love in a disemboweled cigarette

Hair in its infinite stages of death can be far more beautiful than any orchid or moonlight or kiss.

This is what I was thinking when I watched the German with long, blond dreadlocks, parading death down his back like frozen stalks of sun, speak to me about getting lost.

We were in the front room of Bob’s Youth hostel located on a street in Amsterdam I still have difficulty pronouncing. I had been staring at him for what felt like hours, burning my hazel into his whole milk skin. I finally got up and sat across from him, asking if he’d write a poem with me.

“Yeah,” he said, “but I don’t really know how.”

“I don’t really either,” I said. “But if you can rummage inside your gut for the words which feel most potent, I think,” I paused, “I think you may find something there.”

So I gave him my tiny red notebook given to me by a lover who I had just started learning how to kiss, given to me to fill up during this two-week trip away from New York.

This was supposed to be an adventure on how to move toward who I was or who I wanted to be. My relationship with a different woman had ended just a few months earlier, one which I thought was the one I might marry, even though I did not believe in such a word.

It was a mourning trip.

I watched as the German, fingers sprinkled with fine commas of bleached hair, pressed his handwriting into the pages.

His dead knots became whispers soaring past his shoulders, for as he wrote, they shook. I wondered how many secrets were hiding in the decease of his hair.

“One must get lost,” he spoke. “Where are you from?” he asked me, handing back my pen and closing the book.

“Brooklyn. Quite a faraway land from here,” I said.

“Leave your maps behind, Brooklyn,” he said to me.

“No need,” I said. “I never carry them around. I get lost even when I do not intend to. But I like your reminder.”

He smiled. He had a tiny chip in his front tooth like the curve of a hammock. I wanted to lay in his mouth and nap beside his ridges.

He told me traveling is about connecting to the land, not the pages that speak about it.

“You’re beautiful,” I spat out. His eyes walked over the length and width of my face. I could feel his lashes even though we were an arm’s distance away from each other.

“Yes,” he said. As though I had asked a question. Or maybe he was answering something that he had heard much earlier. Either way, I enjoyed the oddity of his syllable.

“I’m trying to lose myself here. Bring another version back to New York,” I told him.

“Smoke enough hash and that will happen without trying too hard,” he smiled.

“I am trying to let go of a love. One so big, my heart still has stretchmarks.”

He smiled.

“There is not enough smoke to inhale, which will get rid of that,” he said. “But how about this. Actually…” he paused. I watched him remove the tiny, hand-rolled cigarette between his fat, slightly blush lips. With the tip of two fingers pressed together, he put out the fire on the end. Then, I watched him peel it open, drip the nicotine out and hand me this frail rolling paper, half wet from the spit of his mouth.

“I can see from the rest of your notebook….pardon my snoop,” he interrupted himself, “…that your handwriting is bitty. Write what you want from love on this.”

I held this disemboweled cigarette in the palm of my hand. As though it were a tiny space alien, which had fallen from the sky from a spaceship that our eyes couldn’t quite fathom. With the fingers from my other hand, I poked at it.

“It may not even be words,” he said. “The love you lust may be symbols.”

I thought about every word I ever learned. The ones I kept and the ones I could never quite remember. I wasn’t thinking about limbs; instead, my brain began to conjure up images of smells. Music of taste.

I dropped the cigarette from my palm and grabbed my pen.

The German smiled and I could feel him get up, though never let my eyes wander away from the paper.

I began to finally get lost.

on closing doors & finding new ones to open to let the light in.

Turn the knob either way and find an opening toward closure. Forgiveness is a language similar to music. It is instrumental and improvisational and often moves through several octaves.

Choose an evening to walk behind the moon. Follow it like a song. Whistle it into the seams of your arms and legs. Squint away the glow until all you see is you.

When you think about an other, think about punctuation marks. Is it an exclamation mark or pause of comma or does it end?

I am safely semi-colon’ing. What I mean is, I am finding a connection between my independent parts. And here, is forgiveness. I forgive the parts that seem to be misplaced. That is, I am finding their place.

Forgive the ones that haunt. The humans and the limbs and the gender identifying markers that do not match our minds’ messages.

Forgive past loves because they showed you other things than hurt. They showed you pleasure and kindness and the flash of safety.

