on the outskirts of joliet,
i saw You between red glowing streams:
weaving the horizon like a tapestry,
recycling gold beads from a pale morning sari,
dyeing blue-violet fever, shivers
leaking from my head down my arms,
resting in my belly beside You—mixing veins in the night,
embellishing the road with thoughts
of creation: You spin a thread and it unwinds,
fraying at the ends where the cars break the asphalt
and i convulse,
spinning out of control—You doe-eyed like the kid
who crashed his mother's car and dies heavy beneath
that semi, stuck in the pitch dark, oil blearing opalescent
under the gaping taillights—streetlights—headlights—
on the outskirts of joliet.
I have your number, SeabirdHis bathroom is small and bleak. The mirrorI have your number, Seabird2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
shows your reflection in seven colors which
haven't been named on the red-blue-yellow
spectrum. Your eyes are shaking like eggs
and he hasn't said your name in a year. You
think of everything he calls you: Jay, Jaybird,
Rose if he's playful. He told you particles of
every man he's slept with are in the carpet
when he pulled your head back to look into
your pupils. Your eyes are black. They run,
raw and rotten from fluorescence overhead.
He told you the shrooms weren't the same.
If you don't like LSD, you might feel better
trying something more natural. It grows
like marijuana: from the ground. But so does
every poison you can think of. You're natural,
bare with shades you can't begin to fathom.
Something like sulfur is in your nostrils. You
touch the furry rug and think of Vishnu. He
has so many arms to carry you. Jesus only has
two. The church was broad and heavy. It sleeps
in Chicago, beside a park that smells like piss.
He opens the door,
a string drawn tautthere are so manya string drawn taut2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
blue stars in your skin
but i can't believe
each neuron is a universe
alight with planets,
gaunt aliens signing god
in the absence of your name,
dim cars on the street,
beneath an awning
like a glowing orange womb
you shudder saying,
i just had a chill,
is this room cold
or are we in the gut
of a giant
who's strung out
seven days lifeless,
biting the apple,
wishing for his mother,
the earth is spinning
in the eyes
of a turtle
with a red shell
who swims in the flowers
who swallows supernovas
and they pass through his kidneys,
we could burst any minute,
a fly's nerves twitch,
a city laid,
between microscope lenses,
clutching wife to child,
do you know my name?
do you know you're shivering?
do you know i'm the son
of your nucleus?
i live in your cheek
and die at your
Why I Can't Love a PoetHe said you're beautiful likeWhy I Can't Love a Poet2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
black birds on a gray sky or
a tree that's recently died but
holds its last green leaves until
they wither and crack, swept away
by a northern wind bearing his name.
Eighteight.Eight2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
i felt most violated
when you denied it—
evidence may have mounted
in the mouths of other victims
but i haven't spoken—
even in the wake of certainty,
family and loyalty
forked my liar's tongue—
maybe it's enough
that you know what you did—
because i can't bring myself
to hate you.
your son's beautiful—
you were my first
and i don't regret that—
in your arms,
i realized myself.
it wasn't my fault—
i received the letter
years too late
has never been sympathetic
in the eyes of those
who suffered to live—
yet, i write for you,
remember your face acutely,
long for the night
we bathed together
and you told me
God hated us.
i wrote a poem for you—
it was long and vitriolic,
full of anger's energy but—
i realized you aren't worth it—
have a nice life,
long and unfulfilling.
you hid food under the bed,
said we were bad children,
did everything in your power
to make us f
a formal apologythere's a boya formal apology2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
trapped in the cornfields
when he hears my name,
remembering i was the first
cloth from skin
from fat from muscle,
then organ and bone,
down to marrow,
where i nestled and stuck
like rotting pears
stomped to the sidewalk;
on late summer nights,
he wears humidity
like a coat,
a streetcar to nowherei.a streetcar to nowhere2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
he must crack
when his hands are tulle:
rough and tearing,
bought by the yard
or cent-marked minute,
spin a skirt
that won't last a winter,
and snort ballerinas,
hope he's flexible
thin and shimmering,
don't stay another minute,
clear the aisles to say
so he must crack
when his hands are tulle:
by a craving spark
crisp and burning,
thin black ash
like your real name or
just something i can call you,
something that won't make me
feel like i'm talking down
to you. not because
i respect you, i never—
no i don't think i
respect you, but
something soft like i can
pretend i'm decent,
or normal maybe, don't
look at me, i didn't pay to—
where are you going after this?
and maybe i won't laugh."
IntimacyI asked to be slapped—Intimacy2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
and your palm met my cheek
with constraint, cupped to lessen
the ensuing redness, the responsive tears
that welled but only in my left eye.
There are things like tealights
and dinners after midnight that we agree
to be romantic: that we consume
through antique filters, lace
between our fingers, but your palms
sweat when we hold hands
and I've never liked skin webbing,
nor the catch of calluses—
So, I propose to rewrite
a definition: mostly for my sake,
but also for the sakes of others
who have found themselves wondering
if they might be a-something
because they don't like to be touched
softly on the skin
or loathe surprises of any sort,
who would like to make love
then smoke a cigarette,
go for a jog without meaning insult
to the man in their bed—
Because when I asked you to slap me—
I meant to say I trust you,
A Cloudy June SunriseI had been awakeA Cloudy June Sunrise2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
since rain fell against the window:
exciting the glass
but not disturbing your sleep.
