flitting obsessions and the trauma of needing to know

---

to the woman in the window across the street who practices ballet every morning - 

i hope you’re well. 

i hope you’re listening to something nice. 

i hope spilling your torso over your thighs, so your nose tickles your knees, helps you to feel lightweight and grounded. 

i hope your family is somewhere safe, i don’t know where, but somewhere special too. 

i hope your girlfriend or friend or roommate or sister has a cup of tea waiting for you after you slide your leg across the makeshift ballet bar.

i hope it’s made of sanded oak, maybe poplar, and that you don’t get any splinters. 

i hope there’s a moment as you come to your tip-toes, just before you finish for the day, that you close your eyes and your mind turns to powder and your chest to warm milk and you just breath. 

in.

out.

in.

out.

in.

maybe one day we’ll meet on the street and i’ll recognize your rounded wrists and i’ll get to tell you that you gave me hope. 

 

i hope so.

---

if i show you my shapes plz don’t confirm that they’re broken,

i like the pieces scattered like that.

---

the origin of green

long long ago, lily pads were clear. they had the haunting translucence that you can find in frosted glass or shrimp. a translucency that allowed you to see through to the other side, but still seemed to keep locked within the breath of lookers-past. there was one lily pad in particular, that has long-since been forgotten, named ‘beth.’ ‘beth’ was a young lily pad, at the moment in time we are referring to, though she did eventually become un-young, as all living things do. she still had the youthful glow of a lily pad before it understands the ways of the world, things like famine and hang nails. ‘beth’ was a content lily pad, spending most of her days floating down the river without a care in the world. she had a loving family, a precious (albeit annoying) younger brother, and was never too far from a lily pad she could call friend. one day, more specifically a sunday, ‘beth’ was drifting down the river she called home, though others called “huai,” as ‘beth’ always did on sundays. she was moving at a leisurely pace, taking in the fresh morning dew still lingering in the air, and just as she was about to round her favorite corner, she saw it. it was a dragonfly, that she knew, but that which the dragonfly carried on its back and all around, she couldn’t say. you see, long long ago, dragonflies were also clear. in fact, nearly everything was clear. not quite in the same way as lily pads, but clear nonetheless. but this dragonfly, this one was different. instead of clear it was… ‘beth’ didn’t have the word for it, but she knew it was important. that which the dragonfly carried on its back and all around was dynamic, almost moving. it vibrated the air, making ‘beth’’s little lily pad heart jostle and her little lily pad toes tingle. that which the dragonfly carried on its back and all around scared ‘beth’ but at the same time compelled her. she wanted to be near it, to touch it, to know it inside and out. she felt as if that which the dragonfly carried on its back and all around was a part of her she never knew existed. something deep inside that had some how escaped before it even had a chance to say hello. ‘beth’ wanted it back, she wanted that which the dragonfly carried on its back and all around to be carried on her back and to be all around her. but how, she wondered. then, just as ‘beth’ was about to plunge out of the river she called home, though others called “huai,” and swallow the dragonfly whole, the dragonfly flitted away, disappearing into the morning mist, taking that which the dragonfly carried on its back and all around with it. 

 

‘beth’’s heart dropped and her crest fell to depths that, even as a lily pad, she had never known. she tried to chase the dragonfly and that which the dragonfly carried on its back and all around down the river, but you see lily pads can only move so fast. ’beth’ searched for days. she went to every nook and cranny of the river she called home, though others called “huai.” she put up flyers saying “please oh please, have you seen this dragonfly and that which the dragonfly carries on its back and all around??” but alas she did not have the drawing implement to portray that which the dragonfly carried on its back and all round and the words which she possessed failed her. “beth” beseeched everyone she knew, pleading for just a morsel of information regarding this dragonfly’s whereabouts. but no one knew a thing. the melancholy that descended upon ‘beth’ was thick and dank. now that ‘beth’ knew the stunning possibilities of that which the dragonfly carried on its back and all around, the world around her, a world without such a stunning thing, one which ‘beth’ used to find warm and soft, suddenly seemed overwhelmingly drab. she started floating down this river she called home, though others called “huai,” less and less, eventually stopping altogether. within days ‘beth’ was reduced to nothing more than a stagnant lump of goo. 

 

for years ‘beth’ went on like this. because you see, losing something you have always loved is hard, but losing something you didn’t even know you loved just as your love begins to bloom is impossible. so there was nothing left for ‘beth’ to do but sit and wait for her little lily life to pass her by. 

 

then,

 

in the dead of night,

 

‘beth’ felt the unmistakable lilt of a dragonfly skimming across the water.

 

without even opening her little lily pad eyes, ‘beth’ knew it was the dragonfly with that which the dragonfly carried on its back and all around. she could feel it permeating her little lily pad skin and coursing through her little lily pad veins. ‘beth’’s first impulse was to ambush the dragonfly, but dragonflies are fast so ‘beth’ knew she had to be smart. ‘beth’ kept her little lily pad eyes locked shut and her little lily pad breath measured. she began to contract and release her little lily pad muscles, which was hard since she hadn’t moved in months and months, enough months to add up to years. pushing and pulling her little lily pad muscles into her little lily pad body and out again, she drifted silently towards the dragonfly and that which the dragonfly carried on its back and all around. her little lily pad heart quickened and her little lily pad skin smoldered. she could feel that which the dragonfly carried on its back and all around radiating closer and closer to herself, pulling her in to its dazzling center. as ‘beth’ felt her little lily pad body meet the dragonfly’s body and that which the dragonfly carried on its back and all around, she paused. she breathed in the night air and felt the lick of the cool water. ‘beth’ knew that after this moment, everything would change. with that which the dragonfly carried on its back and all around, the comfortable world that once embraced her would never be the same. beth thought about her friends and her family, her grandmother who loved rocking chairs and her father who loves thimbles. her friend cassie who made her a friendship bracelet for president’s day and her younger brother who deep down she loved more than any lily pad in the world. she thought about the time she broke her nose and the time she went to niagara falls. she thought about her first kiss, happening only a few days before she first saw that which the dragonfly carried on its back and all around, and her first fuck, which had yet to happen. she thought about her birth as one does memories that are swimming in our brains from only the retelling by others, like a dream that you write down as soon as you wake up but the tastes and smells have disappeared into the pillow. ‘beth’ thought about space, the stars poking holes in that big canopy above, about the galaxies both known and unknown, and all the other variations of ‘beth’ likely floating down the same river which ‘beth’ called home, though others called “huai,” in dimensions above and below and beside the dimension in which she currently existed. this dimension, where her little lily pad body softly caressed the dragonfly and that which the dragonfly carried on its back and all around. 

