21 December 2013

No Set Location

We are not too far from a train's low whistle, and our dreams are set in motion, carried by the past...

A cat is kneading painfully on my diaphragm. A woman complains in the background about her older brothers, one of whom makes jewelry for the local fishnetted sirens. It's Christmas, and the lights burn holes in our skulls as they zoom on by, blues and reds bleeding together to make purple, wishes and fears bleeding together to make truth. The cat has fleas, is licking his coat neurotically, and I'm minding my own business, wanting to wake up without a headache. Even the cat thinks I'm furniture, and I suppose I am: cozy leather, conveniently stuffed, matter over mind. It's the holidays, after all.

11 December 2013

On Migration

She gave us a medal; she gave us a map.
- Sufjan Stevens, "Jacksonville"

I am healthier now, clutching
a mirror in my mind, a leaf
between my teeth.
The river is full
of leeches, but I fly over,
balancing the fever
on one wing and confusion
on the other.
The river is a mirror,
and my face is a happy blur.



05 December 2013

Intuition

The day after our last fight, you told her that she was beautiful. She said that you were charming. It was probably then that you decided that gaining perspective was worth losing a "soul mate." It was after reading those words that I noticed you left me as much as I left you. The next week entailed a pinch of public humiliation and reassessing seven years of platitudes, over fried sandwiches and token gestures. You didn't consider the new girl yet, but you would eventually. The old one disappeared into herself, waved at you from afar, spoke in third person. The lies were woven tightly with truths, tendons and muscles. Those muscles stayed tight. I tucked myself in, sheets as taut as muscles, as resistant as the ache. The day I realized that my bed was unmade was the day I let you go.

09 November 2013

Tiny Humiliations

Signing multiple drafts, multiple petitions,
and the waves roll in, past my pen.
Thank God for these bones.
Because of them, I can stand
between the clouds and finish working.

She had a Mennonite name,
and it rang in my brain.
I almost mistook her name
for my own, but then my pen
was out of ink,
and my passions ran dry.

Will no one read these letters?
When we use words like "natural,"
we wish our bones
would soak-up the excess,
the fog above the water.



10 October 2013

Why I Booked a Hotel Room for the Weekend

After Coleridge.


It started with a fever and ended with a random drug search.

The start: Evidently, being exhausted can lead to other misfortunes, such as having a fever and a headache for the better part of a week, but there's nothing "better" about it, aside from the hot toddies, recommended highly by a new friend. Through a haze, I orchestrated a small presentation, involving a female-shaped portal and some sort of rodeo. I don't remember much. There was macaroni and cheese and delicious cake for dessert. My brain buzzed with activity and DayQuil.

On a separate day, let's call it the Thursday following, I wised-up and asked a silly question: "How am I doing?" That's when the collar tightened just a little bit. The answer was terrifying. I snarled, but only for a moment, and then I whimpered and understood. Shapes and figures, numbers and codes were as much a part of my programing as words. The template is rough, but that's what grad school is for. Weaknesses -- even if they are clinical and sterile, blossoming from the certainty of diagnoses -- are just challenges, invisible little steps. I don't need procedure and law to protect me when I have these bootstraps, which come in handy for pullin' myself up. Obviously. And when I scampered to my vehicle, which I had parked ten minutes before it was permitted, I was surprised to discover that, lo and behold, it was time to receive my first parking ticket. 3:50 PM is nowhere near 4:00 PM. I should've known better, but then again, numbers allude me.

Finally, I reached my destination. My emotions were threadbare, but I knew I'd be OK. Friends helped. Samuel Adams helped. And three short hours later, I was on my merry way. I didn't hear the sirens behind me, because I'm slightly hard of hearing, and also because, as the children proclaim, the jams were cranked. It had been seven years or thereabouts since a policeman had pulled me over. At that time, I was a sprightly college miss in a 1993 Ford Taurus. Tonight, I was a puffy 28-year-old in a 1996 Chevy Beretta, that was missing a front license plate. That was why he pulled me over, this gentleman who resembled a blond Matthew Broderick, only younger and, dare I say it, shorter. When I rolled my window down, however, he saw that I needed more anxiety in my life, so he told me that he would like to perform a random drug check, during which he asked me thrice if I possessed any weed. I have never touched weed, because I'm milquetoast, a stiff shirt, a square, and Matthew Broderick did not know it. He searched my vehicle. He did not find anything. He complimented me on how friendly and cooperative I was. It was because, as the children sometimes say, I am a dork.

