I used to
leave class
in high school,
go to the bathroom stall
and masturbate whenever
I let dirty thoughts
build too long.
usually it wasn’t
the subject of the class
but the way a boy
brushed my sleeve
on the way to pick up
the beakers.

I used to ask men
to reach under blankets
at house parties
and touch me.
my shorts not so
tight they couldn’t
be pushed to one side.
I used to pay their
way in when there
was a cover,
crawl up
their stomachs,
my mouth smelling
of Bud Light and
cigarettes and smiling
bright asking them
if they were still seeing
Mariel and if they wanted
to reach under the

I always had a spare
five dollars on hand,
at least three cigarettes
and a way to materialize
fire, a way to morph
into lap cat
for whomever I
craved.  my name
is a whispered name.
a baleful sweep
of syllable in halls.

“the rooms”

sometimes when I think back
to my fuck ups or falling down,
I come here and I see all these
women and I think,
whose answered prayer am I?
she said
and that struck me.
when women speak
I put my head down deferentially
go back to past
but also out of my own
need to curl up
inside myself.
It’s winter, 2015,
just past the new year,
I’m broken hearted
and knee deep in
some fucking secrets
but whose answered prayer
am I? who called
the wounded shepard
here? It’s 2015 and I had
just been gifted three thousand
dollars from my grandmother
that my parents called and asked
for back.

I gave them two thousand and
used the  rest to move out of
the townhouse
into a one bedroom
in the heart of Kensington.
embraced by the “Auspicious
Coin Laundry” service next door.
no one would ever miss my house.
I didn’t have anything left
over but I never did.
it’s worth mentioning that when I was
eighteen and just home for
the summer from college,
my mother told me they had
cleaned out my savings account.


I value freedom most.
I wander
in both eyes and body
always collecting
but devoted to the last,
even fixated on the last,
even clutching the last
but also loose with most
acquaintances stressing
compromise, meaning
yielding to my rule
and enjoying breaks,
enjoying reaching,
enjoying screaming.

favoring opportunity over floor,
I become an opportunist.
favoring power over doormat,
I become a tyrant.
I value the sky and
currents more than houses.
the ephemeral in
our lives while also walking
three inches higher than I am,
on tiptoe,
touching things,
making threats in the air
when angered and
you say I am

and slow like that.
a bit virulent
is how you say it and
before we seek the advantageousness
of everything, it’s Friday
and we are
processing hard truths.
the way silence hits
and my hand opening,
the spontaneity
of losing things.
tell me,
where do you keep your pocketknife?

 life is rushing and swamps
with its shades of
blue; azure
  (you name things)
sky, or cobalt fluid
or nightmare
like a wall of nail polish
you’re reading every
dressed up inch of you.
your rehearsed malignance.
your wry contribution
with your cocked smile
to hide your jealous

the moon moves
from womb to waste
to task those unsewn wounds
and you embrace things now
with reticence
but you’re open to the epitaph
scrawled across the rock hard
my Venus in Leo
is running.
you made him carve something else
across  your eyes
that night on Jupiter:
          I remember everything.

but you didn’t want to be
so right and you didn’t really
ask for things:
you just opened a door
and walked right in.
you made it clear
as you rummaged through
the closet smelling him,
you are always only someone’s
secret. you are
unconditional when furtive
but otherwise,
rigid and passing
like a northern mist.t

that means when kept.
when kept,
you’re just a blur,
just a sprint.

“venus in 12th house”

carried with her
a weapon: her keys in hand,
a disarming speech pattern;
accented and d r aw n out
drawl,  a couple y’alls
and no reason to suspect
her about anything.

I never tell a lie,
she said
leading me to
someone else’s house.
i’m tepid but halfway up
the steps, how do you
get away with that?

I just never finish the story,
she said, half turned and I
hung there like a
Christmas ornament
on the front porch
glistening in her iris.

“How guys save me in their phone #12”

I sit in my summer
suit even though the cold
is here: golden sequined top
and burgundy pants,
loose, wide and a
lavender shawl wrapping
my bare shoulders,
knit wool socks
and I am also surrounded by
furry purring cats
lying on their backs to
paw my finger as I
toss coins on a giant
white quartz that has been stroked
by my friends and
three candles on the floor,
an Orgonite pyramid.
I’m experiencing a mild
tinnitus and a spectrum
of truths so I’m
trying to clear some
space for a violent
I offer you change and

It’s February first,
I pray to all lords
but I have an affinity
for wind and
glowering airs.
if you asked what I wished for:
nothing, an endless
seeking nothing. 


