I’ve strained everything I’ve ever
owned in my life
including my eyes
so I can’t see
your car is gone,
the way life unfolds
without interference,
or the ant hill I just stepped on.
your sad smile when I
didn’t notice the grinning
contingency roses;
contingent on whether or not
you decided to start shit.

the boxes in the corner,
cat’s nascent urinary problems,
the missing incense holder,
empty toilet paper roll,
your mordant note, or
the last piece of vegan toffee.
the ants plotting their revenge
in the corner,
the forgotten ice cube on the floor,
your wilting gray shoulders
as you slump into the green plush
armchair you detested
that I brought home,
cat vomit somewhere in the cushion.
your face down in study materials
as if I am brick
or limpid fume, a
backdrop to this impulse
and you can’t hear my muffled feelings
about where our
stuff should go.
        (back to Boulder)
I can’t see

the sunset in the distance,
self-will run riot,
God’s sweeping fingers,
or further than my
remarkably dry nose turned back at
you; yesterday wet with
the tears from your verbal incision,
now clear, i’m numb.


my scrawny legs hanging off the
coffee table quoting McCarthy
to turn you on:
“nobody wants to be here
and nobody wants to leave.”

“the canopy”

you are hiding your scoliosis
in poses, grown
restive inside.
you have high heels on
and are menstruating
plainly
despite him.
stop trying to 

make love to the camera,
just act normal
but also like you
just discovered aging
and you are a prison
of adjustable skin. 
look surprised by time.
and could you do it akimbo,
but
only with your hip bend
and your eyes?

I am a red flour beetle
but less menacing
and standing
in a half pirouette
remembering to also
tuck my waist inside my
breath.
and do it just with my hip
bend and my
eyes
yesss
but

I need to see just the nipple,
so pull your shirt that way.
don’t look at it,
look at me.
chin up,
legs crossed,
bow-legged,
let’s imply something here;
don’t give the milk away.
(laughter from one side).
and don’t grin, it makes you look
desperate.
can you think of the most traumatic thing
that ever happened between you and
your best friend’s father?
sometimes a flash goes off
near my left eyelid.
try to cry,
or at least make the motions of crying,
but then right before it hits–
stop.
call it a female orgasm.
sometimes both go off.

I am doing it with microscopic
eyebrow gestures and
no pants remembering
to arch my back.
MUCH better,
he speaks to me
this way, emphasizing
my small victories.
but now do it with just your
breasts
but also,
don’t smile.

your teeth are off-white
and unmatched.
and uncross those legs.
can you turn to one side?
I need a shadow that traces
your buttox to tits
and then  to vagina
but I don’t want
anything else in the shot.
great.
he speaks loudly
with emphasis on
certain words like
put your PUSSY out.
hips swiveled.
head down.
lips shut.
I am in akimbo
with just my hips and
eyes putting my

PUSSY out.
and that’s tiiiime.
I am hopping off the carton
and shivering
from the fan and
the sensation of throb
propels me to take the
envelope from his hand
as my ankles are
cut from the straps
of the boots and
truthfully,
everything hurts
yessss 

cool.
i’ll call this one
hunger,
(laughter from one side).
he is staring at a screen
and I am expressionless,
or not here.
they feel so close.
i’ll pay you a little more
next time.
you can walk, right?
I can’t drive you after all,
my wife just texted me.
be careful.
he tosses that.
and you really should see a dentist
about that front tooth.

I am nodding,
dispossessed but
not evicted yet.

“Happy International Women’s Day 3/8/2014”

I got a nine millimeter, I say,
casually, waving my hand over the wooden
board. hidden in this house.
I got this house lined with weapons
since the first warning.

I place the orange butcher knife
on the linoleum counter,
scraps of tomato still clinging so
I can
scoop the slug up from beneath the
dishwasher and put him
back in the shade.
he follows me out.
we are both easily distracted.

we were having vegan charcuterie
and he is drinking chardonnay.
with me it’s always
something, plentiful,
homemade.
he’s seen half my knife collection
now and every inked guard;
the other half tucked in various places.
I gestured to the antique table,
to the pepper spray,
the hammer by the door.
I point out the ants
lining the sink.

swathed with charms,
I can’t kill a thing
and half the town has figured it out.
I wear my arms in
muscle, others’ biceps.
keep them around cuz
I can’t kill a thing
and half the town has figured
it out. point to the baseball bat.
show him my pearly growl.
this is where the poem begins

we both eye the slug moving
through the garden
til he disappears.
I begin pointing out
webs.
it’s 7:42 pm,
88 degrees and
the sun is out,
my shoulders dark.
we are both tan,
hurt, a possible onslaught
if we were not otherwise
stuffed and I am practicing

silence,
sitting on my bench.
we are two inches from each
other and I can’t help but
melt when the cool breath
hits my left cheek.
I’m plucking at the hem.
he grabs my hand
to stop my ticking.
what’s that?
he says.

this is where the poem begins.