 

now you might expect some big fight scene here. a scene where ‘beth’ leaps into the air and crashes down on the dragonfly and that which the dragonfly carries on its back and all around. a scene where water spews into the sky and ripples to the land. where the dragonfly hurls itself against ‘beth’ and ‘beth’ slashes the dragonfly’s wings. where there is a struggle, a loss, a winner. 

 

but what happened was muted and still and supple. ‘beth’ simply folded her little lily pad body over the dragonfly and that which the dragonfly carried on its back and all around, like velvet draped across a birthday cake. ‘beth’ furrowed her edges and pressed the dragonfly and that which the dragonfly carried on its back and all around into her core. she wrapped her little lily pad body over and over, pushing into herself and burying her skin. she didn’t stop until her insides were outside and back in again, that which the dragon fly carried on its back and all around enveloped in ‘beth’ and she in it. 

 

when she was done, she was no longer. that which the dragonfly carried on its back and all around had fermented ‘beth’ and precipitated something both brilliant and all-together concealed. it was heavy and delicate, ethereal and rich, frail and voluptuous. it ricocheted throughout the river and the grass and the trees, creating ripples of finesse for miles and miles. it engulfed everything it met and nuzzled its edges. it was continuation and made the singularity hang its head in shame. it was that which the dragonfly carried on its back and all around.

 

the next morning, as the river and ground and sky awoke, bleary-eyed and groggy, an ardor hung in the air. vitality pulsed through the mist and enchantment was at the day’s fingertips. that which the dragonfly carried on its back and all around had touched everything. the whole world had become that which the dragonfly carried on its back and all around. 

 

the whole world had come to life. 

---

 

on writing

this thing called life has turned me inside out.

my pink flesh now faces the sun while my protective casing singes in the center.

at first i turned inward, wanting to stay safe

with the smooth, outside skin now in the warm, dark core.

but with my guts exposed,

my innards like a scrape just minutes raw,

they are finally there for everyone to see.

so if figured what the hell,

might as well put them into shapes.

---

*don’t forget*

 

you love him.

and him.

and you think maybe her.

and the love’s all through your body for him in the back.

 

you sit in the front seat singing for real, though you hope they don’t think so. 

with sam right beside you, his hand on your leg,

in that way that’s like sparklers, but needs no response.

and he’s singing from chest down, 

and there’s mist low in the sky,

kissing the things that you’re minutes from holding - 

the trees and the grass and the sea and the answers.

and the sun says hello without showing her face.

 

the moon stays in the air.

she just can’t let go. 

you know how she feels.

 

4 more hours, no we’re not there yet -

in just minutes the morning swallowed night whole.

outside this car the world’s trying to manage, 

and of course so are you. 

but you’re safe and you’re held and you took more than you needed,

a car so full of love that you think you feel sick.

you look straight ahead now, you heard that it helps.

 

friends lovers family, the ache’s all the same.

it hurts to be wanted, 

and it kills to want back, 

and the sun’s shown her face now, 

and you just want to touch it, 

but you know it’ll burn, 

so you scream to that one song, 

and you grab sammy’s hand, 

and now that you’re crying, 

you might as well weep.

---

 

thirst traps

as an experiment

in the reclaiming of power

in relation to the societally determined

currency of the body.

---

find the places where you are weak

you won’t collapse

i promise.

instead, settle in

show those places they are perfectly fit to be a home

help those places rebuild

light a fire.

sing a song.

---

slipping into the water, thirsty for the moonlight to seep into my pores, desperate for the sea to drown my desires, i open my mouth and swallow the ocean’s fountain of salt. the lilting moon reels me nearer. i want to become a fleshy buoy to do nothing but collect crustaceans and old homes discarded and forgotten. the moon sheds her glimmering night gown and burns orange. i can’t tell if she’s taunting me to swallow her whole, or if she’s angered by my thinking i ever deserved her. please let me anchor her and be at her service. this world is too much for me. 

---

absolute dread over your smile,

that your lovely little teeth might eat me alive.

consume me! that’s fine. just cut out my heart and let it rest beneath your pillow,

soaking up dreams that are more honest than words.

instead you swallowed me whole, the acid deep within you daring me to fight back.

left with nothing but an old piece of gum

and a wary patina on love.

---

trying to get the voice inside my head to speak with lilacs 

instead of fennel.

asking it to whisper sage across my eyes

so my lids are heavy with gentle fuzz.

if i come across a window pane or a steady pond,

i'd like to cradle my reflection with fragrant breath.

