“I have no future plans,”
I began calmly.

I am arms outstretched
walking nowhere but with
ardency so
I am labeled,
whimsical and manic,
a troubled woman
not to marry and
like a wound up
fairy, the character that
keeps the music box

spinning.
until it’s boring:
the repetition,
the posing,
the pink smile and
matching slippers
leaping from her
gold coiled post
sprinkling glitter,
growing nerves and
ankles that bend flat
to walk to run to
crawl

people like me because
I have
no plans,
am honest about it,
resplendent teeth when
writing sonnets to the men
and a sense of fury when
reflecting on affairs.
big,
have wings that carry weapons.    I
hear in a distance
  someone repeat it
I use intimidation as a tactic
to seize opportunity
well,
I am blessed with delusive
lips and
I also use
black magic.

“seven of cups”

covered in hot water and onslaught,
broken
like the bed we used
to make it in,
found shade in shower.
  wanted to skin myself
to get rid of your fingerprints
but I didn’t want to be noticed
either.    instead
I sat cross-legged
in the tub for 45 minutes
to steam some of it out.
it was a waste of water
you might have said.

I usually go to bed by ten pm
swathed in cheap sheets I picked up
from a trash can: moth-bitten
and low thread count and I washed them
but you’re right it’s a sense of self-deprivation
I wrap myself tightly inside
while I’m
tortured by my low self worth,
absent flowers, cold feet,
lamp on next to me and
wax all over the unfinished table
you were making
before I threw the chair you had finished
down the stairs to get you to
open up
here is what I need
I might have screamed
if I was better at controlling my
“communication”
but it ended in a soft bite to your
neck and a cloying kiss
you can tell has been rehearsed
time and time again.
it’s heavy;
my tongue large with
little darted lullabies

I’m up now and I
linger in the hallway,
nothing in my hand,
wave in my throat
watching the front window;
voice hushed and brusque
and barely noticeable
when I finally move to speak
to make my command on Earth,
withdrawing as it creeps
from its host;
like low tide,
like you

your sudden
retreat.

“February”

what does all of this
mean to you?
she waves her hand
to no one. 

you say it’s important,
ask me to tell it in
“linear order”
but how can I get away with
things telling stories like
that? and besides,
I have survived time
and cage and aged
in linear order.
my proof
    (flex a ripped tricep)
is endless strength,
brimming veins
that have learned how to
vibrate, hum, cluck,
even whistle when your girl
walks by me       I’m
a snake

through her core
and now all you see is a doe
gored in your forest and
I got to eat the whole orchard
I asked for.
are you lost or
just quiet, just hiding
from the butcher inside
it?
you know I’m dense,

ice cold, flush with
forked tongue ready to puncture
someone,     i’m lush;
maintaining a sense of
dam and containment
even in my most berating
fits of temper or panic,
I manage to remain
frozen these days
like a cracking lake
you say I am
sharp and

bitter.
but underneath my skin,
that blue-lace casing,
a carnise river:
little tributaries to
the turning of the world
in linear delivery.
and you say
full of rage     and I say
ok, just wait,

you and I are from
the same place
and I start to pace
the block once more. 

III.

 

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
everywhere.
the tide crept back
and I heard you cough,
felt myself starting to drown again
and then your hand on my thigh
and then nothing at all. 

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?

I think at some point
you have earned the right to say
I know already because you lived it
without acquiescing to
authority so I asked
to see it first:
the river’s mouth,
even though they said
I’d never make it.

“warnings”

we are sharing visions.

during our forced intermission,
I became a lantern and
my own crucifixion was
paused to grow my
sparkling spine sharp like
sudden beams of light
shining
on your morning sex and
I walked forward slaughtering
everything hidden with a
wave of my hand, focused
eyes    incantation, scribe
and text      I having been reborn with bone
like wand, am luring rooks
for guns and ;
turning mice to men
with a flash of tongue
and then turning men to wolves
to find him.

