EARTH IS AN ANAGRAM FOR HEART, U FUCKING IDIOTS
This is all wrong.
We should be talking about how there’s a nine-year-old smiling somewhere.
We should be saying the names of all the people we have loved and never known like those words are a magic spell, because they are.
I don’t want to hear another word about Trump until you have whispered the names of all ~50,000 species of trees in my ear.
Sext: there are so many flowers you haven’t seen.
The world comes to us in terms of death,
140 characters at a time.
I don’t want to talk about it.
I want to lie in what little grass remains
and try to fit your heart inside of mine.
But soon there is no grass,
and the function of the heart is transportation.
Soon, there is no grass anywhere,
and love is not enough.
I don’t know how to stop the flight of a tomahawk,
I’m busy building houses out of colored sand.
I am such a useless thing.
None of this belongs to me or anyone.
I was simply born with more eyes
than could be made comfortable,
I was born with blood.
I wonder if it is possible to bury myself. Each day
more than the day before, I wonder
how much blood is in the Earth.
It is time we move, uproot
our budding bodies from the blood-soaked Earth,
it is time to go.
And if there’s not somewhere for us to go
then we’ll make somewhere,
we’ll move as one toting bags of dirt, a
nd we’ll fucking bury them.
We’ll bury them in Mar-a-Lago and
we’ll bury them in Washington, and
we will bury them in the shopping malls.
We’ll bury them in the oil fields
and in Baton Rouge, and in the Gulf of Mexico.
We will bury the borders and we will bury
the aircraft carriers and we will
even bury skyscrapers: we have earth enough
We will bury this Earth in earth and
I will love you while we wait
for blood to grow.
CATEGORY 5 TROPICAL DEPRESSION
it sounds like
it’s raining outside
but i think
it just sounds like that.
i ran out of food yesterday but
i don’t want to leave the house.
the phrase “tropical depression”
makes me imagine
in a hawaiian shirt.
the phrase “i love you”
makes me imagine
a time when you won’t.
i woke up ten minutes ago.
the world is still blurry.
i like it better like that.
SO MUCH GOOD HAS HAPPENED AND
almost none of it was me.
there are entire forests which are single
organisms, hundreds of trees joined
only at the root.
guess what they look like?
they look like regular forests.
they’re fucking beautiful.
everyone i love
looks the same
when i am looking
at the sky,
"I'm a sky watcher. I'm looking for aliens, but what I get from the experience is a rabid awe and excitement of something new, visitors from another realm. While the images I present are not meant to be aliens, I hope to capture the beauty and acceptance of the unknown. I have written about contact from creatures in the sky, and now I am attempting to create a non-verbal experience of the same. While the two might not match as far as content and storytelling, the itch inside me is satisfied in both cases."
It’s Friday night and there is unusual activity at the British Museum. The art students manning the events at the Egyptian antiquities are dressed in black, their eyes heavily lined in long geometrical shapes of grey and black kohl. A girl tosses a golden coin as big as her palm and it falls revealing the ominous drawing of a spiral. She gives me a black card that reads: Admit One – Room Four, Living And Dying. Roll up, Roll up! Welcome to the Afterlife! and shows me to a table behind her, squeezed between the stark, gigantic statue of an animal and a stone sarcophagus as tall as myself. The boy sitting at the table informs me that the lot I drew leads to the Bad Underworld. Makes sense, I say before I can stop myself, and he laughs. He gives me a paper where I am asked to draw my offerings for the journey, and shows the way. A silent girl indicates that I should take off my shoes and backpack. She helps me into a loose sand-colored robe and ties a powder-blue ribbon around my waist. She leads me up the steps and to a small sheltered area behind the large stone sarcophagus, where there is another sarcophagus waiting for me, smaller, coffin-shaped, made out of light wood and white fabric. Beside it stand upright two thin young men, their eyes painted into a thick strip of black cutting across their faces. They don’t speak. They help me into the makeshift box, which is lined with a purple velvety mattress. I lie down and they cover the box with black cloth. It’s comfortable, and not wholly dark. Bits of soft light steal through the white cotton covering the sides and I can barely discern through the black cloth, very far up on the improbably high museum ceiling, some small spotlights gleaming shyly like stars. I feel at ease. I knit my fingers across my chest and half close my eyelids. It’s not too bad, I consider. The black cover is relaxing. The din which surrounded me before is now stifled to a remote whisper. How much different could actual death be? Only more darkness, more quiet. I wonder how long I’m going to lie here. Time passes. My thought begins to unfurl, widening and diluting. Closing my eyes I sense the void surrounding me, infinite. Opening them I am back on my gentle boat towards the Underworld. And the Unknown passes me by, unseen.
