after each meeting,
I stood awkwardly and
made small talk.
I would give almost any
woman my number and barely
kept up with what I had told
anyone but I
made efforts.


one day I got a fortune cookie
that said
“focus in on the color yellow
tomorrow for good luck.”
this meeting held
a lot of talk of God,
as it had a few catholics
and devoted disciples like
I, interested in the supernatural
themes of faith and
manifestation.
we spent many days
focusing on the third step
regardless of topic
and the passivity of that step,
being actually a willing action,
yet a passive stasis to uphold
is what kept me under spell.

made a decision to turn our will and our lives
over to the care of God
as we understood him


the carpet was blue
with yellow circles everywhere
and that’s probably why
I made it my home group
shortly after I got the fortune cookie.
after much reluctance to join
any of them, ironically,
I picked the only group
that was mixed but
mostly men.
just me and one or two others.
and these men were
not young, but old.

what they always ask me
is what my motive is.
I cannot simply say
that I looked at the carpet
and saw it was yellow
as someone spoke about the
divination of action into form.
I did not intend
to build the group,
amass it with females.

what I start, I do from
need, not forethought.
I move from depth,
a jaguar.

“God”

when we met, I was
inching my way back
to my robust self  having
established myself as a
case manager. having
scraped my savings to
buy an oil leaking car
that almost caught on fire
in the first week of work
back in August.
I then borrowed money
to buy a car that didn’t.
I had paid rent for three months
without much to do.
I was high on repayments,
seeing I could repay,
in fact,  and

adding cookies back into my diet,
unworried about my teeth
for seconds at a time.
the party had vegan brownies and
I made sure to get plenty.
still I  could touch my ribs
and almost wrap my hands
completely around my waist.
a measure of security.
I often squeeze my ribs to
see if I’m still thin.

when we met,
I had freshly chopped
pixie hair and clear skin,
green eyeshadow to make my
brown eyes pop.
limited eyeliner and a shy
way about scooting next to
you, feeling contagious.

when we met, I had a wardrobe
that consisted of colorful
and flowy items,
hand me downs,
and a reticent entrance.
I was seeking incorporeal
thrills via touch and
you were
(too tired to change seats)
freshly
out of love. 

“the rebound”

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 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”

“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”

************
quick rage confession throwing the can at bryans face

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.

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 to make
next rent.

“grace”

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 tiny 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”

the second one I called
was Hecate.

I am on the floor
in the stained glass
room with the brown carpet
and the yellow walls
and the paper flowers:
bright orange, white, red,
dusty and a sprinkle of
musk from the places
I shoved them and my
dripping skin;
eighty eight degree body
flailing impetuously
flattening them.

I am flipping over index cards.
the coral & lime sheet is lined
with shells, some broken
and rocks, pieces of concrete I
remember picking up in Maryland
when I saw the perfect house.
a ceramic lemon bowl is full
of dirt from the catacombs,
a burned scripture,
red jasper.
my fingers digging
at the bottom,
tips filthy,
jagged, can
cut.

today we are reading up until
we are forced to stop:
is not easily angered
which means I have gotten
past does not envy
but I have not gotten
past temper,
or
I am indeed a wrathful
cunt so
the second one I called
was Hecate:
have purpose,
a patent resolve.

and I always pause to look
in the mirror,
not unsure. just a
tremor. old reflex
to watch my eyes change.
part my hair,
look past something;
my facile understanding
of this and
my dolorous step.

we break men.

crushing debris
between my fingers
into a nanoscopic
form settling
permanently on my
floor or carried
everywhere
I go on my soles.

“the incantations”

covered in hot water and
onslaught and broken
like the bed you threw me
on,
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
as you opened up the door
if I was better at controlling my
communication
but it ended in a slap across
your face and
your hands around my neck.

then a soft cloying kiss
later
you can tell has been rehearsed.
i’d be remiss if I didn’t reveal
a five feet of light bruising.
it’s heavy;
my tongue large with
little darted lullabies,
my endless provocation
and beg for hands
on me like
paddles or crops.
or just the way hands do
when hot, they
harm.

I’m up now and
I linger in the hallway,
watching the front window,
voice brusque and hushed
when I finally move to speak
to make my command on Earth,
withdrawing as it creeps
from its host;
like low tide,
the ripple distant like
low murmur
like you:

your sudden
retreat.

“February”

 at three pm,
I show up to the church
just my tourmaline in
hand, hair wrapped
and I begin.
    God, I renounce all
        evil in me.
my hands twisted
like roots, the white string
of my cuff ties
between my knuckles,
nervous
and he says
daughter,
take your time.

beads of sweat
ride my back, pull my
camisole tight to skin and
I can feel the pleather
stuck to the bottom of
my thighs so that if I moved,
the flesh would have to be
ripped from bench.
    I’m obsessed with time,
    and that’s not the issue
      but how I count it
    in riddles.
he cannot see the way
I move my leg;
the natural tremble
it’s developed.
        it’s what I say in
    blackouts, or even now,
      the way it has to be correct.
    the way it spills out of me.
I’ve twisted the tie til the circulation
is cut, tightly around my
ring finger.
and that I need to be subsequently
scourged, promptly.
begin unraveling it when I feel the
pins start up my knuckles.

I’m nodding
my head in some sort
of agreement with something
internal, with the
rush I feel from purge,
the glow of sun
through pink stained glass
across my cheek,
the bend of legs
on pews,
the comfort of
the ailing,  the
rhymes,
to ailment.
the comfort of beads
in hands, or
anything, the
alms.

I am here and
practicing throwing
my  arms
open
when  people
first
walk into the room
but also
remembering what
I
scream
at doors
in panic.

“the recitations”

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