And those are the reasons why I booked a hotel room for the weekend. No metaphorical collars, no numbers, no coppers -- just me, and maybe Samuel Adams.



03 October 2013

On Being a Bad Feminist

1.) I am running a fever, so I canceled my morning class. I apologized profusely in my various e-mails to relevant parties.
2.) In a class of mostly women, our male instructor and a male classmate proceeded to make the case that, despite our reading articles employing feminist rhetoric/methodology, there really isn't feminist theory, only feminist "stance." I lost my train of thought while trying to protest this claim and was interrupted by the instructor when the train of thought finally returned. Instead of trying to get the floor back, I apologized.
3.) My bedroom window faces the patio. The landlord/downstairs neighbor and his guy friend were hanging out on said patio, talking loudly. It's almost 3AM. I stepped out and asked them to quiet down. They just looked at me at first. I apologized and said I wanted to sleep.
4.) I need to stop apologizing. It's a delicate, gradual conditioning. I apologize when I'm hurt. I apologize when I'm angry. I apologize because "as a woman," I'm supposed to. My frail self can't handle the weight of awkwardness, but that needs to end, because I can actually handle a lot, like making it most of the week in a fog of cold medicine and residual grief and near car accidents and hundreds of pages to read.
5.) I wish some folks would apologize to me when they do something effed-up to put a wrinkle in things. I don't know. I can't be the only one who's sorry.



12 August 2013

Mechanist

I.

I stand
at the foot of your bed,
the springs around my heart
giving way, creaking.
My blood betrays me,
and I swear you can hear me.

II.

Time makes things tidy, but memories
serve a different purpose.
Memories are less convenient,
less precious. The ribbons that hold them
together
are frayed at the ends.

III.

As for me and my swollen organs,
the springs are a little rusted.
But I know that one day,
we'll be married.
The broken clock gives me a way.



29 July 2013

Birth Day

My dream was carried on the crest of a wave, guided polarlike by the moon. There I was, pulled like a stubborn tooth, toward you; my little gaps are only quaint reminders, spitting blood to make room for wisdom teeth.

In Ohio, I trespass, dancing on the perforation between rows of corn. My head is elsewhere, next to the ocean, and my heart is somewhere in Oregon. I never did return your phone call.

Floating on my back, my face is exposed, tickled by the sun. Fish trace my back, follow me, like usual. Somewhere, you found a song to dance to. Somewhere, my dream reached the shore.



17 July 2013

July 17

Those were the days, when the tide knew, when the water smelled of chances. There was a time when my feet were sure, when smiling faces greeted me from the shore. It's from the shore I came, my eyes new and unable to focus, the sun warming my newly-formed face. I was lead to the water by that warmth, and I felt my way toward home.

12 July 2013

Drowsy

Dreams dash like deer, sudden and frightened. It's a Saturday night, and the sheets are wrinkled. Half awake, you still sense the wild, its tail up over the horizon. Ideas burst, little flashes of light, and the wrinkles in the land resemble roads on a map. But deer do not follow: the truth is obnoxious. Somewhere underneath all these blankets is a fact or two. You smooth the sheets with your palms. You realize the only thing to trust is sleep.

09 July 2013

Lullaby

I may never meet
your other friends, the ones
tucked away in the corners
of my brain, their faces
a blur of sand and clouds.
For a brief time,
you and your stories were home
to me. We still wash
each other's feet
in my memories, our toes
stretched far enough
to ache.


24 June 2013

Small Spaces

Underneath the phobias and philias is an understanding,
like knowing that the left side of the bed
is mine, and the right side stays cool and wrinkle-free.
These are hidden terms,
buried in a contract,
in the hamper, in the planter
on the windowsill.
If you feel discouraged,
there will always be
the miscellaneous items
that cause structures to quake
and ink to run:
old candles, their wax bubbled dry;
cherry trees, ripened slowly;
the symmetry of wonder,
your eyes matching
the level of your interest.
And then there's a pause
instead of a goodnight, a fragile placeholder
for when the time comes.
Fortunately, I am fashionably late,
and my soldiers have already
tucked themselves in.



