once, i was a story eat the rind of my hero cycle. i want to be saved at the end of journey. the man who wrote this lived inside a cave inside a cave & believed he was conjuring odyessy. wrote monsters down my throat & a mother with a stomach full of pendulums. i emerge patchwork word. landscapes turn into men. outside of mouth, i am nothing but a jellyfish's fears. footfalls on a dark moon. trust me when i say i have tried to make it to flyleaf. to a grape leaf conclusion. but the sun keeps falling in the glass of milk. guadrians find more thresholds for me to be birthed by. women in lakes are always mine.
diving board i want to approach strangers & ask, "where are you putting your grief?" does anyone else feel as urgent as i do? if i had a patch of dirt i would dig & dig until i was deep in marrow. then, i would fill that hole with water. kill an angel to christen the pool. construct a diving board hanging over the lip. jagged tooth. my reflection, a spattered bird. i crave something real to dangle above. each day, the ocean asks more & more questions. when you be an animal again? why don't you weep? how will you survive? i have no answers.
saddlemaker the horse was a dream of fatherhood. of who becomes who & who is ridden into noise. animal to animal, i am only holding on by the stirrups. dragged for years along the orange dirt road. i see card games in strangers' eyes. ants march, hands full of urns. they are headed towards a highway. he used to tell me to get on all fours to make a place for him to put up his feet. pounding leather. pounding skin. roses in detail work. holy horn. i was the wooden model he shaped each saddle on. i gave him his manhood. he gave me mine.
harness i want to be walked on all fours into a valley of greased diamonds. here, craving is carved into tongue. i drink water from a dead angel's throat. you, above me. chandelier. world. wheel. my bringer of nectar & dead stars. tell me who i am & i will step into the river of your voice. please, put this harness on me tight. your fingers move across a buckle. i need to be pressed into my life. strapped into my body to keep me from disobeying. until you came, i was gone.
accidental caramel after midnight i put on my shadow clothes & try not to die. night makes a courier of me. i deliever to myself all the words i do not want. you asked for this body. you puppet your own sadness. i do or else i am not sure i do. where do you have to put yourself to hear truth? i have catacombs & wind tunnels. all week, my darkness has grown thick & sweet. i never meant to be this staircased. everything i need is in the attic. is behind the moon. is etched onto glass. i find the thinnest tree to duck behind. there, eat fingers one by one until dawn.
strangulation poem i drive boys to their friends house. midnight. boys tell me they love me. boys buy me anything i want. no that's a lie. they don't. but in a dream, they do & i am worshipped. boys burn the house down. i forgive boys. boys put their hands on me. boys turn me into a chicken. boys pluck me. i used to think i was boys but i am not boys. if i was boys then how could i love boys? boys eat in bed. boys tell me i can't get enough. i am drowning in boys. boys' knuckles tighten. i put my foot to boys' chests. boys are always trying something new. i am always something new. boys carve their name in my dormroom wall. i thank boys even though i am not thankful. boys go & will be back.
the spoon archive i remember when i lifted myself to your lips inside a wooden ladel. tonight, i put the sun & the moon in a blender. drink contradiction. hope to fall in love again. here is the spoon i used to burry my faith in rebirth. here is the hole in the yard that leads to a colony of silver. with the smallest spoon i once had a friend scoop out my pupil to be used as a scrying mirror. i thought if i could not see the throat of the monster, i could survive. wrong wrong wrong. find my skeleton in the yard. i could unearth it but i don't. i leave it.
remote control the bees nest television is full of breaking news. basinettes for microphones. i no longer talk into mirrors. there are dolls in the control room on the other side. when i say someone is always watching i mean the refridgerator is a garden of eyes. blink three times if you can hear me. when my hand moves without instructions i pretend i am a puppet for an audience of piranhas. click a button & the road kill deer comes back to life. another rerun. i tell the bones, "let's try this again." they turn static & i get bored of it all.
