the currency of concern.

“A body holding its own dusk/ That is what a predator is, mostly.”  –Elizabeth Robinson

A body shuts down. It is night and there is only enough room for airplanes and crickets and moon and sleep. 

Here is how it goes. The author sits wearing wet hair and long underwear. Breath of peppermint and coffee, barley and long-distanced lover’s tongue. Outside, one could pretend it is spring, but it is too cold to title it as such. The author has consolidated their loans; the author has consolidated their bones.

Monthly payment does not match bank account and when asked how many members in family, suddenly one sounds synonymous with failure.

A body searches its contents and recognizes only the stink of bones, but cannot recall if that is actually what they are called. It is a time congruent to morning. 

It can be immensely humbling to prove one’s poorness. There is enough food in cupboards and shoes to wear and enough options of laundered clothes to fill a drawer and closet. Hot water and heat paid for by unseen landlord. The author can even afford capers, but chooses to wait for tax return.

However, the amount owed far exceeds the amount author owns and on this morning of unzipped blue denim sky, the author cries store-brand version of tears and swallows store-brand version of oxygen.

A body exhales and spits out the dust of agony.

This is not about educational tabs running over. Nor is this about economic class or the woes of a poet in search of a space safe enough to wrap skin around. This is not about what plagues a body. Nor is it a prompt for pity.

This may be about what it feels like to occur. To be the one folded in the corner of rooms wondering why every circumstance is a reminder of what you do not have.

How to populate with only words. How to birth without heteronormative consumption. 

Here is how it goes. The author hikes toward the closest mountain found within the nooks of mind. Digs torn-up fingernails into soil that is highlighted by the sun. Fondles the pebbles and branches, which feel like found currency. Puts loot into pockets. Continues traveling up. Up. Higher. The author pretends to be unafraid of heights; the author does not look down. Up. Higher. Until. The only thing that matters is the wind. The curves beneath each step. And the way down.

to save a life build furniture

Several days ago, I saved a butterfly.

My body was elevated on bicycle named Heleanore. I used to listen to music with tiny black buds of sound bouncing against my eardrums. Then, I got into a slight accident. Now, I sing. I sing songs that are cooked inside my brain and come out of poems or become poems. I sing songs that I hear from radios that pass me by built into cars that pass me by. Without the plugged-in sounds, I hear everything around me.

And, I notice more.

Like this butterfly.

I rode right past it, then………..stopped. Parked bike against sidewalk and went toward it, struggling in the middle of the road. St Johns Place. Somewhere between home and where I came from.

This butterfly was brown. With spots. And of course, illuminating with symmetry. Its wings were almost as large as each of my palms. And its body. Shade of caramel, thick and furry.

There were no cars approaching, so at first, I sat with it. Or, knelt toward the gravel. Perhaps it was taking a break. I often do this when I’ve biked too long and my bones are out of breath. But it was more than just over-extended. There was injury within this insect.

My fingers carefully pinched its wing to lift it up. An elevation. Assisted flight.

Slowly, I brought this butterfly back to the ground, onto the sidewalk, where traffic was minimal and it could be seen.

This is happening more and more. Signs. Creatures. Breathing life silently in an effort to slow down. Look. Approach. Live beyond these lists I swim against and love away from the norm. When I was away, when I was conversing with the mountains, I fell in love. I found openness. I disengaged my chest and hips and jaw and listened to the sound of my body reconfiguring itself. I felt for the almost-invisible string connecting this body and mind.

Sometimes I think of myself as a building. Or a piece of furniture. Sometimes, I am a solo chair, wooden beneath with peeling upholstery. Crooked, with one leg shorter than another. Sometimes, I am a couch with far too many bodies placed on top of me and I cannot breathe and there is far more suffocation than rest happening. Sometimes I am a table or ottoman or sometimes I am just a sconce on a wall with peeling paper covering the spackle.

Somedays I am ok in this body. I dig it. I want to be nude and reveal its stunning imperfections.

Somedays I am confused by it. Don’t want to be penetrated or touched or imagined or labeled.

This tends to lead me toward the slash.

Perhaps that butterfly continued to struggle and I didn’t really save its life. Maybe it wanted to be in the middle of the road, tempting its fate to fast moving cars.

I biked away feeling the warmth of a good deed that somehow loses its power once it is spoken about.

That day I was a coffee table.

Today, I hope to build myself into a desk similar to my own……hand-painted and stained on wood that was just a scrap of something larger. A desk where poems are built. A desk where ideas are consumed and gathered.

speak your voice, pirate

I could be on the top of this earth, testing the width of my thigh span. Perhaps my right leg grazes Colorado and left leans against Missouri. When a body sits on an airplane, pressed between window’d seat and neurotic woman studying the “idiot’s guide to buying a home”, one may notice how square everything is down below.