12 June 2013

The Drawer

Amanda Kovattana: helped client empty boyfriend's sock drawer. We figured he wasn't coming back; he walked out five years ago.

Arranged neatly, in short columns of black, brown, green, and gray, are his socks. The drawer contains only about ten pairs, each having its own story: The gray pair came from his father, whose feet were wider, rougher. The brown were a gift, dress socks worn thin from too many job interviews.

"Maybe, he'll remember that he didn't pack these," she thinks to herself, but after five years, they still line the drawer, soft and stubborn, like the single wrinkle between her brows.

In the cedar drawer, they're protected, like warm little secrets. "This gray pair, this is important," she recalls, holding up a folded bundle. "He wore these when we went to dinner." The subtle little argyle pattern stretched taut over his ankles, covering an odd mole over his left talus bone. She feels like the talus: muscleless, needing to be surrounded by those like herself in order to function.

"Yeah, yeah. He'll remember," she says finally, and closes the drawer again. She used to open the drawer more often, not long after he left. Then, she only opened it twice a year, sometimes forgetting they were in there, sometimes being afraid. This last time, she opens the drawer and leaves it open, waiting for the moth who'll never come.



21 May 2013

Shells, Shelter

They hide the ocean in a shell.
- Arcade Fire, "Half Light I"

It isn't fair how
little effort it takes
to swallow all of your heroes
and let them harden
in the kiln of your gut.
It is easy
to write about stars because
it is easy
to write about ignorance.
How can I trust my eyes
when light travels so slowly?

When the fire is out,
the inspiration is ready.
Be careful not to burn yourself.
That's easy, too.
One day, the antimatter
in your gut
will take those stars
and eat them.
How can I trust my brain
when antimatter and matter,
the yin and yang, the good and evil
are composed of atoms,
then strings
laced in and out of consciousness?
What good is reality
when it's hidden behind
layers of skin and muscle,
trapped in the universe
of one's body?



15 May 2013

Zeta

How the universe began is a rhetorical question, a function or formula. It hangs off the New Moon after coming back, decades after circling Saturn, transforming, restructuring.

I pretend to count your eyelashes, each one its own universe. Somewhere, with child-like wonder, I’m counting the veins on a leaf, counting the spots in my eyes, hoping for parallelism and connection.

In all capital letters, I ask, and the questions always come back--return to sender. That’s the center of romance. The center isn’t the heart; it’s the lungs. It’s the breath it takes to ask, to aggressively strum the vocal chords.

The number of veins is twenty-five. The number of spots is forty-three. In my throat, the answers bloom, and I trace them to Jupiter, where they separate into two paths of philosophy--to move forward or backward, the feature of balance.


08 April 2013

Nexus

The day I decided I was done with forgiveness was the day
the sun shined into my window,
and an angel told me not to worry,
that my enemies drank poisoned wine in the night.

The day I decided that I was done
with being seen and not heard
was the day that my hair caught on fire
and a prophet said it spoke to him and told him
not to enter the same kingdom as I entered,
not to face the same sky from whence I fell.

The wine was simple and sweet, like the temperament
of a certain child, before the nest in her hair sparked,
and the birds flew from it, frightened,
their feathers glowing red.

That was the day I was done,
because the nexus was broken.
Each bully dropped his glass, betrayed.
The god, the angels they knew
were simple and sweet, not wrathful,
and yet, here, they collapse,
killed by an unnamed moon, a child of Saturn,
a messenger, a follower of god.
At least, this is the fantasy.
This is the string of kerchiefs, emerging from the hat.
On this day, illusions and reality are the same,
and the only thing separating them, coloring them
just a little differently, is belief.