fur coat i want to disbelieve in scarcity but it is all i know. my body, a maze of learned urgencies. tomorrow there will be no more & today there is a lack of. i find a cow. ask her for her hide. i promise to pay her back. the pasture is covered with ghost birds. everyone needs a new skin this year what with the fire & frost & alarms. i put on my hooves to leap fences. i will run until i reach eden. there, eat apples until i am dead. there is a chance i am wearing your life as a garden. when i am done, we can be brothers again. for now, i understand if you need to haunt me.
a history of loneliness at our old house with wasps in the walls & thunder storms in its hair i would go to the cool concrete basement with a handful of french fries to feed the mice. our little secret. salt grains on my fingers. mice came child-like. soft-footed. fearful. blackberry jewel eyes. i called them friends. they came to trust me. sitting near my bare feet as i brought a new morsel each day. sunflower seeds & pineapple & blueberries. tiny pink tongues. at first, they just darted away, food in mouth. but they learned to linger with me there.
dollar store glasses it was always fishtank season. i talked to our pennies until they they grew papery wings. fly away. as a kid i saw the world like a monet painting. bud & blurr & blossom. running through a field of scissors & emerging with my skin cut into ribbons. i felt every cough brambles made. stroked moss on backs of trees. all fours. closed my eyes & tried to meditate but instead gossiped with butterflies. after the woods, my brother & i would go to dollar tree to try to see clearly. put reading glasses on & squinted at plastic statues of parrots & pirates. we never purchased a pair.
stone's throw i learned to measure distances between us with fury. how a fist becomes a landmark. give me all the quartz & i'll find the mirror where i am a butterfly-faced boy. my father told me to go out into the forest & find a rock worthy of his mouth. i searched for years. found sea shells & squirrel skulls. all the while he picked his teeth with wintergreen wood. i would day dream of our reunion. his embrace like greeting a mountain. shoulders & shoulders & avalanche.
broth i took bones of the dirt & water-plunged them in the rusted bottom pot. hunger is a mouth discovered & burried. inside, my own bones dwindled. novembering forest. i learned to live on glances of fruit. red apple. tongue of my eyes. steam from boil. carrot legs & celery jaws & onion knuckles. we made broth on sundays when fate had less fingers. i thought of boiling myself. how sweet & melancholy. wooden spoon dreaming itself back into a tree. this is a fantasy of return. to air. to water. drinking a spoonful. warmth ascending until i am roots again.
fuzzy handcuffs i want to give you all my wrists in a basket like a bushel of plums. here is how a body is led to the edge of control. you swallow the key & say, "now you're mine." we can gift ourselves. should we gift ourselves? i have become an expert at feeding organs to neighbors. jars of honey, syruped light, sit on the windowsill. coming apart in symbols. my apples. my spearmint. i open mouth. there is a welcome mat there make your home between my breathes. i will give you all the "yes" i have. yes, hold me here. yes, call me capture. yes, make a relic of me.
wrong order we sit in the parking lot of the drive through & watch cars gallop highway like runaway horses. they gave you the wrong order & we decide we're not going back in. instead, we inspect the curly fries & triple-stacked burger. imagine workers' quick hands. disposing another pair of black rubber gloves. then, the person who ordered this. how they are speeding away. eyes in the rearer view mirror. they think, "i cannot wait till i get home, i need a bite now." rifling through a greasy bag just to find our mouths. strangers. we are so close to eating with one another. stoplights on macarthur road chew us on our way home.
the last bird i remember when every day flocked to my porch. walking to catch the train i's see schools of pigeons speaking stanzas to one another. life had headlight then. when the reports came in about the bird, some wanted to eat the last bird. others wanted to dissect him. him, a small pigeon with iridescent blue feathers & a thimble for a heart. he was still alive just standing on a street corner & reciting poetry. crowds gathered. feathers fell like snow. all businesses stopped & we listened. hanging on each word. on the morning he disappeared, we wept.
hardware / software i put on a stone suite & walk to the supermarket to buy the ripest bananas. most night, softshell crabs come knocking on windows. they say, "have you downloaded the sun today?" i put a USB drive in my mouth. it's full of dirty pictures & tastes like hand sanitizer. i want to believe i can shapeshift. survive & survive. a deep sea animal made for the pressures of the endless. sadly, i am not. i exoskeleton all night eating white peaches & calling like a whale. i break all my bones. load a video of a bonfire.
