A Run-On of Deficiencies

And knee pads as footsteps are not enough

And carved out broken bedsprings are not enough

And Woolf and Lorde and Hurston and Baldwin are not enough

And wound shape comparison, whistle sharps are not enough

And spoons burnt from below are not enough

And museums and meditation, not enough

And reoccurring dreams of hostage not enough

And the sex you think you shouldn’t be having, not enough

And cage. And babies. And babies in cages. Not enough.

And the reason your body odors and resistance. Not. Enough.

And hymns. And disbelief. And disbelieving hymns. Not enough.

And liberated spines and discounted lacerations and everything we choke on that cannot be deciphered. Not. Enough.

And incubators and incubating and departments. Depart. Mental. Isms.

Not. Enough.

Archived and Bodily

After a certain age, you don’t have a figure; you have a body.”  —Bobbie Louise Hawkins

 

All of this is borrowed, isn’t it? This sky with tear-dropped cumulous barely belongs to any of us. What they used to whistle at is now pillowed and pockmarked, and if you look closely enough there is a misspelled slur. What would it look like to archive all of this. Catalogue recently pierced ear, measure diameter of hole still remaining in tongue, separate sod from soil, open up the grave behind heart.

Maybe it is erasure, maybe it has become too queered. All of this, symptoms. Your lassoed hair. The cigarette burn above right knee. The alleyway behind throat. All of the arguments which grime beneath fingernails. The places on your body which could have used stitches. The audiobook of your belly.

You don’t have to figure; all you need to do is body.

Red Potato

Sometimes, foxes pose for photographs beneath banners that spell out Happy Birthday.

Sometimes, it doesn’t even need to be your birthday to receive a relic from a corn goddess with hair made from coiled coconuts.

Sometimes, trees plant prayers inside their branches so if you sit beneath one long enough, you may start to understand the meaning of life.

Sometimes, you need to stop apologizing and just sing (even with eyes closed). It will feel like every single letter, misdirected or never written, suddenly arriving in your mailbox. And you will feel loved and listened and raw and cut-up and cut into and kissed all at once.

Sometimes, you need to confront. Tell a stranger that secret of what you did years 26 to 34. Dispose of your body behind a dumpster where you found that blue chair. Present a barely understandable presentation on the dissertation of your trauma. Call it something unpronounceable. See who remains.

Sometimes, you need to walk until enough blisters form to replicate the mountains you gaze up at. And you will trip over at least thirteen prairie dogs and leave half your hair in a bathroom no one uses just to see how closely people are paying attention.

On the back of a poem, there is a recipe called Red Potato.

Sometimes you wonder if life is a recipe and all of this (the tragic, the repent, the lies, the leftovers) are its ingredients. And the more you breathe, the better it tastes.

Rainbow of Crows

for Jules and Rebecca and Jessica (summoners of wisdom)

 

None of this was here before, yet I can’t remember what you looked like without. All the hair on your arms got burnt somehow by July or nocturnal angels. You can call that scar a footnote to the rest of you. It doesn’t have to be tragic or metaphorical. Like that time you swam over disconnected limbs and tried to imagine the shape they used to belong to.

None of this is because of you.

One of the hardest parts about leaving is the moon is never available for a one-on-one and when you try to dial its number, all you get are the sounds of birds’ wings crashing.

Like an applause. Like the milky rust of a stubborn teardrop. Like a heat rash on the part of your body billboards tell you to flatten. Like the horizon on a fingernail. Like what happens when you emerge from a corn maze and at the end, a rainbow of crows.

Rather than Emptying/a Continuance of Being Full

“As the Moon Sucks Their Genitals” -Max Wolf Valerio

 

Sometimes how it ends is just the beginning.

When you wait for your name to be mentioned, but miss it because they call you something else like Lightening or Midwestern Corn Goddess or Razorblade City Ranger or Beautiful.

Walk east toward the nearest post office and visit your employer, otherwise known as Mailbox. Fly words dripping of sandbox and confetti’d poems toward the ones you want to know you.

There is a place called Rabbit Mountain where the birds have the highest self-esteem and there are so many curls hiking up its lush that you are momentarily caught. And you remain. Longer than you usually do. Oh, how good that feels.

Here, you don’t even need money. Go visit the tiger lilies. Pick as many as your hunger desires and digest. See also: amaranth, pin cherry, purslane, bergamot, goat’s beard and yarrow.

You are so desperate to feel loved that you walk onto the internet and start swiping. You think you find the one. They call themselves The Moon. On your first date, they latch onto every part of you, one at a time. You drink satellite and 5 billion years old aged skin. It is an evening where you forget about all the times you tried to leave. The next morning, in its place, the sun.

 

A Summoning

Apparently, there is a portal inside me. I am not sure what it looks like or even smells like. How big it is or if there are windows.

I used to think there were squatters, dirty needles, unidentifiable graffiti in there. I used to think there were bed bugs and restraining orders and malnourished rats in there.

But that was yesterday.

Today, I feel like maybe I have been referencing the wrong alphabet. Did you know that you can curl your fingers like caterpillars into palms and summon your life? Did you know that all you need to do is ask for something? With unwavering voice, just ask.

I am afraid of stairs with open spaces, bridges with shaky, wooden boards, leeches, red dye 40 (cochineal), getting locked out, getting locked in, airborne contagion, unemployment, writer’s block, our government.

I am afraid of myself.

I am serving myself a subpoena.

It says: Stop being so frightened of living.

It says: Don’t be so afraid of the wild beast hibernating inside you.

It says: Start falling in love again.

I am looking for what I lost

You travel across a country you have mixed feelings about to a land-locked state that taught you how to love, introduced quinoa, kale, and other healthy stuff you hadn’t consumed before, and you crack open your neck in order to see over mountains you’re too afraid to climb.

Whenever you leave, you contemplate what family really means. If you hadn’t given them scars, would they still want to address you. If you didn’t have a title like sister, would you still want to share a meal, a secret, a favor.

When you are alone, you eat slower. You read a book instead of picking conversations from teeth. You listen to the sound of your meal; you call it music; a sloshing around of calories and digestive regrets.

You consider having an affair because that is what people do when they travel. Until you realize that this is the first time in your life love feels like a tent: roomy, warm, with dark sky view.

What you lost: weight. enough skin to make others worry. your hair (it came back). You lost the ability to pretend yourself away.

Here, the architecture of earth is brown, flat, clean(er). Drugs are sold by name-tagged humans. Garbages come in many flavors: compost, paper, plastic, and the rest of it.

It feels easier here, but remember you are on vacation. Remember you can say no to everyone.

Is it so much easier to lose than to find. It is far simpler to travel than remain. We are kinder to strangers than the ones we grew up with. In other words, keep looking.