an untitled place

nowhere.
nightly fog &
a forever chill.
pink sky sunsets.
indigent clouds
orbit like smoke-curls.
a closet of cozy sweaters.
coffee by the mugful
held tight to my breast
tremorless.
incense deepburn.
oil-dressed candles.
ancestors from that
next room come
sit a while.
nowhere.
liminal suspended
between solar system
and sessipinae.
quiet inchoate.
a one-tricky cranny
of books and trip-hop,
poured libation.
nothing but living
on the to-do list.
sticky notes be
poem fodder,
fire kindling,
never for remembering.
here, the past
comes to call.
brings danish.
no consequences
of blood.
no wearing
anything,
not even
your body
on days when
commando
ain’t naked
enough –

Diary of the Mid-Level Bureaucrat Who Could Fly

[author’s note: i’m a little surprised at how much i enjoyed writing this one. it was a strangely satisfying experience. i wrote it for a competition-based poetry event i participated in, and about which i was kinda unenthusiastic because competition isn’t my thing. this poem woke me up. AND i won my round with it! i performed a truncated version to keep my time under three minutes, but what follows is the complete piece. excited to share it here. comments always welcome!]

Diary of the Mid-Level Bureaucrat Who Could Fly

September 2nd.
Monday. Listened to an inspirational podcast during commute. Traffic avg. How much coffee ISN’T too much coffee? And how much is actually enough? Discovered an entire Facebook page of Monday memes. Wonder if the creators of the work week curated our emotional responses to days.
September 3rd.
Taco Tuesday, amirite? The assonance of that term kinda sounds like crunching actually makes you want tacos. I’ll text my wife on lunch. Realized while creating the 3rd backup for my report that I don’t look out windows while I’m here. Seeing the sky makes part of me want to laugh or sing or fly away. None of which are appropriate to do in the office. Sounding crazy. Must set Google Assistant reminder to ask my therapist about work-life balance. Whatever that is.
September 4th.
It’s Wednesday, my dudes. Sorry diary, that was cheesy. Speaking of: some big vendor brought nachos for lunch. Talked to us about brand-building and breathing exercises. How many people are actually breathing here? I almost asked during the Q&A. Amlodipine well tolerated. Blood pressure stable. Doctor said I should relax. Whatever that means. Wish I still had my guitar.
September 5th.
My son is sick today. With his grandma now, since neither of us could take off work. Video games and coddling. Lucky him. Lucky grandma. She probably knows what that kid likes these days. Who he is. I don’t think he even remembers me. So at least we have that in common.
September 6th.
TGIF and Pavlovian salivation. Or celebration. Or both. Everyone smiles on Friday and it’s so fake. Boss is jubilantly mini-golfing and micromanaging from his office. That man has called me the wrong name for eight years now. I once introduced myself as that wrong name at the office Christmas party.
September 7th.
Sex and sleep in Saturday. Minus the sex. I guess waking up at 8 counts as sleeping in. But not really since I woke up in a panic, thinking I was late for work. Wish I could play my guitar today. What haven’t I sold of myself to pay bills? Line revision: it’s protein bar and Vistaril Saturday now.
September 8th.
Sunday. I shook hands with a man at church whose smile was frozen to his face. He clutched me with cold fingers and dead eyes. Grinned like a scream would crawl from his mouth. I introduced myself to him by the wrong name. Feared for my life ‘til he released my hand. I think he might be my soulmate.
September 9th.
Monday again. Listened to silence during commute. Inspirational. Can’t tell if this
heavy breathing is mine, or echoes from the man at church. I could feel his smile in my throat all day, chewing me while I chewed my sandwich at lunch. “Chew” is a funny word. Can’t seem to stop laughing.
September 10th.
My son’s birthday is either today or three months from now. When I asked him about it, he just stared at me. I laughed. Everyday is somebody’s birthday, amirite? That’s a song I wish I could write. Currently playing hide and seek with the sky from my cubicle. I don’t think she can find me. If I win, I get to stay here under my desk for a while. If the sky wins, she gets to swallow me whole. Win-win.
September 11th.
This day has historical significance that I forget. Something went crashing on this day. Maybe everything. Hiding under my desk again. The sky was none the wiser, but my boss sent me home early. All the good lies start with M. Marriage. Money. Management. Multitasking. Mother. Wife looked at me so strangely tonight. She claims I kept chanting the word “fly” at the dinner table, but I’m not fooled. I know I have neither voice nor name.
September 12th.
Today Google Assistant reminded me to ask my therapist about work/life balance. Is Google Assistant crazy? Who the hell is Work Life Balance? The sky’s been looking at me all day. Asking me where my guitar is, and why I don’t sing anymore. Decided to sing my reports instead of writing them. Boss didn’t like that. Probably because I have no guitar.
September 13th.
Friday the 13th is perfect. I understand now that the man at church ate me up with his petrified grin, and I am partially digested. What is left of me, I’ll give to the hungry sky today. She deserves it. No more hiding. I’ll fly away before the boss can yell about appropriate office behavior. I make a run for the windows. Sky laughing. Me laughing. Everybody in the office calls to me, but they’re all shouting the wrong name. Funny. TGIF, guys! Eternity should be a nice long weekend.

04/08/18

“swing baby swing…”
arms flung straight
aside
chin craned skyward,
genuflect in raucous air,
oh how we are best-loved
when flying
“as i start to sing…”
or rather spread
our aliveness out
like fingers of breath,
become a chatterchorus
of cacaphonic sound,
“your favorite song”
let’s fill up all open spaces today,
rush into the cracks
of our own sadness
we are honey beings
baby, “let’s go dancing
(aye)…”

anguish and famine at their own intervals: stage notes

here comes
famine, the warring
spirit,
knocks over your tea
scoffs at the baklava

not precisely unkind
yellow-belligerent
will dance you from this
room while
you hug her neck, suck
like a baby

famine
if nothing else
will hold you.

anguish the goldenrod
flourishes in a corner
coming          spectacularly          undone
he cannot write your letter
of recommendation
                                                     all things
                                                     so busy belonging
to someone else
too much
                                                     to bear

(anguish pulls his cape tighter)

then here comes you
a lovely-quick stardust pocket
a cinnamon and sandalwood
girl-universe seeping
the tiny confines of body

famine falls before you
anguish splits open to pour laughter
at your feet

the only thing
they cannot do for you
is disappear

cradle

there is a house
in my imagination
strong enough to cradle all
this light in my belly
close enough, soft enough
to rock me when i stumble
indoors exhausted
from flinging rays out of me
bathing in its glow
as much world
as i can reach
& when i think of
this shack
this palace
this lean-to
firm-standing & wide open
as me
i weep
or either don’t
as often in God’s work
i am too tired
for tears

no more like this

where your breath is my bread
where my back is your
riverbed constant
my fingers your ribcage
my teeth your lucky
dominos
and i am immured in silent debt
a mortgage i pay to exist
next to you:
my blood your liquor
my wounds your airbnb
got at a steal
my story your:
-word bank
-dinner debate
-SEO content
-incipit receipt
my language your rendered fat
where i am scissors
self-incising
as you bear indifferent
consistent witness
i believe i am done
being a good woman

sound I make

they like the sound I make
when I break.
ripe tendons
tend to tune
the snap
of limbs
deliciously

this is what
I remember about lovemaking
with men:
a kind of wheezing
in the chest that rolls
over mine
throats burn
when they smell my blood

once pulled,
there is a split second
in which they look
almost human
nuzzling my hollows
soft ’til saliva
saves their mouths
from need of me

eyes click open.
they are animal again
remembering
how to leave the carcass
once it is cleaned