they say I talk too much
and I’m inclined to agree.
perhaps I’ll
sew my chapped lips shut,
show them the scorpion etched
on my shoulder
first and no one
has ever seen my childhood home.

but I’m compromised
by the simple fact I think
I might be a ghost so I’m
always checking mirrors
and calling 911, waiting for
the fireman to touch my arm.
they say
“your leg is not numb, ma’am.”

but I can’t be sure so I make
him touch it again.

one trick is never tell them
anything. I like my men
to think I wait in lonely
cave: ache
and pray for them.
palms clasped and reverent,
sort of rocking like that.
real southern too.
just sort of worshiping
the idolatry of shadow.
please.
they make me repeat it:
please. and thanks
for everything.


my men remember me
incessantly and always
cut out of starry dough:
soft, head half-cocked
looking up at them
with servitude but
sideways like I’m
about to laugh,
then me in my day skirt,
hair covered and
muttering.
candle lit or twenty seven
if I’m out of time.
devout.
pocket full of them.

what a violent question.

you’re sunburned,
gone for weeks without
inquiry and now
a wash of here:
forehead fervid,
a humid wind clasping
the back of the choker
while your left hand lifts
my skirt.
thighs are soft,
reminiscent,
it’s the skin that brought
you back, isn’t it?
what’s that?
you say,
looking at the blue and
black ring of shadow mouth
above my  birthmark.

it’s the way your jaw
bulges as you bite your
ocean tongue
that was just kept safe
and wet under me
before you begin to
pull the clasp rope
til the emerald center
pushes hard against  the
front of my throat
almost as if you are going to
bring the stone inside me
that proves it.
and please,

what a violent question,
love. 


“Five of Wands”

made me walk to her house
collecting stones along the way.
said she was building something.
my pockets and fingers were dirty
and when I arrived,
she was sitting, arms crossed
and
throw that conch shell away
is how she greeted me.
I feigned my deference
and regret it now.
she never wanted me to kneel
but to toil for her favor.

she didn’t greet me with any body part
but squared me.
when I asked about the stones,
she looked perplexed.
gestured to the kitchen where the
trash sat and said
throw those away too.

“sisyphus” or “how guys save me in their phone 4”

smirk.

black lipstick and naked eyes and
lied about time
when I asked her.
she looked at her wrist to
count the hearts but missed an
hour and she is
dulled,
not rusty but
blunt and I know
when she walked away,
her hand was
steadily sharpening.

“how guys save me in their phone #3”

   repeat after me

the first thing you noticed about me
was that you’d seen me before and
my s   l    o      w southern accent,
my impervious sway and
bit of a drawl but mostly

the way I smirked:
sometimes red-hot,
sometimes ice-cold.

               my name is Lilith

you called me cool
and unapproachable and 

             my name is Lilith

felt
the outline of my torso move
in a light rescinding way
like the edge of a storm changing
course but 

      my name is Lilith


you called me Lilith first. 

“how guys save me in their phone #2”

it was morosity
that ran in the family.
I sat down to the orange tablecloth,
my spanish deck set
    laberinto
every light out,
about sevcn candles it
and a roller coaster kind of
high, grief taking years to
fully form outside of me,
a birthday present for us,
Matt
and pulled the first card,
    the sun reversed

i’ll always remember that.
october 19th, 2016 and my
brother is dead.
I swallow a finger full of his
ashes from the black and
white genie bottle I
keep him in and

let the ritual begin.

“the rituals’

precocious and blazing
hot, I become
a long bending desert to
warm you up:

fields of sand to cover,
infinite high noon run,
no moon to come,
hollowing the others with
deprivation,
promising mirages,
a wide and weaving
ever-longing
desiccation,
sudden sidewinders and a
slow and draining
drip that never hits and
dehydration,
never an inch of rain

and you
find every trap
I laid.

