I value freedom most.
I wander
in both eyes and body
always collecting
but devoted to the last,
even fixated
but also loose with most
acquaintances stressing
compromise, meaning
yielding to my rule
and enjoying breaks,
enjoying screaming.

favoring
opportunity over floor,
I value the sky and
currents more than houses.
the ephemeral in
our lives while also walking
three inches higher than I am,
on tiptoe,
touching things,
making threats in the air
when angered and
you say I am

for-mi-da-ble,
          a bit virulent
is how you say it and
before we seek the advantageousness
of everything, it’s Friday
and we are
processing hard truths.
the way silence hits
mostly and my hand
opening, the spontaneity
of losing things.
tell me,
where do you keep
your pocketknife?

 life is rushing and swamps
with its shades of
blue; azure
  (you name things)
sky, or cobalt fluid
or nightmare
like a wall of nail polish
you’re reading every
dressed up inch of you.
your rehearsed malignance.
your wry contribution
with your cocked smile
to hide your jealous
sulk.

the moon moves
from womb
to waste
to task those
unsewn wounds
and you embrace things now
with reticence
but you’re open to the epitaph
scrawled across the rock hard
eyelid
      temperance
that means patience, 
my Venus in Leo
is running.
you made him carve something else
across
your eyes that night
on Jupiter:
          I remember everything.

but you didn’t want to be
so right and you didn’t really
ask
for things,      usually
you just opened a door
and walked in but
you made it clear
as you rummaged through
the closet smelling him,
you are always someone’s
secret. you are
unconditional when furtive
but frigid and passing
like a northern mist
otherwise.

 

“venus in 12th house”

only two days ago
your hands circled my throat
to toss me on the bed.
still dutiful,
merely dotted with color,
I am on my way
to pick up a bag of cutlery and dishes
for our house from the front porch
of a stranger’s
when I stop to admire the cracks
in the side of the building.
the wall is coral, faded but still
garish, stands out.
it’s brick and

this building has no doors and
one broken window.
each time I run an errand,
these defects catch my eye
and I pay my respects in
photographs.
I’m trying to get my memory back:
      stopping at each one,
trying to remember how the boulders
haunted too      how the ocean felt
on my wasted ankles at dusk when I guzzled
vodka Big Gulps and watched the
white crabs roam the bay.
watched myself dissolve into
the bits of me and can I remember
how the sunset looked draped over both
tide and flatirons,
hold two things at once
without favor?
how it feels to lose several
small countries you claimed.


these overcoats shine brightest
in demise.
painted like a rainbow to distract from
it’s true inability
to keep a home  safe like
the way men have held me:
(invaded)
all claws of resplendent mortar
and cracking at the edges
even with the scrape of thumb.
I snap a picture of the broken
glass pane and the beginning of
the first layer peeling into
white; the
fissure.
I trace my finger
over a chip and watch
it flake onto the
sidewalk.
snap a picture of
that with my boot
in the corner of the frame.
things to remember us
by, and not

the way things
have left me,
for that would be a painting
of a tall, sturdy tree
swathed with blue jays
and their worms
but how I entered them;
with a scraping
curiosity, documenting,
gaping, holding it
to review later,
making meaning
of their rot.

 

“doors (#1)”

 

I wish I had more words for
“terrorized”
tossing jumpers from my dollhouse,
that may have been where I learned
to cut my hair like my brother
but I first
learned how to get undressed:

the boy in the bed asking
me to try on something that
slips off and
now I’m in tight pants
and loose sweaters and
just another verse
picking at its stitches,
grunting from the dark and
taking educated guesses at the Rorschach blot
that spreads across its skirt
when she is strut.
but writing with a vocal fry;
a sort of deflection, uptalk and
cadence, downplaying
it with rhythm as you
try to capture the moment
you were knees first on
a pink and white daybed
as he showed you all the ways
to take it;
passive pistil,
this is what men want;
humiliation of
all the little violations
that add up to today
without one strong word
or accurate verb
to describe the way a knife
sticks for a second and you moan
the wrong way.

what sounds better to you?
I say over coffee, trying to
finish some titles,
possibly in love but also
possibly 

.“besieged” or “PTSD”
or simply
“raped?”

