dear lidia.

Dear Lidia,

I am bloodied.

He asks, “Paper or plastic,” and I choose noose.

Dear Lidia,

Somewhere between page five and the end, you mishandle my organs; I’ve put up four dozen MISSING posters all over Brooklyn in search of my lungs.

Dear Lidia,

My genitals have relocated themselves to my wrists behind misspelled tattoo and fourteenth scar. I rub them against humans shaped as time machines traveling me away from here.

Dear Lidia,

That photograph.

Dear Lidia,

How many ways can a child die and still breathe through teeth.

Dear Lidia,

I’ve lost track of all the mattresses which turned into monsters.

Even with all that flailing, I still count bed sores.

Dear Lidia,

The painter.

Dear Lidia,

That gun.

I’ve got a bullet hole beneath my right knee from that time that time that time.

Dear Lidia,

I’ve hemorrhaged out your ISBN.

Someone should have cradled my tongue before I castrated it.

Dear Lidia,


Dear Lidia,

The one with eyes, color of my childhood lampshade or emerald.

Dear Lidia,

The Vietcong man with the mosaic’d brain.

Dear Lidia,

My mother.

Dear Lidia,

Me, dressed as Charlie Chaplin, age 8.

Dear Lidia,

The photographed soldiers near Brooklyn Bridge, wearing masks to cover the missing in their faces.

Dear Lidia,

Each time I took my clothes off I became less of an onion and more like a shallot.

Dear Lidia,

How many languages speak the same version of ‘no’ and yet I an never quite master the accent on the right syllable.

Dear Lidia,

The writer.

There was that time that time that time that time.

Dear Lidia,

There is no such thing as a happy ending, even when giving a happy ending.

Dear Lidia,

The filmmaker.

Dear Lidia,

How to love.

Dear Lidia,

The womb.

Dear Lidia,

How to heal what rots what blooms.

Dear Lidia,

Did I ever tell you that I title my blood, war, because my body is in battle and yes, my cells rent their hunch to soldiers looking to punish my gender.

Dear Lidia,

I just. Can’t be. Girl. Anymore.

Dear Lidia,

I prefer to bag my own groceries because then I can understand the weight of ingredients and then it will be my city scum on potatoes and collard greens and then I will be reminded of all the ways

one attempts

to live.

day 17: persist.

“I have brushed my teeth./ This day and I are even.”    ― Vera Pavlova

You were absent that day.

You were absent that day there was a filmstrip on how to get through all this.

You were absent that day they taught about blood, bodies, growth spurts and persistence.

You were absent that day they explained how to survive an internalized attack.

You missed out on a presentation on safe oxygen intake.

You never learned how to properly handle life.

You often forget to wash your hands because no one advised you on this.

You haven’t owned a hairbrush in over a decade. You have more knots on your head than historical dates memorized and there was that time you were kissed and they could not remove their finger from your tangle.

You only look both ways when crossing a street if there is something that catches your attention both ways. You forget about stop signs and traffic lights because, again, you were absent that day.

You were absent that day they talked about appetite reduction and strength training and the appropriate presentation of genders. You’ve experimented with dresses and hair barrettes. You still do not know how to wear lipstick. Must I remind you, you were absent that day.

You were absent that day they handed out invitations. And your address was never correctly marked and they misspelled your name.

You were told it was epic. You were told that filmstrip addressed every topic you always wondered about. There was no Internet back then; you could not google the answers.

The next day everyone was quoting it. You were absent; have you forgotten? So you stood, silently cradling the wall with your hips and curved spine. You tried to memorize the summaries but everyone spoke too softly to be remembered.

You had stomach flu or a test the next day, one of which caused you to be absent.

The one and only day you remain home during school hours is the one and only day they taught it.

There was no make-up day to watch it.

Some say that filmstrip no longer exists.

Some tease that it never did and that day you were absent was nothing special; you are just looking for a reason to understand not knowing.

you remember when our bones were just a slideshow to the rest of us

Thank you to the wonderful storyteller and poet, Phillip Giambri, for videotaping this performance celebrating the new anthology, The Understanding Between Foxes And Light” published by the NYC press: great weather for Media.

It was a warm Sunday at the Parkside Lounge in New York City on August 28, 2013 and love was slung within the chords and poetics of dug-out memories.

