don’t touch me anymore
what becomes of disorder
when ignored,
when floored and
stepped around before
resolve?
unhinged.

remembered hair behind the dollhouse,
remembered yeast infections,
temper tantrums “without provocation”
they said.
remember you never learned to trust.
I started roaming giant sandboxes
underground
following the Atlantic’s soporific
s
iren voice
t
o find something that called to me
long ago.
Something vague.
Something warm.
I’m unwrapping the resin layer,
I’
m coughing up the heads of dolls,
I’m moistening the cipher.
I’m coming back, I’m coming
back, bandages
off.
I’m walking forward.
This is how they’d rather have it.

I once was a space of
bright, blue lakes,
but now I’m
dried and
bursting with black magic.

“the unwrapping”

I am wearing
my best calf impression:

slow,
doe-eyed and anxious.
blue tights, black heeled boots that
scuff the floor as I
wander     as I daydream in public;
rub a soft elbow,
sip a virgin seltzer tonic with
cherries and some other
light garnish.
                 stay as close to God as possible
watch you with marrow armor and
calculated patience.
i’m a blue-black swirl of approachable
sainthood.
twirl somewhere nearby and deign to give you
open eyes for at least
twenty seconds at a time.

you crack a joke and
my laugh is deep,
loud,
brays right through you
like a swaying knife.

“first night”

but i’m a martyr for this,
I crave
repercussion;

even self-abnegation
needs an audience
or else it’s just plain masochism
                  lonely and caustic
without the gentle recompense,
the moist poultice,
the final amends:
the touch of her
sadist’s fingertips
after she laid her.

all cathedrals use pain as payment
and my crucifixion,
while self inflicted;
is just as spilling brook,
and baneful.
my bloodletters will wash
the splashes from my feet,
take their time
with each laceration;

stitch
my gashes
into temples.

“Lilith”

********

but I feel the root rot and darken

without altar, water

or speech.

you walk in and

I’m here now

growing into a black stem.

you walk in and look

right at me

and I don’t know

where to begin.

but I found the

aperture.

you walk in and

look right at me and

my shiny white teeth

forge a new smile.

I begin to grow,

unfurl, hum

softly.

“datura moon”

you just have to begin.
you hold my hand
when I speak.
I am nervous inexplicably.

just existence is a trial.
count the candles.
set the rocks.
sip the Angelica root and
begin to drool an acid fire
into the bubbles.
I feel your chest behind me,
moist, throbbing.
in my waking hours,
I practice walking across a lake
with black boots.
it’s an icy sidewalk on
a ledge but I pretend
that it’s a long pond.

when he first comes around,
I notice my wrist,
then my jaw,
surrender.
I have an urge to burn the
house down first
but in a long quaver,
forget the nonsense:
the counting of the pulse,
the spotty mason jars,
my blood dripping on a red
throw blanket, laundry,
my childhood–effete,
mold speckled shingles,
my sullen dead father
and his one last breath
alone–we think–
sometime after midnight,
right before Christmas.

“the bath series”

I remove the rest of my top
and close my eyes deliberately
to show you the length
of each thorn.
wear my eyes like a hooked rose.
tongue pressed
against your chin,
my lips trace
your jaw       I am softer.
having been tempered
and forced close:
you know,
darling,
let my teeth hit your lip

I have never
become divine without first
becoming storm.

 been learning
performative emotion
to keep the ones I’m fettered
to warm, and to feel their
slippery manacles tease
the tops of my feet
like feathers as they pull
me back.
paint my lashes black


and they’re wet 
and
shaped like little
bolts.

1.

deep breath.

I carry tempest in my
lungs,  a cold black murmur
that hooks it hums
in earthworms and writhes
to surface after rains
winding street lamps to
devour them like dirt cake.
I hit the corner as
you are walking up.


the light goes out
and somewhere near
a tire screeches drowned
by the sharp inhale
you take when
a cyclist scrapes his tire
on a criss-crossed track
and spins into a tumble
that splits his helmet
on a bumper and someone
screams: are you ok?
(this city is full of
accident lately).
I stand still on
the flashing yellow,
not afraid but respectful.
your hands are clenched
in pockets waiting for
the red, face turned away.


I’d been walking slowly,
wearing cotton sundress and
consenting saunter.
a practice.
my hips are wide,
lips are pursed and
I am quiet, light and
diffusive but lucky for this
place mostly mired in
my own insides.
there are twelve dogs
with meat in their eye
nearby choking on their
collars.

I am wearing a blue alyssum
in my hair but
you will know me either
by my touch
if in enough of a rush and
close proximity to brush
an elbow with a thumb,
or the sudden sun I permit:
open laughter near your
chin, grabbing you
with force,
inordinate apology
for the accidental brush
and really everything,
moist I’m sorry spills over
my freshly-done, pink
velvet lips as we collide.
wait for green or
similar direction.
there are sirens in the distance.
I open my mouth
to say this city is full
of accident lately,
isn’t it?

you?
you will know me by
my fang-toothed smile.

“morphic resonance”

I think at some point
you have earned the right to say
I know already because you lived it
without acquiescing to
objective authority. 

I asked to see it first:

the river’s mouth,
the sky bordered in torrent and
my envisaged pout,
my omniscient frown.
even though they said
I’d never make it,
it’s been a lot this far.
two fucked knees but
a back strong from bundle
an
d

I never said I didn’t
deserve it,
just that I could outrun it
if they gave it.

“the flood”

this was years ago.
the first time I told them about it.
sitting on the edge of the bay
on a borrowed blanket, vomiting up
an Everclear Slurpee
and peeling back the bottom
of his parent’s quilt realizing
I had covered the entrance of the
ghost crab’s home.
taken by the dirt under my thumbnail,
the coil of a plastic straw and
embroiled in my own
deafening philosophy
about the closing of the day;
the way it moved–
death,
like an itinerant wave that followed me
—and only me–
everywhere.

I coughed that up second
to tell him
the rituals were there to
keep me safe.

the tide crept back
and I heard him light a cigarette,
felt myself starting to drown again
and then his hand on my thigh,
nails in my skin,
then nothing at all.
pain subsides in very
miniscule amounts
of time
if  you don’t
repeat the
story.
(do not repeat the story)

my head is eighteen visions a second:
someone getting their face smashed
with a brick, someone getting into
a plane, slicing the skin of my fingers,
budding inability to swallow (we’re there)
blood. blood. a girl that follows me
and only me, everywhere.
and matching the numbers to the proper
order.    reorganizing mantles.
bleaching my teeth and
every inch of my house.
first, you have to feel safe.
I begin to build the glass
around me.

and turning to you again, I
implore you to pick a title and
stick with it.   for me, I say
cupping your baby soft chin,
(despite your fear of frozen lakes,
we advise you when the time comes–
between Australia and Alaska,
Alaska will be more safe):

do you like warnings or do you
like to drown?

“warnings”


get some rest,
girl,
it’s the
Four of Swords.
they say I must be
heedless to dabble in the
dark like that
and unarmed.

more unthinking;
a fiery capricious
tantrum,
stabbed in the fucking back
and fingers naturally
pointy and
webbed as things
develop into theory,
into pentacles,
into air.
time is a sequence of
cracking joints, more
misfortune and now 

I blend into the wall
when I want and you will
know me by
eyes popping open,
or my purr of a
low growl,
low to the ground,
undaunted in my
new soft black
steps.

you just hang there.

“Arachne”

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