---

didn’t know how much i liked it

till someone asked me what i liked

---

i put my hand against your cheek, it’s the same as always.

i try it with your shoulder, an elbow, the slope beneath your knee.

every inch of you familiar, safe, and certain.

so why now when we touch i feel as if you’re deep inside of me?

collecting kindling from my chest and striking matches across my bones.

if one day you finally light this fire,

it might burn steady and last us through the winter.

but it also could explode

---

i drape myself in silk, camouflaged against vulnerability.

---

from the very beginning there was J.

then because of J the constant hum of C.

R came far too young,

A came in hot,

and D was just in time.

M made an absolute mess,

then I was left with the pieces.

just as they found their place, L shattered them against the walls and hid them in the dirt.

Nameless at H of Y was honestly inconsequential.

but K and G and B and C and R and S and H left quietly, leaving their marks nonetheless.

all these tiny little fractures split across my heart leave me certain it will break again.

but remnants reset.

and fragments calcify.

a pulsating kaleidoscope stronger just for Me.

---

sex so good it ruins nihilism for ya

---

it’s been days but i still stink of you

lilacs soaked in cheap bourbon,

a sickening pleasure seeping from my pores

i love the way it never goes down smooth

so i will likely lick it from my palms,

till i am drunk on you again.

 

---

brown eyes give me steady ground to walk on

little lily pads of earth

blonde lashes of sheer linen you wrap around me

providing both warmth and room to breathe

your eyelids made of honey

i kissed them once with you asleep 

your dreams rose up and to my lips

i promise i didn’t peak

---

there was once a snail named mishi

she left a gooey trail everywhere she went

some called it a mess

she called it art

 

there was once an ant named plum

every afternoon he would hitch a ride on mishi’s back 

so as to avoid the goo

even though he also thought it was art

 

mishi and plum loved their time together

because even though they were different

and mishi was much, MUCH bigger

they both had antennae

and that was nice

 

---

 

my chest feels tight

what is right

stay up all night

to feel some light

if i have to rhyme…

---

every time "i made you do it"

now loneliness tastes like cake

so thanks for that sweetie

---

learning how to love

my tiny little thing i picked out just for me taps against my skin snuggled in my left breast pocket as i walk into your favorite bar.

 

i found out that i love you so i gave you your own tiny little thing i picked out just for you, wrapped in a way that showed it was from me and me alone. your eyes lit up and you tore into the shiny slick paper and opened the box, want nearly dripping from the corners of your pretty mouth. you told me the tiny little thing i picked out just for you was perfect, but you didn’t like the wrapping that showed it was from me and me alone. a sharp inhale of chilly air went up my nose and to the back of my eyes as i said, “yes, okay i understand, let me try again.”

 

the next day i found new wrapping that still showed the tiny little thing was from me and me alone, but in a way different from the shiny slickness from before. again you tore into the silky smooth paper and opened the box, your ferocity plucking at the deepest strings of my penchant for chaos. hardly looking up, you told me the tiny little thing i picked out just for you was lovely as before, but again you didn’t like the wrapping that showed it was from me and me alone. my chest pushed to the back of my spine and filled up my throat like smoke as i said, “yes, okay i understand, please let me try again.” i felt your pretty eyes consider my left breast pocket. i tried a smile when you met my uneasy gaze. you took a shot of cheap whiskey.

 

the next day i poured over sheets and sheets of paper, desperate to find one you would like that still showed the tiny little thing i picked out just for you was from me and me alone. i dug through old suitcases, emptied the fridge, leafed through my favorite book. i pinched every piece fo paper i could find between pointer finger and thumb trying to find even just a scrap that was both indicative of me and perfect for you. but i couldn’t find it. so i padded back to your favorite bar, tiny little thing bare and exposed. you looked at me with a hunger that made me both excited and terrified. you panted with your palms up, the need to shred using teeth of ancestors and wolves. when i placed the tiny little thing i picked out just for you in your pretty hands you blinked up at me blankly. your eyes shot down to my left breast pocket. my tiny little thing i picked out just for me burned my skin through my button down. you said nothing. i obliged. 

 

alternatively:

we drive to the store. i sit outside on a cushioned seat with the children and the men waiting for their mothers and their wives to try on shoes. you pick out your own tiny little thing, my opinion be damned. you pay with cash and return to me with a kiss on the wrist. each of our left breast pockets are both heavy and weightless. it starts to rain. we dip into our favorite bar. i slip a 20 into the juke box. you pick out a song. i do a little dance. 

---

how cruel that we give people names.

names that haunt us in a movie or a song.

the character of a book turns a comedy into sorrow.

names lingering behind our mouths, 

waiting to be conjured.

like getting caught in the rain,

or leaving sand in the bed.

 

---

the sun is setting to my left 

and your shoulder is against mine to my right 

and all i wanna do is lay in this moment until we’re dirt 

but the sky is turning pink demanding i let go soon.

 

and I will.

 

the sun blankets you in gold and the shadowed crevice of your ear asks me to crawl in while i still can. 

 

my dear, i would live there if i could. 

because this. this is something different. 

but different’s not what you want.

so, moving on.

the sun settles below the horizon,

but lingers just a moment just for us, 

and if you’ll just lay your palm against my cheek while we wait,

then i promise i will pull apart for your ‘too much’

because i’d do anything for your ‘just right’

 

the sky catches fire and i can’t catch my breath, time is running out.

so nuzzle “yes” into the back of my neck one more time,

answering the question i refuse to ask,

press your chest against my back telling me it’s okay to press back -

you’re warm and wanting,

and as the final sun beam pierces fragile clouds,

exactly there,

in this moment,

we feel the same.

the moon whispers herself into the sky,

the crest of the sun gives me one last goodbye for your lips,

the sun and the moon debate which is right,

my push or your pull,

but the finality of dark always wins in the end.

goodnight my love.

