Someone told me that there is a chance that humans can be overexposed, so I seep out the iron and ink in my organs and allow my body to exist as a solitary stretch of invisible. I am going to let my spit go dry. Rebel, I left sixteen pounds of my bones on a stage in the west village on a friday when the moon was too shy to emerge from its overcoat of clouds. I broke a hip from the impact of silence after I placed seven hundred and twenty seconds of sounds on strangers’ laps. Then, on Saturday, my tooth fell out (OK, just a filling, but it still resembled the rest of me) from biting into the softest butternut squash and I worry that I am coming undone. Have you ever felt a peep hole housed inside a human? I met someone who looked right through me and then dug away at all my private passwords. Should I title this corruption or Sunday rendezvous?
My fourth lover has left the country. She has been traveling since I first handed her my weakest muscle over a decade ago and now I think she is getting closer to settling. The last time I traveled with passport and backpack, I was just getting over the Canadian. I was on a hunt for language that didn’t hurt when I spoke it. I wrote poems beside canals with the haunt of red lights in the nearby distance. I almost got arrested for possession for hash that time, but it wasn’t mine, nor did it taste my lips; we were just exchanging words for stanzas.
You are traveling over pages and memories. I want to know what it was like to see his tattoos and smell his distance. Do lovers change shape once they no longer belong to us. Or do they always belong to us?
My seventh lover (not counting the ones that didn’t count) was difficult to get over. I ingested medicine cabinets and poetry books, slapped starvation on my tongue and called my collarbone a rail for many months until I no longer needed to think about the disturbance of breaths and bruises.
We mourn and mourn until suddenly we can longer remember what it felt like to hurt. Are you there yet. I am there.
I recently met a human who reminded me that there is no one way to approach someone.
And I wanted to retort: there is no one way to love. Each time is different because we all arrive with varying marks and allergies and desires.
Rebel, we love differently because we are poets. Our kind of loving simmers and boils simultaneously. Our kind of kisses pass through megaphones.
It never gets easier, but it can make more sense. Some love spends months or years trapped in a lost dialect that neither lover speak. I am finding that when you meet someone who has studied the rules and historical lineage of phonics, you can stop. That is the right one.
I am hoarding wine beneath my tongue. I’ve disarmed my hips for another and this one seems to be carefully slipping love notes inside the marrow of my bones. How do you nourish your memory. In what ways do you feed the scratch-outs on your soul. Eighteen years ago, I paid a stranger to press purple ink into my lower back through single-serving, vibrating needle. He joined circle and lines into a universal woman sign. I carried that female insignia for all these years, which slowly turned from friend to acquaintance to stranger. Are there indentations on your body that no longer belong to you, Rebel. Recently, I paid a guy from Bolivia to alter my gender marking. He told me all about the places he traveled to and the days he scarred his thighs with illustrations to practice being an artist. What would it look like to practice being human. Last week, I carried a rock resembling a tiny egg and an eight line poem by Vera Pavlova. She reminded me that if there is something to desire/ there will be something to regret. But in desire, there is so much breath. The weight of our exhales, Rebel, can turn our forearms into paved roads. Our shoulders into mountain tops. Our chests into stationary reservoirs. Let’s swim in all this burgundy lust, which can be found in Poets, Chefs, Former Monks, Music Makers and Hippies. We can climb our way toward the tallest tree top and swing from the branches of its origin. I am finally digging myself out of all these roots, untangling and recognizing the hybrid in me. Let’s eat up all these question marks and digest the answers that come.
This air is confusing. Outside, trees convulse like belly dancers without a belly. Tiny bits of life form on their branches and peek out from well-packed soil, flirting with this chilled air. They are calling this spring, but you are trapped beneath layers of snow and my hands have taken on a skin tone of chapped strawberry blond.
There are deadlines and dates and bleached scraps of language, tie-dyed into genderless terms of endearment. I think I may have found my noun.
I have put on weight, Rebel. It is shaped like Brooklyn, kind of bloated and curved, without angles and crowded. Winter fed me three affairs and two nondescript encounters and spring has already been titled: ellipses…………..
Don’t you want to know how this will end. Or what if this time, there is no period, but simply a line of dots dangling against burnt fingertips and I know what you are thinking: nothing lasts forever. But what would happen if something did.
“Shame is the swampland of the soul.” —Carl Jung.
“Do you ever want to make love to your own story? To the parts of you that you work so hard to grow? Are you able to sit on a rooftop of red curls and say, ‘holy shit, I built this?’ Everything you need is inside you already.” —Rebel Diaz
I am trying to find the right angle to reach all of this. I’ve climbed ledges and dangled screams, watched dripped hollers hold onto exposed bricks, begging to be let back up. In the midst of love-making, I somehow felt the need to throw away the parts of me that have misbehaved. Everything I need may be inside me but some of it hides and some of it has curdled. How to get past all of that and closer to rebirth.
You urge me to write. Urge is defined by a seizure of light in one’s body. It elevates one’s fingers to touch something or create something. Urge is a language of intimacy and conversion. Urges include digestion of vitamins and elements from soil. An urge can be placed beneath the curl of another’s hand. An urge can be an invitation of words.