I watch the ants circle the trash can
without any interception.
let them lick the chocolate
flakes, the cinnamon
does nothing,
they’ve built homes in the
copper mounds.
I sip water and
press play:

que es esto?
Es Caballo.
que es esto?
Es Gato.
que es esto?
la influencia
de la revolución
y una venda
en los ojos
porque estoy

girl, you better


what I did first was stacked:

learning early how to pocket
quarters and joint wrappers from my dad’s nightstand,
I also began the slow theft.
stacked: names, cash,
cans of beans, loyalties,
tasers, pocket knives, wigs, stockings,
nail polish, candles, rope, pepper spray,
eyeliner, lighters, marijuana,
mushrooms, different flowered
teas, boxes of pasta, crates of
methanol, bleach, batons,
baseballs bats, hammers, and
tarot decks.

I named the loyalties on pieces
of paper and placed them
in the abalone next to
Whispered Oya,
blew three candles out and
drew an R over everything.

the truth is,
at the bottom of my arms’ length
where I keep them
is a stark allegiance;
the things that raised me,
kept me,
grated me and remolded me
like slivers of soap being
made into one ball
and they are right I love being right
and they are right
I wouldn’t miss the end of the world
for anything.
I’ve never walked away from a fight,
I start
my name is Artemis.

I reset the table, one
candle for her.


when we met, I was
inching my way back
to my robust self  having
established myself as a
case manager. having
scraped my savings to
buy an oil leaking car
that almost caught on fire
in the first week of work
back in August.
I then borrowed money
to buy a car that didn’t.
I had paid rent for three months
without much to do.
I was high on repayments,
seeing I could repay,
in fact,  and

adding cookies back into my diet,
unworried about my teeth
for seconds at a time.
the party had vegan brownies and
I made sure to get plenty.
still I  could touch my ribs
and almost wrap my hands
completely around my waist.
a measure of security.
I often squeeze my ribs to
see if I’m still thin.

when we met,
I had freshly chopped
pixie hair and clear skin,
green eyeshadow to make my
brown eyes pop.
limited eyeliner and a shy
way about scooting next to
you, feeling contagious.

when we met, I had a wardrobe
that consisted of colorful
and flowy items,
hand me downs,
and a reticent entrance.
I was seeking incorporeal
thrills via touch and
you were
(too tired to change seats)
out of love. 

“the rebound”

I spent a week
cleaning out the bookshelf
and trying to decide what to
read in the short
time I had left.
I was also debating
how I should present
myself next:
wholly, or
with my rigid cuts.

things that I remember:

painting my toenails blue
outside under a clear sky
and a very bright crescent moon.
we sat in front of each other
on a bench outside of the supermarket,
and you were amused
that I asked if we could
stop walking so I can paint my toes.
“that way I can stay out later,”
I said.
when you said
you wanted to see me more.

I make myself recite
love is patient
from Corinthians daily,
however, I let too much time
pass and I always have to go
back to the first line as
I am learning it but
today we are at
does not dishonor others
lucky you,
I think.

I’ve been reading some
leftover Anne Waldman
and your Eastern philosophy,
lucky you,
today I eschew making
myself a porcupine
and then making things brittle
enough to break
just chewing the inside
of my cheeks
as you pick up the boxes,
leave the antique china
cabinet you promised
you’d keep.

“the bookshelf”

I’m in the doctor’s office
trying not to laugh
as he keeps pressing me
“what was your father like?”
I don’t have time quite frankly.
this man is asking me if I ever
feel like I am watching myself from
outside of my body.
I say sincerely,
sounds like you think I’m a ghost.

I’m trying not to laugh.

he is outlining various traumas
I may have experienced in my life:
my drinking,
my family’s drinking,
my previous assaults by men.
we talk MS, autoimmune
we talk allostatic load,
latency of neglect,
the firing of nerves.
the confusing compression.
I’m just talking about the mirror
and gesturing a lot to the air
about the fact I asked for it
and then my legs went numb.

that was the first time,
I say.
when I asked for her to enter me.
before, she did it without asking.
I nod as if he is
answering the questions.
    get on it with then.

Sir, I am possessed.
I don’t have time for this.
I stand up,
suddenly able to walk again.


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