05 April 2013

Transitioning

Despite the quiet, the chill in her chest
made an awful sound when she breathed.
It was like a short rattle
in a long, abandoned corridor.
Several years after the flood,
there was a threat of fire,
and once the secret was out,
that's when the chill started.
It lingered in the corners
of the room. It hid in the folds
of her dresses.
Eventually, it ended up
in the same place, creeping
from her brow to her cheekbone,
from her throat to her clavicle,
before resting in her chest,
between the second and third rib
on the left side.
She once thought
that the chill was a messenger,
warning her about condemnation,
telling her that it wasn't enough
to be kind out of context.
Maybe it's not enough to be good, she thought,
but her god had other plans for her,
and the cold moved from her ribs
to her stomach, where it stayed
until a seed grew there.
The fire never came,
so she lit the furnace on her own
and raised the child by herself,
a small piece of her rib poking
where the cold once lived.


28 March 2013

Misgivings

I.

I am a tender thing, and when I am a tender thing, I chew on the fat of my misgivings. Small and jagged like stones, my privileges gather: visible, inconvenient, dangerous. They occupy the corners, the space between each tooth in my wanting mouth, wanting more of the fat, the stuff that lacks nourishment but maintains indecency and ample amounts of tenderness.

II.

I am well-intentioned, but I am not you. I do not know what you face. I do not know the ideas brewing in your brain, the shapes of injustice carrying weight in your own life. I am only a child, a tender thing, chewing on information, breaking my teeth on confrontations, confirmations of my being me, my being white, my being female-born, my being. I am a tender thing, because without missteps, without compassion, I am not myself.

III.

My privileges are also me, pieces of my broken teeth, and everyday, I try not to swallow them.



25 March 2013

Hopeful

As long as we are swallowing air
in our little glass bubbles, and as long as we aim
our sights above water, we can make do,
swilling our chemical soda and taking candy
from strangers.

I only did that once--take candy--but once was enough.
It was because he didn't care for it,
each wrapper filled
with little sugary puffs of air.
I breathed life into his mouth,
but it never reached his lungs.

I poured myself
to fill the contours of the glass,
surprised at how well
I adapted to the shape,
until the cracks showed
on the other side,
and the air I swallowed
stretched my gills,
and the soda I drank
gave me a headache. I only want
to be seen. I want
the softness of my ghost self
to wrap around your ghost self. I want
to look over the rim together
and see beyond the glass shell
and into the wild of a fresh start.



12 March 2013

Pasta and Tomato Paste

Is this my life?
Am I breathing
underwater?
- Metric

With a life carefully measured,
one can find time to tear-up
between four and five p.m.,
before the buzzer rings
for the next shift.
A smart one is a quiet one, a careful one,
refusing to spill milk
to cry over.
"When you're finished with school,
your life will be fine," they said,
thumbs under suspenders,
and I believed them.
Instead, I'm the little engine that could,
and I'm running out of steam.
I'm the little hamster running furiously in the wheel,
working hard, blood pumping
to all the right places,
but getting absolutely nowhere.
"We need to know
where our students are coming from,"
they said. "Some of them
use food pantries."
And I know, because I've seen young people there
while I'm picking up my own generic pasta,
my own off-brand tomato paste.
I'm told that this is America now.
I'm told I'm one of the lucky ones.
Some days, between four and five p.m., I forget.
I allow my brain to shove that file,
full of blessings and prayers,
into the back of the cabinet
so that I can be angry,
so that I can be sad
before starting another shift at a different job,
before trying to be quiet and careful, and failing.


26 February 2013

hudor, endure

We hold the same fears, the same troubles
washing up on the shore, rocks turned to pebbles,
smoothed by the waves crashing, the heaving, the sighing.
Secrets kept like broken
shells spit-up by the ocean--
we lie to ourselves,
and we have the misfortune
of washing up on the shore
all of our indiscretions,
our tiny hopes, sanded smooth.
Directly, we scope out
a safe place to lay our blankets--
not too close to the edge,
but not too far, either,
so that we can watch the sky meet the water,
introduce themselves over and over,
like forgetful lovers,
each creation
a rebound.
I am the sky
and you are the water.
I am the shell
and you are the sand,
brushing me clean and smooth.
How much of a flake am I?
Pieces of myself
flake off everyday,
and wash away.
How much of a lover am I?
I wait by the edge of the water
before I am clean and smooth.