Rebel, I am eight days into this new age and something has dramatically shifted. No, it is nowhere near self-actualization, but closer to acceptance. I sleep outside of my nude now. I sleep alone most nights. I sleep with chest flattened by cotton press of yellow-yolk contraption. I sleep beneath the invisible constellations on my ceiling. I sleep wearing ten thousand genders like colorful kites tangled up in my torso. I sleep motionless; I sleep like a Pina Bausch dancer choreographed into whispered shoulder rolls.
There is an urgency for love. To find the map that completes my location. To pave the roads of my soul with the concrete from another. To close every drawer and cover each exposed shelf to make room for another. An urgency to move on. Last month, you made love to a river and I found (continue to search for) the complacency of my blood. We address our parts as revised elocutions. Urge others to do the same to make room for variants. There is no one way to this beyond breath.
Someone invaded my reflection last night. I swear those curves could not have belonged to me. In a room full of so many bodies, I tried not to find mine. I tried to keep my eyes closed and grant permission to all this bending and choreography, but the more we repeated these movements, the more I wanted to weep.
What happened to my hip sway. Why am I so distracted by the cluttered clog of my gender.
Rebel, there is so much salt in me that you can surf on my bones and swim in the atlantic of my blood. I hear your curled voice telling me to give in. And also to pause. And also to sit with it and in it.
You are telling me to spread my legs to my cracked palms and find the prayer of my moan.
You are telling me to sip this cold from beneath wool and wine.
You are telling me to keep walking toward the brilliance of unexpected spirits.
You are telling me that these thoughts do not need to alter my label, my gender, my sexuality.
You are telling me to fall in love with every human because it gives me reason to remember my musculature.
Rebel, this is what I’ve memorized:
Touch: It is like I am being set on fire with language. I am body dysmorphic. The sensation of carbon dioxide which lifts up my veins reminds me that I am three-dimensional. I love love. Wine can slur me into sleep, poems and honest dissections of my childhood. Gender is something I think about more than breath control and perhaps this is why I hiccup so much. I have no desire to be a boy or man, and find myself messily settling into other. I am more than addicted to coffee; it has become like a love affair (intruding on all of my thoughts). Sorrow. A poem by Vera Pavlova about definition. The way my mouth feels after eating peanut butter. Regret.
You tell me to be careful of the devouring of wounds.
Rebel, there is something about this sobriety. Not to booze but to lies and how potent is truth. Tell me how to paint my skull with a chorus of climaxes.
Here is this skin and it is white and this winter makes it like paper. You can inscribe it or crumple it. Crows and pigeons live inside the creases. At some point, I need to locate all the soldiers, stiff and ready on my flesh and tell them the war is ending. To go home. To disarm. At some point, I need to just start colliding with my soul.
They thought I was asleep, but I heard her scream out at that star that may or may not have been a swollen airplane. She called it another place to live. She called it a high wire pause. Or was that me.
I scrubbed my hands better than I have all year, before I plunged them into my body to rip out the mail. His name is ____________ and full of papercuts and improper postage. We are already in love.
How about we stage a protest this year. Eat only syllables and postures. I will continue to challenge the disobedience of my breath and you can remind me that gender is a disco ball better left rotating.
You owe me a letter. But I will wait for your shadowboxing bellow. As I sit here, sore from an early morning bone stretch, no longer calling tomorrow a clean slate. Instead, a movement of magic.
for the humans building levees in Boulder, Colorado and especially for the one driving around wearing rebel cape
Boulder is under sacrament; what was inwardly gathering is making its way through the street. A city submerged and there is something about Boulder every time, something about its cracks and crevices that make it animate, alive, being. Makes me sketch my own body over its terrain, to lie down in its topography, the curves down my side along its front range, my belly its basin, my veins and sinew down over its expanding creeks. When it was burning, I too, felt the burn off of other, dead, dried out selves and with this
I feel the washing away of man-made. I feel a baptismal flushing over every man-constructed roadway, we were not symbiotic with land so what amassed is releasing, christening concrete, carrying free radicals downstream, toxins of manbuilt frothing up a layer of foam, crashing against magnesium levees. This is a language we have yet to learn. Is it wrong to root for the river flowing? I am this bodycity, detoxifying. I am forgiven with its destruction, ashamed of the warming we cause
There are enough trees to build a boat around this earth and when we carve out the bark into planks of home, we can float ourselves out of here. Unravel the maps you’ve been hoarding beneath your tongue. Your spit is the lacquer that will lubricate the lacerations from this flood. Follow me out.
Over there, a bearded human of glowing heart proportions steers a metal animal with rubber limbs and engine steam. Calls out to the ones who cannot swim to jump in jump in jump in. Listens to blue lips, lies down on blue shag of alone, takes time to heal. Another sits wide open, familyless, exposed in his empty room. The sky may be one giant cape to cover up what we’ve done but even the clouds cannot help but weep when reminded of this devastation.
so weep your creeks further, wider, over more than man-made, across aroma of Nebraskshit, 1800 miles to curly stoop made of crowned sediment and rooted in I-am-here I-am-here I-am-here (for you). Your water is biblical so wash away indents of childhood, remind us, we are the sacristy, the rooms which hold sacred vessels. Remind man-made of heart-made, of lying down in floods of reflection and loving it; remind us that these are the moments we should never forget