Monday, November 16, 2015

“Love is a story told to a friend; it’s secondhand”

I don’t know how I used to stand it, because I can’t stand it now, and have not listened to Neil Young on purpose for years. Sometimes I bump into him in boutiques or the far reaches of T.V show soundtracks, but it never goes well.
When I was young, I was strong and could stand to hear a voice that fragile. Now when I hear him, it hits me like a twist in the pleura, a sort of center-of-the-body twist that also affects my stomach and even, vaguely, my butt.


I gave my best young self to Kieran when I was a teenager, and came over to his house with my record player. I brought him a strawberry plant that I had grown over the course of a humid June; we drank Negro Modelos and ate strawberries and inhabited our naked eighteen-year-old bodies while Out on the Weekend played. It was my idea and he was only half-interested in being there. This relationship continued for a few weeks which felt like years, both “anticlimactic” and “cataclysmic” in nature, which is maybe the nature of teenaged affairs.

I can’t remember if his house got robbed first, or if he broke up with me first, but either way, my record player was stolen from his bedroom, (along with the weed plants in his backyard, and the puppy Pit Bull that tried to eat everything,) and Kieran broke up with me. I emailed my dad about it; he was in Costa Rica. I think I said that I was sad, and my dad said, never forget that men are fools.

This was a long time ago now. Kieran is turning twenty-eight next month and we are friends again. He lives in the flower fields of the central valley. I live in Oakland and wake up cold every morning. I don’t even listen to records anymore. They used to mean so much to me. I listen to Spotify now, or podcasts. The other day, This American Life started playing on my phone as I shopped for a duvet cover at Crate and Barrel. I thought,

I’ve become one of those really normal people.

I can’t remember very much about that affair with Kieran. As I have mentioned, I was young and innocent, which means that my own somewhat extravagant drug use came later, wiping memories from my brain as if by squeegee. I was scandalized by the cocaine on the coffee table, ambivalent about the Pit Bull puppy, alarmed by the screeching of the stray cats outside. I doubt Kieran ever said anything noteworthy, as I seemed to take note of none of it. I just remember his body (creepy, I know,) his single tattoo, his John Lennon shirt with holes in the armpits. I remember driving him to work and trying to get him to like the mandolin solo in Maggie May.
I can’t believe I’m moving to Los Angeles. My plan, and desperate desire, has always been to never live nearer to my hometown than I do now- about six hours away. It’s not because I dislike my hometown, although I do. It’s because I hate everybody from my hometown. Except for the one or two people that I love. And although I love them, I can’t seem to bear to see them.
I carry either a myth or a true dose of sorrow. It means that I cannot see ex-boyfriends. It means that I have to carry on and pretend that I have forgotten even more than I have.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

the following night

I. Morning

Sometimes I see mushrooms in my dreams
large and nearly white as stones,
they speak silently of rain,

and I wake up.

II. Night-time

It rained today. Almost as if
my mushroom dream was a
movement of future/prediction,
clairvoyance or wish-made-truth.

What prescience told me that
my dream meant rain, I don't know.
Because dreams mean rarely more than
despair, a muggy unknowing and
the approach of latent wakefulness,
like a sound that reaches me.

I'm so uncertain, it's a jitter
in both sides of my cage.

III. The Following Night

I've been meaning all day to say:
that Phil is moving into a trailer
in the woods. He says more
or less that he may bloom
or just decay.

I can see him there with his french-
press and meticulous sandwiches.
He's such a wonderful cook. He is loving
with beets and greens, every
meal a last meal.

IV. Interjection

-I mean nothing by it- I am full
of love but it is a directionless tumult
gush, both rapid and rapids, leading
nowhere: I exist within a halo of spray
blue-green and luminous

tender riparian vortex, wide-open
and trap.

V. More Rain

More rain came today, with
a generosity, sudden thrashing
that I had always suspected
God reserved for love.

It is sad that it doesn't really matter.
The sticks are tossed: for
years, we'll read them every day
fire by fire.