25 February 2013

Waiting to Spoil

We broke each other's hearts,
cracked thin little shells over the heat.
It happened gradually, with clumsy hands.
We let each other down,
not easily, not intentionally,
but we let each other down:
our hands hard, our fingers joint-less,
holding each other's hearts
over the black gas stove.
                                                     We punctured the membranes
with our sharp little traumas.
When the insides cooked,
the scent filled our nostrils
and we questioned whether to feast
or to turn the heat completely off
and let the evidence of our failures
grow cold and stick to the sides of grief,
waiting to spoil.


21 February 2013

Naming

The problem was
she had a little black book
and my name was written on every page.

- Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Little red frenzy--making fresh wounds,
wrapping tourniquets around dark hair, dark eyes,
all while healing the femaleness,
the blood fresh, arriving in pulses.
Somebody's daughter is missing,
her face blurred in pulses,
her hair on fire
in a little red frenzy.
Swallowing air, lungs swollen,
she floats, all dark and red and tired.
Her femaleness, all sterile and new,
dries in the sun
as she floats to the top,
the very top,
the very ceiling
of her prison,
repeating
the name of her former lover,
the name of her savior,
the name for her fresh wounds.


19 February 2013

Asylum

My mistakes
engulfed in flames:
that, or my failures
plucked one by one,
each a rotten tooth in the dog's mouth.
Guilt never did anyone any good,
but here I am, after the fact,
writing letters, pleading my case
to unseen juries, my fate as cliched
as some other romantic's,
whose hopeless, blackened fingers glide across
the text of innocence, experience.

Dicks have it so much easier.
They owe no explanation.
They smoke in my car.
They flood their eyes with their own feel-good wisdom.
They welcome me, cardigan over their shoulder,
into their home,
where I feed their cat
and stack their junk mail.

My mistakes
etched on peeling wallpaper:
that, or my failures
written sloppily on foggy glass.
These are the products of my hysteria.
These are the results of my experiments:
a basement destroyed,
bricks projected, like teeth
during a boxing match.
Romance fails me; I fail it.
The toothless dog lies still, gums raw,
and stays clear
of the burning house.



15 February 2013

Clavicula

Clavicle:
New Latin,
clavicula:
"little key,"
from its shape.


I am the star on your clavicle.
I am the air trapped in your throat.
I am your moonsign, your opposite.
I am the lavender on your pillow.

And yet, I am not here.
I am not here.
The pattern of steam left on your window
spreads to the corners of your heart,
and your large brown eyes
care not to witness the frost
I leave behind.

Maybe I can arrive.
Maybe I can be here,
and maybe I can stay.
Maybe it's safe, and I can
allow the star of your kindness to shine
on my own clavicle, where you decide
to plant your key, your kiss.



14 February 2013

Maine Dile Se Kaha

I'm trying to forget the poetry I wrote in my mind years ago, lying next to him, tracing the constellation of freckles on his arms. I called him my year-round valentine, and I folded the tiny piece of paper over and over before slipping it into a more conventional greeting card, whose delicate, pale insides mentioned nothing about private jokes using special voices.

Those voices, though special, are in the distance now, and they're no longer piercing. Canned laughter follows me, the shape I've become, the space I warmly occupy, solitary and safe. I remember smelling the cinnamon of his jacket. I remember our first fight. "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth," he said, and I spent almost seven years trying not to,

and mostly succeeding, except when I failed, and he cleared his throat, and I wept. I'm trying to forget the poetry I wrote in my mind years ago, lying in bed alone, dividing my care between the cold space next to mine and the confessions brewing in his brain. I had wished I were his country, his school, his job. I had wished I were older, wiser, all healed-up. My eyes grew darker, and it was harder to distinguish his freckles from stars, his anger from worry. The constellations bled together, their wisdom now hidden.

Someone is playing an Indian melody as I write. Her voice cracks and strains; her heart breaks. I wash down the remaining symbol of my embarrassment and try to forget the poetry I wrote in my mind years ago, when love was new, its delicate, pale insides mentioning nothing about the private jokes that aren't funny, the special voices that crack and strain.



