tell me again how to breathe.

“Love was a country we couldn’t defend.”  (G.A.I.)
All of this is just to say: pause. 

In this room called east, your oxygen will be guided from your nose. When ready, let it out through mouth. Stop. Remember the city behind your ribs. Breathe from there as well.

Channel the comma. There is balance as it tips its weight upwards. There is curvature; you can even address it as top-heavy. Give yourself room to interrupt the spaces that haunt you.

In this room called Brooklyn, you may run into panic. Channel the bicycle spokes that secretly live beneath your skin. Roll away. Climb mountains even when the land you walk over is flat. Pick flowers even in the Winter and instead of photographing, hand this stem of green and face of yellow to the first human you see. Breathe in the breaths they offer to you like invisible bouquets of carbon dioxide.

Now, this may not be as easy, but. Remain in this room called love. It is hardest to get out of and often includes a cover charge too intense to dig out of wallet. But you do. Because it is so deeply aromatic. Inhale that sandalwood. And ylang ylang. Press your tired, nervous thighs against this other. Stretch out numerics and reveal one thing that makes you bleed, one thing that guts the salt out of you and choose an adventure with this one, barefoot.

It is impossible to run very far when the calluses on your feet slow you down. So, slow down.

In this room called lonely, exist long enough to take a ticket. Rip it. Scoop up its entrails and throw away. Choose to be in love this time than surrounding its periphery.

But before all that or while, keep breathing. Walk in and out and in these rooms and inhale and exit and exhale. And remain. (You often forget that part.)

it’s been in *here* all along

Pay no mind to the dripping roots, which dangle from each limb. I’ve been dug up but I have some time left to search for a stretch of earth to replant myself in.

A beautiful woman named Audrey serves me a fresh-baked spiced muffin and cafe au lait. Tells me spirituality is everywhere. Calls me fire. Tells me that the poet in me is a fighter. I will give you a book, she says. And I’ll mark the spaces that you’ll want to read twice. This book will take a year to read. Maybe longer. Come back, she said. (As though she sensed my inner EXIT sign).

Young red-haired boy named Rainer asks me for my autograph at a secluded island where poets gather. In turn, I ask him for his. We curve the alphabet into each other’s notebooks and admire the spread of our names like a slow leak.

For several days in a row, the moon drips out of sky and saunters toward me. Tells me that monsters exist in hallways and dreams and some look like three-legged creatures and others masquerade as housemates. I house the moon’s glow within my pupils and between my fingers. I find that home is no longer attached to an address, rather housed inside my hips and the drips of my mind.

Human out yonder calls out to me through the wind. Curls their language into mine and we create long-distance music together. Another home: inside watchtower as we watch each other breathe through moments of remembering.

But if you leave, remember to leave a note. Remember that the poems on your flesh are not enough to explain all this. All along, these mailboxes and square footage have all been distractors. The real residence lays on your tongue. With each spoken word. With each admittance of pain or panic or promise or please.