“the act of naming things”

I read a note out loud to myself:
everything that is really hard
is going to save your life
and a blackbird landed on the branch
outside my living room
window.
still, their eyes small and
sharp
waiting to dive,
waiting for the buzz of cicadas
to start again.
that reminds me,

I say in my head,
i’m emaciating.
I take a sip of water.
starved from the looking
without touching and
I want too much
has many meanings.
I read the words aloud again
and pour myself a thimble
of almonds.

it is first that I craft the lie.
I begin to charm him:
untie a ribbon from her
rib cage and kneel,
bind his wrists together
and lick his inner thigh.
do you believe everything I say?
I stare intently when I
ask things.

and then you become the
braced masochist
and I become
the looming hit.

“maelstrom”

“Strength does not have to be belligerent
and loud.”

I derive so much from one word.
pull from it.
it’s the synchronicity that
binds me and
the license plate that careened into the pole
instead of me that night read
“ prisons” and
I knew instinctively how
he felt.

tonight I’ll do:
a spring equinox meditation.
brush my teeth.
cut grapefruit for the morning
and ride the waiting out.
pay homage to my Pluto
and my Pisces in the
eighth inning.
my Venus nestled in her
vindication, her frequent
illicit engagements kept dark
in that dusty
twelfth house,
but she found a clean mirror and
she is undoing her bed.

i’m becoming a panacea of my own:
memory, tincture, flowers everywhere,
the fuss of first love never leading anywhere but
here in another meditation
on the river walk.
draw my poems out of the older sutures:
undo, redress, pamper the wounds .
think about it.
send you a letter.
remember the way grief sits,
unsettled, right after dusk,
right under your chest,
right under your breath:
a blue river from your fingers.
send you that letter
with my wounds
pasted
in the margins.
reminding you to
think about it.

 

pay homage to your Venus.
she is out
casting cars into ditches
while you cautiously wait
for lights to
change.
you are holding selenite
in your pocket
but your fingers still
curve and you are still
smirking,
standing where they
are now
sitting and
wilting
in screams,
it was the way you asked
in a bit of a curtsy:
one more chance
but you snap.

and they lose their
breath just like that.

 

“prisons” or “Venus in the 12th House” or “how guys save me in their phone #8th house”

I am giant:
strong legs, flexed tonsils,
tight back from climbing your forearms
to get to your mouth.    my nails are
filed and
scratching at your chest
on the way there to let your home
know what I own.
I compromise but I am
never quiet.

 

I’m full of bargains:

one dollar books and
yesterday’s makeup,

hair knotted with
century old lesions and
previous engagements so I
shave it off every chance
I get.
try to forgive myself for
such large displays of
arrogance.
you want me to comfort you in

cadence and
I obey it
deriving satisfaction with the way
my voice sounds
as I practice inflection surrounded
by mirrors
ending my prose in pointed questions
you will have to answer,

the pleasure of seeing my mask unfold
on screen        i’m paralyzed in heat
so I often freeze when confronted
but in between I leave
sweet, murmured ellipses
all over your body.


but know
I’m a noose so tight
you try wearing me
like a loose fitting garment

or just one hard day’s night,
I might flinch and 

Milo, I might hang
you.

