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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

21 (on 25)

I had to count     I couldn’t remember

the last time I wrote     a few days of misaligned

thought      bullish resistance of words

         Sometimes nothing will       a will too daunted

other nights we promise       not to mention

peak oil before bed          and leave it at that

“I become infinitely small           without disappearing”

amid companions of distance          centuries the bones

beneath the earth           so long they’ve slid into ooze

          I can never say bones unselfconsciously

Who really knows if they are there?     The formerly green ideas

so long past flower          they’re ready only to burn

acidifying the tides              behind your eyes, love

We may never sleep again         in the long hallways

of the capital       where a madman’s face 

bounces back no light


Everything is difficult and busy

We were so small crumbs are folklore

I was the little one who was different

There once was a great race to grow up

My sister abandoned me for boys

Horrible boys

Reading my fathers journals I still end up with nothing

My teacher tells me to go to grad school in New York

My teacher says follow follow follow

My teacher says where did they pee when they worked on the Statue of Liberty

Up up up went the umbrella

Up up up went the balloon

Up for shirt

Airplane spelling words

Tenth floor

Sit down in the wee chair

Wet mittens in my pocket

House inside a teacup


The sensory table makes so much sense

Certain friendships

The more I reach the more I feel further away

I used to think the trees on the hills were buffalo

Grief freckles in the heat

What would happen if Malcolm X were still alive

What would happen if my sister were still alive

Lighting the web between my fingers

A film is being shot in the neighborhood

She yawns despite how much make-up she wears

Something needs to be spread and known

Sitting next to Jasmine

All that power

Our fingers become rakes

Talent is discipline but the best part of discipline is letting go

Flakes of soap feel like snow that won’t melt

I wish I could be a teacher again

Everything always felt like my fault

Failure is like email over and over


Today I encounter the word Ecdysis in a poem by a student.
I admit to a few that I still want to emit myself, lost in body.
Or it isn’t that I’m lost in body, it’s that there’s too much of it.
Oversaturation is a kind of losing, don’t the limbs falter too.
Pages and pages I devote to the dead brother I never knew.
But have mourned from a distance, this is to say I learned.
I learned absence is the heaviest infant, and it follows violation.
Violation a child in the grass or no, it is the light cutting through.
Closer to prayer am I, I who climb to knees and lose myself.
How embarrassing it is to be here, how uniform a sentence.
A man sits down next to a woman and recites a poem, he says.
Cross the threshold of the ancient ones as she changes her seat.
We are not taught to say no, we are taught to look out the window.
Dear Daniel, I worry my disorder might insult you, you who.
You who never had a chance to chew through earthen things.
That’s memory for you, always better when it’s never thought of.
To say, you are the best sibling I could mourn, though to say I did.
I sang in the bereavement group a long time and I did not know why.
You are so much closer to wisdom, that which needs no favors done.
Today the word Ecdysis and, god, hold me briefly at the waist.


Hey – no one thing
does the one thing
you want

Monday, April 24, 2017

Dear Daniel—

As of this moment    I am sitting    in a coffeeshop
surrounded by books and artisanal things—    The
barista called me    that poet     isn’t that nice     no

it didn’t happen   not that way,   there aren’t many
in America who care    about poetry—    In a place
far from here     possibly — There is   a piano over

the speakers    to give a sense of   ambience—  You
know, a way of    helping people   feel closer to the
objects around them—Close as in     intimate   as in

the memory    becomes  corollary —    At this point
it should be clear      I resent being   one way or any
way as the     planet  buckles and wretches      under

our weight— When your name  is called your drink
is ready, you stand      and the momentum    sprung
from standing     nearly knocks        down the chair,

the chair holds you    for an indiscernible time, it is
not    part of the specs  when the chair   should give
out, we are not the     type   to want information of

when    things end,     only in how they will distract
from impermanence     that which is   scentless and
coming  like pearls  falling from a ripped necklace—

I imagine life to be    more indecent     than violent
which in itself     is the most   horrible violence, that
to be born    is to enter into     an already established

condition—You are lucky     I will say it until    I quit
breathing—You took in         oxygen as       apples do,
your body     bluegripped heart         did not have to—


Hey – the people who
did this after and
before you
didn’t know
what to do either

Where sound forms a bowl in the green my beloveds congregate and tho a drone scripts threat overhead we reap balm, ash, damp clover it's true time has 80 feet of handwoven rope in its satchel

