Wait: because there is a promise her innards will speak

Begin in a place with no end
ask because no one knows they should
now because history grows sore on her feminine and there needs to be a remedy


One morning she woke up and spoke, “The most dangerous parts of me.”

Gather belongings: thighs, fragmented collarbone, cleaved lips, fingerprints, clumps of hair, dangling clitoris, breasts almost hauled off body, nightmares, the leftover pills, one pair of underwear without hem or elastic, a needle bent and bleeding, three bandages without adhesive, a condom, extra sweater soiled and weary, loose change offering music while the clank of existence hums.

Her name is daughter. At fifteen, she replaced chewing with swallowing.

The rain came/
wind pushed against her bruises/
too late for a sex talk/


And then

a climb toward her highest window. She could not afford a security system so
there was breaking when he entered


skin grows resistant to carpet threads against kneecaps
push of circumcised erection against unclaimed cavity



Talk about the time he / when he cut / called whore / loaded infliction inside and

Talk about the time he / all doors locked and your bag was / he said he would blur out your face and only show parts for purchasing


Talk about the time your mother approached you like a business owner
I made you,” she said. “I gathered you for nine months. Now

(I) remember…

smoked cigarettes delivered in his mailbox
stroked the cancer that lay benign in his groin
slept against the indentation his wife made in king-sized mattress
swept up reticence while he stole several slices of her my being


Several months later,

Drank orange juice and threw it down her my throat to gag his tongue away.


And then

He said “It is because of men like me that women like you exist.”

He said “You don’t act gay. I can tell you like it.”
She I envisioned his small penis as an oversized clit and bit down on her my imagination


It is different.

It is different when you are white / when you have a mailbox and home to hide in / when your water is turned on and there is soap to suck on / when you can stop if you really want to / it is different when you start to tell people and they ask if you liked it / did you fake it / what does your boyfriend think / husband / what do you mean you’re queer / trans gender / was it painful / and they ask, was it fun / and they ask, did they make you feel good / did you feel good / do you feel /

The men never ask what book she I am reading or / if she I voted for the right person or
her my stance on war or /


She I just wanted to know what it would feel like to be feminine:
pigment of wax hair inching past shoulders distance from floor to feet lace


Someone recognizes her me from when she I . . . .

The next day, she I decide to stop
a reverse strip-tease


She I miss the instability of her my body.

one last time she I whisper

because she I cannot remember what happened the last time
because infection arrives once and then it lays dormant
because boredom is worse than being breathed against by strangers
because she I worry she I like it


The next day, she I sit at a desk and flirt with silence. She I break a muscle in her my thigh from clenching her my right and left together. Then, she I was asked to read a poem. She I was asked to make supper. She I was expected to balance a checkbook. She I was forced to fuck five men in a span of four hours. She I was pushed against bricks and asked to smile even when the blood escaped. She I was persuaded to use her my cunt as a cabinet; with limited space, the objects just kept falling out. She I was mistaken for a human. She I was kissed as though her my lips were clean. She I was held. She I was burned.

What does it mean to be kissed with an instrumental mouth?
to be asked may I continue
to be told beauty exists where trauma ends
an attempt at love
(and there is always an end to a beginning too strong to withstand memory)

Begin. (because we need a reason to understand/ (I need a reason to understand)

Begin with the sound of envelopes unlatching / no, a mother unclasping sanity from forearms and cigarette-distracted teeth / or when uncle hugged her so hard the sound of tearing became familiar / and the first inhale of stimulants / or when she was told masturbation was a crime, so she was already a criminal /


There is need for binding. to strap parts down that have been misplaced, mishandled, misunderstood. to place make-up on parts that are malnourished, malleable, monsterized. to channel first love and think of her/him/them. when being fucked by strangers, creatures, owners. to forget where home is. Moldova. Tel Aviv. Mother’s womb. Orphanage. New Jersey. Manhattan. Boulder. A home. Room. Closet. To understand the why: too poor, too pained, language barrier, body barrier, abuse, rent, for passport, for family, for food, for drugs, to exist…

When I was twenty-six or nineteen or thirty-two, I was a crime. I began inside a body and continue the burden of translation. Here is my reason: loss of/ addiction to/ disregard toward/ removal.

Today. Tonight. In more moments that fit inside a memorial service, I think about the doorknobs of strangers and the moments I may not have exited. I think about the parking garages. I think about the hotel rooms. I think about I think about when she stopped having sex with me because my body reeked. I think about I think about the interruption of orgasm with tear loss each time I try to touch myself. I think about I think about what lays dormant in me and the fear that I will go back to it. I think about I think about how orgasms anger my body. I think about I think about the stains, my skin a giant rorshach and I am trying to understand it. And I am trying to move beyond it. I think about I think about loss of friendships, inability to access normalcy, a need to remove the real from relationships. I think about I think about what I keep trying to cut out of me. I think about I think about all those showers I had to take all that soap sopping up the shadows on my skin. I think about I am thinking about I am thinking about forgiveness.

oh magnolia tree or a complexion of condoms glued to women’s wear

(Several) women ask me why I carry so many condoms in my pockets.

All I can say is:
It’s to make up for all the times I gave up on my body and ignored the need for protection.