 

“Scorpio in South Node” (how guys save me in the phone #5)


the first thing you notice about me is
the way I saunter
even to grab a ginger ale from the cooler
              “it’s my favorite.”
brush you, smile at your friends
and kind of swarm them
like an imposition
starting conversations about the
ludicrous state of things always alluding
to my prescience without
saying anything
you’ll say its the smirk I
mastered not the crowd.

but then I retreat.
but then  I linger near the
exit the rest of the night with the crumpled straw
in my hand
and the temper on my tongue
contained,
my earlier rage not expressed
or not handled as boldly
as it deserved to be;
the proclamations
the exits

I like way you held my hand
and said my name.
      my name is artemis.

sometimes buildings just catch on fire.
you say I always crouch with a
bow in hand.
            “I’m just nervous”
and that when I am lying I look away really
fast so you can’t see the sneer spread
and you know
I fucked your friends
and you know I’ll fuck some more
and you see me on the screen
my name is Artemis.
parting lips, combing bangs,
practicing inflection as I said
I would.

you said you’ll always remember
the way I laughed LOUD
and so sudden
    touch his shoulder
like you were the funniest man in
the room.
and I’ll always remember
the way the door frame dripped
and bled to one sorrel-orange.
no, it’s not that you said yes.
you said “ok”
kind of folding,
tempering and allowing
which is the way I like
my men to lean.

I walked across the welcome mat
throwing matches as you swept,
the windows becoming a
carrot color and me
disappearing.

“how guys save me in their phone  #4”

 

(13 odes to CKacyrek)

 

 once upon a time
I floated
through rooms.
we were ghosts
draped in human furs and
red felt flowers
to keep ourselves warm and
using illness as an anchor,
I was a grave when I wanted to be
a stove. 

you
twirled to the sound of my fluttering
lashes: broken and
sloppy     untimed;
the way you glanced towards me
on street corners.
I could tell by the
way you held yourself,
the books
and your heavy eye contact,
a light coat and no gloves
and no verbal complaint
about the term addict
being thrust upon us that
you were cold 

and you
didn’t just act strange,
you possessed it,
            the leaves are turning,
I sniff patiently.      sip hot water with
lemon and basil.
someone sang on a makeshift stage of
upside down milk crates.
you looked sidelong, gingerly,
an afterthought that led me here.
I played with my hem and revocation,
silence that halts
you make me feel young, I mouth
to the ground.
you returned the gesture with
a prepared grin and returned to
accompanying yourself.
the ground fell away and
I was a picked thorn;

some perspiring flower,
I knelt in a corner
stem growing from a red plastic cup,
cowering and open
knowing this crowd rocked you
in her drunk cradle.
you walked by with a glass
and no one else and
a relentless
first sight and I’m swallowed,
staggered,
swollen with ideas of our
first life.
come first light
I will be buried in drool,
wandering around squinting,
tiny eyes and barely a
 move, I watch you pass
effortlessly
like my continual gap years.
turning to give each other one last glance
over our now bronzed shoulders,
I adjust my strap so you think about skin
(I’m swimming in it)

 

and that chilly way we do:
show a little set of teeth and move on
in a pool of cool air and unresolved
disorder, I keep coming back
to the idea
of meeting
you.

i need that.
like a shark
needs blood.

 

“pool”

ooh

I am here during the dance of wolves:
pitch black,
some hooded room of knives.
talk of betrayal,
and me blindfolded
without warning.

the past
come slowly dragged:
it’s
weighty and pressured,
almost settled at this depth
in acceptance of its rot,
its forfeit but we are
curious about causes.
so there’s a forced decompression
and chipping sides and
losing even more aesthetic,
a film developing as its
exposed to air
like a sunken ship
exhumed solely for gawking,
touching, petting for its
tectonic power, I am a compressed rage
expanding into tower,
the tallest feline in the room
and I demand method
and production.
I am big like sun rays,
just as far, true,
but warm.

my cancer in the 12th.
my house
guarded by a tiny scorpion
so no one knows how
to step and
what else?
you want to ask to hear
the most assured yes:
this is 6.

not previously numbered.
you are an arithmomaniac
because you count your worth
in things and people and
to hoard both things
you need numbers.
lead a couple lambs
to slaughter.
have him drink directly from
your ceremonial wine glass
left most days hidden.
clear but for the black writing
and polka dots:
“not every witch is
from Salem” and he makes a joke
says because we’re not in
Salem
and you say,
I’m not from

Salem and you’re halfway
to the spider now.


“6.” or “full moon dinner party in cancer”

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