 

---

god creates life

god easily forgives

god acts fearlessly

god exudes love

god is all-powerful

find the nearest woman

she is your god

---

january 21st, 2017

the emptiness made me scream.

my voice turned so loud,

it filled my ears with tears.

then i turned to those beside me

and realized they were dripping too.

for today, i am finally full

---

 

january 19th, 2017

bleeding cunt,

open wound.

that which you control,

you do not wish to know.

so i will take my gift,

and paint the town red.

---

january 18th, 2017

i woke up this morning, something tugging at my insides

the base of my flesh scraped until raw

i looked down to find my arm stuffed inside my mouth

i was trying to consume myself so no one else could

---

january 15th, 2017

they tell a lady

not to speak with her mouth full

but my mouth is always so. fucking. full.

---

worried my pussy is lo-fi while everyone else is walking around with 4k between their legs

 

---

 

i think i’m over your mouth

and then ‘a case of you’ comes on

and i realize i’ve never really known this song

that i’ve heard a thousand times

the same way i never really knew this smile

that i’ve seen a thousand times

until it was on my lips

 

but that’s okay.

 

i’ll just learn all the love songs in the world

with my shaky voice

and beat up guitar

and sing them to you from afar

alone in this bushwick studio

because at least i know that’s mine

 

---

 

you are all the seasons

savory and sweet

up and down

drowning in the sky

you are

 

---

 

I love you thinking you know me because then you never ask and I never have to say.

 

---

i should have known

it takes a real coldness

to be so

effortlessly cool

---

 

location sharing but for song you’re playing

location sharing but for thought you’re thinking

location sharing but for emotion you’re feeling

location sharing but for where you need to be touched

 

---

i want to taste passion alone in my room with the lights turned off 

and my body turned on.

i want to fuck a stranger with my mind 

and fuck an old friend with my skin.

i want to be confused and intrigued and impassioned and furious.

inviting anger with a smile and a cigarette, knowing it will feel like sex but with a purpose.

i could drink a thousand lives and still spend every night on a dock by the lake waiting for a star.

every single one is the biggest and the brightest i’ve ever seen,

even the ones that don’t exist. 

my eyes are wet but this is different,

this isn’t like before.

i am illuminated.

 

---

 

scare yourself as you round the corner. 

make a raucous while you masterbate.

dive so deep that you get the bends on the way up.

or better yet - never return.

 

---

 

i am exhausted from constantly letting it go.

---

your tears the first night made something inside me rain

affection poured from my throat

i needed to hold you

so the hurt inside me could feel held

grass in our hair

damp sheets clinging to the small of our back

your cum was mine

all the way inside

just for tonight

let’s get lost in it

loneliness will be waiting for us in the morning

if we still want it

 

---

when a fuckboy kisses gently

 

---

the night we rolled in poison ivy was my second favorite

spirits from the bottle mixed with spirits from the sky

we giggled into each other’s mouths

as the ground wrapped itself around us

you poured into my throat, poison pouring into every inch

later you said you felt that we were smited

funny ‘cause i felt my heart had simply surfaced

it was probably just nature moving as she does

the night feels so good, by morning your blood is tainted and your skin begins to weep.

---

 

my favorite was when i fully felt your skin inside me.

tiny deaths falling from our eyes

you breathed across my neck and said you loved me

and in that moment i was infinitely alive

 

---

 

is it possible to give your love without giving your love away?

when you readily walk down the aisle, but end up being someone’s lovely pride

your desires are blindfolded and you drown in expectations.

i want to feel the dampness of intimacy on the back of my neck,

drawn to a stranger’s open wound just to look inside and say, ‘i see you.’

but if i ever again cut myself in half and serve both pieces,

or swallow my pain convinced my heart beat is a nuisance,

or cry because i forgot how much i love music,

i will be empty again.

and i’m not sure i can find another well.

---

 

can you feel it when i fuck myself with the thought of you?

 

---

she asks me if i know her scent.

my throat turns into a halfway house for my heart.

it is my new drug, please give me a hit.

 

---

 

how is it that i smell you whenever your favorite song comes on.

 

---

 

what if we met yesterday

what if we meet tomorrow

what if we never meet at all

what if to meet ourselves we have to hold onto that thing we miss the most

if you meet yourself you have to look into your own eyes and acknowledge the parts that are missing

you can’t ever meet yourself in the middle, you have to meet yourselves on every single edge, getting so close to falling off the side of the earth that your heart makes a new home in your throat and your chest becomes empty

what if being yourself isn’t nearly as satisfying as being the person beside you

what if being the person you want to be means transforming into some random woman you saw on a glossy page

when you look into a mirror you just see a reflection, light scattered, a perception of pigment. to look inside, stick a scope down the back of your spine and let it settle between your intestines for 82 years and once your skin is ready to slough off you can finally say hello.

---

 

road test that determines if you’re too sad to drive

 

---

 

The Smudge of Lipstick on Your Aunt Karen's Tooth

(After a drag of her cigarette)

 

Hey. Hey! Down here! That’s right. It’s me: the smudge of lipstick on your Aunt Karen’s tooth. Sure, you only see her twice a year so you feel like you have to listen to her story about tuna casserole, but I’ve got all the dirt you really wanna know about. (As she flicks her cigarette and pulls out a new one from her shirt pocket.) And don’t bother telling her about me, kid. She already noticed me once today, wiped me clean, and then proceeded to put on 13 layers of dried-out lipstick from 1992. And here I am again. You got a light?

