What is the language of their stare? It is tent-like, encompassing shards of split apart bodies. Only certain parts are devoured.

There is a mathematical equation to the dialect of these men. And some of them grope and attempt to take cells off women. Pieces of shoulder and whatever juts out becomes fair game.

These men enjoy the scent of flesh fondled by wind and summertime sweat. Perfume can be a gateway drug. So can lipstick and ribcages that exhale.

These men lick their lips as though the ones they seek out are meals. They rub hands together– creating a friction– like knives sharpening. These glares are weapon-like.

When will they pounce and will they ask first or will they take and will they wash their fingers before probing.

These men speak in clicks and teeth rub. A universal dialect of disrobe. There is an assumption of permission.


And then there are the men who are hybrids. Composites of the earth…of various genders and rhythms…those who transcend what we are used to.

I have met only a few of these men. Men who ask before taking. Men who are intellectuals and deep-thinkers. Men who raise children to be poets. Men who are queer or gender warriors.

One I call Dad. One I called lover. One I have recently reconnected with who challenges my heart and mind in remarkable ways.

I walk beside a painter. We travel the busy blocks of Brooklyn during a festival celebrating a particular culture and its music and cuisine. I watch the men eat their way toward those who pass. One grabs onto a woman’s strap and pulls her toward him. My body is enraged. The painter tells me that this is what happens in their culture.
Unfortunately, it is permissible, she adds.
I walk with bag of dirty laundry held captive in giant blue bag. Three men call out to me. Hey, Red. Roots of rage grow fierce as I assume they are working toward inappropriate thoughts or gestures. Instead, when I speak to them, they look at me as though I am just a human, rather than a particular gender. We talk about poetry and one of them recites a poem he memorized when he was young and living in Michigan. The other comments on the yogurt I am eating. Does that have fruit in it? I hear that’s really good.  And the third man tells me he is a graphic designer; I can help you with any cover art when your books come out, he says.
There are more than just two genders out there and within the ones we (think) we know best, there are so many deviations. The men who take and take and grab and harm are out there. But so are the ones who take you to garage sales as a kid and remind you the importance of storytelling and old time radio shows.
There are the ones who aggressively feast on women and there are the ones who ask permission before touching your hips and kissing their way in.
I am beginning to learn the importance of the delineations between these men. Some are poets. Some are teachers. Some are brothers. Some used to be women. Perhaps there is a need to be open to those who may surprise us because those are the ones who may have the power to teach us to look beyond the ones who haunt……


when the words forget to come, scrape body against some graffiti

Sometimes, NYC subways travel above ground and when this happens, the darkness of tunnels is replaced by stretched out buildings, rooftops and the carefully sprayed graffiti tags dying buildings from brick to illumination.

As I travel from Brooklyn to Manhattan to Long Island City, my hazel takes in one of my favorite sites: the protected art of graffiti masters called 5 Pointz. Colors climbing into their brightest hues. The aliases of brilliant spray painters. Rappers immortalized. Women wearing…their nude or flaunted curvature. Poetry. Lyrics. This is art in its finest moments because it is alive on these buildings.

Graffiti is controversial, but it is where Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring began. Find them now at MOMA or fancy gallery in Chelsea.

It spans continents and socio-economic classes, and graffiti’s history is just as exquisite as its imagery: born in prehistoric cave paintings. Some languages even grew inside the womb of graffiti. Through this art, we have knowledge of other cultures and traditions. It’s how we have documented war and memorials.

So, when I am trapped inside cylindrical transporter called subway train and I am searching for words to suck on because I just finished reading another book and I have no snacks left in my backpack, I look up for a moment and breathe in the fumes of this art.

This is when the words exhale.

sunday times

Keith Haring

Stand too close to a Keith Haring and wait for the swallow.Build a bridge with question marks and flaps of skin.Pray in Italian and see if it means more. Engage in a conversation about the representation of darkness on bodies. Eat a slice of cake made out of despair and nude bodies. French kiss Rodin statue too tall to reach and challenge its boundaries. Walk inside the worry of a wound. Search for the missing head of Cybele. Unfold kneebone. Climb on top of painted reflection, push out push out push out subliminal skeleton. Present table top with split ends and empty bowls. Say a prayer before bingeing on nothingness. Place various historical women’s vaginas on hand-embroidered place settings and decide which ones look most appetizing. Reimagine religion through tar and plastic bags. Call out muse against the magnified hole built into front door reimagined in a painting. Find out where meat comes from, then lick up the trail of blood left from the source. Coat body in chalk/ Stand on head/ Wait for the ache of brain swallow. Place art and sin in alphabetized columns. Organize filth. Request a receipt when purchasing animals, artifacts and love. Remove baby from cartoon-drawn woman’s pixelated womb. Dare the body to promote silence.

photo by Chiharu Shiota.

Happy Birthday, Charles Bukowski.

Charles Bukowski sips wine like glass shard woman

Charles Bukowski sips wine like glass shard woman

That woman screams out her name from my mouth.

I do this sometimes.
I don’t watch videos or look at pictures to push out an orgasm.

I think of words.
Shaped as women.
Letters shaped as skin.

She pushes her lips together like they are too heavy for her face.
Her teeth are perfectly straight line-up of criminals waiting to bite me away.

Women, Charles.

I am trying to get away from them.

I left the country with passport and two backpacks and folded clothing and empty notebook and extra ink and I just needed to find my way out of these women.

Their smell.

The salt and vinegar. Smell of nail polish remover or mascara. Grease and leather.

You like the pretty ones. The ones with inches against their heels.

I like the girls who look like boys. The dirty ones.
The ones who confuse men like you or challenge men like you or put men like you out of commission.

Oh, women.

I think about the one who dipped me in the Pacific and covered me with shells and dried kelp.
Or the one who never owned a bed, preferred bathrooms and barrooms and dance floors and car parts like hood or roof and alleys and brick wall blankets. Those women.

Women with wrists tied up like elliptical gifts.

Hair, sometimes enough to pull on or that stubble that scrapes or what gets shaved away that slides beneath me.

I left so I could write, Charles, because their sex is too distracting.

You and I, we are supposed to be alone, with occasional bouts of bodies releasing us toward our next poem.

They think I am capable of love, Charles.
Can I send you on over?
Can you let them know how we are?

That woman kisses an erection onto me.

* * *

My nudity is alarming at times.

Bruises form and I forget to ask why.

I used to be hairless.
All those men and women like that, you know.
They hate the challenge of hair.

Don’t want your pubes in my teeth, she says.

My cunt hides now, which I like because sometimes I don’t want it there.
Sometimes I want a different shape or Latin classification.
Not a mammal but a reptile. Or amphibian maybe.

Those women popped your pimples with their manicured press-on nails, with their crooked, nicotine teeth. They never asked you to stop being ugly. And if they had, you would have just sent them to get more beer.

That woman blinks slowly enough to translate the wind pattern of clouds.
She moves over me like a wave of grunts.

I fake three orgasms in seven different languages.

I yearn to grow hairier, to challenge her digestive system.

I order up another round of poems, place them beneath my body and use the still-wet ink as lubricant.

When I look outside my window, Charles, I see only the tops of trees.
Everything is dark, yet the sky is plum.

Yours in whiskey and women,