Saturday, March 21, 2009

Siesta - James

You used to sit feline
the undulation of muscle
linking inexorably
into the darkness.
You would wait
by watering holes,
in malignant homes
and lace yourself between strangers
You tend to land on lips
that are no more reluctant
than runways.
It's just that you didn't come here
expecting the welcome of a stranger.

For you,
dimly lit corridors
are ground zero,
laid waiting in the shade
of mazes
for straight girls
to apply themselves--
to jigsaw the sexuality,
and after the fifth drink
they chased every sentence
with confession.

You've felt the lips
and promises
of too many retreats
wrapping themselves in you
like tapestries of love letters
written on white flags.
These surrenders
were just as much yours
as every other girl's.
You never applied
for this missionary work.

You once found yourself
in war-zoned ballrooms
compositionally based
in closets;
morse coding
the numeric equivalent
of sin
on doorknobs
with the subtle drop
of fingerfall--
but then subtle
was short for stealthy
and stealthy,
short for lying.
And I'd be lying
by omission
to not acknowledge
that you could sit instead 
like tack hammer.
'You don't need to be vague,
charming, sneaky, or untrue.'
she'd say, while
the curvature of your palms
the unclasped bra strap,
and then ask what you mean
when you say your prayers
into her throat.

And I'd be lying too,
to say that the mechanics
of curtains and closet doors
don't smother
or box you in at times.

Do the orchestrations of
war crimes
sometimes sound like 
Do the parallel lines
you've plowed into scalp
never grow to anything
but frustration
and excuse?
Does your marrow sometimes
feel like spolied honey
when you consider the boys
you've shared
through the transient property of
finger the holes in our bones?

Because it puts holes
through me
to watch woman after woman
fall into you
after having
boy after boy
fall out of them
because holding you
is as close to self-love
that will ever seem feasible.

There is a rumble 
in your eardrums--
it is rocket fuel.
There is something radiating
in your stomach:
it is Stalingrad,
and Chernobyl is on your heels.
Your heartbeat is a Geiger count,
and flash photography allows
every broken bone
to develop,
reveals the cities you are
carrying with you,
along with the graveyard arrangement
of forget-me-nots
hung on every vertebrae in you.
It is a haunting silhouette.

You are not a predator.

It's just that some
cannot help but be prey.

And it is always you
who loses sleep,
as each of them
that it's your melody
that is fever-dream harmonizing

Friday, February 27, 2009


To Kenny

you are born wrapped in a caul
confusion and medication. your mother lays on her
back for an entire 9 months
capped off by
18 hours
of pushing
and sucking
and wishing
that maybe things had gone a little differently
with you.

your mother is hoping to take you back
your father is down at the gift shop
and your big sis is at home with a bulimic nanny who likes to bite.

you see, the world is what you make of it
and your efforts will be rewarded if you put them forward
and everyone will value your opinion if you actually have one and-

your mother, she’s going to try to force you back.
she’s not going to physically force you back into her womb,
no. she’s going to unconcieve of you. she’s going to take her brain and wash it with windex and you, you’re not even going to be a smudge.
birds will pelt off her glass thinking they are actually flying into her
conscious thought.
she’s a killer, learn it now. you’re better off knowing.
she’s gonna need some help with all of her brainwashing, 18 hours is hard to forget and 9 months is even more of a challenge so…
she’s gonna suck in some snow through her nose
and she’s gonna push some glass into her veins

and you, you’re gonna be fine. You just have to try harder, pal.

live your life to the fullest and try hard,
you’ll get somewhere, you’ll see.
or if you don’t…well i guess it was everyone’s fault except your own.

stay away from cigarettes and pot and booze
stay away from women who say they love you
stay away from fast cars and credit cards.

remember what your sis
tried to whisper in your newborn ears-
remember what she said as she helped
wipe the fluids and casings of home off of you-
you are not a carbon copy of that woman on her back
you will not be responsible for picking her up off the floor
or doing the dirty dishes she will leave in the sink.
don’t block the punches that she receives
or take the hits that are passed her way.

you’ll wreak of cigarettes
you’ll go to school with fleas
you’ll be hungry all the time
and you’ll learn that water can be told to taste like anything you tell it to.
you’ll learn how to swim without help
how to be black and blue
you’ll learn to muffle coughs and sneezes out of a fear of being heard
you’ll learn to swear and cuss with the best of them.
you’ll learn how to jump off of a two story roof and run to the neighbor’s for help.
you’ll learn to sleep with a gun underneath a tiny twin bed.

your sis though,
she’s going to invent motherhood for
the both of you.
she’s going to tuck you into this world and
she’s going to bring you back to life.

Monday, February 16, 2009

my tolerance has increased.

i've got this theory that you're the reason hot water doesn't seem quite so hot anymore and oxygen doesn't seem quite so...what's the word, pure?
you've made me think that it's time for an embargo. i've been turning the handle so hard, it's coming off the wall.
scrubbed raw in lukewarm water leaves the most important muscles exposed to viral infections and bacterial defection consider this as you change the sheets of your bed tomorrow.