But for me:
because I am bone and
also bouquet,
flesh and also flash-

nothing matters more.

In my state of marginal
illness, of marginal wellness,
nothing matters more

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

And all I can think of is the noise I might make when expressing physical pain

I see myself in you
in the way you are a smudge of light in a dark
space, strange lit-up bug hovering
beside the entrance of roaring

anomaly of energy

I read your poems and
I keep thinking that you’re talking about masturbating,
but I’m the one talking about masturbating

and the vision of a golden hand reaching up
through me as if searching for
keys on a hook

hanging from the roof
of my mouth

it still hovers like some drug
vapor, and all I can think of
is the noise I might make
when expressing physical

because I am groaning
beneath the heft
of this life

and I labor beneath the laboring
body, coral bones of
some ghost as they batter
against the oppression of
our strange and
stratified timelines-

Life lines
I’m going to have to tear whole
cliffs to
sand with my fingernails

I’m going to have to bottle sweat
and sell it to myself as a cure

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Made a Life of Letting

True love
keeps falling out of the bed. Every time I’ve scraped the vertebrae
to kiss it
it is gone

like a nightmare meeting

How do I allude to a morning that happened quite
specifically in my own left

I used to say years ago
we’d make the love that would

-but the past is nobody-
-the past is a landless bastard-
the past is not
and is no land at all.

I have made a life of finding my own
darkness unexceptional
I have made a life of letting men

I have made a life of letting men
slump on my breast

You should be ashamed of yourself.
(Shame is like mold, it is the bastard of nature.)

As if I did not possess my own
humble cuneiform,

I am going to hold him in my mind
and cut his arms off arm
by arm:

I will hold him in my mind
until lovingly I push him off
the deck.

At the marina, cover your
lap with microfleece:
Put the seat back. Like a child.
The cypress sways, and the light will lower
from brutal to gold.

Listen to the old song, the one where the girl says,
if you were a shepherd I could love you.

I would like to forget how you fell out of my bed.
(If you were a shepherd I could love you.)

I would like to forget the morning on that indifferent
cliff. (If you were a shepherd I could

I would like to forget

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Thinking about Preetom on a Tuesday Night

"I lift my skirt for the economy"

When I am seen only
by the specific needle of light
emanating from Preetom:

I wonder

Preetom is an alcoholic drag
and his body resembles something coughed up
by a muggy wave

when nobody was looking.

(I don’t mean how it looks
how it looks could fill the shelves
of dreams)

but how it moves when it denies
my wincing agency. I tried hard to cough
that tuneless
song of reason from my little cave.

It’s like that time he said
have you ever fucked a flower.

And I imagined a beauty
that could disappear age.
But he imagined a force
that could make him feel

I wonder what Preetom is doing
right now. He is watching anime
I wonder
what kind of animal I am
through his cracked prism:

like, he put my foot in his mouth and
like, he did not listen to my brief
tuneless song of reason and like
I was waking and torqued beneath

and like.

And like I gave a
small coin that currency
and like.

Now Tuesday night does
its thing all over me.
I made my bed to lie
on it and think of Preetom.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Mine in the Dusk

Mine is a bog
near the coast
of a planet
at dusk

another planet
than this one which is verdant and saturated
in past

mine in the dusk is a
feminine body found resting
in a fen

(those spores have been in her mouth
16,000 years
sixteen thousand years)

mine is my
beloved wrapped in strips of polypore
mine was made tender by a spear
mine was made small by time

and those spores have been sleeping
on her teeth
for sixteen thousand years

mine lies beneath stratified
sphagnum moss,
dreaming vapor and mist:

her body is here in the bog but
her eyes are fixed on the tumbling

and heavy
history is heavy on her chest
her skin is perfect beneath
her bones eviscerated

mine is flanked on both sides
by amanitas

phalloides unfurling
like clouds

know me,
know me,
never know me,
tired madrigals
throwing voices,
speaking in rounds
are all mine

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