08 February 2013

Scaffolding

- pills and metal for breakfast
- metal is always an accident
- thinking about salty kisses and avoiding Valentine's Day, avoiding metal, avoiding red and pink and other fleshy colors
- he said he feels like unclaimed baggage, even though it was a choice
- it takes a lot of time just to figure out lunch
- ordinary lives, shaped by unclaimed choices
- "unclaimed choices" is an oxymoron
- milk, milk for lunch
- intersecting research categories with lovelessness, divinity, footprints in the snow
- the cold ends life, draws new categories, fleshy colors from rawness, lovelessness
- avoiding, avoidance, staying in bed, rescheduling, redressing, addressing depression, avoiding circumstances involving humanity, reorienting oneself with animals, with snow, with copper pennies--dropped, neglected, wet and cold
- old tea for dinner, left in a cup in the fridge from yesterday
- plotting confusion in my diary, connecting each dot until a figure, a road, emerges, fragrant and new
- there are many roads now, where there weren't roads before: do I go to school, do I teach, do I draw, do I write, do I connect these thoughts with semi-colons, do I wait for someone else, do I wait for myself?
- do I get my shit together? which new road do I trace with my fingers, with my intuition?
- meanwhile, snow gathers, nestled between syllables
- more pills for breakfast


05 February 2013

Manswers

I.

Translucent, transient: if I were somewhere else, I'd be omnipotent, or at least some sort of nomad. Instead, I translate various graphs onto fucking sand paper and negotiate my invisibility with the cat. Is this adulthood? Or, more pointedly, is this womanhood?

II.

Today, a brother schooled me on subjects that were already familiar. His advice and know-how wrapped themselves, tentacle over tentacle, around my small intestine. Do I not know enough about feminism? Do I not know enough about poverty? Am I competing with him, somehow?

III.

There was no whipped cream for my hot cocoa. The focus, the concentration, was on chocolate. (Because I'm female? Fuck you.) Therefore, the ten-minute conversation about whipped cream did not need to happen. I'm fine without whipped cream.

IV.

Translucent, transient: if I were somewhere else, I'd be omnipotent, or at least some sort of nomad. Instead, I'm superimposed on a section of the straight male psyche, a small blip in the corner of some dude's brain, the white foam of my existence depending on how many times I allow myself to be interrupted, to be scolded like a child. Like a child, I'm feeling my way, my invisible fingers clutching hopeless ideals. Meanwhile, he speaks of liberation while trapping me in a fucking coffee shop.



01 February 2013

Neighbors

Confusion is a beautiful barrier,
a sound that's soft in the mouth,
but jagged just enough to notice.
Who wants to be held then heard,
heard then held, pain and triumph
cross-stitched so tightly, the seams don't show?
Who wants their fear to be seen whole,
then redrawn, shape for jagged shape, from memory?

I want to know who's whole.
I want to know whose thin fingers
are wrapped around my fear.
I know this is sloppy, but I want to know
whose time is stretched from my window to theirs.


29 January 2013

Teaching

The future is criminal,
tucked between procedures and blueprints,
corrupting little stories that are better
in person than on the news.

Allow me to summarize
this person's downfall
without offering more information:
all the charms in the world,
that trap and reflect
all the light and all the dreams,
can't keep her suspended in air, holding her breath.

All the dangers,
all the fears
only lend themselves to knowledge:
when she cuts herself
on broken glass, it isn't permanent,
but the fact that she decided to trespass,
to break into your little house,
is an idea that's solid,
that dries at each corner of your mouth
and won't leave your brain.

She isn't silly,
even though she speaks
in third person.
She just wants you to learn,
to glue your lamp back together,
to repair your windows
with the knowledge that these things
you took for granted
are not the same.



28 January 2013

Argosy

So glad to see
You take my hand between your knees.
And once inside,
I'll only take the things that shine.

- Catherine Wheel

You are older than the dreamer,
worn and stretched taut across solar systems,
and yet I find you as darling as a child--
either skipping stones or heartbeats,
whichever you decide in that moment.
Why can't tenderness be practical?
Why are lies like anchors,
your eyes as vast as any sea?
I would welcome you aboard my ghost ship,
cradle your wisdom between
the knobby knees of my security,
the billow of my mast, my heart in bloom.
We could watch the stars, your dreamscape, from here.