When you share a dorm with twenty-seven strangers of any age or sex and your personal space is marked by a narrow bunk bed with a pair of flimsy curtains, everything depends on trust and respect. You leave some of your things in places where it’s impossible to constantly keep an eye on them. You frantically take off your jeans with the curtains drawn shut as you listen to others doing the same, identical sounds of hissing fabric and zippers. You wake up in the middle of the night because somebody close to you is trying to undress or pack their luggage blindly, you’re dying with curiosity to open the curtains and watch them, you don’t have the immediate sense of restraint and calm yourself down with your imagination, deciphering every sound. Darkness, echoing snoring, and someone across the corridor has turned on their little lamp like a spotlight, perhaps they don’t realize it but now their every movement is perfectly visible on the thin curtain like shadow puppetry: they bend, they undress, they lift their arms, they undress, they pant, they’re cold, they lift their arms, they lift their legs, they dress, they bend, they sigh, they dress. You realize that this is how you would probably look and always take your clothes off in the darkness with your lamp carefully switched off, anonymously, and once perhaps out of pure vanity and thrill you turn the lamp back on and perform your own little number. You lie down, everyone is in bed, many are awake and stare at the ceiling, those who sleep are breathing in unison like a herd of animals. The strange creature occupying the upper bunk is wriggling, you count down the seconds and hit exactly the moment when they turn off their light. Inevitably you consider sex in this abstractly cubicled world, and you can almost hear the rest of them thinking about the same thing. Everyone is very polite: they don’t touch themselves, and if they do they go about it noiselessly and never to completion. The mixture of smells grows thick and heavy but you’re used to it by now. You’re not certain if you like this place and it’s a strange feeling. There isn’t any of the familiar soothing of good company. After all, you can only ever know about these things when you’re alone.
SWIMMING POOL BLIZZARD POEM
we had never been
to your house before u
showed me the upstairs,
the lovely carpets
and the swimming pool the snow
began to fall i took a
little picture of you
standing beside my lover
i want you to remember me forever
that is to say
i like you
the pool was covered the snow
continued to fall
jazz music played from the
speakers the radio
is always on there is
always someone moaning
something about love loss etc
as am i i am the radio
always on and always moaning
its always loss or love when
really the good of that moment
was the snowflakes fat and fast
falling through the
floodlight onto me and
it was january and
“Z” (my true love)
had a ruinous
nosebleed i kissed
them in the downpour
it was like
I’m keeping a picture of him
between the pages of
my bible, not in the way of
He, dark and fast like a riptide,
leading me with a trail of
I listen for him
like he is the silence after rain.
A song of Solomon. I sing
my lips clean
of fact. I’m not looking for
My grail is found – a romance
that feels like
a holiness that asks you
to fall asleep next to it.
If you stand at an ending
and then turn
around, you are looking at
a backwards reflection
of the beginning you came
from. I want that,
to know where
we started. Even at this resolve,
I do not know where I am.
All I remember
is a kiss that crushed my teeth
and dissolved me into
I put him in my bible
because that's the best place
to bury a person.
falls through my hands,
there is only one place
my mother won't look
there can't be anything bad
in there. Is there a better
hiding place than the depths
of a black book?
The sky is
a silken crumpled mess
of beauty. I meet a new boy &
he falls into me
because all I am now
is void. I try to sing him.
He is not lavender. He smells
like coffee &
what good is coffee when
all you want is to fall
asleep. My songs
still sound like Solomon.
I push the new boy out with the deluge.
I set him free of my blue.
Yesterday, I burned my bible &
I didn't take his picture out.
Love does not know holiness.
The window shattered inward,
letting in a rageful wind that said
I was wasting the time
that I exist outside of.
What use is there
in setting fire to the lyrics
when you have the sacred words
frozen in your memory?
The smoke smelled
too strongly of lavender
for anyone to sleep.
