I put my headphones in.

begin to spin the happy thought
into years; of us.
your brusqueness
  it’s just one breath
syncopated with whatever song
I assign it like I walked
into a film set; replay a scene
of you coming back and
behind me, your mouth
hot with acrimony.
your hands rough in
both touch from the ungloved carpentry,
spackled with white paint
and the way
you take my waist.
I hum out loud.
the loop is what I have to
worry about.
the way you press your teeth
to me.
        it’s just one breath.

“the men”

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”

remember how you ranked
yourself: not top
but low and lowly,
seething. beguiling
with your rueful moan
repeating
your endless epoch of dystopian
psychosis that started the minute
someone said hello.
you swear; this
tale you would
tell them as you were tied
down or arrested, and
habits don’t change just
because we do.
there is an insidious nature
to mechanism. it has worked,
it simply cannot fail,
that’s what you told yourself
(I want the daydream gone)
and 


remember how cold
February can be?
you in a staid state
of assessment that lacks
any empathy; you’re
in nine places if you’re any less
than three and recalcitrant,
turned inward so you
bark at the shades,
slice at the lines of your
hands when dusk hits.
mistake things for sirens,
police yourself scourging,
marks on your legs, your
forearms.

but when you sink,
you can feel the tongues of
nearby dogs,
your fingers half
in fur before your mind
has even greeted the owner,
feel the pup’s skin
and smile; broken
by the thing.
you were just  contemplating
the ways in which
water-boarding is
so necessary if you
actually have to force someone
to purge and
you can imagine places you could
use to get there having
felt so close to there before
and then
standing and
smiling to the man–
big and broad and sunny,
like you’ve never
thought a thing.
just rocking there,
picking daisies
in a raincoat.

It’s May and
you’re alone.

“February/February/May”

I love fighting.
brawling.
drawing out the syntax,
collecting arguments,
theory, obsessed
with subjective motive,
inarguable objectivity.
formulas and how
2:2 is not as pretty as
3:3 and how it is quite possible
to roll doubles four times
in a row if you just kind
of think that way.
the predilections of
others and how they
mount them,
ride them.

I am rehearsing smiling
in the mirror.
this is how i go on dates:
1. remind myself to behave.
remember an old flame’s advice:
just be normal,
someone else’s version of
normal, not yours.

2. take drugs.
3. see what happens in between.
with you, i made a pact.
be warm. be warm. be warm. be warm. be warm. be warm.

I am practicing standing still,
waiting, I fidget like
that,
fingers in the dirt,
scoop a stick,
watch a bug,
ask questions,
try not to play with
the straw. deep
breaths. don’t look
at the numbers,
don’t talk about death.
big smile!


and hug people
right when they walk
in the room.

“Honey”

once, after a meeting
a woman went up to another
woman and told her it was
inappropriate to share about
her rape.
I was sitting on the gray couch
debating having an eighth
cup of coffee when they
both turned to me
for support.
I used to think there were
rules. rule #1

KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT.

“raped”

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”

I got a nine millimeter, I say,
casually, waving my hand over the wooden
board. hidden in this house.
I got this house lined with weapons
since the first warning.

I place the orange butcher knife
on the linoleum counter,
scraps of tomato still clinging so
I can
scoop the slug up from beneath the
dishwasher and put him
back in the shade.
he follows me out.
we are both easily distracted.

we were having vegan charcuterie
and he is drinking chardonnay.
with me it’s always
something, plentiful,
homemade.
he’s seen half my knife collection
now and every inked guard;
the other half tucked in various places.
I gestured to the antique table,
to the pepper spray,
the hammer by the door.
I point out the ants
lining the sink.

swathed with charms,
I can’t kill a thing
and half the town has figured it out.
I wear my arms in
muscle, others’ biceps.
keep them around cuz
I can’t kill a thing
and half the town has figured
it out. point to the baseball bat.
show him my pearly growl.
this is where the poem begins

we both eye the slug moving
through the garden
til he disappears.
I begin pointing out
webs.
it’s 7:42 pm,
88 degrees and
the sun is out,
my shoulders dark.
we are both tan,
hurt, a possible onslaught
if we were not otherwise
stuffed and I am practicing

silence,
sitting on my bench.
we are two inches from each
other and I can’t help but
melt when the cool breath
hits my left cheek.
I’m plucking at the hem.
he grabs my hand
to stop my ticking.
what’s that?
he says.

this is where the poem begins.

“doors #9”

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