There are perfect right angles and circles and everything is fifty shades of brown.

In this moment, I am so close to first class I can touch the curtain separating our economic differences and breathe in their high-thread-count-upholstered seats.

How many times have I fallen in love this past week? Safe love. The kind of love that needs no explanation or physical representation. The kind of love that remains in silence.

1. miso ground into a dressing over arugula salad with edamame and beets.

2. the lizard doing push-ups on Anne U White trail in Boulder. Even this tiny creature contemplates it’s own arm strength abilities– this is simultaneously sad and charming.

3. a young boy on his way toward second year of life and all the reminders of how two moms are so much better than one.

4. an attraction between cross-genre genders/ slur of denim’d hips and mutual vests on opposite chests/ eyes greener than sun-soaked moss/ a lick of lips as though preparing them for mine/ teeth large enough to bite into my language/ a flirt/ a missed connection/

5. everyone is trying to flatten themselves away! My stomach refuses to section off into six separate packs. Instead, I channel these mountains, which are far sexier in their curves than the flat screen door pushed close to get here.

6. boy raises money to remove breasts and I am in awe of his awareness of body. What gets to stay and what impostors must go? I’m still taking inventory of this body.

7. the couple who collide due to persistent photographer with bones made of magic fairy dust, sparkling beyond manufactured flash. The ways in which love can be seen, can be pressed, can cohabitate. I want to copyright the three beautiful versions of love I got to gaze upon in order to find some of my own.

8. that deer.

9. that cafe au lait with soy milk slinking down my throat and pressing me into wide awake-ness.

10. and what if I were to mention hym again? A mouth traveling miles before the first word emerges. Engaging in topics like coffee and hormones, and stimulants like caffeine and boners. I should have asked about preferred pronoun, so I’d know the proper way to press gendered human into this poem.

11. miles. voices. lawns. gardens. drag kings. poets. and a pirate that somehow lives inside all of us because we are all just choosing our own adventure within the shapes and colors and dialects around us.

arrival of sky-scraped body

Dear Colorado,

Remember when we first met?
My hair was not so red and not so long and not so knotty.
I arrived early in the morning with my sister after a long car ride from Brooklyn on Interstate 80 where meals were devoured with the speed of miles on green Honda Civic.

I had no idea how wide you were.

I heard all about those mountains, but didn’t expect to climb them or picnic against your grooves or kiss at the top of one on a day that I watched turn into night.

Your dirt is cleaner than the dirt I grew accustomed to.
And although you are land-locked, I took naps and carved poems into my notebook by Boulder’s creek.

I lived in five homes: two studios, two apartments and the bottom level of a home.

I fell in love. I earned a degree. I hosted an open mic. I became a freelance writer. I performed. I learned how to knit. I learned what kale is. I learned what quinoa is. I found community. I found activism. I found music. I found my self.

Denver, I’m aware of your parks (over 200).
Boulder, I’m aware of your bike lanes and poetic lineage.

Will you remember me?
Will you recognize me?

When I shake off the dirt of Brooklyn from my body/ I will ask you if I have changed/ And I might inquire if I’ve grown/ And I may want to know if it’s OK that I’ve returned.

Sometimes, we just need to leave in order to know what has been left behind…….

heat gathers steam off body

Asleep, I dream of babies, bodies that birth books, equations written into sky that predict deaths and a chimney burning off layers of inhabitants’ skin.

When the summer arrives, the last layer of made-in-China-synthetic clothing is removed and sheets gather an abundance of sweat. My windows are wide open like my lungs or my thighs and I struggle to detect any sort of breeze coming in.

How does rise in temperature still remain a surprise? I have lived in this body for over three-decades and yet I feel unprepared for this.

Hair gather above my head like a screamed poem and my neck is free. Beneath my breasts, enough perspiration can be found to lubricate a cookie sheet. I am aware of my weight, my depth, the space above my upper lip that houses beads of heated moisture.

In one week, I temporarily move away from this city where buildings scrape sky and graffiti interrupts buildings toward a more mountainous one. The heat is different there. Not as sticky, but perhaps a bit brighter.

Seasons are perfect transitions as life moves forward. In search of signs reflected off leaves on tree outside my window, I think of summer as the foreword to my next chapter. Limbs are slightly more exposed now.

Days are far more open.
Wallet echoes.
Passport flirts with my indecision to stay here.

Heat gathers steam off my body
leaves an imprint
of fragmented,
impulsively patched together
and full of question-marked