Purchase this fantastic anthology now!


light can be turned on just like a body

There is no sound to it. Fingers pinch handle of light or body and illumination arrives. This is on. There is stimulation of sight as visibility fills in the cracks of dark. When hands learn the hips of another, shadows scatter and suddenly the entire earth is turned on. Electric. Decorative. Emotional. The tic of seizure’d fingers carve out the light from a body. The twist of charged particles. Thrill of power lines replace veins. Shock. Accumulation of hours from charging. Correspondance of wattage. Jolt of fire from  bulb or belly or breastbone or behind earlobe. Choice of dim or scream. Push of color from mood or bruise. Blur of contour. Murky twists shaped into wall from hoisted bones. Call this lamp or sex. Name it fluorescent or foreplay. It is track lighting; it is excessive and blind. This is sun; this is lava; this is the reflection of your tongue against the puddle of my throat. This is radioactive; this is neon and plasma; this is the composition of carbon … of gleam … of moon … of torched anatomy.

to recall/ to regret/ to leave behind

There was nothing. There were no gasps or grunts from pain there was no pain. MOON follows you home because no one else desires so there is light there is light there is shape to this survival. MOON could only be your lover if you let go if you let go of regret of the restriction in your bend in your height in your existence as stationary. This love this love is unreachable. When did it happen. When did the moment occur when memories moved into billboards and shadows leaned against bicycle wheels and that time that time some other ghost pushed their way in and life is full of hauntings.

You leave behind sleep. Hunger. The sex of your body. You change your locks so that your hips forget where to come home to. You hold your hand because it feels lonely and pockets are so dark and looming. You kiss your wrist with dry space. Your veins have collapsed. Where is the blood where is the blood even your blood is gone.

Sometimes you know how to be human. You know all about manners and rhythm. You understand what words mean and the ones you never learned you ask another. You never brush your hair but you breathe. You remember climbing trees in August and that one that held you in a forest in Brooklyn to keep you here to keep you here.

(you must) Remain.

evaporation of gender

{ saran wrap elastic stretch it out it away it gone / he is it she is it we are it / culture the clog of words or remedy or how to convince the others when the discourse hasn’t dried / dress neck tie shoulder stiff belly cut wrists cut hair cut / claim childhood on tax forms let go of pinkbluepinkbluepinkbluepinkblue / blood is blood is universal so gather up your shards of evidence and crack it open and let the yolk peel the paint off of minds marred by disjointed historical novels / no one no one no one ever asks the others to come out as normal what is normal / no one no one no one ever questions preference for wearing black over bluepinkbluepink / }

utilize question marks

circle other because we need to make room for what fits between the choice

be inconsistent

make space for languages to be ripped apart because we are wild we are wild we are wild beasts and let’s see what art we can create by the hybrid forms we are

a tale of two jennifers

Beneath a plastic wrapped swingset. On my bed in a basement in New Jersey. Tall and thick. Strong and thin. Shaved. With moustache. From Freehold. From the Bronx. One was heterosexual. One was newly queer. One is married now (perhaps). One transitioned (I wonder).

I tend to write about my first time but never the third time or the last time or the time that never happened or the time I still think about or the time that almost ruined me.

How have I evolved in this sex life and how many of them still think about me or our time together.

I have no idea where they are– even in this world of constant knowing of where everybody is and what they are eating– so I will guess or gather enough words to create a story in my head.

Two Jennifers– one almost after the other– plus the one I never got to because her lips preferred boys’. This particular Jennifer bared her back to me one day on route nine when we were feasting our flesh on needles and ink. Her boyfriend purchased her a fairy and I called myself a woman on my lower back with a circle and cross.

I loved her before I even knew what that meant because in those days queer existed in banned library books and in closets. There were no clubs, only bullies lurking in cafeterias.

Years later, I’d find her, briefly before she got lost again. Behind bars. Locked up.

The Jennifers led to a queue of others: women, some whose names I memorized, some of which I never needed to learn. The Jennifers led me to my first orgasm, experienced far later than I care to explain. The Jennifers introduced me to french kissing and fingering and fondling above and below clothing.

After the Jennifers, I found love several times. Each time growing bolder and thicker and LOUDER.

Sometimes I wish I could find both of them. Let them see me without the smoke and inebriation. We could write a poem together, share a meal. We can scratch each other’s bodies with hieroglyphics–translated into SOS signs. They may be surprised I stopped drugging and I may be surprised they both practice heterosexuality now.

There was that time. Neither of them were there, but the smell of their memory was. In that state I never thought I’d travel to. In a tent or on a mountain or maybe we were straddling a rented mattress or eating a burrito or perhaps reading Sexton or shivering melodies or burrowed in a sleeping bag or hiding out from agendas or letting go of gender roles in a sulphuric cave.

