carried with her
a weapon: her keys in hand,
a disarming speech pattern;
accented and d r aw n out
drawl,  a couple y’alls
and no reason to suspect
her about anything.

I never tell a lie,
she said
leading me to
someone else’s house.
i’m tepid but halfway up
the steps, how do you
get away with that?


I just never finish the story,
she said, half turned and I
hung there like a
Christmas ornament
on the front porch
glistening in her iris.

“How guys save me in their phone #12”

I sit in my summer
suit even though the cold
is here: golden sequined top
and burgundy pants,
loose, wide and a
lavender shawl wrapping
my bare shoulders,
knit wool socks
and I am also surrounded by
furry purring cats
lying on their backs to
paw my finger as I
toss coins on a giant
white quartz that has been stroked
by my friends and
three candles on the floor,
an Orgonite pyramid.
I’m experiencing a mild
tinnitus and a spectrum
of truths so I’m
trying to clear some
space for a violent
upheaval.
I offer you change and
fire.

It’s February first,
I pray to all lords
but I have an affinity
for wind and
glowering airs.
if you asked what I wished for:
nothing, an endless
seeking nothing. 

“Oya”

I watch the ants circle the trash can
without any interception.
let them lick the chocolate
flakes, the cinnamon
does nothing,
they’ve built homes in the
copper mounds.
I sip water and
press play:

que es esto?
Es Caballo.
que es esto?
Es Gato.
que es esto?
la influencia
de la revolución
y una venda
en los ojos
porque estoy
asustada.

girl, you better
run.

“correr”

what I did first was stacked:

learning early how to pocket
quarters and joint wrappers from my dad’s nightstand,
I also began the slow theft.
stacked: names, cash,
cans of beans, loyalties,
tasers, pocket knives, wigs, stockings,
nail polish, candles, rope, pepper spray,
eyeliner, lighters, marijuana,
mushrooms, different flowered
teas, boxes of pasta, crates of
methanol, bleach, batons,
baseballs bats, hammers, and
tarot decks.

I named the loyalties on pieces
of paper and placed them
in the abalone next to
Bastet.
Whispered Oya,
blew three candles out and
drew an R over everything.

the truth is,
at the bottom of my arms’ length
where I keep them
is a stark allegiance;
the things that raised me,
kept me,
grated me and remolded me
like slivers of soap being
made into one ball
and they are right I love being right
and they are right
I wouldn’t miss the end of the world
for anything.
I’ve never walked away from a fight,
I start
my name is Artemis.

I reset the table, one
candle for her.

“Philadelphia”

it helps me to fall
into haze in these
moments of adaptation
or just  length,
time that has
to pass and my
adjustment to fluctuations
in my general
circumstance or
mood is dependent
on the haze.
i like fighting, I smile.
I have a few blocks to go
and every man is facing me
forming a crooked
cock so I just step
into the haze.

I remember this
one day where I met you
to get a Slurpee to
cool off for a while.
your face was most open
outside
drenched,
you tried to hug
me but I am
closed,
drenched in day old
bourbon sweat,
show up unshowered and
in a deep swallow;

a persisting contrition
coated in plum wine,
whatever else I just said,
Bourbon,
I wave my hands over the glass.
that was last night.
that was last night and it
was pretty bad.
but we sit side by side
like it’s something
non-contagious about me.
well except when you smile,
he said.
but I blush and I couldn’t
stand that so I

focus on my knees
remembering
what it felt like
under sheets
and I fell open.
then there’s my brother.
then there’s the new
hard edged smile
on the top of a frosted mug:
ubiquitous half smirk.

“I used to be in love,”
I say out loud
and I’m about one
block from the El
in front of another group
of men with their crooked
cocks and leering.
I close my mouth,
probably drooling,
adjust my strap,
walk forward.
I wake up like that
often and here
sometime,
in the middle of Kensington.


“August pt 2.”

