cancers always come back.
I heard you like bad girls.
I drove through ghosts and all of middle Earth
to get here;
to lean into the sharp points
of middle hurts.
the difference between you and I
are only a couple stealth instruments
but we both murder with force,
with words that creep down the esophagus
in the middle of the night,
rupture guts and my stomach turns in half
like a huge, hungry mouth
folding from the pressure
investigating old sutures with her incisors
voraciously eating itself.
i’m trying self-immolation since the recovery
stalking your shadow,
waiting for high noon,
marauding around the Conoco station with
two kinds of Plan B in my pocket:
one for the inevitable fetus to follow and
one for you and I to cut in half and swallow
when you make your decision
and I’m the one that gets to record the way
it felt to watch you dragged to the altar
that foreboding day.
I wish had more words for
i’m the paper bell you inspected,
glued glitter hearts all over,
licked like an envelope being set somewhere else
and ultimately flung from the shelf
before she had time to prosper.
in true poet’s parlance
i’m nothing but death: soot palms, a trash can full of
one pen, colossal regret,
charcoal-colored romance with the
murdered children to accentuate my
kamikazes are lazy,
(give him the truth)
you have to stand in your wreckage,
own your slaughter.
makes more sense to avoid the fumes and
blood-orange sting that the flashy
(give him the teeth)
i’m your match.
(give him that spark)
there’s nothing left of me
so I become the portending light
and you become the ashes.
You had a dream where you
and I accidently gave birth to
Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick.”
When you told me, we laughed
and tried not to think anymore about it.
You took me by the roots to force my head down:
forced me to look at my part
with the last man.
An estuary of first thoughts and
what color is that bruise?
Forced life into this ossuary,
forced me to take progestin,
forced me to give birth to nothing but a long
dictionary of underused adjectives and
nothing ever sticks.
The paper was lined with my hurried tonic of
spite and estrogen and sealed with your
brusque argument against it.
There’s an elusive whale swimming up creek:
it’s as real as my infertility
so we both ignore it.
I want a reason to hate my God
so I take dried root every morning and watch you
drain from me.
Once there was a man more red than you,
brute who nailed me to my second thoughts
so when it comes to plans,
I’m a cool maiden:
blood like blue streams,
less baneful than a forest flame,
slice a wrist and
flood you every dream.
You’re somewhat capricious so I don’t know where to step
without igniting some nursed rage.
Smother me with pillows and rubber muzzles
or feel my blistered lips press back.
Here’s your David Lynch film:
me, arms wide open to show you
some purple lipstick and matching leggings,
some urn I worship on my neck,
some witch to hang,
some lighter fluid & cum flambé.
Sometime after dark we learn what it means to trust
one big whale we can’t touch.
You said not to worry: we don’t crackle,
not like piles of leaves,
we suddenly spark,
like the tainted breath of a relapse
when you thought you were pretty good:
starts with a lie about feelings,
starts with two kids who just can’t get enough
so they try laboring books but it’s
and now they’re swallowing everything they can get their hands on
and end up in urns that swing
from their beloved crusade’s throat.
Your moon is black and old:
hanging crooked like a forgotten family portrait,
dusted only by passing shoulders every now and then,
but mostly sits like a shrug.
Don’t worry, you fume.
I wait for the flare.
You assure me it’s contained.
City burns a dull gray,
muted mahogany shapes,
and you cough cinder.
I stay because you assured me:
you don’t blaze it all away.
And I, arms open, confirm
I’m ready to swallow you.
I’m big and blue and
cool as lake.
I’m the whole ocean:
looking for a fish
I already ate.
“the book of us”
little girls in kitten ears
and painted whiskers tumble down
my block in rows rehearsed
in leotards and black lace gloves.
precocious that high pitched
y o w l floats through open porches.
TV taught them how to meow
for Kit Kats Snickers bars,
bend over to tie their shoe
and seduce the nearest father;
he eyes the crevice cut through their
black tights and she notices.
she wants attention from her own father:
a photograph or upward twirl,
a burning torch,
purr in his lap while he strokes her hair
or just acknowledgment that she is the prettiest
girl dressed up as space cat,
those others are unoriginal, just regular
cats, he says I love yours best
and pats her on her head
and there is no offense taken.
she will grow up to be even smaller
than she supposed,
silent enduring still,
not awake in her own power,
her own body
like a stillborn tiger:
expelled with a tear
coated in the blood of her mother’s
screams as no one prepared her for the ecstasy
that followed expelling:
something parasitic and omniscient
and a future rival.
she lands on the floor
in a sealed protective pod,
fetal for always and
wrapped in excretion:
the things no one wanted,
like sewage water
a lotus to symbolize completion.
we aren’t worthy of those feline endowments
thrust upon us when we are playing
mole carcass on the doormat
aborted from our burrowed holes
for something more vociferous
to grab onto and finish,
our kinship: the lions.
we are nothing like our ancestors:
our virile mothers
who know nothing of preening,
who care nothing for tail feathers,
they take what they want.
they don’t grovel at their fathers’ feet.
they honor the slaughter,
the one they started,
before the harvest and pay homage
to the sky for the water provided
before they stuff themselves
we lack vision.
we just paint our nails black,
and dress like witches,
start shit for derision.
and we keep turning to our men
for forgiveness when we are wayward
or won’t marry them
when we should be
stuffing our faces with the meat they provided and
then burying them.
I am giant:
strong legs, flexed tonsils,
taut back from climbing your forearms
to get to your mouth,
scratching at your chest on the way there
to let your home
know what I own.
I compromise but I am
I’m full of bargains:
one dollar books and yesterday’s makeup,
hair knotted with century old lesions and
previous engagements so I
shave it every chance I get.
Try to forgive myself for
such large displays of arrogance.
You want me to comfort you in
cadence and I obey it
deriving satisfaction with the way my voice
sounds as I practice inflection
ending my prose in pointed questions,
the pleasure of seeing my mask unfold
on screen paralyzed in heat
so she freezes
but in between,
sweet, murmured ellipses…
I’m a noose so tight you try wearing me
like a loose fitting garment,
or just one hard day’s night,
and I might hang you.
“Jupiter in Scorpio”
you’re something else.
something that can’t
an exiled Arabian
falling in love with every mirage
that promises water
mouth as cup