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, but you?
you will know me
by my sharp interjection,
sport–you?

you are
Persephone’s
final futile hours
picking berries in the
garden,
sniffing tulips absentmindedly,
        nevermind the bees or sunset
plucking lilies from the water,
watching the ripples form circles
around your fingertips
and then you’re
screaming at your flowers
being swallowed by the ground
  switch places
an earthworm bit her and said
as Pallas emerged with reminders,
a sello from the water,

floral crown and
speaking in her native tongue:
ways to blow direction,
ways to conjure storms.
oh, here it is again,
that little lie about choice
she goes with her knees
falling through the earth,

but she goes and keeps
her head above that dirt,
what’s a curse to those who
know the power
of reverse?
you.

 

“the magician (reversed)”

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,
the ant hill I just stepped on
or your sad smile that one time I
didn’t notice the
grinning contingency roses;
contingent on whether or not you
decided earlier in the day
to start shit.

the boxes in the corner,
the cat’s nascent behavioral problems,
the missing incense holder,
the empty toilet paper roll,
the moribund note,
the last piece of vegan toffee,
the ants plotting their revenge in the corner,
the forgotten ice cube on the floor,
your wilting gray heart,
my feelings about where our stuff should go

         (back to Boulder),
the sunset in the distance,
self-will run riot,
God’s sweeping fingers,
or
really

further than my
remarkably
dry nose.

“the glasses”

Express the value of life
in lines and
daubed charcoal.
Add the girl’s lids and tinted lashes,
fixed eyebrows,
nose,
lace collar under
overblown cloak.
Hair tucked beneath hood,
chin tucked to neck,
subtract her gloom;
then what would she do?
Harder to draw,
harder to draw something
in.
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.
Find and add
her absent brother.
Subtract her moans.
Erase her nose.
It’s too bull flare.
No one will take her like that.
Thin the clavicle.
Thin the waist.
Add some plum to the lips.
Add a remark.
“This will not do.”

Grab the Hi-Polymer.
Try to capture the gleam
of mistakes on her face:
birthmarks, pencil marks, oil sheen,
eraser flakes,
lines that are furrows or scars or
warrior 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 with an
airbrush and a promise
the clouds whisper. 

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 canvass
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.

 

“the artist”

 

 

first, he showed me the block.
waved 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
dismay, disquietude
quieted.


  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,
  consternation
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.
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 and you’re going to watch it
lick you. 

“grief”

your house was yellow.

my house was blue and
a ten by ten box;
a cage and me trapped,
torn between watching them
pack up their stuff
from their own pact to self
and me, dripping virulence,
pushing them out.
we needed a spark,
I pounced and

shortly after,
the railing tumbled on my
sprinting ankles,
the basement rattled and the
floorboards dropped
filling the place with the kind of emptiness
that is so dense
it smothers.
smoke smells a lot like
ticking minutes
if we scented time the way we
spray each other.
I hear a bark.
hope the turtle remembers how to
duck and cover.
the cat’s sure got it.

remember me as a black-winged fury
hovering over your bed at night because
 there will be nothing left by dawn
except some burning blue
cedar wood and a cheap comb
that found its way buried in the dirt.
the photo albums gone,
dusty cookbooks charred,
vanished remote controls stay hidden
and the asbestos and fiberglass ceilings
imploded despite our fear that was the
thing that would kill us.
I am left with a cancer
that gnaws through the joints
like packs of rats chewing through cables
to take the attic back.
and I need this.

I really miss your hands on me
and the convivial cluster of caterpillars
that swallowed the bark
the day in the orchard
when you held me in sullen incubation
before the devastation of the forest,
before I made way for us,
the start,
the parting and somewhere
an empty crib stays unfurnished.
someone starts an engine.
the varnish is melting and so am I.
         God gave you a chance and
              an unfinished smile.
a smoke alarm malfunctions
mocking your reluctance
to just grin and bear it,
to just open up your arms
and catch me when I jump;

                but first here comes the fish tank

catch me with all the fit I threw.
we all look like burnt books
blowing in the breeze
 and now, I too,
am wafting with the exhumed memories.
before my legs even hit the dew,
you watch me dwindle to a million floating pieces
in the cradle of tar black trees.

 

you see the contract ascertained a certain
ephemeral appeal
and I’m too thirsty to complain
about anything but the heat.
hold your breath and wait
for some other current to take me.

                    baby

there are no exits.

 

“chrysalis”

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