The ceiling was on the floor &
nothing here was blessed.
flower petals twirl
against the empty
WOUNDS IN US
i can catch the danger and the rhythm of the rain
mostly in sirens and screeches
i just float in my favourite forgiveness
and learn Italian easily
accent building wire fences
I can't tell one
from the other
and nothing unravels
something is sewn up in you
release your dead
make some room for me
and instantly kills,
You see, that's a little over the top. Lady Gaga attends funerals in glass platforms as tall as your favorite brother, and we may not get what we want next year due to popular vote and persistent whining from the Electoral College. But there lives a spider behind the collapse of your deflated dreamboat we remember as "my fiancée." And to this day, I still keep a tally of all the Kleenexes you've owed me as you lambasted someone you'll never know, for professional services you'll never seek.
While there are days to remind us that dreams are just as they sound - wads of confetti asphyxiating pigeons drawn to neon in this garish dusk - the teacher who assured you "things will come back to them" after cheerleaders stole your pants will stand in her correctness, at least once. But you can't get too mad when what assures is set to transpire two decades in time. Does shaking your first at Internal Revenue expedite a pedicure? Not necessarily.
But you were never the type to throw $1,223 down the toilet when it ambled home two months late. You never did it with this guy. Not in front of us, I truthfully attest. However, claiming you were unbothered by his yeasted disassembly of porcelain babies we never really wanted would be like my saying "it's okay" when asked why I didn't say anything when cheerleaders stole my sandwich.
Karmic fields stretch, millimeters wide.
everyone is always amazed by my small hands
my small hands that used to smash against the walls of my closet
in high school
never enough to leave a dent
never enough to bruise my knuckles,
they just turned a little red
that’s how i handled panic attacks
after getting off the phone with him
the first time i saw my reflection afterwards
i thought i was dying
and i went to my parents’ room and said
“i think i’m dying, call the hospital” and they said
“no no, you’re just having a panic attack”
my mother gave me an ativan and i was fine
i think if i could tell a child anything it would be
“someday you will find out
how easy it is to not be a monster
how easy it is to not be anything”
i. FOUR YEARS OLD
she rides a bicycle, the strange whirring
of wheels a premonition. bits of stone
flicker off the pavement, sounding like the
tapping of wicked fingers on a window. afraid
that if she rides too fast, she’ll never be able
to stop. the chain may snap, glide through
the air, the wheels may unhinge and tumble
down a slope that doesn’t exist. she speaks in
‘what if’, of criminals that may pillage through
her house or rotten grapes that fall down the
wrong canal. of a car whose driver suffused his
blood with liquor, who may drive at the
intersection where someone she loves drinks
coffee and checks her phone. walks slowly,
cautiously, avoids corners that could
puncture her skin, make a viscous red liquid
ooze out. has to be told that jellyfish don’t
sting every baby splashing at the edge of a sea,
that restaurants do not sprinkle hate on her
spaghetti, that although the world is a perilous
place — maybe people die of old age.
ii. EIGHT YEARS OLD
friends who go on stage and read out poems
to an audience of people who don’t care. her
poems still confined to a diary wrapped in black
paper, that she can scarcely whisper about.
poems about brackish water, sickly incantations,
the definition of friction. is it wrong that she
hates poems about the vicissitudes of life? or is
it just because she knows and fears them?
iii. TWELVE YEARS OLD
lacquered light spills through the windows, a
tight cage of sunshine. schoolbus wheels follow a
specific rhythm, soft curtains waver every now
and then, welcome soft slivers of golden glow. she
peeks out from the gap, sees a girl her age holding
a wailing baby against her chest. rags that adorn
her skinny frame, bones of matchsticks and eyes of
hunger. watches a driver slap her away, hears the
baby’s moans amplify. the red light shifts
colors, the wheels turn and crunch the gravel. goes
home, refuses cake and swallows week-old
bread. refuses the seductive pitcher of orange juice,
forces down half a tumbler of water. wears torn
clothes to a party where other girls don sequined
heels and fluorescent headbands. closes her
eyes, prays that the baby is alive. that she has a
mother whose breast she can suck on, that the girl
is safe from predators who eye her youthful body.
that the world is nicer to people who don’t have the
luxury of controlling their lives.