hammock the one tree says to the other "let's be brothers." in the canoe, sky becomes a bowl of broth. bones & bones & bones. a dead heron lays ampersand in water. you make coffee & the summer glints, a beetle. i think "we could camp out beneath the belly of the whale." just me & you & our hungers. i draw tarot cards for squirrels. the eight of cups. walking away. all my backpacks of chalices. we leave our faces hung on branches & go skinniest dipping. nothing but teeth & ivy. the hammock asks us if we plan to be stones. i say, "i do." you say, "tomorrow" in a voice that means, "i am putting this off."
saltwater fish when i learned to breathe i asked the stones for their permission. a life is a body of water. i toss my lungs back like eels. feet in the ocean. i have been planning to run away for as long as i can remember. i am a salt water fish. my bones thin until all i need to open me is a man sitting at the kitchen counter: his mallet & knife. he's been waiting to see his reflection in my scales. fists of water. putting a shell to his face he finds it swallowed. smoothed elbows & ancient tongues of the old water.
kitchen on the moon i walk to the edge of my yearning. break bread into smaller & smaller castles. barefoot as an astronaut, following a highway made of ginger. o moon, will you give me a refrigerator full? eggs spinning with thoughts of feathers. i woke up once in a nest. mars red through tree branches. why do i always try to get far away from myself to feast? to rest? as if there might be a place i could go where my body would unpuzzle itself. blood like a velvet tide. i eat standing at the counter by the spigot & cutting board. i leave crumbs.
on estrangement on holidays, i sleep in the extra space ship. it is my fault the house is full of forks. for so long i tried to live on different moons. one had a frozen ocean. another had star-eyed fish. the last was desolate except for a pile of broken picture frames. they were empty. don't worry though, the space ship doesn't work. not any more. it is just a lovely place to plant your teeth & wait for them to become roses. tell me, who has grown you roses? i am waiting. last week a friend asked me, "what is rest to you?" i said, "not thinking of what comes next."
paper submarine i keep saying "this is going to be okay" when the water is saying, "you are a dead boy." i found the ocean like a fist. bruises it gives me. fish in the deep with eyes made of light bulbs. i thought i knew how to dive, to swim. ignored every ship wreck. sometimes we think we can will the truth. i am not drowning. i am not drowning. water pressure. weight of all the planets. their boney shoulders. i am not just trying to put out a fire. opening my mouth. fingers trying to find my gills. the vessel is not a vessel. it is an unsound bridge.
leaky ceiling in the abandoned house off main street i found my wild knowing. bird beaks kalideoscoped. chandelier in my chest. spearmint bush bursting through floorboards. everything has jagged edges when you are fifteen. doorways chew you pink. i would sleep with my eyes open, waiting for a flock to come & scoop out my tongue. this is a hymn for those who arrive to empty places. hallway of blackberries. i plucked door knobs from my manias. rolled them down the hallway. i'd think, "does anyone else hear the moon turning over?" no? only me?
snake winding lets take a walk in the python & cottonmouth. my tongue slips out & says something i'm going to regret. i hide chicken hearts where ever i can forget them. under the pillow i find a knife. it is not my knife. hasn't your body every knotted around itself? we keep venom in a glass jar in case we need to make an antidote. i want to be cured of all my visitations. the voices that arrive with a cleaver in both hands. blood is snake & so are my lips. rattlers signal the end of a color. goodbye blue. goodbye copper. hello viper.
ghost houses i feather & you collect me like kindling. in the country something is always entering ghosthood. you take your flashlight & i take a crystal bowl. in the backyard, the birds die one by one, dandelions. yellow & then nothing but breath & then scattered. we hang ghost houses in the trees for the birds. tell me one creature who isn't in the process of returning. i sleep walk down the highway towards the water tower. eat wild onion until my teeth turn to eggs. hatching little spirits. we whistle & the trees whistles back.