25 January 2013

January

You know when you're nicer to other people than you are to yourself, and you're depressed and don't want to get out of bed, and your clothes fit like curtains and your breath tastes like formaldehyde?

You know when you can see your formaldehyde breath and it forces you to pretend that you're smoking, and it reminds you of those times when you and your sibling pretended to smoke, using candy cigarettes? Remember the small amount of Coca-Cola in the glass that was supposed to represent whiskey? the small amount of sweat that collected between your fingers? the small amount of concern you had for childhood?

Off the grid, the coffee tastes bitter, and the favors aren't returned. Off the grid, sex comes with directions that are no longer relevant, directions that feel like an outdated, faded map. You are less optimistic, less attractive. You are less rested.

Statistics claim that men benefit from relationships while women do best existing outside of them, untethered, free to dream, to shave or not shave, to mind or not mind. You know when you're nicer to other people than you are to yourself? You learn that the spaces between sentences matter less. Relationships matter less. The roads on the map matter less; they are just arteries carrying blood from one failed organ to the next, onward, then out, formaldehyde traveling faster than silence.



23 January 2013

On Creative Writing

Journal Activity:

Briefly describe a scenario during which you are strangled to death by a dog leash, then imagine your best friend was the one to do it. OK, now that you're done, draw a circle around each error. Draw a circle around your best friend. Pretend that every circle is outlined in chalk.

Now pretend that your body is outlined in chalk. Once the outlines are finished, have your dipshit best friend take some Polaroids. You can't, because you're a ghost, and you're writing this scenario down, using the back of another ghost as a table.

Tell the other ghost that you need a drink after this. Actually, first, ask him if ghosts are able to drink. Frown when your new friend tells you that ghosts no longer have a need for nourishment. Mock him, say that whiskey doesn't fucking "nourish," asshole. Continue to scribble notes as your former best friend, the dickless murderer, sprinkles Polaroids of your hairy corpse all around the crime scene. Mock him as he cackles at your expense. Then yell at him, perfectly knowing that he can't hear you. Go ahead and ask him why he decided to kill you, and feel stupid for dying so slowly.

Suddenly, you notice that your former bestie looks in your direction, as if he heard you. Yell a little bit louder, just in case. A warm sensation passes through your body, and you realize it's another presence. You see your girlfriend in front of you; she just walked right through you. She's smiling. Take note of this, angrily, in your scribbles. The ghostfriend you're using as a table complains that he can't see what's going on, because he's been bent over this entire time. You tell him to shut up.

Your girlfriend laughs, then wraps her thick, warm arms around your murderer, kissing him full on the mouth, like some sort of tramp. You're really pissed now. You forget to circle more errors in your writing and instead crumple up your notes and toss them desperately in their direction, hoping to get their attention. Your effort was futile. Your ghostfriend stands erect, now that you are no longer using him. He's complaining to you, but you hear nothing. Your gaze is focused on the couple, and suddenly, you wish you had your dog with you to bring you comfort, even though it was her leash that took your pathetic humdrum life, you stupid turd.



22 January 2013

Trinkets

If I were beautiful, I would forget
to cover my face while laughing.
If I were beautiful, I'd be seen
as daring and loveable.
When the snow dances, frames your face, I forget
to check the fever--
I forget myself, because
I am separate, a shadow, held in your delicate gaze
like a painting. If I were beautiful,
I would forget myself.
If I were beautiful, I wouldn't be afraid.



21 January 2013

Ice

Wait for the elegance to settle--
frost on the grass, fill the vacant spaces in my chest.
I say too much--
I open my mouth, and the ice travels
from my tongue, to my stomach.

Regret is a tiny, itchy wound.
No time for scabbing, the blood crystallizes
the notion that I should be someone else,
anyone else but myself.


02 January 2013

Love

I've only been kissed by two people in my life.
There, now it's no longer a secret--
a small, cool stone in my pocket.

Maybe this year, I will find someone to love again,
someone who will love me back.