Instead, you woke to the alarm and found me
revising my thoughts on humanity,
our frailty and guts.
You asked if I was okay,
if I needed anything while you were out,
and I answered, "Just some sleep."
Unconvinced, dressing hastily,
you promised to come home earlier than you had
any other day that week.
"I just want you to know
you can bother me with those obsessions
that make you feel evil
or at least a little fucked up,"
you said before leaving, though I can't blame you
for assuming my pessimism.
It is, after all, the disease I came fitted with,
as well as my tongue of choice
when problems convolute,
but that morning
the sky was so beautiful,
and what I needed to tell you was this:
I offer my poetry
as a blatant exhibition of trust
for you, for your curiosity,
because I didn't believe any man
had inherent goodness
until I met you.
ZemiThings having to be returned to their transparency:Zemi2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
/ green mist-earth / knit
atmosphere / fathomless
blue-lavender / lights
spun out from light
are recalcitrance / and you
& - a fingernail of summer
- a melting of rain
- a crown of flowers
- a priest of sunsets
(beautiful? I love you, because. Zemi.
Zemi. are you beautiful because I love
you? Zemi? )
I imagine this is what it's like to breathe sea foam
over the Cliffs of Moher: hydration. absolution.
To Rilke, it's a melody that floods over us
when we have forgotten how to listen for it.
I never could forget this: for how could I know
my hand as both well and chasm? and how could I know
time, a windstruck dimension, standing in her white street?
We go on morning walks and Zemi
laughs at everything I say.
Misconceptionsthe extrovert isn't—Misconceptions2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
sun in the sky of a million
blue silks sewn together:
that summer to come,
a laundered morning strewn
with white yearning—
and the introvert isn't—
scraping coins in an alley,
smoggy eyes above a mouth like
lines: red-cracked but parting
when stars break gray clouds,
calling on their mica beds
to reflect off his face—
the extrovert is—
the man sweet-talking the first ideas
of his tongue,
waiting for reception—
while the introvert
In my bathroom againGod's in my bathroom again,In my bathroom again2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
he's shaving the patches of his
beard and pulling clown-faces
at the soap. Last night
he held me as I lay in a fever,
made little screams, kept
the hot tongues from my face,
the mushrooms from my
He says his old girlfriend
tried to drink his blood, that
it messed him up
for a while. He says
it's been a long time.
God looks sad, jingling his
teeth at me like loose
change. The clicks of my
heart make me sick;
folding his pyjamas
the kind thing
abuelaevery morning,abuela2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
she makes yellow tortillas
and grills them on the range,
inhaling smoke and blackening
crisp spots that crack
between her nimble fingers,
callused dull to heat.
she packs six lunches,
singing the tin tune a radio wails
in the language she half-understands;
her children speak it,
clattering into the kitchen and taking,
her work unthanked—
she rinses her hands,
cold water for the newest stings,
then looks out the window;
their trees are kempt and yard green,
dull as any home along that street;
when she shuts her eyes,
she sees birds in tropic dresses,
lights a thin cigarette
and inhales smoke.
MantisI thought I was a kaleidoscope of euphoric perceptions,Mantis2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
a sensual overlap of sixteen color-receptive cones on the acid spectrum,
creator of words to describe what only I could see when those sinews melted,
and the ocean waxed at my backdoor. I was bottom-feeding, heat-seeking,
capturing bent men like stunned seahorses boiling in the rainbow coral,
blinking wake of sonoluminescent dazzlement: tight jeans wrapped around their ankles,
faces blue but bubbling dank blood to their lips that sealed a pseudonym—
Then I was tongue-tied like a victim complex: always the receiver and never the sadist
of an infliction self-invented. I was wordless and mosquito sex stagnant,
playing in kiddie pools I called the Atlantic, wanting to tear a hole in reality or literature,
make the currents foam in the shape of wet letters that curved for my diction,
but I am not powerful: I am a shrimp. Not a writer, not a leviathan—
Though I don't think I've come to terms with it yet,
so I'll just keep br
KATRINALIVES A MILEKATRINA9 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
from the sea.
she is sallow as a beach.
she smells like rain,
or a wet earth,
with pale hair clipped
behind her head
she feels as though her hair
would be black. but it is
it is colorless
GIVES MY STOMACH
she doesn't speak.
she is silence.
i speak at her, mostly
and her eyes
look as though
they've been plucked
from a lynx
they are blue around the edges
the deep blue you find
at the edge of the sea,
if you've been out that far.
at the center they are green
light like a riptide.
they tug you in.
unmoving, and calculating
i said to some
gave me head.
her hands are too far dug
into the coast of spain
for her to reach me,
far too eager
for my composure.
she'd suck me dry
like her mothers did
the caspian sea,
like the fields of sahara
once lush with green.