 

Yea I was with your Aunt Karen during the craziest times. Sure she’s always wearing a floral visor and a pair of jeans that are too tight around her waist and too loose every where else, but back in the day your Aunt Karen was a real slut. Yep. While she’s up there telling you to be careful 'round booze, I’m thinking about the time she slipped a quaalude into her own drink and gave a handy to a cab driver.

 (As she flicks her cigarette and pulls out a new one from her shirt pocket.)  Don’t worry about her up there, kid. She’s just getting to the part of the tuna casserole story where she pops it in the oven. You still got a ways to go. Can I use that light again?

 

You might think this smudge thing is a recent development, once the bedazzled vests started popping up, but I was there from the beginning. I remember when your Aunt Karen-

Hey, relax. I know ya don't wanna be rude, but trust me - she’s still caught up in the memory of that tuna casserole. You might as well not even be here. Still got that light?

 

What was I sayin'? Oh yea! I was there long before the crispy bangs and banana clips. Before scrunchies lined her wall like Moroccan tapestries. Before the bowl of plastic fruit in her kitchen replaced a bowl of condoms kitchenette. I’ll tell you what kid, every single time she’s up there giving you unsolicited advice on safe bangin', I’m thinking about the time she took off her bra in a Hardee’s, covered herself in ranch, and made love to a garbage can. You tell me that’s safe!

 

Alright, well, she’s finally finishing up with her big finale about bringing the dish to your Aunt Susan’s potluck and there being 6 other tuna casseroles there. And I'll tell you what, your Aunt Susan's a real slut too.

 

You know what, go ahead. Tell her. Yea she might take her doily of a collar and wipe me off before applying a 14th coat, but I’ll be back. I might be gone for the rest of the day, or the rest of the week. But you listen up kiddo, every Christmas and birthday where she buys you a sweater that looks like it was made for a child but somehow fits a grown man, I will be there.

 

(She blows one final puff of smoke.)

 

---

 

when the intoxicating gets intoxicated 

 

---

She looked at me from across the bus and my mouth was infinitely wet.

 

I popped a mint to give the wetness purpose. The sticky magazine on the floor between us shames me with the headline “sugar is more addictive than heroine.” I felt addicted now, but not to the mint. My mouth was still wet.

 

Some prefer the bus because you don’t lose phone service. I prefer the bus becasue you don’t lose daylight. We’re all descendants of plants, but I can feel my floral anscestors deeply. I need as much daylight as I can get in the darkness of buildings that brush the sky, each competeing to be closest to the sun. A streak of daylight cut across Her skin. I turned the mint over with my toungue, its red stripes fading and its smoothness sinking into my cheeks. The wetness in my mouth grew.

 

The bus screeched to a sudden stop, Her body sliding across the plastic seats like a sweaty glass on a cedar bar. Her shoulder hit the metal handrail and Her face was directly across from mine. A little girl had dropped her ball and chased it into the street, the bus stopping just short of clipping her knee. A cul-de-sac erupted from the pavement in the middle of Times Square and Her clothing turned to silk. My mouth was dripping. 

 

She was now behind the wheel. She was sitting across from me and beside me. She was the woman in a wheelchair strapped in at the front and the homeless man sleeping in the back. She was me and I was the air swirling around looking for a mouth to call my home. Someone say something so I can figure out where to put my new rocking chair. The bus flooded and we all drowned within Her lips, she swallowed me whole. My mouth was Her mouth and we were sea-levels rising.

 

I need you to see me.

 

I need you to see me.

 

Can anyone sea me?

 

We had almost made it to 24th and 9th Ave. A streak of daylight cut across Her skin. She continued reading Her book, not taking notice of me once. Sweat crept down my neck as saliva swished across my teeth and I wondered, what’s the difference? I stared at Her hard, willing Her to look at me and see that I was parched. But then I remembered that you can’t see vapor. My mouth was hard to find.

 

Next up 24th and 9th, stop requested. I gathered my belongings, a can of tuna and a pair fo rubber boots. I wandered through the streets and wondered aloud. My mouth was wired shut by strands of yellow yarn. Tears went back into my head and turned my brain to mud. The Hudson River cooed. I stood at the edge and threw words into water, hoping the lapping would turn nonsense into novels. I gathered lips to throat into my palm and threw them to the wind. What’s a mouth good for anyways?

 

Rain. It started to rain. It poured down makign the river seem silly to think it was so special. And then, I felt it. I knew Her breath like I knew my own. She breathed on my neck and her moist words circled my chin. I cried and drooled and came, my bones turning to liquid. I could take any shape. 

 

What a beautiful mouth, it says.

 

Yes. Indeed.

 

---

 

looking up at the moon

thinking about you

thinking about her

what a cruel cruel sky

to share

 

---

 

how much cum is on the walls of this whole fucking city.

of this whole fucking world.

 

---

the moon is so bright that we get back to our tent without a headlamp, but i suspect the moon may simply be reflecting the glow of my skin rather than the sun itself. every time you turn back and laugh at me stumbling across the rocks my sweat lights up and your smile is in my hair and i am absolutely crumbling into tiny pebbles trapped inside your shoe. you fall asleep immediately. tangled around me, your lips touch my neck so barely it feels like the end of a lucid dream. i say “i love you” three times in a row, but only inside my mind, then you nod your head up and down in that dozy nuzzle knowing my thoughts even in your sleep the way i had always suspected.

 

long toes and crooked teeth and perfect hands and a subtle snore when you’ve had some wine.

people don’t know they never had a real home till they find one, i guess. 

 

---

 

why can i 

not image

a world in which

i am loved

perhaps because

i don’t encourage

a wold in which 

i am loved

 

---

So you’re old enough to hate everyone, 2016 just happened, and now it’s New Year’s Eve. 

