cornbred (sic)

His accent curves through gaps where teeth once were. And we smoke illegal cigarettes in order to challenge the air of this cold October wind. He reads Neruda as though we are in church. My knees want to bend. They want to repeat these prayers. They want to sing out Hallelujah. He stops to call himself a part-time convict and when I ask him if his voice is contagious, he says:

It’s Kentucky and Alabama and gritty from harmonica. 

This Southern Baudelaire gets onstage and claims percussion, keys and tambourine. His lips press against metal teeth. He breathes into and out. Repetition of grit from voice and beat of conjoined instrumentals.

In the trailer parks, that’s where I got my first scar.”

And then he lifts right arm, bare because his sleeves end just above elbow. He points to where his skin slurs. Between each song, he philosophizes. Then, announces a love song.

“This next one is about my ex-wife,” he stumbles out. “Don’t ever marry your Philosophy professor. Can’t cook needles for shit.”

And I am listening. Bookended by handsome poet wearing stolen cologne and visiting Canadian with chocolate and bourbon breath, smeared in own version of musical narrative. I am wrapped in scarf and false leather jacket with notebook gathering up the dust of what exists in this bar. Just noticing. Just listening. Just arriving in this drunk evening of moon, electricity and lust.

“the truth is romantic”

for M.M.

I prefer dandelions to roses

I stole a tube of lipstick once and pants and

When I am nervous, I bite the flaps of length on my fingernails, I drink coffee, I pretend I am a boy, I pretend I am ok, I write hate letters into my body, I write a poem, I speak a poem, I fall in love.

I want to carve trees like my body and ask them to be my mirror

I’m afraid if I bring my hair back to its original colour I will be invisible again

The truth is I am having an affair with the tree outside my window. My apartment is too small for its branches and bark to squeeze in and find warmth in my bed at night. I watch snow slap against its leaves. I study the branches, fallen yet still attached. Phantom limbs still haunting. I feel like maybe it loves me back. I feel like maybe it can love me unlike anyone has (or can). I will call it Arbutus. I will call it Sapped. I will call it Rings of Future Parchment. I will call it when I am lonesome. I will ask it it’s preferred pronoun. I will ask it if it prefers green tea to earl. I will ask if it is hungry. I will ask it to climb out of the earth and run away with me.

I cannot forgive my mother

I never loved you

I never stopped

The truth is I am sensing decay on my hip. The truth is my hair is falling out because of the red because of the pull because of the knots because of that time I decided the dirt needed to remain to remind me who I am.

I want to get rid of these things. Haul them toward the corner and allow passersby to rummage, jump into, steal my life

I’m planning a run-a-way

I am addicted to photographs of (other people’s) homes because I still haven’t found one yet

The truth is when I learned of their upcoming divorce, I weeped. A silent, dry weep because I was surrounded by bad lighting and the aroma of punch cards and workday. Through (their) divorce, comes confession of real love, the kind of love that surpasses jewelry stolen from the earth and ceremonies and wedding cake and registries and 2.5 statistical children. The kind of love that acknowledges the inequality of queer love surrounding them. So a piece of paper is turned to confetti and (their) love still screams just as loud. No, LOUDER.

I am not sure I am entirely comfortable with “she” but I do not want “he”. I want to be called slash/ or inbetween/ or undecided/ or animal

The truth is my body used to be shaped as a mailbox on corners without the blue without the metal. And now my body is shaped as a form letter and now my body is an unexpressed apology and my body is a collision of accidents and my body is in need of a bath where water comes from ocean not faucet and tub is really just another body engulfing me.