Dear Deer

It is important to look up…had I not, I’d have missed you.

Oh, how close we were…close enough to count each eyelash or each committed chew of stolen leaf off tree. Each time you turned away from me, you slowly turned back just to make sure I was still noticing.

How could I not?

I am no longer counting steps; instead, I press unblinking eye against flow of creek or engage with flowers mindfully planted between cracks of concrete sidewalk.

Nothing has changed; I have changed.

I notice a man named Wolf sitting on a bench wearing sunburn and familiar grey beard. Many years ago, we spent hours in dark pub drinking stories and pints of beer. He sold jewelry to men and women in the mountains; he called me Poet or Red; gave me cigarettes.

Years later, he still recognizes me. “Long time,” he hums.

I smile, wondering how different I am or if I am or if he is.

The walk continues. Then, I stop and sit on a chair facing shadows. Beside me, the parking garage where I used to work. I start to cry, but no one notices…just like New York. Or, maybe the sun sees because suddenly I feel it pressing into my ribs.

Today is the day I find magic because today is the day a sage rubs echoes into my wrists.
Today is the day I unstitch my cuticles and pull out the traumas for the final time.
Today is the day I fall in love with my self. Propose marriage. Decide my belly may house a baby.
Today is the day I let go of the ghosts.

All that is left now is this photograph of a deer, some poems, hair I am ready to cut and pull out, these veins like skinny oceans in my body, this creature of breathtaking insight, music, language(s), a severed rubberband, a bench, a carve-out, an appetite, lungs, and this beauty.

the language of rainfall

Awake. To the sounds of a storm, bursting from the sky, bruising the clouds, angering the leaves who dream.

A drum. Of fingertips tapping dripped rhythm against windowpane and domes of water nap like bats, clinging to branches.

Attack. A thunderous bolt shatters the grey into purple and chartreuse and then a blur of eyesight.

A body slurs toward the noise. The indigestion of wetness. A devouring of weathered atmosphere.

A memory is pulled out like naughty grey hair–
like extracted pit in olive
like admittance of love for another.

There was that time you reached down to find my smallness
the rain interrupted our lips
the rain acknowledged the thinness of fabrics
the rain tied my hair into yours

It falls because of gravity
I fall because of starvation and inconsideration to appetite

It aids the ecosystem, the growth for hydroelectric power plants and crop irrigation.
I aid poems, the evolution of scattered thoughts and skin irritation.

There is a violence to this crime spree of sidewalk hammering
Puddles tease bodies, in search of a bathtub or a swimming pool or ocean to dive into.

What is our necessity for umbrellas,
rainfall weaponry?

There is a pause now between sky and triggered water leak.

I count the drips outside my window,
collecting on my thighs that I leave out just for mathematics.

I study the wind that replaces the rain that waits for the sun that is turned off by these umbrellas that hide faces and hair weaves.

A car horn.
A woman yells at her child.
Public radio stuck inside computer.
A slurp of coffee.
A growl of stomach.

Listen.
I hear you too.

where does all the garbage go once it’s reached it’s rim

Today, I walked.

Today, I pressed sock-less feet firmly into black high top converse sneakers against new york city pavement for 10 kilometers, otherwise known as 6.2 miles.

Today, genders united, sexualities integrated, businesses advertised on the backs of their employees, as we held hands and walked toward a cure for HIV/AIDS. Or, I held hands and others held hands, but we didn’t exactly hold each other’s hands.

There were babies in strollers and adults in wheelchairs and a woman on a man’s back and octogenarians and those decades younger and baby dykes and homos and heteros. And it didn’t matter who we each voted for President. And it didn’t matter our favorite sexual positions. And it didn’t matter our educational backgrounds. And it didn’t matter how much money congested or haunted our bank accounts.

All that mattered was: We all decided to wake up this Sunday in May in New York City, travel the distance from Bronx or Brooklyn, Staten Island and beyond and make noise with our feet and hearts.

I was marching today for a poet.
A poet who’s book rested against my back, safely contained in red backpack. He marched alongside me in poems and memory. He is gone now, only in body and bones and lung expansion. But his poems…..all these poems and stories….march on.

I was marching for a man I met last year at this time in Amsterdam, who greeted me in wheelchair in gargantuan church called Dominicus on Spuistraat, who wrote a poem with me one afternoon on AIDS Memorial Day.

Together, we wrote:
poetry is religion
there are lots of angels here
a lean into bowl creates a hum
the sounds of bells

Countries and languages and humans unite to create a future that exists without HIV/AIDS

/
As we reached checkpoint two, we were greeted with bags of chips to fuel us toward the end. Gratefully, I accepted a bag and as the last chip left dust on my tongue, I noticed something happening.

Central Park gravel exchanged texture of black and smooth to multi-colored and mess.

The garbage cans were overflowing and plastic bottles of sucked-out water were creating a puddle of empty containers.

Then, as we reached the end of this momentous walk, we were greeted by cheers, music, balloons and ice-cream. Tiny, emptied cups littered the entire area. Garbages were engorged and later, ignored. We left our (carbon) footprint by polluting each spot, which just moments before, we had been celebrating.

Vitamin D coated my exposed skin (even through its carefully applied sunscreen). My belly was full from salted chips, ice-cream, memories of the men I was walking for, and my own emotional state of just being alive and grateful. However, it is hard to ignore the disappointment of how “we” leave our mark.

Volunteers with labeled shirts began the process of clean-up.
I began the process of making my way back to Brooklyn.

Where does all the garbage go once it’s reached it’s rim and what happens when the march ends and life is left to be lived?

How to continue honoring, raising awareness and funds and…still be aware of this earth we are breathing on.

Garbages are going to overflow because we are overflowing. We are running out of seats on subways and languages are getting lost and dying.

When one cure is found, there will still be a need to fight for another.

I am going to hold onto my empty ice-cream cup until there is a place I can throw it into. I will take the extra seconds to separate my garbage. Maybe I will even start composting again.

It’s just one more step. Amidst a lifetime of so many more.

irene, winded and wet

Fill bathtub with water and bathe inside. Play tic-tac-toe on windows with blue tape. Fear trees, grocery store mark-ups, evacuation demands. Gather suppers for five days, Then, hoard. There is an arrival of drunk and boredom on a Saturday in Brooklyn. Tourists and residents wait for the wind. They wait for the rip of trees from pavement. They wait for t-shirts to be printed to brag about weekend disruptions. Subways go to sleep while rats wear life vests and float from one borough to another.