26 December 2011

Fake

"All together, all alone," rubber bands cutting off the circulation, each digit more numb, only good for counting. Tying rubber bands around my throat, only good for counting.

20 November 2011

Barbra in Shadow - My New Chapbook

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Post Title

Ashtray beauty
near-sighted,
dreaming with images
upside down
and steeped slowly.

Now welcoming
pepper spray--
now honoring
Halloween coupons,
breakfast at Big Boy.
Break fast for the daily news.

White pages, blank screens,
red iris after a flash bulb,
red iris after a flash mob,
red iris after pepper spray,
democracy in action,
inaction.

With broken teeth,
the country smiles.
The cunt smiles:
a template for our disease.
Let us pray. Let us fast.
Break fast away from peace.

19 September 2011

Vandal

Windows broken
with arms hooked in mouths,
only catching a fever.
Headache like an anchor,
dreams are shadows, ghosts.
"What was that line again?"

Shiny skin serves as a beacon,
Brian Wilson on the radio.
Clothed in nothing but anger
palms wipe mouthcorners, lies.
The rock ended up
on the other side of the room.
"Oh, yeah; I traded that sign for a paperback."

29 August 2011

August 29

Worms create veins and capillaries in the earth, prolong resistance, mirror elegance, and yet they are easy to ignore.

For two years, maybe three, the same dance occurs underground: weaving channels, intersections, points of frustration.

Make room for more earth, no stopping. At least air is part of the mission, life cradled in cynical wonder, blind faith coddled, coded, in patterns.


22 August 2011

Sunday at the Twilight Diner

don't mind me
coffee refills, chunks of sugar

that won't dissolve like
gaps in the timeline

mediating soundscapes
how they influence flavor

and how they press themselves into

the corners of my mouth

no change for a twenty
no change for a year
feasting on the night
dissolving

the gaps in my memory




you leave crumbs on the placemat
I wipe mine clean
absent nostalgia, like narratives
pieced together
breaks in conversation

19 July 2011

July 19

a light is kept,
pressure cooked:
a sliver or
an edge of violence

uncorked,
syllables bubble:
a festive brew
of tired feelings,
true, sharp, but drunk
like the bees savoring
hot
fermented apples from
swollen ground

this is summer:
an effigy of recalled births,
songs lodged in dizzy cells

we coax out something positive
and as it swerves, it stings whomever is nearest

29 June 2011

June 29

redirecting
broken links,
memorized
phantom visits,
relationships
in code, scrambled

by the way,
the dialect,
the jargon
is scrambled,
repaired

add a location,
physical shadow,
outline the abandonment,
underline in blue

where fingers stretch
to meet wires,
spliced, multiple digits
are sore

tired keys, letters rubbed
clean, we blindly interpret,
translate, memorize
what truth we fold
in circuits

28 June 2011

June 28

with metrophobia
a headache is an excuse
to leave early
not enough money for a cab

muted television
no telling, just vision
is better than whispering
through pornography
better than draining
the line break of pus

we know more than the traffic
can carry, more than the wires
can vibrate
lacking punctuation we are free
to skip patterns of abuse, misuse

we are free to walk home,
change jingling in heavy pockets
avoiding drivers
grateful for the randomness of rain

22 June 2011

The Teacher

wise words
sun-stiffened
like the fur
on the deer
by the road

wet cheeks
every night
hating to face
the window
hating
to be horizontal

a rock, an asteroid
by the small
of her back
a push, a burn where
she cannot reach

wise words
the morsel lodged
in her windpipe
wise words
a quill stuck
in a head wound

wise words carved
cursive incision
deciding
with long syllables
self-pity, finality
a selfish desire for life

13 June 2011

Frustration

Template of a storm, clouds
whirling like a fingerprint,
leaving traces of numbers
and letters behind: the traction
of waiting, the rise
and fall of temperature matching
the rise and fall of his chest,
a small quake by the jaw
as it seizes breath.
Love notes are always
too short and dripping.
Old words are drizzle, not hail.

28 May 2011

May 28

Smiles, obligations,
pieces for peace.
Silent strangers
wait in disjointed lobbies,
mazes of hallways.
She couldn't wait--
line, disconnected.