it runs in the family my father counts tornados with tallies that he etches in a pillar in the living room. i want to tell him he is so doomsday. the tornados are just trying to laugh & besides there's still water left. i got out to feed the tornados. handfuls of cherries for them to red with. these days, i red all the time. dipping my face in bruises. finding a wound in the dirt to talk to. i need a fresh destruction. my father eats new moons & then doesn't open his lips for days. what are you trying to contain? if i shouted like i need to, i'd just disaster this house. the forest would be five tally marks.
inflatable planets i shed my breathe like a buffalo herd. being with you was rushing into crowded rooms. we sit in the yard & look up into the night sky's mouth. i know i do not love you & yet here i am with a candle & a survival kit, trying to future. you can spit your soul out if you are not careful. i fill a balloon with it. all the silk & the gloss. how you used to put your fingers down my throat to feel the sleeping animals there. i'd tell you to "stop" & you would say, "how do i know i'll ever see you again?" bullied gag reflex. this is how i made the planet, from my own pounding.
crop top my stomach is the playground where i go to be feminine. if a garment could teach me self-praise. i do not want to be celebrated, i want to be indulged. drape me in honey combs. crack open the geode & feed me crystal & for you i will do the same. my fingers in your violin. hairs grow like a thinned forest across my skin. i carry fire in a plastic bucket. hold summer in a walnut half. blindfolded & following lavendar. there will be too much to eat. there will be no noise of restriction. only the abundance we knew was there. to feast is to have a noisy body & still carve revelry from it.
fear of it being too late in the kitchen we trip on our own reflections. on the wall, there is an old iron bean grinder full of teal aquarium rocks. in each rock, a little version of the scene. this is the night the fridge stops working & i see my father furious-cry as he grabs a pack of grapes & a baggie of lunch meat, tearing the fridge's guts apart & saying, "i can fix this." for weeks it had flickered & he had smacked its side. "piece of shit," he said. i had too many fingers & all i wanted to do was help. a little girl. the holes hunger made in that house. all our faces in the rocks. tiny desperate ghosts.
electronic milk i look for nourishment in mint wrappers. forkfuls of flywings. a disciple of "not enough." plug a charger into the muck river & wait for my phone to tell me i am a good little citizen. where i come from, a tank sleeps in the corn field. the water tower is a beacon, a place for lovers to crawl towards. nothing is better than eating sugar packets in the yard. i do not want to be sustained, i want to be consumed by static. an update informs me my life has been downloaded & saved to the cloud. am i relieved? the cloud is heavy. i am still snacking on whatever i can find.
peacock seed i was small when i planted the iridescent boy in the back of my throat & walked around like a jar of jam. everything sweet has been boiled by sun or by fire. in the fields we would work for hours harvesting tomatos. they are the shape a heart should be. roma, heirloom, cherry. from the dirt, i collected feathers too. they were palm branches. lay me down. a divine is coming in the form of hair. there is no other body like mine. i flock & fallen & fallow. deer watch as we work waiting to become skulls. boys like me are all teeth & then none. we have & are harvested. make blue of our star.
decorative faux books at my worst i am just waiting for you to enter. hoarding my nothing like a hope chest. here is a dust jacket where i gather unkept promises. the shelf, brimming with letter "o." meaning "oh no" & "oh please" & "open me now." sometimes i glue my lips shut for fear someone will ask me to tell them a story. really, the truth writes itself. i was made a conduit of searching. last year i had my palms read. her finger across my lines. she said, "you will. you will." then, back at home, i could swear i looked at my hands & saw no lines at all.
poppet family when i do witchcraft i often don't know what to ask for. it is years of my tongue being a bottled bird. tonight i sew poppets of my mom & dad & brothers. i dip them in honey & arrange each in a circle around me. knit promises into their mouths. they are saying, "yes yes yes-- you are our good skeleton." or maybe i do know what i want & i am scared to tear seams. in the kitchen, moths arrive like oldest angels. then, ants come to feast on the honey. isn't this always how it goes? glistening & then eaten & then they find your bone. some day i will have the courage to bind the poppets one to the other.