Forgive your body because it’s the one thing that has remained through all the traumas and wars with others and your self. Even when your body changes, it is still yours.

Forgive the memories. The gaps. The flustered darkness that does not want you to remember certain things.

Forgive time.

Forgive loneliness because one day you may be in a dark basement or elevated bridge and you will find someone who…fills you.

Forgive childhood.

Forgive this moment.

Forgive men and even some of the women.

Forgive the cracks in your skin. Also known as scars. Or crashes of age.

Forgive all the silence in you. When you’re really ready, all of your noises will emerge and create the most exquisite soundtrack you’ve ever heard. Get your batteries charged. You’ll want to listen for a long, long time.

oh comfort, zone of magic

None of this is comfortable.

Twenty-four years of therapy and several thousand disrobes and how many books and judgements conclusions. Processes and approaches and angles of near-sighted reflections. A few couches but mostly upright. Some in-patient and group work and locked doors and removed laces. The lovers who tried to dissect me– the ones who could barely see in me.

Walk into a different circle. Notice how this makes you feel what do you feel.
Are you ready for the tingle? And can you handle the sting of prescriptions– not from pills or powders– but sight.

You will only notice something is changing when you make that when you make a change.

You may find seventeen lifetimes hidden in your one.

You may excrete several pounds of wishes that got lost in the mail or shopping mall fountains. Still wish.

You may drop out of weekends because your tears wash you away and you have no ores to paddle you through this.

You may need to sew a thread to someone else so they don’t move too far from you so they remain because no one ever remains. You may just need to ask them to stay.

Feel around. There is curvature in this magic. There is a twist at the top and bottom and sides like the way a smile arches. Smiles are like magic. And smiles can be uncomfortable too.

sometimes a tupperware container can double as a missing person’s report

I’ve got a lacrymatory made from terra-cotta, but notice the one made of glass too. This one is pear-shaped without the skin or stem. And I am counting my tear drops and have run out of numbers. I compare its salt to what licks off my tongue. With each drop, I drop it in. A tomb/ a vessel/ a suitcase for the well-traveled sad.

I knew [her] from that time we took a walk in Prospect Park. I knew [her] from knowing someone else. We got lost against the backdrop of green, barbecue smoke, frisbees and brown. At night, [she] recorded [her] voice on the radio and afterwards, we got high, pressed bodies against buildings and savored the art of blind kissing.


I asked [her] how queer [she] really was and [she] took out all [her] notebooks.
“Read these. From back to front. Because I never really started at the beginning. It really begins at the end.”


[She] came to the dungeon once. Just watched. Walked off a few times, so there could have been some simulation. We talked a lot about Diane diPrima as queers got bound, punched, cut, fucked, and pierced. I could feel [her] weave in and out of our conversation like a dolphin dipping its head out of water. To me….to what was goin’ on in the corner…back to me…back to elsewhere.


I was only trying to remove the lacerations of memory. [She] said that to me, as our bodies practiced silence, nude and tethered by scars and hooks.


Here’s a good one: It was August and the rain came fast, toppling over us. We had been moving slowly from block to block. [Her] hand gripped mine and there was so much heat, I felt like we were melting and burning and sticking to each other. We forced our wet bodies into the wine shop on the corner. I’d like to drink Spain tonight, [she] said. We drank Chile too.


Well, I knew [her] from poetry. Read [her] and watched [her] several times on various stages I got on too. Baked [her] a crumble once. We made out on two benches. Once, with coffee between [her] palms and hot water with lemon and honey in mine, [she] asked me to count [her] teeth.


Oh, we knew each other before the alteration of language. Before [she] lost [her] mind. It’s somewhere in the Pacific, [she] said. We used to count sea glass, hide it in the excess of our sweaters or pockets. I always searched for green. [She] felt giddy each time there was blue or the clear with bits of writing still on it.


I want to visit a place where no ghosts exist and I don’t exist but what does exist is salt. Is sea. Is oak. Is dandelion. Is hylomorphism. Is hopscotch. Is soil. Is rust. Is igneous. Is carbon. Is green. Is blue. Is protists. Is music made from the instrumentation of footsteps. Is sap. Is harvest. Is orange. Is red. Is red. Is movements. Is nothing, but…nothing, but…everything.