 

This has been the year of let-downs to say the least. The decline in unemployment, rise in panda population, and Lemonade all brought false hope that this year could be the best one yet. Plus your Aunt Karen told you that your late 20’s are the best years of your life, so you were eager for some nice lays. But instead a melting cheeto became president, and you’re so disturbed by human interaction that you leave a note for Seamless to “just leave it by the door,” so there’s no way you can imagine smashing clammy strange parts together just to end up doing it yourself. 

 

And now, to top it all off, it’s New Year’s Eve: a night of reveling in the brilliance of the past and the promise of the future, all while trying to stay sober enough to feel around for a warm body by 11:59. 

 

But alas! You are not bound by this unwritten contract to pay $200 for a shot of champagne at midnight and take care of your friend Mandy because she lost her I.D. Instead, here are some fun ideas for those of you who prefer the clinking of your old radiator to the clinking of glasses in a balmy basement bar: 

 

 

- Work on your screen play in small spurts between re-watching the entire series of Ally McBeal.

 

- Try out that weird dildo with 3 prongs that your crazy girlfriend bought you.

*have ice handy

 

- Look deep into the eyes of your loving pet. Take note that your pet has no intention of understanding this arbitrary concept of time. Be more like your pet. 

 

- Think about the greats we’ve lost this year, like Prince. Carrie Fisher. David Bowie. Debbie Reynolds. George Michael. Zsa Zsa Gabor. Muhammad Ali. And know they’re in a better place. Because anywhere is better than this hell-hole 2016 has ushered in. 

 

- Text your ex and then don’t respond when they text back. Immediately post pictures of a past New Year’s Eve, sans mention of it being a #throwback.

 

- Pick some really random hobby for which you’ve never had any interest and have exactly zero talent in and try it out. Knit a scarf. Build a chest. Paint the city skyline. Then immediately throw said object into garbage.

 

- Watch an interview with Elon Musk. Take note that Mr. Musk is relatively certain that this is a simulation, and yet exhibits nearly zero emotion. Be more like Elon Musk. 

 

- Cry. Just do it. It feels fucking good. 

 

- Look up the people you went to high school with. Their 3 kids and denim couches will remind you that it could always be worse.

 

- Buy a nice bottle of Shiraz, set out your nicest wine glass, drink the wine straight from the bottle, and then fall asleep before the ball drops. 

 

 

No matter what you decide to do on this celebrated night that carries no true significance, just remember that you are not alone in wanting to be alone. And even though you hate everyone, that feels kinda good. 

 

To 2017 not blowing quite so hard,

Happy New Year. 

---

please stop thinking about me,

it’s all over my skin

---

sitting alone at the bar writing in a moleskin to convince myself i’m interesting. that i have something to say. i “haven’t had a chance” to look at the menu. i ask the bartender his favorite. i get that, even though i really wanted the pomodoro. mind you a month ago i planned on being mildly anorexic before the opening of the latest play i’m in. i’ve gained 6 pounds since. i remember when you ranked all the girls on my dance team, kim kardashian being a 10. none of us had enough money at that point to get above an 8. i told you to fuck off in my living room, then smiled at my 7.5 in the shower. now i compare my thighs to those of every woman that passes me by. thank you for that. i wonder if i looked tragically beautiful when, 4 years later, you choked me so i would finally shut up. i didn’t have much of an appetite at the time so i’m guessing at least a 6. that was 8 years after you spit in my face on the front stoop of some girl you ranked a 3. 10 out of 10 kinks now have the grease of your rage smeared across it. 

you taught me what love looks like. consider an obese cat chasing a laser light. it’s a lot like that. but drunk. very drunk. all of the time. but i also know you were taught that love looks like a locked door where one side is silence and the other is a rave and all you need is sleep. the bartender pours me another glass of wine, on the house. bartenders love a quiet guest with thoughts contained. honestly, same. i write the name of the zine that could hold this entry on the other side of the page. what a fucking cliche. i want to not feel alone. i want someone else to not feel alone. i want to be heard. i want to run tomorrow. please, god, let me run tomorrow. nothing is more at the center than my fingers in my hair at sunrise, sweat making them stick in place. 

 

---

her knee peeks through ripped jeans,

a gentle slope of elusive tenderness.

 

---

 

I am 26 

and lonely 

and with you. 

 

I guess that arithmetic too. 

age + experience + fear + regret 

+ age + experience + fear + regret 

+ age + experience + fear + regret

but it’s not upsetting. It’s freeing, in fact. 

 

No chocolates or roses 

you should do this, you should do that.

 

Just two hearts that collide and retract. 

 

And collide again. 

 

Like souls. 

Or palms. 

Or energies - you laugh! But it’s true. 

 

Two bodies pressed. 

 

Your hands that are anywhere.

Your hands that are… well, anyway. 

Your hands that are around me they lock. 

 

There’s love as my hands are around your heart, mind. 

 

Your smile, a knee-

The smallest things are endearing.

And because of you I’m no longer fearing-

 

You taught me to create. 

 

A tiny picture 

Images that flicker

A poem. 

 

And now I’ll never be alone.

 

Even if you leave me because of boredom or death,

In everything I make, there’s an ounce of your breath

And on each inch of me there’s an ounce of your breath

And in everything I see there’s an ounce of your breath…

 

And I thank you. 

---

 

recklessness is intoxicating. which is fitting, because it also usually includes intoxication.