gravestone eating the end is cake & so is your face. we go for a cemetery walk, forks in hand, & the grass wants to argue about global warming. i say, "there is still hope" & the grass says, "if only you knew what all the green knows." it is my birthday again for the fifth time this week. i am exhausted with wanting to want. on my phone i scroll through custom funerals. you take a bite of a tombstone & say "it tastes like raspberries." i forgo the fork & dig in with my hands. sugar under nails. swallow the surname. then, it is stone again. rubble. you lead me away as if my hunger didn't happen.
my brother's box of eyes each day the internet screams him awake. buckets of blinking toads & bed-ridden lilies. once in a chat room a man told me i was all he ever wanted. he had hairy knuckles. he mailed me eyes in ring boxes. i never told anyone. my brother says his brain has too many tabs open. i do too. i have seen videos of people on fire & trap doors & guillotines. he puts an eye in his mouth like a grape. i spill apricots wherever i try to speak. there is no answer to the call. the image is gone like a rock in water. he hands me the ruin so i can see it too.
ceiling w/o hand me the box cutter. there is a delivery from demons seething on the porch & i'd like to let it breathe. yesterday, all the lights turned into raccoons & ravaged our trash. i wish i was them: eating coffee grounds & banana peels. fill my hands with all indulgences again. online i order a god & he comes in a shiny urn. we sit & wait for rapture. it never comes. instead our bodies float like dead balloons. last night i believed i could dig a hole in the ceiling with my bare hands. i could not.
ghost pipe mushrooms give me the gather of wedding worms. choral like greying sky. a flock of our fallen chickens. we blew smoke from our eyes. laid in the forest & watched the color lift from our faces. do you remember being alive? i only recall darkness. how it fed us bones. singing with a wilted throat. arm in arm we take lipstick off the moon. hang our heads. welcome ghosts of exiles & ex-kings. they carry their heads in their arms like summer melons. the night wears no gown.
forest fire tell me i am not the only who is here to swallow flames? i don't want to be a fighter anymore. i want to be the moss whose grandchildren talk about green like it is a gone island. i look at my block & see a colony of matches. walking with a bucket of water. i can't do this. i can't anymore, seeing how many burns a building can wear before it is condemned. my first boyfriend & i used to collect lighters. flick them open & find anything to light. calendars & brush & bruises. each other's tongues. i am no longer convinced grow-back is coming. smoke comes like antelope, galloping alleys. i'm asking then, are we gone?
agora there are crowds gathering & selling their faces inside me. knuckles to windows. i find coins beneath my skin. surface them with a pocket knife. i am rich. i am rich. a dog is licking the ground where a love potion spilled. tell me, in a corridor of breath, who do you become? i am not the weaver looking for more wool but i could be the beech tree's broken tooth. woods come & knock on the door for butter. i give all we have but more keep coming.
machine learning i teach my hands to make shadow puppets. the puppets gain souls & i lose my hands. together, a camel & a rabbit go frolic in the grape-flavored dark. i keep asking myself if i was ever not a machine. what is next? what is next? my digital teeth download into a necklace. i have begun to think it is impossible to teach yourself anything. i watched as my mothers hid between the prongs of forks & i followed & followed until i was this person. the repetition is what's hard to untangle. tell me, who was i when the world was only nectarines?
umbrella umbrella i am deleting this sarcophagus in favor of a parachute. birds relearn how to fly in deep space. i open five umbrellas & find them all full of holes. through the holes, glow worms lower themselves. they washing machine hum. everything is dew covered & laughing. a man comes by & puts a leash on me. truly, i've always wanted someone to arrive & tell me "this is how to be alive." instead he leads me to a lake of black water & says, "drink until you are gone." no matter how hard i try, i still remain a body with ears & knuckles, only now with snow in falling hard in my throat.
shrinking i used to drink tea with angels but then the sky turned to red jello & then we were all busy becoming men. our tea cups were the size of soup bowls but got smaller each time we conviened. we're always running out. the angels fell from the sky like dead birds & i collected their feathers into glass coffins. what is heavier? a pound of bones or a pound of feathers? obviously the pound of feathers. the tea set fits in the palm of my hand now. i invite centipedes & cicadas & don't tell them about the angels.
