the urgency of risk.

Dear Rebel,

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.

none of this will be remembered.

“Before one can experience feelings of grief or loss, there must have been a genuine sense of attachment.”  Dhillon Khosla

When I sleep, you visit. This is the only time. You grab my hand with forearm tattooed by rosary beads. You breathe your days into my neck which smells of Sunday morning church incense. You wrap your martial-arts-softball thick thighs around me like evening seat belt. You administer midnight medicine of your tongue, warmed all day by the oven of your mouth. You let me run my fingers through your hair, wild enflamed parentheses. You read me Neruda or the latest gender memoir. You tell me where I can’t touch you and then you touch me there. You extract all my salt hidden behind the window treatment of my eyes. You hear the loud footsteps of humans above us and the sirens outside my bedroom; you do not hear me mourn you. You remind me this is the last time. Final kiss on railroad track. Final shot of whiskey in bar so dark, I can barely find your freckles. You do not mention I will never eat the same again. You forget to remind me that there was always someone else who distracted your bones away. When I wake, you will haunt my breath. None of you will be remembered until I close my eyes.

an examination of collapsible tent or nomadic bone structure

There is no permanence when home is found in nooks of humans. If you call her a wanderer, then at least you are paying attention to the flap of lashes slowing down. Sleep here for a night. Here is defined by Pluto and that cold beast no longer exists so this is why you are sleep-deprived. And this is why you are bruised. A new woman with lap and highly educated tongue tries to court your childhood away. And maybe your queer is defined by who you spread your legs to but mine is defined by bookshelves and the way my brain gathers when I’m near them. Far from view, where only fires get a drift of that strumming pattern, a human searches for oars big enough to paddle through ocean of birds. Imagine winged water. Imagine salted teeth that heal with each bite. Yesterday, a man grabbed my arm in order to read the drip of skin that is unscarred. That reminds me, I cannot afford this, but there will always be nineteen cent noodles and edible mushrooms that grow in freezers and I can suck the sweat from my hair when there is no water left. Or faucet to receive it from. Or you can build a bridge with your newly gathered gender, strength of army. And although war may be collecting on the other sides of this, a body finally surrenders and walks alone toward the truth of what existed all along.



a howl of sleep

In the distance, a dog barks. It is 1 am. It is 3 am. Round it to 4 and then 5 and I wonder how long one can howl before sound is drained.

This is New York, I whisper. Why is no one yelling.

Where is its mother/father/owner? Does it hunger. Is it cold or too warm or fearful of the evening sting on its fur. Is it tied too tightly to fence or thirsty or in need of a meal. Is this dog howling for its mate?

I feel angry at this dog for taking my sleep away and yet I also recognize our kinship. I have been howling for months. One could argue: years. In search of. Hungry for. Longing. Lost.

When the dog breaks away from its noise, I worry. My body begins to settle back into sleep and then its bellow arrives once again. The cries extend longer. Louder. Deeper. There is desperation in each push of sound.

I had a lover who led me into an alley once and told me to scream.

It feels good to let out the screams stuck inside our bodies. And there is no warning attached to these yells or fear. It’s just one giant, screaming exhale.

Sometimes one needs to extend all the rage from the body– the screeching music– in order to move on and through a day or moment.

It is dark and I cannot differentiate one rooftop from another, but I still push my way through my tall window and hop onto the roof of the apartment below. It is a far jump, but my lack of sleep removes my fear of height/injury. The bricks are uneven and they become like a ladder, which allows me to climb down further. I follow the footsteps of this dog’s howl. I am getting closer. It’s like thunder–when you count to notice whether it is moving nearer or further away.

I am almost there, I say out loud.

The moon points through its neon and though the dog is more like a moving shadow, I know I am upon it. It howls. I howl. We mourn and cry and remove our body’s losses together. Our tones differ. Mine is less deep, but more desperate. We rarely permit ourselves to just let it out.

The sky fills with our wails and I feel like the air is hugging us. We are going to be ok.

In the distance, another noise joins in. Not a howl, but more like a yell.

Shut the fuck up! says an unseen voice.

The dog and I continue just a little while longer. There is comfort in the acknowledgment of our screams. When my throat begins to hurt and voice grows smaller, I begin my walk back. Up the bricks. Onto the roof. Through my window. Back to bed.


Stand still long enough.

Like a sedated snail, I attempt to take all of this in. Recently, I acquired a photograph of the largest sequoia located in Sequoia National Park in Visalia, California. Although captured in a picture, I still stretched my neck out to take all of it in. Just imagine maintaining your posture for 3,000 years. Now, visualize surviving fires, logging, and the infiltration of curious climbers. I complain when my morning writing routine is interrupted. Envision bursts of unexplained weather and flash photography.

We are electric in ways outside of the neon magic of fireflies. Our palms glow not from poems pushed into our life lines, rather the rectangular-shaped devices we’ve grown addicted to. Cell phones. Various versions of computers, laptops…even pads are no longer yellow with turquoise lines and paper cuts. Now, they may be plugged in too. Traveling home from a long day of work, I practice mathematics by counting each human plugged in to their chosen electronic devise.

When was the last time you stood still? And did you notice the curvature of that tree? The way its bark has peeled off in layers, offering a peak at its greenish skin. There are shapes in its flesh, far more interesting than that song you just downloaded.

When was the last time you collected leaves instead of phone numbers of people you are too busy to call anyway? I want to lie down in this soil, before it freezes over and it’s too late to scoop it all up and sprinkle it over me. Exhaustion slurps my cells, but I realize this sleepiness is connected to living. I forego an extra hour of sleep to poem. I challenge the midnight moon to a staring contest, rather than hiding inside my room and weeping against the confusion of my body.

And what is long enough? How do I know when it is ok to walk away? Away from that image of sunrise slurred against the sky like a drunk beauty. How do I know when I’ve looked at something hard enough with just the hazel of my eyes. The only lens between us are my glasses. No cameras are needed (sometimes).


I am staring. I am staring at you and you do not notice because you are staring at your cell phone. You are checking in to a place online, letting everyone know where you are without experiencing it in its live version. I want to kiss you but you are LIKEing something over a lit screen. I want to hold your hand, but it’s turned into something less human. It vibrates. It plays music now. It’s a map. The flesh is gone.


Memorize the scent of humanity in the air. Practice breathing with the rhythm of birds chirping or wind tapping. There is so much beauty to be found by unplugging oneself and recognizing the live-action photographs happening right in front of you. I put away that picture of the President tree and flirt with the one just outside my window. There are still a few leaves left on its skinny branches. It’s wide and so still. And in this moment, so am I.