. I was pretty sure I’d be dead before the regrets settled in. It’s difficult sometimes not to think about what once was. OR what I could have been what could I have been.

There are these tattoos that tell me stories when I’m lonely and need to remember something. Most of them arrived on my body during a time of need. Maybe I needed some ink to tell me something that my own thoughts could not. In this moment I am in need of some dirt on my ankles. Or a mosquito bite to remind me of the inhabitants we stole this earth from. Even though they bite and itch, it was often during moments of lust when I found new marks to scratch at. In this moment my limbs long to hurdle over a politically incorrect body. I want to force my fingerprints into my window to locate another way to stain glass.

This world is made up of was‘s. Humans who are marked and maimed by the past tense and how to move on and how to move on and how to move.

In my previous life, I yearned for a swingset or a tree house and a tent or a brother. But in this moment I have none of these. And how to move on and how to move on and how to move.

“i wish i could unzip my body and put you in there”

Out of one body comes another.

photo by Levi Lunon

Inside my left arm is a woman. She is tall and freckled and blond. This woman may play saxophone or harpsichord or the triangle. She has climbed mountains and a few humans. Perhaps she likes to whittle or darn socks or engage in various forms of origami. She has an allergy, but has yet to discover it.

Inside my right thigh is a man who measures over six feet. He is wide and brown skinned. Count his tattoos. Smell his mother’s cooking on his breath. He likes pants without underwear. He snores with his mouth open. His nipples are small like whispers.

Hiding in my belly is a another, with gender unconfirmed or blurry. This other collects beach glass and shadows. This human hides in movie theaters, eats sandwiches wrapped in tinfoil and remains until the credits drop.

Behind my ankles is a woman with an accent muddled and musical. She hugs hands and kisses poems into notebooks. She is curved like a weeping willow.

Sometimes I want to forget each human that has ever tipped me over, flood themselves inside me, kissed skyscraping structures toward my larynx. Sometimes, I just want to unfold. Reveal each wrinkle that has ruined me. Some of them don’t even know that I was in love then. Some of them don’t even know that I am in love now. Some of them have disappeared, so I carve maps into poems and search. And I search. And I hunt. And I wonder. And I miss.

There are other worlds that exist beyond what our eyes can reach. In these lands, sadness is a color that is visible. Love is food eaten with each meal like decorative parsley on plates. Poems are made of fabric, worn on bodies.

Gonna call myself largest living land animal.
Gonna call myself plant-eating mammal with prehensile trunk.
Gonna describe my mind as long curved ivory tusks.

I want to be called a monster because that leaves room for a metamorphosis to occur.

if there was nothing to regret, there would be nothing to write

Move closer now.
Closer still.
Get there.

You would know what kind of tree sways outside my window. I call it macintosh because its green leaves grow from seeds and entice me into daydreaming of orchards. Life has become a routine of coffee.poems. poets.chocolate.singing on my way home from museums or bars or stoop sales or gardens.digesting paintings at the

Things I have learned while here:

1. there does not need to be water for a drown to occur
2. sorrow may grow inside sneezes and that is how it spreads
3. cockroaches can flatten like slices of paper
4. stand too close to a Keith Haring painting and a swallow occurs
5. dandelions on skin can forget the living
6. proof of poorness will lead to free mammograms
7. walls may be fidgeted against
8. there is restriction in skin tones and cellular phone plans
9. religion is just an excuse to separate stories and sin
10. I distribute my cells and secrets through French kissing

When was the last time your limbs were challenged?
How often do you change your sheets or your mind?
Do you think about me when you think about sadness?
When you think about lee friedlander do you think about me?
What did you eat for supper last night?
Are your lips dry from musical accompaniment of reed sucking?
Are you beautiful still?

what exists besides the night where sunsets swell

I’ve formulated a hypothesis on the elegance of dreadlocks, dandelions and mailboxes.

I arrive home to heavy wooden door where walls welcome me in yellow and framed art. Now, my mailbox is shaped as a tabletop, no flag or key hole or hollow box containing echoes and spiderwebs. A universal table for each tenant’s envelopes, packages, magazine subscriptions. Before heading up two flights of dark-tree-stained stairs, I search through pile of rectangles searching for you.

Remember the birds? The pea pod. The feathers and wood shavings. Remember the music stuffed deep into the pocket of business sized envelope because you lost all yours and I wanted to send you something more romantic than a sunset: music notes and harmony.

There is a swell of sky in my belly. I am engorged with change, repetition of worry, unclaimed body in need of a devour.