2:05 A.M. Ode to a Metaphor

in the light of my kitchen you look like a relic. something to worship on the tips of unwashed, torn toes. let’s dance on the linoleum and forget that our shoes are filled with cement and our hearts seem to belong to everyone except each other.
sometimes i imagine you as inanimate objects- how you would engender the bends of a mahogany table leg or the sleek shiny handle on a avocado colored 1950s style refrigerator door. and sometimes you metastasize from simple pictorial representations such as these to the inevitable and unstoppable metaphor. you’re sand pouring through the gaps in my fingers, phases of the moon passing without my permission and my personal favorite- the closed black door at the end of a hallway lit only by light leaking through the gaps in your casing. so let’s approach it in that Freudian way, you know, the stuff of dreams. let’s talk in similes and circles and avoid any sentence structure of meaning. you’re a door, you’re a door, you’re a door, you’re a door that leads to-
well maybe the metaphor is not that thought out or maybe you keep me in check with your schizophrenic attentions and your fleeting affections and defy me to devise any meaning from your gazes and phrases of interest. that’s all true but i call you a door rather than a window or piece of roofing or a box in my cellar because i know how you’d love it to have your handle turned and to meet a girl who would finally go through you.
I’d love to be ending this in the form of a romantic Shakespearean couplet dripping with irony and wit but instead, i’d like to let you know, you’re a door, leading to where i am entirely unsure.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

lovelikedishwater- Anastasia

i am a prisoner in the world without end and
i suffer at the feet of this lovesick addiction,

crinkling into a pile of dry skin
in the palm of something lovely.

it's love of a mother, lover, sister, daughter, niece
in a million tiny pieces floating over my head
and appearing before me on this t.v. screen.

it's abandonment, forsaken and dead
underneath my feet.

i am a jailor in a world without end
and i worship at the feet
of something bitter tasting-

milky and gray
i'm drowning in the kitchen sink.
my toes will rise to the top-
grease and suds and sponges-
and i'll watch you melt into a bowl of domesticity.

you'll find a way through
the pipes in the walls
and escape to London or France or Amsterdam.

i flip through channels.
it'll be static
after popcorn
after snowy civilization.
These Channels Are No Longer Broadcasting.

the sink's all dried up.
i'm trying to find a rabbit hole to fall through here and
some descension back to earth.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


I am in a constant state of stress.
Of egress and regress
and I never know what
phase the moon is in
or the mood of the
woman who shares my bed.

I'm selfish and unfortunately
prejudiced against this
world that tells me
I must pay for everything
I gain and let
time slip through my fingers
because this loan is out of grace.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Down the Stairs- Anastasia

The most painful thing
I've heard in a long time
is the downward trek
of a person falling
who still isn't ready.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

James; Smoke Signals

Catching embers with our lower lips,
we shared misery spread out
like a tablecloth;
a decoration we’d place our survival upon
and consume only meager portions of,
in a flavor
easily familiarized.

Sitting in the makeshift triage
framed by citronella blowtorches
like the missing muscle masses
we hauled in zip-loc bags
filled with formaldehyde
could be replaced if one
simply held the hand of another
with the same injury.

Excavating our former battlefields,
I reminisce on future incantations;

hope we never shake arrowheads from our hair
to plunge the Arctic Ocean through each other
by carving our sins into chalkboards,

hope we never stretch coitus across centuries
where the middle three hundred years
of bad sex gets blamed on evil spirits,

hope I never confess to you in sentiments
stolen from movies you’ve never seen,
hope you never write poems about me
being a nostalgia junkie
track marks pacing through photo albums,
or lament how my emotional state gets annexed
by every song in the vault of my memory bank

but mostly, I hope when I muster the intestine
to stomach the firebrand
working towards my esophagus
to blow smoke signals through phone lines,
you’ll receive them
or return them at your earliest convenience.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Anastasia: Dig

these old bones
will bake in the
sun and chatter
a message in
morse code
asking when
will you stumble
on my stony bed?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Anastasia: untitled

you've gotten inside
a postmodern mind
and proven
that words
can't ever count
for everything.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Anastasia: observation deck

in a crowded room of people
i feel like i am the one
under the scope
of the eye of God.

every time i fall
i scrape my knee and bleed
and i stare in disbelief as
my blood cells scream "god isn't watching."

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Anastasia: I do my best thinking in the shower.

everyday I run the shower
for several minutes
before I get in.

I listen to the water
splatter on the floor
and peek the curtain

just enough to feel
the faucet kiss
my bare hands and feet

that rest beside it
on the floor.
I think of all the ways

I am torn.
Between left and right
up and down.

my body is segmented
like an ant. I never
know which part is

alive and moving.
maybe my arms are
dead and maybe my

thighs are an icy
tundra, unfriendly and hostile
to manifest destiny.

everyday I stand
and enter into steam.
I never wait for it to cool.

everyday I start from the top
and work my way to the bottom
but I wonder-

how long would it take me
to be kissed clean
unmoving, on the floor?