 

after spending the whole of my 20’s taking care of someone in a way that is usually reserved for your 40’s, recklessness has taken on the sex appeal of a hot summer heat. i drink up recklessness until my whole body is now the one consumed. i feel the tingling in my chest as if someone has placed their hand on my neck with just the right amount of pressure. i spend the whole night with my eyes closed and my head thrown back and the smile across my lips inching toward oblivion. 

 

but then something happens. a wrong look, a loud noise. someone uses my full name and my past reveals itself. i fall from my floating in the sky and i drown the people around me in tears. everyone else is still in sultry wantonness, so they can’t come to meet me on the ground. or maybe they’re holding back their own past - it’s hard to tell who’s in front of you when alcohol is still glistening in your throat. i cry and i cry and i cry and the emotion is likely placed on someone i want to fuck, but it’s really because i know i can’t get rid of my suitcases and suitcases of pain. and it’s not that i think no one wants to help me carry them to the attic, it’s just that people already have their own bags and we’ve all only got two hands… if we’re lucky.

 

so then how do you hold onto recklessness when your insides are in a million pieces? has my time already passed? please let me swallow my history so i can feel what it’s like to be young. just for one night. 

---

the funny thing to me about loss (of course i mean funny in the kind of way where you’ll either laugh or cry so you laugh for now and save the tears for something tangental, like an unexpected breeze) but the funny thing to me is that it doesn’t come all at once. when you lose someone, they may physically leave your life in an instant, but remnants of them are left and only leave over time and piece by piece. their lipstick on a glass takes a day, their scent on the pillow takes a week, their clothing in the closet months, their name in conversations years. and then even the memory of their face or their voice can start to fade until your clobbering at your pillow for those last bits of distant dreams. 

 

throughout those first years, when the remnants are still present, you do your best to push the remnants to the side just to carry on. you put the lipstick-stained glass in the dishwasher and you clean the scented-sheets. but then when that last morsel starts to go, when the memory starts to fade, you realize, “oh shit. they’re really gone.” and you scramble around trying to gather all the remnants you got rid of. you go from trying to forget, to doing everything you can to remember every last detail. you’re in this constant cycle of dismantling and reassembling this person that will never and can never truly leave your life. a person that will never and can never truly leave your heart.  

 

all of us have experienced loss, big or small, and all of us will experience more loss, bigger and bigger as we live life. this dance is an opportunity to reassemble those losses. in each move, you can put your mouth to that lipstick-stained glass and you can breath in those scented sheets. in each move you can lose yourself in the memory and the details of what’s gone. you can use this dance as a chance to say hello and goodbye and hello again and get inside that love you have like a cozy little cocoon, that love that causes us all so much fucking pain but also gives us so much fucking light. when you’re out there on that stage today and you look into the eyes of the person beside you, give them that pain and that light and take theirs on as your own. help each other reassemble what’s broken or lost, and fill the stage with so much love that it pours over the edge and anyone watching gets a taste of it and has their own chance to say hello again to what they’ve lost. forget the competition, forget the judges, in 10 years you won’t care if you’ve won today. but if you use this moment to bring yourself to the edge of love and pain and then you hold each other’s hands and you jump off together, you will never forget that. that is a feeling that you can never lose.

 

---

 

To watch the results of this country electing our next U.S. President, I went to a show hosted by Connar Ratliff at the beloved UCB Theatre. What I expected was to sit with a crowd of like-minded people, celebrating as our first Female President was elected by the people of the United States. Instead, I sat in a crowd of like-minded people and mourned as each of our hearts broke. As the show reminded me with the crowd-sourced hopeful thoughts - I am lucky to have been in a room full of love and understanding and shared horror. I am lucky to have been privileged enough to go to the show at all. I am lucky for pizza.

 

But of course, I want more. We want more.

 

At first I thought that it was arrogance that created my assured confidence that donald trump would never be elected as President. 

 

I left the UCB Theatre in the same dejected daze as my friends, both known and unknown, around me. But I couldn’t go home. I walked up 7th Avenue to Times Square, wanting to see bright lights and lots of people - New Yorkers I assumed would be for Her. But instead, I was stopped by a man next to his car who told me “You look like Hilary. Get in my car Sexy Lady.” I saw a woman walk by a trio of young men, who then guessed how much oral sex from her would run them. I walked by a group of white, male wall street execs smoking cigars and popping champagne cheering to themselves, “We own this goddamn city!” A man passed me, throwing thumbs-up in my face and shouting, “trump, you Bitch! trump!” These are not metaphors. This is reality.

 

I realized that it wasn’t arrogance that created my assured confidence that donald trump would never be elected as President. It was hope. 

 

I felt unsafe and hailed a cab. I climbed into a car belonging to a man who has lived in this country for 29 years, who works hard to provide for his family, who believes that peace and love is at the root of a good life. A man whose extended family may now be banned from entering this country because of their religion. This man shared with me that he was scared for his family because of their god. He was scared for his children because of their gender. He was scared for this country because of hate. 

 

It wasn’t arrogance. It was hope. Hope that we can feel powerful and valuable and heard without hate.

 

I know that I am joined by millions of people in my heartbreak over donald trump’s election as our next President. And sure, this post may be self-important or fleeting or futile. But I just want to add to the support that is currently pouring out for each group of people that has been disserviced, devalued, and demoralized by this decision. 