wallet stove magnifying glass twenty dollars can buy you enough lenses to see the smallest city. crouching down as low as possilbe, we are looking here for my lost frying pan. the future is full of legs. i cross mine. you spit in the skillet & pay me like i am your company for the night. i'll be good. i promise. two quarters on my tongue. the heat is brutal & fatherly. we make our beds in the oven & i inspect for bugs. nothing but a little detective. he scours for clues to why we are still so lonely. soon enough he bursts into flames. we play in ashes.
ant river i followed the sound of mandibles to despose of the day's bones. great current where legs become an element. i have been running from waterfall & slit iris. color fracture. following each exhaustion in front of me. i do not want to be one of the wind-up dolls, but here i am. i crave nest. pray for a night worker to arrive to tell me "here is where we keep our queen." there are not enough holes in the sun for me to escape through. i put on a rubber. so much of my days are about prevention. i am hold back an antenna flood & listen for grains of sugar as they whistle.
"no dogs allowed" i am the dog & all i want to do is eat the red moon. they say it is full of nectar or blood. i go to wake up your box of hammers & it says "why why why." i want a lover who will cut me like a mango or at least hunt me with a bow & arrow. i appreciate sportsmenship. no one is a dog anymore but me. it is difficult to not feel alone when the planets are taking their own lives one by one. we all do what we have to do. being a dog is also sometimes very beautiful. i ran until the earth was an apple tree. i came home & kissed you. cut off my tongue & burried it.
internet family i swallow the ethernet cable to talk to my real family. i am fifteen & sometimes i watch the moon turn into a centipede. i sleep as little as possible &, because of this, my skin feels static. flickering in & out of this website. my family all have Xs over their eyes so i can easily click away. minimize window. goodbye mother. goodbye father. save as is. i want to come back to my body after i've had time to consider its use. family feeds me promise streams: grease & synonyms & illegal. a tiny tiny fire.
orbit tonight everyone is on fire & i am thinking, do you love me or do you exist & i exist & do we sometimes cross paths? i am convinced we have sacrificed all the fireflies this year. summer is building obelisks on every street corner. the lanternflies are trying to find home. we don't hold hands like we used to. i miss being tethered to something. consider the dog collar i bought myself & how badly i want to be walked through a black hole. come out on the other side still yearning for all the softness i can't seem to get. we finish our circuit. the sidewalks have crooked fingernails.
temperature play i want to be fed plates of turkish delight. lick sugar quickly from my fingers before it turns to snow. i hold autumn to my skin until i am your goose-fleshed lake. a box of inferos lives inside my bones. you reached deep to pluck a match & strike it across my chin. poles are melting quicker than when can put on our shoes. the door unlocks itself but that's alright, we no longer have parents. i have spent so long sleeping in the hallways of the world. broiling summer parking lots. an ice cube from your soda cup. melting in your hand & then pressed into me.
the weight of elephants in the field, scales grew like lungs. we came each day to weigh this against that. a pair of shoes against a crown. snake vs. belt. my life is full of such hungry dilemas. i carry my heart like a briefcase full of pressed flowers. everyone is on fire. today i am calling the tax god to admit the number of days since i last tried becoming a bird to escape. an elephant walked into my apartment building & i explained he was fine by me but the landlord would probably make him leave. he pleaded. i fed him potato chips & he talked about the safari & destiny. he weighed as much as me.
funny bone knock me until i billow or bust. a brick is a portal if hurled at the right mouth. the gargoyles tell me a joke about a boy who thought he could ride the stray horse. the horse was a graveyard. construction trucks dig up the street looking for an entrance to hell. i say, "i have found it." laying on my back & letting the grass grow wild & full of spearmint bushes. i wear my skin like a shaw. crave something shiny & beautiufl. shop online until the moon is static & fading. gods, asleep in their arm chairs. i try to laugh it off.