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 spent a week
cleaning out the bookshelf
and trying to decide what to
read in the short
time I had left.
I was also debating
how I should present
myself next:
wholly, or
with my rigid cuts.

things that I remember:

painting my toenails blue
outside under a clear sky
and a very bright crescent moon.
we sat in front of each other
on a bench outside of the supermarket,
and you were amused
that I asked if we could
stop walking so I can paint my toes.
“that way I can stay out later,”
I said.
when you said
you wanted to see me more.

I make myself recite
love is patient
from Corinthians daily,
however, I let too much time
pass and I always have to go
back to the first line as
I am learning it but
today we are at
does not dishonor others
lucky you,
I think.

I’ve been reading some
leftover Anne Waldman
and your Eastern philosophy,
lucky you,
today I eschew making
myself a porcupine
and then making things brittle
enough to break
  and
just chewing the inside
of my cheeks
as you pick up the boxes,
leave the antique china
cabinet you promised
you’d keep.

“the bookshelf”

I’m in the doctor’s office
trying not to laugh
as he keeps pressing me
“what was your father like?”
I don’t have time quite frankly.
this man is asking me if I ever
feel like I am watching myself from
outside of my body.
I say sincerely,
sounds like you think I’m a ghost.

I’m trying not to laugh.

he is outlining various traumas
I may have experienced in my life:
my drinking,
my family’s drinking,
my previous assaults by men.
we talk MS, autoimmune
components.
we talk allostatic load,
latency of neglect,
the firing of nerves.
the confusing compression.
I’m just talking about the mirror
and gesturing a lot to the air
about the fact I asked for it
and then my legs went numb.

that was the first time,
I say.
when I asked for her to enter me.
before, she did it without asking.
I nod as if he is
answering the questions.
    get on it with then.

Sir, I am possessed.
I don’t have time for this.
I stand up,
suddenly able to walk again.

“LILITH”

I don’t like to talk about my
house so I don’t
but the garage
is gone and so is everything
that was in it. my
childhood bedroom is gone
and so is everything that was
in it. one day the sink
will collapse. it’s leaning. we
have snakes
in there. other things too.
giant water bugs and
crickets and
slugs and  I have no
yearbooks. I have a couple
notes from my friends
and a swath from a cologne sample
my high school lover
used to wear between
fucking his wife and me
accompanied by a note
he wrote me once:
there is wine in the fridge.
but I am thinking of
myself younger

and the old lip gloss bottle,
a roller, vanilla scented
but pink
that I had saved because it
reminded me of an entire
freezing december
on my crush’s bench
where sometimes they let me
wear their sweatshirts.
I am
holding my hands to the ground,

feeling vines wind up
my calves.
repeating,
muttering.
what rolls off my tongue in
these heavy fits of consternation.
the way they describe me to the
ambulance: someone who
looked like she saw the horizon
close in on her and
collapsed.
the way they describe me
to the first responder
is that I looked to be seized
by terror like she saw the
horizon closing in and
just fell
to the ground. 
“Persephone”

we left with our hands
uncurling
in separate pockets, fingers
strained against the denim.
I left a place where I found
God and
a studio apartment
with no utility bill,


foothills with no rain and
zero percent humidity,
sun 300 days a year and
a rose blanket that smelled
like my parent’s room.
I left my
first incantation,
      my brother is dead
in the margin and
you left me with this
townhouse.

an abrasive echo
that scratched marks
in the walls,
no budget for paint.
one half of the utensils,
a couple of wicker baskets
and no end table.
you gesture to the antique armoire,
remind me it’s yours
even though it’s not your
taste, you see the value
in heavy wood.

you took the bigger bottle of
toothpaste.
five chairs,
all the curtains, the area rugs,
the broom and your
glare lingered on me
counting dollars
in a borrowed sundress,
feel my clavicle
jut out the skin
as I rationed meals.

you took the kitten and
the lighters,
every last card
(left the armoire)
and  so abruptly like when
you took my waist that
one breathy night,
pulled me into the crook
of your body. said
you were going to
      squeeze me in this bad neighborhood
rolled out of that soft spot,
grabbed a litter box,
took clean off.

“doors #13”

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