Faint lilac outside,
donations in lieu of flowers.
Wave goodbye to imaginary faces,
daisy centers, manes of petals.
She cannot read the verse on the page,
burning sight, make-up in her eye.

Who is acting? She asks.
She is ignored,
petals brown, clinging.
In lieu of flowers,
bring hands to hold,
pettiness for keeps.
Silent strangers always.

24 May 2011

One Song

tightly
a tape rewound slightly with a pinky finger
just one song and
we can get out of the car

he says
"Are you OK?"
I say no

thunder doesn't clap; it echoes
words slicked over, beading

tightly
squeeze my trigger
one more song

ingest, gulp sour, tongue roasting--
trigger happy, trigger sad, all triggers--
I sit in the car, imagine the thunder is him
leaving, talking to himself

the door is ajar

09 May 2011

Point B

Waking is the bridge. There's always a split second between dream and wake in which you forget. You always forget. Sometimes, the orientation changes. You thought you were facing a different wall, in a bedroom you had ten years ago. Instead, you wake up here, dizzy. What happened to the drawings on the wallpaper, clumsy scribbles of UFOs and Mommy's face: caveman stories, written by child-you? Miles between here and there: a sloppy, cartoonish bridge laid between the points. Those walls don't exist the same way. Someone else's drawings may be covering yours now. Or maybe the wallpaper is blank, uncorrupted. And yet, here you are, waking up and noticing the cables, the traffic, then finally, the point B.

08 May 2011

Awareness

Skin wrinkles, swells
because of water
it holds.
A reminder written,
marker ink
on a palm crease,
next to the life line:
no ID, just
"Pick up Rx."
Plans imbed themselves,
make nests.
Rain comes, spreads
the news.
She floats facedown, fresh.
Whispers carry pigeons in flight.
Awareness, our triumph, our burden.

01 May 2011

May 1

Oh, nomad. Oh, hunter.
They celebrate in the streets.
They use terms like "jubilation,"
but I hear no trumpet sounding,
only an echo of a voice,
a facsimile of truth.
Oh, murderer. Even Shakespeare
had boundaries.
Every dog begs for scraps.
Amongst them are cats who don't care.

Lineage

Going coastal is not the same as going postal, but sometimes, the feelings mirror one another. You see your reflection anywhere and your face is your mother's or father's. The hairline is the same, as well as the thoughtful crease. This time, the reflection's in water, something unstable yet constant, contradictory in its existence. Snapping out of the trance involves effort, but no more than the fish provides, no more than the whale. No more than the letter on its journey to your home right now, fighting waves of a different sort, hoping to not get lost in an undertow of other notes and postcards. And my hope rides along with it, from one end of the country to the other. I want you to see it, even if it can't answer your questions, just so you can recognize yourself again, trace the origins of your love, a lone pebble on the sand.

30 April 2011

Good Friday

mama earth
swollen in the right places--
wind fingers stroking
new seeds planted.
tender are faces that surface,
new and fresh.
somebody told me angels cry
on good friday.
do sunflowers greet the tomb?

these ideas--
love, baby's breath,
lack the esoteric.
minds are stormy that way,
strangling the night
out of the windows.
if only hearts weren't tombs.

12 April 2011

Afraid of Boys

His name was Adam. He was around my age. He lived a few doors down from my grandmother, in a small, yellow house. My sister and I would play with him and another mean boy named Nick. We never legitimized why we played with them, because they were violent and cruel to us. We played with them because they were the only children around, not because we actually liked them.

Adam would dare us to do things we did not want to do. Once, we jumped into a dirty pool in front of him and other adults, because we were intimidated and did not know how to react. Another time, he spray-painted my sister's new dress, that she had just received as a birthday present. And on yet another occasion, he pushed me down, lifted my skirt, pulled down his pants, and rubbed his penis on my panties. He then tried to rub it on my mouth. He was obsessed with his penis, with peeing on fences, with flashing it to people. He would laugh and give passers-by the middle finger.