Where sound forms a bowl in the green my beloveds congregate and tho a drone scripts threat overhead we reap balm, ash, damp clover it's true time has 80 feet of handwoven rope in its satchel

My tender friends make a list of what's missing stretch bodies out in new grass old 
sun bodies in the middle of embodied time making the act of memory a longing in the / rough
longing in the warmest shaft / sunlight medicine doubling as poison waiting for its
homeopathic moment creasing a memory into each palm open your
hand what did you get, I ask each friend, tell me how to do it tell me how
to remember having been you. The horned god points to a row of beautiful boys I was 
them he says and sleights a handful of numbers he'll call them he doubles time he creases
time until its layered and calls each combination like a tally or a sentence and some 
time he calls mine but today the afternoon stretches long I turn my face  scripted 
with mascara, patience, decades of sympathy 


an empathetic frequency emitting both sound and light across my brow as radiant
now as in the memory the one in my palm, the one in Griselda's palm she's next
to me weeping quietly against the knoll we've wandered in from the road is this someone's 
temple outmoded gods gather here in comfort enough everyone agrees the owners
of the bar are sweethearts the Japanese whiskey more special the quail's egg 
steeped in ginger and soy tastes sunlit too my tongue steps behind velvet wants
nothing but the bull's tongue wants nothing but talking begs for talking wants nothing /
but all of you talking I can suddenly smell the desert on my friends' skin I can
smell the cold copper childhood and the spark of the maul as it hits not soft pine 
concrete or hickory stump or something altered by some father's hand there aren't 
any / fathers here today raising their hands saying me my daughter my bull-faced
children at the bar laughing their bodies moving at the exact pace of the earth's orbit while
I move on Orion time cold and planetary and have lost everything but this memory
and talking


finally, finally I pull the chain to darken the room into celestial stuff and the faint
whirr of streetlight a weary redwood doesn't belong here mournful but distant considers
our bodies mine the ghost of its proserpine and the ghost of its years hence astride
you. There's a tenderer name for you on my tongue I want nothing but your fielddrenched tongue
my mouth overflows with it as a horn that doesn't empty whose roots are the sea whose lip
caught bright and wet in teeth a wave against a still-pleasant shore the salt / lick
it from me and still I cannot know what I taste like I ask the Minotaur and his baleful
eye creases at the corner a private laughter I tell him I saw our friends today gather
on the pasture on the side of the road at the far side of the road that everyone must /
travel into this hidden / hide yourself / know how lucky you are to pass among them our
friends shade in shade risking hand to sunlight for a memory apiece no one 
could guarantee it would be happily in the palm a fragment of a star long cooled I 
couldn't remember the spells to your names I couldn't speak into each of your ears 
tightly my breath hitched as it always has the gasp that precedes knowing I knew
I knew you. I put my hand to every shoulder, my palm cupping the ridged
horn my fingers describing an intimate gutter between blade and spine and if I had
a husband I had him not and if I were a bride I outwore her and if I were welcome still
I borrowed / every dime a metaphor I fill my phone with numbers like they promised
everyone here / has held death dry and still a stone in the palm has held death 
a hot bead behind the eye in the crease between eyes my bull-faced friend his ring catches
light on the stage slick still with me with the other women who bathe / in his 
eye there are both reflections and apertures, telling stones that tell the time and his
story you read his companions other types of fire and bow I meet the gentle god
of necessary war who has been months in the territory ice and white noise pacing
himself I meet bright boys I reunite with the mothers I reunite with the daughterless demeter 
who / no one can find / anyone like her 


I roll over the grass the elders don't mind if you go slack in a spell the tender friends 
know you're on your back because you don't lie any longer I don't / lie still I admit
it's sex / I admit sex / into my palm a rain of memorable pearls I wonder which 
is your beauty and which your shame I wanted nothing but each of you ripe or risen each
of you talking directly against my tongue your unblink your blue or green salt
and tongues strewn with trying they left us here, the retiring gods and we had / no
reason not to stay when the spell lifted and the sun set and I walked the road I 
travel back to the desert less mortal / than the sea / the desert where I want nothing
but your salt tongue pour over me your whisper that you needn't have whispered everyone
must travel it was the gods' truth we all loved and the drone / our love / droned it
was you and me and our tender friends and we could see where the sail lifted but we 
could not see death




Hey – all the trouble you went to
in and out of
when it ain’t
your nature
to rake in rewards