covered in hot water and onslaught,
broken
like the bed we used
to make it in,
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
if I was better at controlling my
“communication”
but it ended in a soft bite to your
neck and a cloying kiss
you can tell has been rehearsed
time and time again.
it’s heavy;
my tongue large with
little darted lullabies

I’m up now and I
linger in the hallway,
nothing in my hand,
wave in my throat
watching the front window;
voice hushed and brusque
and barely noticeable
when I finally move to speak
to make my command on Earth,
withdrawing as it creeps
from its host;
like low tide,
like you

your sudden
retreat.

“February”

what does all of this
mean to you?
she waves her hand
to no one. 

you say it’s important,
ask me to tell it in
“linear order”
but how can I get away with
things telling stories like
that? and besides,
I have survived time
and cage and aged
in linear order.
my proof
    (flex a ripped tricep)
is endless strength,
brimming veins
that have learned how to
vibrate, hum, cluck,
even whistle when your girl
walks by me       I’m
a snake

through her core
and now all you see is a doe
gored in your forest and
I got to eat the whole orchard
I asked for.
are you lost or
just quiet, just hiding
from the butcher inside
it?
you know I’m dense,

ice cold, flush with
forked tongue ready to puncture
someone,     i’m lush;
maintaining a sense of
dam and containment
even in my most berating
fits of temper or panic,
I manage to remain
frozen these days
like a cracking lake
you say I am
sharp and

bitter.
but underneath my skin,
that blue-lace casing,
a carnise river:
little tributaries to
the turning of the world
in linear delivery.
and you say
full of rage     and I say
ok, just wait,

you and I are from
the same place
and I start to pace
the block once more. 

III.

 

sitting on the edge of the bay
on a borrowed blanket,
I was vomiting up
an Everclear Slurpee
and some sort of philosophy
about the closing of the day;
the way it moved
death,
like an itinerant wave
that followed me
everywhere.
the tide crept back
and I heard you cough,
felt myself starting to drown again
and then your hand on my thigh
and then nothing at all. 

pain subsides in very
miniscule amounts
of time
if  you don’t
repeat the
story. 

do not repeat the story

“how to be a river”

or

sit in it.

“how to be a lake”


and turning to you again, I
implore you to pick a title and
stick with it.   for me, I say:
do you like warnings or do you
like to drown?

I think at some point
you have earned the right to say
I know already because you lived it
without acquiescing to
authority so I asked
to see it first:
the river’s mouth,
even though they said
I’d never make it.

“warnings”

“I have no future plans,” I began calmly.
      I am arms outstretched
walking nowhere but with
ardency so
I am labeled,
whimisical and manic
like a wound up
fairy, the character that
keeps the music box

spinning
that leapt from its
little gold coiled post
sprinkling glitter,
growing nerves and
ankles that bend flat
to walk to run to
crawl

people like me because I have no plans,
am honest about it, and
have wings that carry weapons.    I
hear in a distance
  someone repeat it

I use intimidation as a tactic to seize opportunity


Well, I also use black magic

“seven of cups”

smirk.

black lipstick and naked eyes and
lied about time when I asked her.
she looked at her wrist to
count the hearts but missed an
hour and she is
dulled,
not rusty but
blunt and I know
when she walked away,
her hand was

steadily sharpening.

 

“how guys save me in their phone #6”

She took her time. Each stroke became longer and more sparkly. It wasn’t necessary but dramatic as was the theme and when he come up behind her to hug her, she smiled in the mirror. She patted her lips one more time letting the blue shimmer by candlelight, washed her hands and returned to the party. The back stairs were set with alternating black and white candles, twelve each and the entire backyard was covered with string lights so everything twinkled.

“Don’t you think this is dangerous?” she asked, waving her hands over her Mary Janes pointing to each votive on her way to the bonfire.

A lavender laced joint was being passed around.
“We are doing it again.”
“What?”
“Thirteen stories.”
“No.”
“Yes.”

