beneath rust, there is something to be said.

It is early enough in the morning to assume that you are the only one awake. The sun may be out, but it still yawns with morning breath wafting against clouds, pushing them toward their daily mile. You are three quarters asleep, but alert enough to notice the sound of a bird, red like the tint of your hair, crashing toward the nearby window. Its beak is resilient, or it must be since it plunges against the glass once more. And then again. And again after that. You are stunned at its punishment or is this a ritual of a new day arriving. Does it want to come in? Does it want to get out? There is something to be said about the persistence of its pounding.

My bicycle used to remain indoors, but for the past year and a half it has been locked against the same sign post and its metal skin has changed from black to rust. It is the only thing I straddle these days, but it brings me joy and gets me to where I need to be much faster. My bike and I are philosophically entangled with the wind; I blink musical notes with each turn to alert the other shapes where I am going. A young boy on a bike tells me my back tire needs air and I feel such gratitude that he noticed this. If only we could pay closer attention to humans because we so often run out of air or we choose to breathe┬áless and there is something to be said about someone stopping to say: keep breathing because I am conscious that you’ve stopped.

How about the time your skin hurt from being next to her. The arrival of spots called hives– similar to bees hoarding honey– holding your chest captive for several hours. As a child, they take your temperature with strips that measure the heat. Or in your ear or with the back of a hand. But what happens when suddenly someone else’s bones beside you create a rise of sun and moon and mountain top and the pitch of the loudest yell. What happens when another person becomes a thermometer entering you, evolving your degrees from 97.9 to high above the hundreds. There is something to be said about kinetics and the pungency of emotion.

to be no(body)

I once poured milk all over my body for a performance. I cannot recall its intentions, but it led me toward another bout of lactose intolerance or another love affair– I cannot remember which. It was thick and the smell remained for hours post-scrub. From the corner of my dairy-drenched eyes, I noticed a human wearing blond dreadlocks, inconsistent knots spewing out of her scalp or brain. She had to be a visitor, I thought. No one exists like this anymore, I thought.

Sacrifice can be found in early morning wake up calls to clean up beaches swarmed by devastation. Blame the wind this time. Blame the humans who do not recycle, who do not chew before swallowing, who do not cook their food properly, who kill without concern, who focus too much on Facebook, rather than faces and booksnext time.

To be no(body) is to swarm a room without a notice. To flap wings known as arms, all scratched out like liner notes. To bend knees and straighten and bend and straighten until thighs are hardened like soul. To be able to notice a man whose belly breathes outside of himself, sitting in the corner with his shirt untucked, with his thoughts all slurred. To be no(body) is to stare without being asked to stop.

Mourning in the morning looks like this: cup of coffee to my right, Bon Iver all around me like dead skin cells floating (which I cannot see, but feel like ghosts landing). Sunrise pushing light against the leaves outside my window. There is rust on those leaves. I want to lick them to feel oxidation gather inside me.

When I speak (lately), only lies come out.

A truth: After the hurricane, I collected corpses. Leaf corpses. They were light enough to carry home. To press inside Audre Lorde’s book of essays. Their veiny ends popped out and yesterday, I carefully rescued them from compression and noticed their colors. Blotted red. Red like forty-seventh layer of earth from below not red like my hair. One is yellow like hydrated urine. One is spotted green.

I once poured soil all over my body for a performance, with thin plastic tarp below me to catch the earthworms. I wanted my filth to be visible. So I mashed the dirt into my skin. Forced it beneath my fingernails. Rubbed it into my hair. I swallowed it. The grit remained inside undetected cavities. Sand and rocks and organic additives. Then I took a sponge, waiting in water, and wiped it all away. My body became mud. A puddle of sludge. My bones were a stage of earth and water. I was nude and more honest than I had ever been before.

Sometimes when I breathe, planets blurt out.

a visit from Beverly Williamsburg

To awake early on an Autumn morning…a rainforest outside my window…red-beaked bird with plump form and thick red feathers by its bum like a half-opened fan. Notice the crackle of rain drops against crunchy leaves, soggy from a night of rain. Notice the sky with a hint of jaundice, yellowed and bright. An interruption of traffic that cannot be seen because my windows represent backyards, no streets in sight. The haunt of their exhaust fumes, horns and (perhaps) angry drivers exist somewhere off stage.

To climb out of bed as though it is a tree far from flat land. Thin blanket (in need of its Autumn/Winter replacement) pushed away from nude body, already shivering from early-morning air pressing against it. Toes tangle over wooden floor, still sleepy, still remembering their function after many hours asleep. Limbs search for clothes, even though no one is awake at this time and nudity can be kept a secret still.

Coffee. All thoughts have an aroma of berries or seeds or beans, produced by several species of the small evergreen bush of the genus Coffea. The boil of water. The measurement of ground up caffeine dropped into french press. The contemplative practice of waiting. For boil. For saturation.

I turn, from bedroom into kitchen. Just a few steps away. And. Gasp.

Beverly Williamsburg.

She had been visiting for over a month now; however, she must have been feeling anti-social. She never waited for me to notice her. She lurked at night while others were sleeping. Beverly is not meticulous about putting things away. By this, I mean her excrement. Many mornings, I would awake to Beverly’s droppings behind the blender or near the stained glass holder of large spoons and spatulas. No postcard or note left on a torn piece of paper. Beverly was never known for her pleasantries or manners.


My dad has always said to me:

Aimee, bugs and animals should be left alone when roaming outdoors, but once they enter my house, uninvited, then that is a time we can dispose of them.

I should interrupt this and mention that my dad is not a vegetarian, nor am I. However, we do not hunt (except for good deals on free-range meat).

Upon walking into darkened kitchen, I notice Beverly without suitcase or housewarming present. She is stuck on a rectangular piece of paper about the size of a postcard. She is struggling for freedom on a trap covered in invisible glue, placed by a human named Exterminator. It is 6:42 am and Beverly finally makes an entrance, which will unfortunately be her last.

in defense of mo(u)rning

Wake up.

This may be the moment limbs remember their reasoning.

Perhaps they are sore, mosquito-bitten and hungry.

If bed is empty, but for one, the sheets are far less disturbed.
If bed is joined by another, prepare for disarray.

Allen Ginsberg whispers: first thought, best thought.
And this is when fantasies of coffee, poems and (sometimes) masturbation arrive.

I gather up my body like a thick folded newspaper…more specifically, the Sunday edition of the New York Times.

I feel bloated by words leftover from incomplete dreams and ink drawn on me from the previous night smeared all over my knees and bendable parts.

Good morning.

Coffee boils in pot, while my nudity retreats to the bathroom to break the fast of my bladder. I take cold showers now and enjoy the immediate rise of goose bumps on my flesh as the temperature shocks my heated skin.

As I wash myself, I mourn the day before. I sing made-up songs (poems) about women who used to wear the inside of my panic. Or, I whistle a story about the time I tried to eliminate all mornings, experimenting with days full of evenings instead.

Good evening.
Good day.

The heat is troublesome and I want to engage with this day through gestures, rather than sounds.

Today, I leave Brooklyn behind and enter a classroom full of poets and readers.

Today, I engage in the language of metaphorical discovery.

meant to wake up feeling

find time.

find knots on tree trunk and climb. and kiss.

find woman.

find meal.

find theoretic explanation for where tongues and memory hide at night.

find breath.

find panic in chest and pursue concrete sidewalk like a lover and collapse.

find voice.

find nature.

find turtle colony near the water and weep.

find beauty in burnt heart.

find comfort in first cup of coffee.

find love.

find passport.

find meaning.

find freedom.

find self.