“doors #9”

it keeps no record of wrongs.
i’m saying it out loud
and I’m noticing my drawl
drawn out that’s how I know
he’s come round.
placed toffee on the other
mantle the way he likes
try not to ask about
whatever wayward lover
that’s been side eyeing
me or just puckering
their lips and I’m
hor d’oeuvres.
disentangled.
waste.
of time.
but here we are
marking everything
xxx with my fire finger
so I decide to
begin again:

love is patient.

I am trying not to get lost
in the mirror
which is a tall fucking
order (but drawing it
out so it goes
t aaaaallll fucking
ordddderrrrrrr)
when the little girl
enters the room.

the audience is lost,
I know. ok, so
there’s me plus
my reflection
plus it’s
what year and
there’s
how many
folks
in the room?

“Formula #2: Descriptive”

there are two giant
bruises on each thigh.
I am careful not to hit them
with my fingers except
I already have
and I shriek.
you don’t even ask.


I spent most of my time
that late winter
searching.
what you would say, ugh,
combing through options,
in flux and in search of
weight.
and some guy,

a stranger
in my house, said to me
after I had given him reiki
for money, for rent,
for phone bill,
smirking on my apartment floor:
“Smile.” and added.
“What do you look like naked?”
and added
“How much to find out?”

and I stood tall and robust
like a weed in Kensington’s
concrete garden:
stepped on but
won’t go away
and  then
suddenly growing
into a gun.
not only that,
but suddenly
making rent.
fuck.
ok.

you don’t even ask. 

“doors #8”

 I know I’ll always be ok.by purpose, my namewill be forgotten. my real name.I am thinking back.if you can’t keep up,this is winter 2014. but it is alsowinter 2017.it is also spring andsummer 2020.the day I arrived in the hotelin the financial district of New Yorkto meet a Russian photographerwho promised me a night in an expensivesuite and a binding contractthat has been violated over timewithout my awareness,my nails were paintedblue to match mybruised knees.spread more, all the way.I thought that wascute. 

 I know I’ll always be ok.
by purpose, my name
will be forgotten. my real name.
I am thinking back.
if you can’t keep up,
this is winter 2014. but it is also
winter 2017.
it is also spring and
summer 2020.

the day I arrived in the hotel
in the financial district of New York
to meet a Russian photographer
who promised me a night in an expensive
suite and a binding contract
that has been violated over time
without my awareness,
my nails were painted
blue to match my
bruised knees.
spread more, all the
way.
I thought that was
cute. 

he gave me a fishnet
black onesie I ripped a hole
in but wear on dates
to remember us by.
and even though
he took advantage of me
and you felt betrayed
by some unshaved labial
part of me,
I made my half of rent
for once.
in the car from the bus
stop on my smile
spread and the bickering
couldn’t dissuade
the new confidence.
the way cash feels
sizeable in an envelope.
ok, chill.
fuck, 

I got rent, right?

“doors (#7)”

little pieces of God,
got a pint sized celestite
I broke off.

I am surrounded by men
who are wolfish in detonation
but repenting for a lifetime
of substance abuse
so we nod when they say
things that are aptly
reflected instances in which
they felt a guilt greater
than themselves.
they usually begin with things
like
I took advantage of her
and I cross my legs.

I am wearing brown tights, brown
heeled boots and a cream turtleneck
sweater dress.  my hair is
short, uncombed and strange
and I am mostly plain.
I wear light blush, mascara and
chapstick but I don’t spend all
day about it.
it is important as a woman
to catalogue what you were wearing
and how you generally look
at any moment.
also I had gained some weight
first, before I  discovered that
counting beans will gain you
phone bill money.
when you tell the audience the story
they can gauge reaction better.
were you homely, girl?

I was neither homely nor
exceptional,
merely watching the blue chips
of nail polish flake onto
the floor as he spoke
finding my hands to be urgent
suddenly.