Anastasia: Fire

candles burn and i am
hallucinating, feeling,
red, orange and yellow fire
in the pit of my
stomach. the gentle
tips of your fingers will spread
and i will thank the stars in 5 syllable words.

Anastasia: 3689

our magic number
is 3689.
i count the
ways we
can play:
is 1
3689 + 1000
is 4689
and i count
until my finger tips
numb and my
mouth stops
forming vowel sounds.
i wish i had been
better at math;
i am sure these
numbers and vowels
can cancel one another

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

christa*: de la vieja (of the old woman)

la boca de la vieja
revive, repaso, fecúndo
dale un momento
para que puedan caer
todas las fotografías
de azulejos en sol sangrante, olores
de sabanas
recién planchadas
caer de sus labios

la mano de la vieja
revive, repaso, melancólica
dale tu mano
para que se quiete
y se vaya
sin miedo
del olvido

the mouth of the old woman
reliving, reviewing, fecund
give her a moment
so that they fall
all the photographs
of tiles in bloody sun, smells
of sheets just ironed
falling from her lips

the hand of the old woman
reliving, reviewing, melancholic
give her your hand
so that she can be calm
and go
without fear
of forgetting

christa*: a midnight proposal

you lead a very complicated life, he said. complicated? maybe... but today it's just empty. Keys opening doors is the only hint of belonging as the space between the possibilities expands with my chest. Breathing in smoke and smog, I long for a horizon, a snow-covered mountain, a lake, with a canoe for two. If I am two, will you be my one? We can play at love, nibble at it around the edges until the sugar-coated giddiness forgets the goal of the game. For playing kissing touching slide the snowflakes down the tips of green, carried by old friends weighed down by change. I think I could love you, she said, and kissing touching playing they giggled, tossing words like leaves of fall, and welcoming their return. Cherry blossoms of warm rain float down through thick air of four eyes searching, seeing hands touching in propped pillows and wondering... would you complicate me?

Anastasia: An Explanation

when sleep finds
the corners of my eyes
i know that it is in
my veins,
flowing behind my retinas
and in my fingertips.
in the strands of my hair
and in the heels of my feet.
when sleep finds the corners
of my eyes it comes
to me in a flash
and i am jolted awake-
fly to the light
and let every word
of you flow,
pour from my

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Anastasia: The River At Night

I cross the River at night

I stand midstream
between her shores
and wait for the tide to rise.

I count fish and pebbles in her eyes
in the moonlit rays between passing clouds.

I wait until morning,
climb out and wait for her
to silver again.

I cross the River at night.

Anastasia: Westward Current

I've run to the edge of
the map, looking for you.

I can see you
through the fog on the horizon
I can hear you
through a violent mob of seagulls.

I've watched you
running back and forth along the coast,
waiting for you to join
a western school of fish gulping oxygen at the bottom of the ocean
speaking in silent english of how they
long for the worms and waters of a western seaboard.

I watch and wait
and sink a hook into the ocean
hoping you'll come take my bait.

Anastasia: *****

you breathed into me
a black velvet sky

and i spent a century
counting the holes of the sun burning through.

Monday, April 7, 2008

James: Almost There

Almost There

I am driving West on I86
listening to David Bowie—
Life on Mars?
on repeat,
casting glances to where
I’ve engraved the words
'Almost There'
at Ten and Two
on my steering wheel,
with the destination:
I breathe the neon gas
of road signs, looking for one
that might tell how far until
Someplace With Something Worth Seeing.

I contemplate interstellar portraits of
all the lights dying;
What must the Moon have thought when
the Northeastern United States turned off?

I spend the highway reprogramming a heartbeat
to match the protest songs of a generation,
manipulate my voice into radio waves,
aim it at satellites to converse with the planet,
if you’re out there,
triangulate my coordinates and tell me where I’m going:
Yesterday will always be
not quite as good as it could have been.
Tomorrow will never be anything but possibility.
Remind me what it’s like
to wake up in a city that forgot you were there,
tell me again about the open road
while I’m stuck overnight in Grand Central
reading Ferlinghetti,
make antagonism tangible so I can have a ‘this place’
to want to get myself out of,
write me the equation
for the medicinal effect of avoidance,
carve my spine out of ball bearings
so I may occasionally slide from my skin,
compress me into aerosol cans
so I can mingle at dinner parties in the troposphere,
whisper me the words to every
soldier poem,
Dear John letter,
suicide note,
grocery list,
and religious text.
Teach me the phonetics of humming piano keys
in a forgotten language.
Call me between the hours of 2 and 3 AM,
leave a message after the beep;

I’m no longer questioning
the presence of life elsewhere.



the itch underneath my skin makes me crawl like a snake shaking off its old and loosening armor. i can feel it flaking and falling to the ground around my feet. this is my morning shower this is my ride to work this is the final picture behind my retinas.



i am a flat
piece of historical
that the earth
existed without
love. throw
me in the ocean
and i will sink
to the bottom
or skip me
skim me
across the
glass top
of your world.
put me in
your hand
and i will
let you read
my imperfections.