she is a barefoot girl.
she moans like the shorefront
in the dead of night.
i've made love to
evolution poembut I believe to seek unbecomingevolution poem1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
is more cultivated than stretching
out the leaky fibers of a semi-
circular self-image until they
spiral into uncontrollable
forests, cauterizing eyelids;
like picking bones out
of a salmon's chest.
sister yesterdayeven our plastic flowers had faded—sister yesterday2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
an overgrown garden of concrete and pottery,
wrought-iron furniture under the sunlight, paling—
a broken lawnmower in a rotting wood shed, a swingset
creaking with each gust of wind—
but she said—
let's gather up these old tin cans,
empty the pool of its stagnant memory,
relight the candles and mend this picnic table,
recall the laughter we shared here when
our summer was in bloom—
when mother wore that sky blue dress
and planted shiny pinwheels,
1,001 NightsIn a land of1,001 Nights2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
dreams and dust:
the curve of
a half-hazed sun,
Londonthe city glowsLondon2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
bright copper, a scandal in
a luminous quivering waste
of fog and smoke.
I feel on my skin
the harsh glare of street lights,
a thick caking of
make-up, the lingering
of a parting kiss.
these streets are a string
a bright orgiastic tumbling,
the future glinting red
in a wine glass.
i haven't forgottentell me, boyi haven't forgotten1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
who is your god.
do not say it
is the limbs
that spread you
do not tell me it is
hands wrapping a head
board, nor a mouth
tugging your name
i want to know who it is
that makes you lucent,
bent beneath the dark,
because there is no divinity
like the one that makes
terminali.terminal2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
we landed in oklahoma
and drank cheap martinis in the terminal;
you carried my guitar and fell in love
with my voice but not my tongue,
not my hands.
there's a man with a garage
that looks like a plane because nothing
meant more to him. will you make a model
of that bar? will you make a model
of my red cheeks? or will you live in a townhome
with her and three children?
the problem was you're not gay.
the problem was there was feeling
but it wasn't for us. i had you but
it wasn't for us.
i'm not sure if i resent you,
but i remember that bar and every pockmark
on the stool you sat on while i played
the song that parted your lips;
you remember every pockmark in oklahoma
like they were ours.
And should some why completely weepon nights wrought of quiet,And should some why completely weep2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
(born to the moonlight
who slunk between far theres
to nestle lines of silver,
when i felt her reflections
near)white sheets rustling
the only sound in my ear,
even the house held its ghosts
and rusting pipelines still;
when the streets were statue,
(and so rarely were the streets
empty)cars parked quivering
beneath the glass that held
my eyes in theirs: nights
when breaths were most rancid,
the floorboards creaked like
tectonics were his footsteps,
he the embodiment of mountains
shifting, eons spanned in frightful
seconds(when the moonlight
was shut from the bedroom
and noise repossessed)
Bildungsroman"you fell firstBildungsroman2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
and i followed,
tumbled like bricks
in the wake of your
is the story i told,
and you agreed,
the night i've tried
to dissolve: when i
lay on your bed,
cut my sleeve,
was my muriatic acid
when you hardly
knew my foundation:
i collapsed like bricks
On Wanting Everything to Be RightYou got too comfortable,On Wanting Everything to Be Right1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
forgot he could make mistakes,
and set your consciousness aside
so he could mend the thoughts
which have remained disordered
in your fumbling sobriety,
despite the years of learning to cope
with the pace of regularity:
scraping the mailbox with his key,
dining out every Sunday,
setting the thermostat to sixty degrees,
and changing despite every effort
to remain apathetic about his plans,
how your name became a constant
in his living equations,
the variable which defined the function.
On the morning you leave,
only your luggage and body will move
through the summer shadows
of oak leaves shaking in a breeze,
and only your barest senses
will know the satisfaction of hearing
his footsteps behind yours,
cicadas composing another song,
a car door slamming shut,
the engine firing up,
though your muscle memory isn't enough
to bring you peace or independence,
money or place or dignity.
When you turn onto Justamere Road,
you'll picture the nightstand
on your side of the
rapid eye movementi am jealousrapid eye movement2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
of my birdwinged half-sister.
later, birdwinged reapers--black,
looming quiet in every doorway. they
followed me from my hemmed-in waking terror
to the free reign of my subconscious.
far better suited to their purposes.
thunderstorms like supernovae out at sea, and
empty little boats tossed on emptier shores.
it rains, and the sea advances,
cresting the saguaros. someone is lost.
i don't know who. i don't know why i
care so much.
cliffs and skyscrapers. tightropes. sometimes
i am afraid of heights, and sometimes
afraid for those who are not.
the skinny girl
with the long dark hair is
always worth dying for.
sex. i am in turn
bemused, and indifferent, and bored, and
frustrated, more often than anything.
i like that i still remember how it felt to hug my dog,
right down to the cool wirecoat
and the warm fluff beneath,
and his immense
sometimes i wake up with misty
recollections and the overwhelming thought:
i wish it could be like this.
jungles with ancient