first, convince them you’re a witch.

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Big picture: I don’t belong anywhere.
Small picture: Buy bed.

“the to-do list”

I have two constant insatiable needs;
clarity and validation and I
usually get neither.

my only true constant  is my suffering;
that is how I relate to others.
my suffering is a secret comfort
because it allows connection.
we only know feelings by comparison–
yours, mine, ours.
this defines humanity:
our perpetual hunger,
our perpetual processing about the matter,
and naturally,
the inevitable suffering that follows.

2.

 

Part 1:

The Act of Naming Things

“ I once was a sleeping ocean that in
a dream became jealous of a pond.”

–Adrienne Rich

sitting on the edge of the bay
on a borrowed blanket,
I was vomiting up an everclear slurpee
and some sort of philosophy
about the closing of the day;
the way it moved,
death
like an itinerant wave that followed me
and only me
everywhere I went.
the ocean whispered
and I heard you cough,
felt myself starting to drown again
and your hand on my thigh
and then nothing at all.

that was years ago but something
else, the meaning of the
term termination
(the ending or final point of something)
and a dream I once had where
the wall whispered has anyone ever told you
there’s no time?
or the double meaning of the word
eviction: expelling someone
or something from a property.

pain subsides in very
miniscule amounts
of time if  you don’t
repeat
the
story.

do not repeat the story

“how to be a river”

or

sit in it.

“how to be a lake”


and turning to you again, I
implore you to pick a title and
stick with it. for me, I say:
do you like warnings or do you
like to drown?

first, he showed me the block
waving his hands over black ice,
concrete and gritted
      you know how to make things work

I stepped carefully and he stepped
several feet ahead of me.
we did a loop between two identical
intersections and stopped in a booth so
he could pay for the affection:
a vegan milkshake to soften
the contrast between two
nearly identical snow-lit
worlds; two winters in two
time zones but one was green and blue
and foothill lined
and this one hung in the air:
gelid, tense, a dense and
mutable gray that changed from
partially cloudy to baiting fang
but what was more concerning is the
space between us
I slurped the vanilla coconut cream
from the plastic straw without making
eye contact or anything known
and he laughed at the things
that just rolled off my tongue
in allayed fits of consternation.

 it was January fifth,
the middle of a
polar vortex and I hadn’t seen
the center of the city yet,
or west or anything but
Kensington.
I kept mumbling about the
loose trash with no cans
and he smiled, irritated at
my constant observation and unsure
of how to handle any turbulence inside
of me coming out in
fractured vocabulary,
light perturbation that I would
eventually learn to craft
and bank
but my nose was running so
I spent the evening
in silence wiping it,
trembling    cradled in
his iron abdomen in a way
that played it off as if
I was just cold.
he mistook
each tremor for the chill
settling in; a new house
that is, and I could feel
every sheath around me
crack like I just sprinted,
hit a frozen lake with my
cannonball skull heavy from
the weight of the unending pendulum
cracking at the edges begging
   think think think
and pieces of me began
to sink    fall deeper
into themselves.

and what else?

this is my 12th house.
 I wake up in his forearm
biting through his moles
to get to you.
 and what else?
you repeat and
I say something cute:

honey, dip a spoon into the
past you’re going to watch it
lick you.

“grief”

we are sharing visions.

during our forced intermission,
I became a winged
lantern machete spine pulsing
towards you
slaughtering everything hidden
having been reborn with bone
like wand   I am
turning mice to men
and then turning men
to wolves to find
you.

the queen is fat now
gorging herself with army;
the war you begged for
and are bound to get
is here on time.
I gather every friend I know
and share my plans
for combat enticing each one
with a different reward.
this is the queen you
asked for:
acerbic communist,
generous with her
violence.
you are Persephone’s
final futile hours

her first visit home sniffing
tulips and then
screaming at her flowers
being  swallowed by the ground
     unless you switch places
a current whispered from below,
and weren’t you gifted with
words, ways to make wind
blow, change direction,
start storms?
oh, here it is again,
that little lie about
choice,
she goes.

but she
goes.

“magician reversed”

I read a note out loud to myself:
everything that is really hard
is going to save your life
and a blackbird landed on the branch
waiting for the buzz of cicadas
to start again.

that reminds me
i’m emaciating,
starved from the looking
without touching and
I want too much
has many meanings.
I read the words aloud again.

then you become the braced
masochist and I become
the looming hit.

“maelstrom”