“doors #6”

before I ran upstairs, I went to my kitchen to grab my water bottle and my straw. I wouldn’t want either but they would be seen as a source of comfort to my eyes in some cases. it is already so harsh; the shifting walls and brightening of any room when you’re on it. I need these comforts. the stairs are steep and they were steep climbing them especially with the bend to my back. I wasn’t scared of the stairs, although truly, one could die if they fell the wrong way down them. I didn’t think about this too much honestly. my room felt safe. no one is ever in there but me and the cats. I considered closing the door to lock them out briefly only because their obsession with being close to me can feel  smothering, which is why I keep announcing to them that I am on drugs. to remind them. such a volatile state but I also wanted them around, and on guard. they had a knack for reading me and knew when I was too far out. years of practice. I knew they’d follow me immediately and better for it. they were familiar and moving, a constant distraction if I needed one. watching cats is a pleasure in itself. I wanted my journal that I had been reading the night before about astrological placements. I brought that upstairs.. I wanted the decks too.  deferentially, I asked if I was able to remove the placement of the cards  on my altar to use them. it felt reverent. I feel more comfortable in devotion. I am a fanatic.

I placed them on the bed and sat down. I also had a mini composition book and a pen. the composition book only had a couple notes in it to begin with. it was an emergency notebook. in an emergency, or a flush of energy, if I feel the need to write something I can reach over and grab it. the pages were all falling out but I kept it in some order. I liked things neat even in deshevelment. I focused on keeping the pages together as I swirled in place. what am I looking for? began to read about the sun and its meaning for a person: the ego, the way, and the second house of possessions.  and how they conjunct in natal and synastry. possessive. sometimes I see things I’ve written in different places, breezing by become a saint. so much pressure. so much pressure in my head. flipping the pages but my handwriting is scrawl and perfectly coded so only I can read it in my most lucid state and requiring patience. to read my letters requires patience. things would lose meaning and be regained later. that’s synthesis and letting go of what you read. I used to have a photographic memory.I found the pages and flipped back and forth between two of them not certain what I was looking at or if I was truly looking at anything of substance. this  was the house of self esteem. there is a theme here of scarcity. my room I mean. it’s full of things and outfits and art. its also a square altar. it’s also full of money, these walls. I keep thinking. I want less of what I own. I’m not really reading but scanning my lines to see what pops. my handwriting is slanted and shorthand, like a doctors. my signature is merely a lowercase and cursive s but drawn big sometimes.

“the sun is active not reactive.” I put my pen back down. was I writing? i’m incapable of holding any thoughts which forces me to breathe deeply. it feels nice to do it and my spine is pulsing and I can sense more pressure coming. don’t look at anything. I lay on my back for a second. it is impossible not to be stimulated in this world. I feel a buzz in my apartment all the time and noise. what always sticks out about the second house is the possession of friends. the love of buying gifts. the generosity that comes with owning someone and with a will to succeed in some way that forces you to lie down on your orange comforter and plot the burning of your house. I began to imagine setting my house on fire. I was staring at my dresser, at the framed picture of the fox and a little ways past that to a mirror that felt warmer. my brother’s ashes which didn’t cause any alarm or overwhelming grief so much as the polaroid of my dad next to a backdrop of a dark woods so the two blended. I looked back up and sat back up. opening the notebook again. it’s hard to focus on anything. it’s best to comfort yourself too. “tail wraps inward for Virgo, outward for Scorpio.” I’m on my south node journey. . I’m simply observing the process of what I noted and what I’m noting now as I’m reifying my old words into the alchemy. I am looking around my room a lot. not in alarm, it is safe here. no one has been in this room but a couple people and no one has ever slept in this bed with me, or fucked me. not in this room on this mattress.that thought is soothing.

I used to cut my hair and hide it behind the dollhouse. I used to hate when it got past my shoulders. I don’t quite remember what I did with the hair but I assume that I let it collect back there in globs. The way I find dust bunnies under my dresser now. When there was an opening, tuck it in my shirt, run to trash can. I was a surreptitious child. I am sure I mostly tried to sweep it under the dollhouse as if it would disappear into the carpet. Hoped my mother wouldn’t dust. That’s how I hid everything back then. With a wink. And scissors. A smile. A wish. Staring at lights on my closet door.  I don’t remember my mother ever finding out so I wasn’t terrible at it either.

“I have never let my hair grow past my shoulders,” I say out loud. “Some say that’s the weirdest thing about me.” 

He looks at his hands.

“Remember only one sentence has to be a lie to discount the whole thing.”

I smile.
  You sneer.
And try not to laugh
and try not to give
a single thing
away.

“doors #5”

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