I am thinking of culpability
as it relates to
feelings towards me.
I am thinking
you’re thinking
what’s the probability
I still hold grudges and
what’s the likelihood
I save a thing that any
man has given or said to
me, but we also have to examine
formula so you
reverse and see the way

 

I move at night first.
foremost, you have to
ask yourself whether my stasis
is truth or lie, and if all
perpetrators love getting
caught what does that mean for
us? and starting to feel myself
dissolve into the walls,
I become
first so large I cannot be unseen,
and then with a snap of
my fingers, a panel
blending in like camouflage
with the cracks along my walks.
I could not stop myself
from seeking; even in
chill, I could go from one
end of town
to the other.
like a slow exhale.

when the city closed the
streets for the pope,
I walked from Frankford and
Allegheny to 30th and Market,
having also biked it first.
even though we lacked the
snow capped hills,
something about spending an
entire two months
watching for black ice and cars
even at red lights,
hearing them skid,
thrilled like the slipping
over jagged rocks.
and being watched daily
by a nemesis and every man in this
town really made it feel much
more weighted
and at such a shifting
ponderance. there were
glades of icicles
to wade through,
my hamstrings so strong
towards the end of
February, my fingers
like wrinkled rulers
measuring the space
between neighbors,
the circumference of
baseball sized holes in
windows, the sting of
locked knobs,
and

crippled by the straws
I clutched ungloved.

 

“February/February/July”

 

I have three cuts through
the devil on my leg
and a small bruis
to the right of it,
a large bruise on
my left thigh and
when we met,
you had a large mark on your
right arm that looked
like someone had grabbed you
and I don’t know where
I got it.

you are careful.
I am unsure what to say.
I don’t either.
I gesture to myself,
I mean to mine.

I begin to tell her a dream.
he begins to tell me a dream.
I am in the middle of a forest
and she is in front a fire
and all she says is
wait, be careful
what you say
and holds her hands up.
she kind of walks towards me.
she is young but
but like also like her child.
like she is her daughter.
she is walking up,
she is wearing a long white
pj gown and has long hair,
hands out saying
be careful what you say.
and then I just wake up.

and then wake him up.

“datura moon” or “the story of us”

 

“We have, I think, great terror of pain, and consequent resistance to what it can teach.”

–Louise Gluck

freedom is a cage
of smudged windows,
or it is a knot
in my stomach,
wriggling.


I dream of white frogs
at night in pools
covered in tea lights
and women swimming ahead
to cavern and I
feel caterpillars
washed in symbol,
incubated, sliding through
my gut, inching
their way from corporeal
packages when the day is
warm and facing them,
unbridled.
when the wind is favorable

my unimpeded exodus
through speech
prevails;
from chrysalis to
window, cracking
pane and tracing spit
like slug on glass
to mark the gust
that carries.
from gut to
chest to
windpipe:
carved.  how screams are
rushed when pushed,
or just when they finally
meet the Earth
as voluble flutter
that maims itself
to form.



“Arachne”

I took myself
to the welfare office,
not even getting lost as
I’m prone to do.
          why can’t you just figure it out?
I live right down the street.
it took fifteen minutes.
my shorts are stuck to my thighs,
and my neck is drenched.
I wipe my forehead with my hand
to her disgust.
“It’s unseasonably warm for June”
I begin and elucidate the drawl,
smile to beg for my Access card back
but here comes the recalcitrance;
she asks me for something
I don’t have and I
smacked my lips the wrong way
so I snacked on my servility
inch by inch as I
inched my way
back to our place.

months later,
I lose a diamond necklace there.
there is nothing more satisfying
than losing things or
shaving my head or
throwing away the clunky pepper
spray that women wraithed into chains
and hung from their hips
as if fear and trepidation
and weaponry have
ever kept me safe.
someone told me failure is perspective
but all I see are cops
pinching women with latex gloves
and all the little shrubs
that line the block look like
workers shaking their heads at me
      leave
or,

get on with then.
I am  throwing coffee grounds
into a leaky cardboard box,
our first CD is scratched  and
on top.
I’m on a bed that lifts
with one giant sigh
and no top sheet and
no frame.
they said risk meant courage
and I say you fucking
left me here
into your voicemail.