 

To Women: I am so sorry. Half of the population has elected a man who in 1991 told Esquire that as long as you have a “young and beautiful piece of ass,” not much else matters. Who in 1992 told New York Magazine that, when it comes to women, “you have to treat ‘em like shit.” Who in 1994 told ABC News that, “when I come home and dinner’s not ready, I go through the roof,” continuing on that “putting a wife to work is a very dangerous thing. Unfortunately, after they’re a star, the fun is over for me.” Who in 1997 told Howard Stern, after buying Miss USA, “I’m going to get the bathing suits to be smaller and the heels to be higher.” Who in 2008 publicly described the various types of breasts of the women he’s slept with, including “pancake tits,” and continued saying that any woman who has a breast reduction is “insane.” THIS IS OUR PRESIDENT. When, in the Court of Law, trump left the room saying that lawyer Elizabeth Beck was “disgusting” for breast feeding in public. Who in 2011 printed a copy of Gail Collins’ article, circled her face and wrote “the face of a dog!” and then mailed it to her. Who in 2015 Tweeted of Hilary, “If Hilary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America?” Who in 2015 called journalist Megyn Kelly a “bimbo” over Twitter. Who later in 2015, to the New York Times, said of Heidi Klum, “Sadly, she’s no longer a 10.” THIS IS OUR PRESIDENT. Who, in a 2015 Rolling Stone interview, said of his Republican rival Carly Fiorina, “Can you imagine that, the face of our next president? I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not supposed to say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?” And who of course, back in 2005, was recorded on tape saying that you have to “grab them by the pussy” because “when you’re a star, they let you do it.” Women, I am so sorry.

 

To POC: I am so sorry. Half of the population has elected a man whose real estate company has been sued TWICE by the Justice Department for not renting to black people. Whose casino in 1992 was fined by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission for removing African-American card dealers at the whims of white big-spenders. Who in Playboy said that what was written about him in John O’Donnell’s book was “probably true.” Things like, in regards to who was counting his money, “I’ve got black accountants at trump castle and trump plaza. Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day,” and “I think the guy is lazy. And it’s probably not his fault because laziness is a trait in blacks.” THIS IS OUR PRESIDENT. Who in 1993 said of the Mashantucket Pequot Nation, “They don’t look like Indians to me… they don’t look like Indians to Indians.” Who in 1996 called Venezuelan Miss Universe and actress, Alicia Machado, “Miss Housekeeping.” Who was one of the most public leaders in the “birtherism” movement. Because how could our first Black President be legitimate? Who in 2016 failed to disavow the Ku Klux Klan, but maintained that he is “the least racist person that you have ever met.” Who later in 2016 said of Ghazala Khan, “She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say.” Who in May claimed that Federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel couldn’t do his job because, “He’s a Mexican. The answer is, he is giving us very unfair rulings.” Who, in November when a man peacefully chanted “Black Lives Matter” at a trump rally and was subsequently beaten, commented “Maybe [the protester] should have been roughed up. It was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.” Who, in response to two brothers citing trump that all illegals need to be deported and attacked a Latino man, simply stated, “People who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again.” Who has summed up all of Latinos as “criminals and rapists.” THIS IS OUR PRESIDENT. Whose policies include banning all Muslims and building a wall between the United States and Mexico. POC, I am so sorry. 

 

To the LGBTQ community: I am so sorry. Half of the population has elected a man who claimed to fox news that he may be appointing Supreme Court Justices who would overturn marriage equality, a BASIC HUMAN RIGHT that we worked so hard (embarrassingly hard) to win. Who in 2009 defended homophobic Miss USA, Carrie Prejean, saying, “That’s the belief of 70% of the people, so it wasn’t a horrible answer.” Who in 2011 blatantly said, “I’m against gay marriage.” Who, when the NFL fined a player for homophobic criticism, defended that “People are afraid to talk, afraid to express their own thoughts.” Who mocked Arianna Huffington, saying that she is so unattractive “I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man.” As if a man falling for another man could only come from a bad experience with a woman. THIS IS OUR PRESIDENT. Who defends the First Amendment Defense Act, an act that furthers the support of homophobic, anti-gay actions in a country that is supposed to be built on acceptance. Who in 2011 compared people a part of the LGBTQ community to mismatched golf putters, saying “It’s like in golf…a lot of people are switching to these really long putters, very unattractive. It’s weird. You see these great players with these really long putters, because they can’t sink three-footers anymore. And, I hate it. I have so many fabulous friends who happen to be gay, but I’m a traditionalist.” THIS IS OUR PRESIDENT. Who, and this makes me so sick to say, but who has selected a Vice President that believes in conversion therapy. LGBTQ community, I am so sorry. 

 

And finally, to straight white males: I am so sorry. Those who are allies, you have long been given a bad name by straight white men who are misogynistic, racist, homophobic, and ignorant. I’m sorry that this is reflecting badly on you. And those who are not allies, I’m sorry this is your example. I’m sorry this is all of our example. I’m sorry you will be not only justified, but encouraged to continue treating women as objects, looking down on POC, and devaluing those whose sexuality does not match up with yours. I’m sorry that those men I passed by on Election Night have been validated. I’m sorry that in the future, you will be left behind. I’m sorry that our children’s children’s children will be embarrassed of your actions, as I am embarrassed of my ancestors’ racist and homophobic past. I’m sorry that you do not just have a difference of opinion, but that you are fundamentally wrong in your thinking. I’m sorry that, though this is a low point for our Nation, that your oppressive rhetoric and actions will soon be overcome by progress and love. I’m sorry that you do not have the privilege of perspective. And to be petty for just one moment, I’m sorry that I’m not sorry. 

 

I am grateful for the path that Hilary and Bernie and Obama and all those progressives before have paved. I am grateful I have a voice. I am grateful for the drive and the fire that I, and so many around me, have to fight for what is right for ALL people regardless of age, gender, race, sexuality, or creed. I give my full support and love and energy to those that are feeling lost and confused and scared. There is love within this heap of hate. And sometimes love has to be tough. 

 

We are Angry and We are Sad and We are Determined. 

#ImStillWithHer