I may be having a *secret* love affair with Anne Sexton. I held her up to microphone Monday night. She was slightly heavier than expected. I watched as she crossed one leg over the other as though left knee was the right knee’s lover. And perhaps I should not admit this. Perhaps secrets are meant to climb so deep inside a whisper that sounds become a hissssss. But…..but…

All she could talk on was suicide. Emptiness in walls, which are just slumped trees pressed into poorly postured beams. Oh, Anne. I have loved you for decades. I gathered up enough dandelions to turn this planet blonde, neon lemon scented oceans with daffodil-hued horizons. I even grew my hair long to cover you when we run out of sweaters and sheets. I grew so distracted by your sorrow, though, that my red grew confused, tangled and dreadlocked.

Anne, your lean.

Anne, your clutch of cigarette.

Anne, your need to gargle pills and red lipstick and poems.

I’ve no mail today, nor yesterday but I believe in tomorrow.

I’ll keep you in my throat, Anne.
And I’ll keep that other woman against my sternum.
And I’ll poem my way toward another evening where sun disappears into star formations.

practice insignificance

(excerpts of a letter for *C)

[you ask]: What do I listen to?
When I write, I often listen to Bon Iver. There is a haunt to his voice and the instrumentation that surrounds him. However, I’m always looking for something instrumental to move me through the lines. Jeff Buckley’s version of Hallelujah makes me lose my breath.

[a sliver of time]
It is almost midnight and I am gathering up the final moments of a day. Night is raining above me. Crazy, crazy, maddening rain. I cannot see because my glasses are coated and my hair is caught on my face, but an umbrella would have just ruined it all. Because then I wouldn’t have felt the squish of rain in my shoes or bath of sky on my body.

What did you do wrong? Tell me about your isolation. Tell me about it in a way you’ve never allowed yourself to describe it. How do you handle loneliness? What interrupts your silence? What led you toward me?

You want to know my favorite color and movies and you are hiding out in a square without knobs or windows and I am hiding out inside this body that has me locked up.

And you want to know if I shave my pussy but then you want to know about (my) god.

And you want to know about my dreds [sic] and your insignificance reminds me of reminds me of reminds me of

You’ve learned how to light a cigarette with a single battery and how to masturbate quietly.

I want to tell you that I used to rub a pillow between my legs until I decided what gender to go for.

Maybe later.

how far apart can we stretch these love letters

“the number one cause of death is………life” –J.L.

You have remained in my body for so long that without you, I am grey.
I am elephant.
I am suffocate.
I am drown.
I am dumpster.
I am mudslide.

How far along are the sobs?
My water broke and there is a flood of tissues beyond my toes that curl into helium balloons, expired of air.

Oh, splinter.
Oh, poorly calculated postage returned to writer.
Oh, distance.
Oh, distance.
Oh, journey.
Oh, organs of yearn.

Paint saliva on lips and revel at the glow of cells on mouth.

I am not going to ask for permission to kiss you, to cling to your sternum, to detonate your hips with my nipples.
I will grab onto your longest hairs, the dark ones, the dyed ones.
I will pull you into next year. Into yesterday.
Into the ice cream shop where trivia board allowed for free choice of cone or cup.
I will steal your family tree and press my name into the roots so I can grow there. Naturally.
I will knock my teeth into the gender between your legs. Let me in let me in let me in.

how approachable are pigeons

dear oscar,

I thought of you this early morning as feet pushed me forward from fort greene toward crown heights. I walked toward the farmer’s market and noticed a man walking slowly, holding a glue trap with a tiny mouse stuck toward the end of it. This man was carrying a ledge, and I wondered where he was headed. I watched, as he tilted the mouse toward Brooklyn gravel.

This must be a metaphor for my Saturday, as I find myself tiptoeing over cracks on streets. I purchase a bag of apples for $2. I sing a song out loud, though quiet enough for only pigeons and I to overhear. One of them hops toward me and sneaks a bone between its beak. I think about taking this bird home with me. How might my life change if I slid my body over its feathered back, as we flew toward my apartment.

Last night, a woman said:
sometimes I think about drop-kicking a pigeon.

Pigeons are my favorite birds, I announced. They are curious and disheveled and independent adventurers. I think about approaching pigeons as they feed on baker’s crumbs and pizza crust left to curbsides. They are food-oriented like me. But. Are they lonely too?

you fell in love so freely and doused yourself in the aroma of longing. I do this too. I long to follow that mouse and watch it wake against the alarm of freedom. I long for a woman who lives far from eastern standard time. I long for xray analysis to serve me up an explanation for the hurricane in this body. I long for kisses to paper towel away the stains. I long for letters. Mail. Postage stamps.

I would have followed you into that field. I would have handed over all my blood. All my skin to cover your bruises like heavy quilts. I would have asked you out. Watched a movie with you. We could have shared a grilled cheese sandwich and ginger ale. You could have read all your stories to me. I’d have waited. I’d have remained.