it’s in front of the Christmas tree
one week before you die,
alone and panicked by the
thought of mustering;
both mettle & words,
staring at white-frosted plastic;
pine dotted with uniform red balls
when I feel it.

it’s like cracking cement.

the tree only has two colors–
silver and red.
the ornaments of my childhood
gone; the plastic reindeer
that draped  like garland,
the candy cane painted with my
gold-glitter name down the center,
the felt snowman;
kind of gray,
stained by my cinnamon
bun fingers and cigarette smoke,
all lost with my yearbooks
and the oil painting of my mom.
the first and only letter
you ever wrote me
taken by the asbestos garage.
by the moisture from the dripping
ceiling,  by the mold.
by poverty: my enslaver.

I’ve been writing this for you
for about ten years
waiting for the day I’d be
by your bed to read the ending.
when my bargaining starts.
    (it’s just one breath)

this is where the poem begins. 

  1. (dad)

celebrating alone in my mineral salts
and tears, how long I lit the candles.
how many candles did I light to this?
to own.
to own something.
to own something other than
grief.

a home.

my home.

and what’s more pleasing, the salt lined doorway
proved me right. you’ve never
set foot in this place and never
will

“”friends”

I circulate a lot of change. lucky coins
but also wind,
breath,
phrases.

(oya)

I tell them,
I am not writing about the men
you see unless it’s
my
dead dad
or
my
dead brother.


wearing his  knit NY Giants cap
everywhere and
holding in a feeling,
then stoned and stripped,
replaying the final moment:
hand held, eye contact,
the knowing I had and decision
to forgo a flowery speech.
elision.
the last thing my father and I ever
said to each other was
I love you

before I left,
palms on the linoleum,
sobs held,
bargaining,
please,
one more Christmas.

  1. (love)

and I think
I may be a masochist,
an undervalued trait of mine.

I’m friendless truly and
in one lost picture,
missing in one of my twenty-one moves;
black and white snapshot
of the first rollercoaster.
my father accompanied me,
and recalling when he went too
fast on the jet ski
knocking us both into the water,
two booming laughs,
neither of us really scarred.
it is the drugs that got us,
the suicide,
the dementia,
there’s nothing left.

but I held your hand in earnest
and exchanged a look.
I didn’t hug you during the
pandemic.
I try not to think
of these acts of
care as anything but that
but still inconsolable,
bereft,
heavy cement cracked,
it comes for me as
failure.

  1. (sadist)

I felt hopeful when I finally met him,
heard.
began to teach him.
first, light the candle.
write the dream.
that’s easy, then
put the cayenne in the bowl.
spit.
I have blessed everything in this house
wave my hand over lines of brick dust.
sprinkle black salt everywhere.
put the kyanite here to
infiltrate their thoughts.
we are asking for nightmares.
it’s easier in pairs.
remind him how no one believes you.
put the tourmaline on the windowsill.

my biggest strength is no one believes
me so they never see me coming.
we ask Hellebore for veil.
here,

put the wormwood in the bowl,
darling. no, like this.
more.

“Transubstantiation” or “ARACHNE”

 i’ll remember you distant.
back turned save
the way you had to face
me momentarily
(when I was actually pleading),
your fingers laced
with blade to turn.
“I told you to…”

I’ll remember you as quietly
despotic and into yourself.

you’ll remember me as panic
unpassing, bleeding; a 

frenetic champion of unfurling
without witness,
your rival Phoeniix,
more quiet than you think
but less likely to withhold
my secret passion,
years practiced and likely earned.


got the agrimony and
ague root to prove it.
got the mirror laid.
old Hellebore & Belladonna
drawn in menstrual blood.
got a stone of yours,
your new name written clearly.
got a real belly laugh going.
got something that only gets
better with tantrum,
pain unbalanced,
time and space
(and pressure)

 to ruminate on ways unheard.

got something fixated;
an impulse
dressed with hearty
vengeance,dash of
cayenne pepper and
fresh dried herb.

“black magic”

Prologue:

and love?
I want this thing gone.

————————————————-

“After great pain, a formal feeling comes–”

it’s in front of the Christmas tree
one week before you die,
alone and panicked by the
thought of mustering courage;
mettle and words,
staring at white-frosted plastic;
pine dotted with uniform red balls
when I feel it.

it’s like cement cracking.

the ornaments of my childhood
all gone, lost
with my yearbooks and the
oil painting of mom
taken by the asbestos garage,
poverty; my enslaver.
i’ve been writing this for you
for about ten years
waiting for the day I’d be
by your bed to read the ending.
the bargaining begins.
(it’s just one breath)

this is where the poem begins. 

  1. (dad)

“Pay no mind to the gaze of doubt.”

Knight of
Wands

“She is greater than her triggers.”

Eight of swords

“Completing a cycle of creativity or Magic.”

“Protect your magic.”

Ace of cups

“Forgive yourself for taking time for nourishment and rebirth.”

The empress

I am more powerful than my anxiety

“Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.”

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