“the desert”

what does all of this
mean to you?
wave to no one, fixed
on the corner of
an antlered profile
in the corner of a
smudged mirror.

you say it’s important,
ask me to tell it in
“linear order”
but how can I get away with
things telling stories
with honesty?
I have survived time
and cage and aged
in linear order.
my proof:
          I flex a ripped tricep
endless strength and

 brimming veins
that have learned how to
whistle when your girl
walks by me.

‘the doe”

I remind you over text
and apropos NOTHING
you make sure to emphasize
to someone that my style is
abruptly
and in all caps and
that I enjoy the slam of
doors, interjections,
a hand tight around my forearm
and learning the local
culture before intercepting about
the fine print of the law,
how to skirt
a shadow, what a savior
secret arsenals.
I present the trunk machete,
then the painted switch blade.
I mean no harm
simply seething as I walk about
tracing panes, cracks in
paint and you hold me anyway
and in a way that I oblige;
loosely.

if I’m anything stasis
it’s anxious so
I at some point,
have to be blindfolded,
only feeling
the way the soil holds the bones
of those we’ve learned to mourn
in private:
eternally and quiet
with an airy tightness and security
like the rosary barbs the
knuckles when it’s altar
or when its storm and I’m all fist.
the way the heavens hold the pious,
the mob holds the riot,
or the torch of arrival and
the way the ocean holds all that
falls below that deep blue
surge of sea.
a gentle immensity
lifts me in my
fits and that’s the way you
see me still;
intense and poignant,
pointed in her comments
but rather distressed about it
all so generally forgiven
for her onslaught.

squall hits and I
drag you under to show
what made me.
you’re surprised by my
physicality and stature,
my apt command
of rooms
so far
only seeing me flit
and not sticking around
to see me pull out
the skewer and demonstrating
all the ways in which a weapon
works.
and in front of
everyone like I feel most
comfortable in combat,
agitating and leading
regimes before.
like I’ve never once
had an apprehensive
thought.

and tall.

“furor”


let’s celebrate it:
our arrival to temperance.
throw an anniversary picnic
and let a year go by
shining underneath the map,
resplendent from the previous
events.


show up weekly and
listen, share, open
vulnerabilities but listen
to them carefully.
gain their trust before you
censure To wives and the ways
these advantageous
players play,
then let your serpent spine
sizzle in its case,
one day stand up,
call them all sexist,
balk at the coming year’s celebration,
do nothing but exit
and get all of the women
to leave.

“God”

express the value of life
in lines and
charcoal.

Add the girl’s lids and
tinted lashes,
fixed eyebrows,
nose.
her lace collar under
overblown cloak.
Hair tucked beneath hood,
chin tucked to neck,
subtract her gloom
with an upturned lip..
Highlight her cheekbones in rouge.
Add breath to an otherwise
achromatic lover.

Add her troubled partner in the backdrop:
blue-gray with a hint of black at the corners,
small silhouette of a rainstorm
receding over the edge of the horizon.
Add some balance to a ruminating giant.
Subtract her moans.
Erase her nose.
Sharpen the clavicle.
Thin the waist.
Add some plum to the lips.
Add some gaunt to her face.
Add a remark.
“This will not do.”

Grab the Hi-Polymer.
Try to capture the gleam
of mistakes everywhere;
birthmarks, pencil marks, oil sheen,
eraser flakes,
lines that are furrows or scars or
wrinkles, ruddy blotches
on the thighs,
dry skin on the feet,
swan’s neck,
bucked teeth,
knife marks and a
revised smile.
Never trust a man.

She is flawless.
Precise.
Analogized you.
Contrast to your optimism;
your bubble of assurance
that is dominating,
that denies a compact or an inventory
and drawn in shady undertones
to hide complicated desires.

Proof of hidden bruise
shoved deep inside the confines
of gusto and canvas
come to life in the luster of pencil dust
and uncomplicated process,
stretched wide
for the world to admire.
A deflated mirror.

She still has all her freckles
and you are noticing
a few things
about yourself.

“doors #10”

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