I’m eating sprinkles with a spoon
in a freshly inherited
two story townhouse.
It’s the sixth of June
so I got weeks.

“grace”

freedom,
as with any other illusion,
is a cage; square
of smudged windows

 or
slowly cracking doors,
screened porches and you’re
watching the kids chase the wind
into the gulls at the shore.
brick walls with a hole in the
mortar and you’re peeking
through the cracks of your
latest lover’s absence,
trying to catch sight of
the tips of their nails
for the synesthetic trail
down your  breast or
the scourge and
when settled
and mended and feeling
very tall,
broken glass on the sidewalk
as you leap from your
place:

burning, indelible
in char.

doors #12

 

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,
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 started 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,
and 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 further than my
nose turned back at
you, my scrawny legs hanging off the
coffee table quoting McCarthy
to turn you on and
upwards:

“nobody wants to be here
and nobody wants to leave.”

“the glasses”

 

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?

I am a red flour beetle
but less menacing
and standing
in a half pirouette
remembering to also
tuck my waist inside my
breath.
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 goess 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 as if I
am brick.
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
like a football coach.
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
as nothing, or not
here.
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.
cool?

I am nodding,
dispossessed but
not evicted yet.

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

I’d be hard pressed
not to tell you what a doe-eyed
impression you leave: bare
silk chest, moans
to emasculate yourself
and the way
your mouth dropped open
when I opened the door,
recorded in my brain
while something twists my nerves
searing sheath, uncovering,
I’ll remember that.

I’m looking up at you
about to laugh
but know better,
learned to lie still in
quake. I spend days
rehearsing affection
in the mirror.
your hands are kind of
loose
around my neck and
you’re honest to god
the sweetest, warmest thing
I’ve ever met.
I grab your forearm
and dig my nails in.
practicing being
pithy
about certain things,
guarded,
I snap my teeth shut.
please.

please what?
you say.

I’m trying not
to laugh,
just kill me.
I say it again,
harder.
hit me.

“reversing”

send him a polaroid
of one tear rolling down
your cheek and don’t tell him
you got suntan lotion
in your eyes.
and don’t drown in the bath.
prove your
f ee l i ng
and that you have
f ee l i n g sss.
when I was a child,

colors came out of walls
to talk to me and said:
to survive
place yourself in a box.
there was a room of girls
and we would tell stories.
I live in a box.
it’s about

10 x 10.
and when I walk,
it moves with me.
and one of them says in
a British accent, get on
with it then.
10 x 10
and I am screaming inside.
and everyone wants to

see me cry
and my mouth is
set sternly but
more importantly,
I have had a recurring vision
that I will kill myself
at the age of 34.
over and over I watched myself
leap off the bridge.
I just have to not kill
myself and I get to walk right
out the ancestral curse
and you’d think
well certainly
easier
than crossing
a tightrope
or tricking a man
into switching places

but the thing is
get on with it then
this box. 

“the box

 

I ignored his question,
showed him the
callous on my palm,
referencing my need
to grip.
sometime I have rough sleep,
that’s all, I shrug the bruise
off.
he licks my hand  with his tongue
without questioning my need to
hold everything so tightly
I’ve succumb to carpal tunnel,
arthritis, delusions of
grandeur and infancy.

has anyone ever talked to you about splitting?”
the doctor asks.
I was twisting the straw
in my fingers, contorting my
face and confessing things,
sometimes i like to shoplift.
“Who is Catarina?”
the doctor asks.
numb.
“splitting is a phenomenon in which you sort of leave your body
to allow another persona
to take over.”
the doctor says.
sometimes I like to squeeze worms in my fingers
until they pop.

          “like possession?”

my posture is severe,
having been found hunched over I am
upright, hands crossed and
waiting.
sometimes I peek at Christmas presents.
“no, more like split personality.”
the doctor is taking notes and
eyeing me so intensely, I almost
laugh. don’t tell him my name
is Arachne. not
yet.

sometimes I watch the mirror dance in candlelight
            and wait for her to come in
              I break men
like the swell that rises over bridges
engulfing islands with her mouth,
we break men with turns of
tides.

“Sarah, have you ever felt like  you were standing outside
of yourself?”

we break men with
dulcet metronomy,
or the way words do:
harm.

“Poltergeist”

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