What is the language of their stare? It is tent-like, encompassing shards of split apart bodies. Only certain parts are devoured.

There is a mathematical equation to the dialect of these men. And some of them grope and attempt to take cells off women. Pieces of shoulder and whatever juts out becomes fair game.

These men enjoy the scent of flesh fondled by wind and summertime sweat. Perfume can be a gateway drug. So can lipstick and ribcages that exhale.

These men lick their lips as though the ones they seek out are meals. They rub hands together– creating a friction– like knives sharpening. These glares are weapon-like.

When will they pounce and will they ask first or will they take and will they wash their fingers before probing.

These men speak in clicks and teeth rub. A universal dialect of disrobe. There is an assumption of permission.


And then there are the men who are hybrids. Composites of the earth…of various genders and rhythms…those who transcend what we are used to.

I have met only a few of these men. Men who ask before taking. Men who are intellectuals and deep-thinkers. Men who raise children to be poets. Men who are queer or gender warriors.

One I call Dad. One I called lover. One I have recently reconnected with who challenges my heart and mind in remarkable ways.

I walk beside a painter. We travel the busy blocks of Brooklyn during a festival celebrating a particular culture and its music and cuisine. I watch the men eat their way toward those who pass. One grabs onto a woman’s strap and pulls her toward him. My body is enraged. The painter tells me that this is what happens in their culture.
Unfortunately, it is permissible, she adds.
I walk with bag of dirty laundry held captive in giant blue bag. Three men call out to me. Hey, Red. Roots of rage grow fierce as I assume they are working toward inappropriate thoughts or gestures. Instead, when I speak to them, they look at me as though I am just a human, rather than a particular gender. We talk about poetry and one of them recites a poem he memorized when he was young and living in Michigan. The other comments on the yogurt I am eating. Does that have fruit in it? I hear that’s really good.  And the third man tells me he is a graphic designer; I can help you with any cover art when your books come out, he says.
There are more than just two genders out there and within the ones we (think) we know best, there are so many deviations. The men who take and take and grab and harm are out there. But so are the ones who take you to garage sales as a kid and remind you the importance of storytelling and old time radio shows.
There are the ones who aggressively feast on women and there are the ones who ask permission before touching your hips and kissing their way in.
I am beginning to learn the importance of the delineations between these men. Some are poets. Some are teachers. Some are brothers. Some used to be women. Perhaps there is a need to be open to those who may surprise us because those are the ones who may have the power to teach us to look beyond the ones who haunt……


blue mind [ or ] perforated gender on a leaky night

Dear Lidia.

It is dark here, but I sit at a bar gulping a happy hour pint of local ferment reading a book about gender. Human beside me is burning her retina on the superpower glow of handheld lover. Does anyone read off paper anymore? I just need to poem tonight. My body is engulfed in the flames of syllables itching their way off of me. I’ve got my ukelele, but that seems to be for fire escapes and benches; stages are too daunting to stroke and sing on. But just in case, I swallow final sip, and pinch my hips through narrow doorway toward evening open mic.

Lidia, one thing to mention is my lens. I notice certain things that others may not. We write stories as we live them and in this room, I felt overpowered by men. Perhaps I have been thinking a lot about this gender quite a bit lately. The scent of their limbs and the way this particular pack seemed overthrown with aggression. At one point in the night, one actually had a tantrum on stage. 

Before it was my turn to perform, I decided to leave. My friend and I walked through the dark and dank, back into the evening which dripped sky through tiny petals of rain. I wanted to ask him what it was like to be a man. We need to ask this of each because no experience is the same. My gender is perforated and spotty. Far different than the one(s) beside me who may look similarly. Our experiences are our own.

When I arrive at my temporary home, I open up the bedroom window and climb out on the black-painted fire escape. Months ago, I would have been so fearful of this height. Now, I climb and sit, staring down at the life below me.

Lidia, there is revolution in our souls. We are revolving/evolving. I am not the same as I was yesterday or the week before. I am loving/I am in love/I am loved. I write to you because I need to feel read right now. I need to feel like these letters are being gathered. I am thinking about jumping. Not down, but toward.


for Mary in Lagos and the man with blurred eye due to punching

justify monsterism:

remind me to sharpen my fists into callused bullets
and i will remind you that these animals live beyond your cell and interrupt me when i masturbate.

photo by Francesca Woodman

photo by Francesca Woodman

these men these men these men these savages these beasts these men
flatten themselves like cockroaches and they cling to door knobs.

these animals these animals these animals these brutes these men
linger on stairwells and wait in mailboxes to bite the fingers of readers.

What I am trying to say is they linger outside of prisons and cooped up concrete entrapments.

In my land, monsters do not wipe their limbs before plunging their screwdrivers into women.
Men light their wives on fire because of assumptions and poor manners.

Mary, your skin will never grow back and
somewhere in Lagos, you must lay on your spine to insist away the burn of bubbled shadow.

humans shut out the sounds of screams when they become too frequent.
a settled weapon.
a death of normalcy.

I gave up collecting stickers and stamps and rocks found in gardens.
Started collecting humans and hideaways and addictions and diseases.

I gave up on straightening my hair, my sexuality, my walk-away.
Started growing tangles and teased limbs and touched as many genders as I could find.

[ … ]

The sun is engaging in a love affair with the clouds today. The clouds are holding her down. She likes it. Because of this, the trees need an understudy of light to guide them toward the direction of the wind.