His name was Adam, and he was the reason why I was afraid of boys. He and his friend Josh made fun of me in school. They called me "Cow," and mooed when I walked past them to turn in my math homework. To mess with them, I willingly dressed as a cow for Halloween in third grade. My teacher had dressed up, too, and we both got our pictures taken for the local newspaper. I posed mouthing the word, "moo." I confused my classmates with this behavior, with my getting bigger and laughing loudly and playing off by myself at recess, by the fence that separated the old factory from the school, the boundary between adulthood and childhood. I played alone because I felt safer that way. And, truth be told, I am still afraid of boys.

07 April 2011

Maria

Her shimering face had no teeth. She only dabbled in mystery, sent smoke signals, and often forgot to be angry.

"Why did you draw up such an elaborate plan?" I asked her. "Don't you understand your own breath?"

But her face faded into the soft, and her shadow traced a memory I couldn't see. She became an orange light bouncing in the dark, following a path she found strange.

I tried to see her eyes, but they were gone.

06 April 2011

It's a shoegaze kind of day, caps lock--our limbs
are fridge-cool, numb from poking.
We suddenly stare at a little light
in the back--not at an exit sign,
but that's how it translates:
how the image rearranges,
once upside down,
once,
the reflection in spoons.
Our disorientation is a warning label--
even though it's obvious, we need
a reminder, that small voice rattling.
We are faithful and abstract,
the crazy and the stupid. We make animal noises,
clawing at what makes sense, the contours of the intimate.
Keeping our heads down, we become the possible.

16 March 2011

Let us compare notes, compare answers,
jot down first impressions, measures of dysfunction.
Who is guiltiest of what?
Who can be charged for what crime? Too late is too late.
The jury isn't out because there never was a jury.
And that's the twist. No one has judged you,
ashes blown into the sea. We are threadbare,
a testament of obscurity.
While you die slowly, we carve
memories into the bones,
fingerpaint our confusion.
Your conscience is annoying but
at least you think it's clean.
These are the measures of dysfunction.

24 February 2011

Home Turf

I.

This field is hoping for a quick soliloquy--make the cameraman tear-up, then stop shooting. It's supposed to rain today anyway. It's not like anyone can tell what streaks their faces or paints the trees.

II.

"Write from the perspective of a piano, a stone, a different inanimate object. Write from the perspective of a Nazi, a timebomb, someone who is alienated, who needs some cookies or perhaps some cloudy weather."

III.

I like it when words form shapes in mid-air, each letter having personhood, personality. I can't picture numbers; I picture the word for that number instead, and yet they call that a learning disability.

IV.

"Pick a box, any box. Now choose an item in that box. Describe what it looks like, how it feels, its carbon atoms. Make it quick, for the ground is impatient. It thinks you're trying to own it again. Anyway, document what happens between molecules in matter and how the question, 'What's the matter?' can't be translated in French. Try to sympathize with the water. Try to sympathize with abandoned trains, weeds growing around immobile wheels, rust composing their path."

15 February 2011

We fail when we're literal:
blisters on the pavement,
pockets trapped
in ice, in glass,
in suspension.
Even our grieving is polite,
only a suggestion, until we thaw.
No one is an angel; no one joins
other angels, wrapped in hope,
glowing bandages.
We are all afraid, we have regrets,
and we lie until blisters form,
surrounded by blood, our denial of ego.
When she asked if I believed in God,
I thought better than to answer.
Answers do not matter.
We fail when we're literal.
I am careful to avoid breaking skin,
because even flesh is more certain
than the stillness of winter,
the layers of ice protecting no one,
reinforcing nothing
except suspension.

06 February 2011

as a pendulum does

The lights go out. Caring is a dim bulb.
We do it for profit, not so that anyone will read.

A careful hint ignites, electricity for ice.
She is on a separate plane. She is plain heading for trouble.

Pills are shrapnel, poking the inside walls, tearing.
A thought is a place, and any place is sacred.

But decisions have to be made, have to surface in the shallow
well of a throat, tiny plastic boats, precious cargo.

Your kiss is the harbor, but the lights went out.
Where is the lighthouse?

10 January 2011

What'll It Be?

woman, named so
because she is a hu-
man with a womb--man,
named so because
he is without one.
no prefix. no need,
unless he's super
or delivers envelopes.

all hues looking for a suffix,
a binary, a fine line, the last
chromosome defined.
that's what we hang on--
the royal we, nails and fur,
because it's all about
the pink and blue,
nurture's cadence,
the soft question.