“So,” Petesia clapped his hands together and went over the rules for the newcomers as she took her seat. “One person starts–they set the theme. Last year it was ‘Video Game or Nightmares’ and we were supposed to guess which is which after each story. This year…”

Osiria cut him off, “This year we have no theme because we haven’t started.”

Timidly, Ava cut in, “Isn’t the theme Shakespeare in Space?”

Orb laughed loudly next to her and Jelinda shot a glare his way.

“Well, it’s a Midsummer’s Night Space Dream but the theme of the stories and game can be anything,” Petesia said.


“So this is how it works,”Osiria immediately turned her attention back to the circle. “Someone starts the story. The person who starts set the tone; the theme of the story and the rule of the game. We go around until we get to thirteen. Since there’s now only ten of us, three people will go twice. The last person has to end the story that the first person started.”

“What’s the catch?” “Mr.” asked taking the joint from Ophelia.

“It’s got lavender in it,” Cat said.
“No, with the game.”
“Well, legend has it that whoever it ends on is cursed.”
“Mr.” passed the joint to Pan.
“Oh yeah?”
“Yeah.”
“Annnd…” Petesia interjected.
“Annnd, we make you tell us the weirdest thing about you .”
“Ohhh, cool!”
“Well we did that before.”
“Or you have to confess all your secrets.”

Pan passed the joint back to Cat who winked at Petesia quickly.
“Or maybe act out the story for us.”
“That’s not all, “ Petesia pointed at Artemis letting his fangs shine.
The crowd waited.
“The story comes for you,” he winked, not at Artemis or Ava but at Cat. “And it comes to life.”
Osiria grabbed the joint from Pan before he could take a drag.
“Who wants to start?” she said. “I start almost every year so I’m trying to pass this time.”
“Oh you play every year?” a woman in a fairy costume asked.
She had named herself “Eliza.” Petesia and Osiria nodded at her.
“We try to keep them kind of short though,”Osiria looked at Artemis.
“There’s only ten of us, “ Marco said, circling to the group.
“Three people will go twice, “ Cat turned to gently remind him.
“I’ll go first!” Artemis cheerfully volunteered.
“Really?” Osiria shot her a look.
“Yeah, I love games!”
“So…” she rubbed her hands together and looked at Petesia across the fire. “The first story is called…The Woman Who Walked for Miles.”

“The 13th Story”

the edges of your skin
snap at your acerbic joints
as your bones break the flesh
and you take a few steps back
to collect yourself;
picture days with your family
in green and laughter and now,
the interminable quiet
that spans highways,
urns like
ashtrays,
everyone’s in.

you see my lips in the
rearview:
red as fresh hell,
soft like fresh pain,
your new lover is plain
and you are scared of
the ice in my veins,
the way I change shape
from arctic to comet
and rock splits your
face and the bone breaks
the flesh and you
are taking a few steps back
and

I am scared that
you once said
my name.

“Circe”

 

fables of how we met and
false expressions.
i keep replaying “no” over
and over in my head.
my heart is a jungle:
vitriolic and slaughtering herself.
I’m a cage and my grief
always turns to rage
like acid turns to rain and
rushes through my spinal fluid
so I stand up straight.

I walk proud and tall and
wear your veneers like a mask.

I sneer at the creeks of
red beneath me.
all my men in pieces at my feet,
bowing.

“Hecate”

perhaps I will live like this forever,
insatiable,  never satisfied,
a bit Veruca Salt.

I am not my habits
although they are intrusive,
pernicious and aiding me
through letting go of something
larger: the need to be seen in every instant,
pet and validated,
but left long alone
also
and to be cleansed
unremittingly.

if there is a safe space,
it is here, in writing.
if there is a true amends,
it is change
but my lion is indebted.

when they ask what you are,
tell them humbled.

“Venus in Leo”

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