The bad ones said:
I’m allergic
It’s just not the same with a rubber on
You’ll enjoy it so much more when skin is or tongue is or hard-on is against/inside skin

I want to feel the wrath of security
I want you to want to protect me

I want me to want to protect me

[My body grew rust
a machine without identity or negatives]

Ask me about control, how I perceive men now,
why I lock my doors and cunt at night
and padlock my thighs together



I woke up and spoke the most dangerous parts of me.

(I prefer sex when no one else is involved)

and you still want to touch this?

you ask

I ask

I sucked on soap and tinctures long enough to
un stain this body

just don’t look too long

for you,
I swallow latex
fifteen hundred pounds of condoms and dental dams
consume controlled pills of birth and un-tighten my vagina to fit seven diaphragms,
small rubber domes tailored for my tightness

I got a security helmet for my cervix
good for forty-eight hours
gutted a lamb to steal its intestines
so my body can broadcast its warmth and demonstrate sensations safely

my lips have been smeared with bleach to ensure you of their sterility

{ I exist/ how I want/ to exist/ now}

I counted two hundred and seventeen stars in the sky last night.
I may have lost count or
counted some twice,
but I wished on all of them anyway.

I wished for my flesh to peel like snake skin,
allowing cells a chance to start over.

I wished for an industrial-sized-titanium lock
to permanently block all entrances on my body
so no one could ever get in again.

I wished for love or
a translation of it.
Or the ability to allow it

I want to believe in magic, but
I always see the bulge beneath sleeves
against zipper strain



To the woman who does not own high heels.
Does not pace upon black pavement, cold street cornered posts with tall lights illuminating glow of buy-the-hour smile.
Knees high, laced toes.
Latex teeth already lubricated to save time and the awkwardness of asking.

To the woman who takes up space in carved desk chairs,
listening to lectures by dual-degreed professionals as the scent of student loans linger in the air.

To the woman who multi-tasks, splitting up studying time with secret identity of three hundred and fifty dollar eroticism,
with the add on tasks of swallowing childhood traumas.

To the girl who advertises as sexxxyseductress with triple x’s to represent her eagerness.
Painted as a GFE provider, specializing in DATY.
Stimulating senses no longer saved for special occasion.

To the woman shaking an extra sweet-n-low in her morning coffee,
creating that extra jolt of caffeine to get her through the day.

I am in this world and I am a feminist. Trying to be a humanist. Practicing to be human.
Believing in the secured rights and opportunities of all women equal to men.

All women. Loose women. Right-wing women. Left-wing women. Brown women. White women. Whores and high-class women. Homeless women. Welfare-women. Queer women. Transgender women. Pro-choice women.

I am in this world of pornographic mothers with dripping breasts. Trying to afford diapers and compensate for fathers who forgot what sperm can do. These women are not just dope fiends. Not just single parents, placing children in kindercare as they spread legs rented out by the hour to pay for heat and electric bill, not covered by welfare. Not just women of color, poor misused and forgotten statistics. Not just victims of foster care, runaways, victims of abuse, victims of alcoholic fathers who forget about the mothers and choose warm, virgin skin of daughters as secret alternative.

I am in this world full of violence. Prosecution of prostitution, without the education of alternative options.

I am in this world as a citizen. As a voter. As a body/microphone with breaths/poems pushed out.

I can be naked now
A continuance
Transcendence of
what this body is


A Poetic Response to NY State 3-Condom Law


before you take a step closer, think:
how informed you want to be

Current New York State Law is tangling with the number of condoms we carry.

Did you know this?

New York’s Three-Condom Law is their attempt to prosecute those carrying three or more condoms on the grounds that they are sex workers, in an effort to punish/jail prostitutes.

a silent dialect for those
unable to speak using the signs of
their body.

the scaffold of what is

you see these organs
this tongue hunched over
borrowed by the hour or night
you see this arm which wrangles neck and belt and tangle of of

you see these feet which curl
this hair you pull
you see this brain you forgot
you gut

you see this womb you rot
forget don’t ask

you make this scar
make them plural
you see this harm
this need

you see me right?

Aimee Herman

Criminalization of condom possession directly conflicts with New York’s longstanding policy of ENCOURAGING condom use.

state of new york taps these women
these men
these humans
on the shoulder
checks for evidence of prostitution
calls condoms:
evidence of prostitution
three or more found in pockets
noticed bulge of rubber sheath lambskin latex

with hands in metal cuffs
removal of breaths or rights
punishment for responsibility

Does she look like a sex worker?
What does a sex worker look like?

And how could you not ENCOURAGE her to put one on him
before he puts it IN her?

Since the early 1970’s women have vocalized their need for regulations against persecution for those who engage in sexual activities in exchange for monetary gain.

No Condoms as Evidence of Prostitution Bill is moving forward to eradicate this law, which punishes people for being sex positive in a safe manner.

Sex worker.
Or sexually playful.

There is a shape
plunged into mouth

It resembles—

A splinter.
A diagnosis.
An envelope of twenty dollar bills rolled up and
used to test gag reflex.

Her tongue is a plague and she does not use protection
you took it away from her, New York.

so she grows weary

modified cells
box of accidental gatherings

tiny humans growing on skin
an opposition
a blur

New York,
unemployment rate is rising
you steal these humans away for protecting their bodies

sometimes you test them out before
locking them up
and you wonder why these diseases enter our alphabet

I am responding to the growing epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases draining bodies into corpses

and if we start taking all the condoms away or those equaling more than two, then what
are we contributing to?

So, I’ve got these condoms.
Far more than three.

What does that make me now?