And everything I had learned from the Jennifers– and the ones who followed soon after– no longer mattered. Because bodies steeped in (real) love let go of choreography and you know it’s real when there is silence. No moans. No dirt speak. Just crickets or dog bark or toenail scratch against ankle or yelp from the good pain.

Maybe it’s best we lose track of people because memories cannot remain static if we are FACEBOOK friends, chronicling lives through stalked computer screens. I like remembering the Jennifers as how they first looked to me. Young. Because I was. New. Because everything then was. Real. Because even if I’m the only homo left, our bodies created music created lessons created history. Even if just for me.

an engagement with apologies

I’m sorry to arrive at a rumor with exposed fascia and crutches.
I’m sorry I’ve grown an aversion to the scent of your voice.
I’m sorry I ate the leftovers of oxygen and sewing needles.
I’m sorry for the grey intruding on my red and the need to bleach bleach bleach.
I’m sorry my knee is unwashed yet eloquent in its demand for summarized empathy.
I’m sorry you feel the need to hide your diet of dairy, gluten and cardboard boxes.
I’m sorry I still think of you right as I’m about to fake an orgasm.
I’m sorry the tree outside my window has faded posture and sap envy.
I’m sorry about the time I asked you to stop loving me at a diner in Western Massachusetts and that song came on that often infiltrated 80’s movies and then you handed me a bag of all the things I ever gave you minus that anthology of Latin American literature.
I’m sorry those people got stabbed on the J train.
I’m sorry about all those scars you find distracting on my forearms and the invisible ones on my hips.
I’m sorry about your fear of heights, spiders and middle aged white men.
I’m sorry you only call me when it’s a holiday.
I’m sorry about that time.
I’m sorry about your childhood.
I’m sorry I snuck inside your evening, stole a piece of your smile and left the reek of my secrets.
I’m sorry it had to end that way.
I’m sorry it hasn’t quite ended.
I’m sorry your beard distracted me & the way your small hands didn’t approach me made me want to approach you.
I’m sorry my gender confuses you.
I’m sorry I prefer sports bras to push up and itch.
I’m sorry I think about my vibrator when you touch me.
I’m sorry about preservatives and peanut allergies.
I’m sorry you’re sick.
I’m sorry you feel the need to document everything to remind people you are alive.
I’m sorry I stopped speaking to you.
I’m sorry you hate me in that way.
I’m sorry dogs don’t live longer than humans.
I’m sorry stamp prices went up.
I’m sorry your train was delayed.
I’m sorry your coffee wasn’t warm enough.
I’m sorry I didn’t come.
I’m sorry you don’t get my poetry.
I’m sorry you thought I was interested.
I’m sorry you took the time to read this.

what it means to be a pro

I sat. Every week for two months in a room which was home to a university I wish I had gone to. I stared at other humans who shared the rhythm of my story. At one time, we had all been in similar rooms, moving our bones in similar ways. And for these weeks, I wrote.

I wrote about parking garages; I wrote about love; I wrote about sex; I wrote about gender. I wrote about writing these snapshots out of me. My words became the strongest bar of soap, cleaning me out.

People want to know what it means to be a writer. What it means to call myself other sometimes. What it means to say non-pro. What it means to be a poet. What it means to be queer. What it means to be human what does it mean to be human.

For all of these, I am still figuring it out.

At the end of our time together in this intimate workshop, we gathered up our pages and they magically (with the help of many talented folks) grew a spine, table of contents, ISBN and a title. Our words birthed itself into a book.

pros(e) was published through the Red Umbrella Project. These are (some) of our stories.

So I’m in a book, does that make me a pro? I meet people everyday, some I actually talk to. Some I just breathe in through observation and eavesdropping. I digest their stories and the sounds of their bones cracking into sentences and songs. Their bodies are books without the blatant table of contents and index. We are all pros just from moving each day.

You crack a part of your body open and blood arrives and a wound and scar and all that is a chapter. You fall in love with someone you weren’t supposed to but it happens and each day you kiss, you slam paintings and orchestral music into each other’s mouths. This becomes a prologue or interlude or footnotes.

We are all books. We are all writers. The words have stained us and some choose to leave smudges alone, while other’s choose translation. Regardless, the words exist.

So…..write it. Or blow it into an instrument. Or smear it onto a stretched canvas. Or cook it into a meal. Or impregnate it into your lover’s body. Or fold it into a paper airplane and send it on over this way.