405

I mourn the spirit whose body is still here.

It lays on the bed with a rising and falling chest.

He’s not here, nor heaven, nor hell. But somewhere

Between the wind and the skyscrapers with working men in their fifties.

In the line of the horizon where the sky meets the sea.

He’s floating with the hawks above the suburban homes and children’s soccer fields.

He’s flying under the cars that move like molasses on the 405 laughing at the drivers damning

lane 3. I don’t know what he’s waiting for, but his spirit seems like it’s already home. 

Deprecation

Self-promote,

Become the proudest version of yourself

Self-promote

Become louder than your work

Self-promote

The world has to know

Who you are

Success never comes if nobody knows

Who am I?

Self-deprecate

I minimize myself for arts sake.

Self-deprecate

I make something amazing but you might hate.

Self-deprecate

This society has me feeling everything is fake.

Self-deprecate

Posthumously

The one whom we oppress

Fights for our freedom

 

He is not a native

So othered he becomes

 

Did he become one of us

When he laced up his issued combat boots?

 

Or when the Iranian dirt

Whipped him across the face?

 

Or did he become one of us

When he became the sniper’s target?

 

Once he became cargo flown back on a plane

He became one of us.

 

lax

the asphalt river of the world

snakes

through the fog toward the glass
and a new growth is growing –
“terminal, probably, that tumor”

and the tiny tv squawks anyway
interrupted
resuming after every inconvenience
as though I know the story well enough
to break it

we are slithering

toward the end of the line
and back behind me, a child cries
and I envy it through my soundproof
earphones and third ginger ale
in my illegal repose mid-fall

hunting

for an open window/door/air vent
before I settle in again –
waiting to approach the new-formed terminal,
what a shiny tumor, I know we are all

mice. 

Pain of a New Place

It hurts to try and fly

and keep getting shot out of the sky

 

It hurts to try and swim

and keep getting tangled in a net

 

It hurts to try and float

while others paddle

past in a boat

 

this new place hurts

while I grow.

 

—Afterword—

Tussocks of grass

Tussocks of grass,
two socks on the cement beside
the washing machine, and the wrong colors
,
have I ever been in love?

Where grape leaves are the largest leaves
in the garden, but
twining the bare air,
crawling on hands and knees,
where grape leaves are the softest shade
of dereliction, a veiny
corrosion,
don’t say love.

I pluck out things
that are hard to talk about
,
one item in particular,
it’s getting to me.

Plucked out,
try to say sublime,
and sound like a three-year-old,
plucked out,
the world gives you lip service and, behind
your back, a
snickering
, I’m sorry,
don’t say love.

Daddy

 

Mommy wakes me up for school by singing “Good Morning to You”

                       

                                    She wakes me up to work by pulling my blanket off

 

I like Eggos on Fridays with syrup and milk

           

                                    I don’t get breakfast because I didn’t whisper the words he asked me to

 

We pray in the car for my spelling test

 

                                    I pray that it doesn’t hurt today

 

I tell myself it’s going to be a good day

 

                                    I tell myself that it’s going to be a bad day

 

Miss Tamra tells me to sit with my table group

                                   

                                    He wants more than me

 

We read in a circle and color our worksheets

 

                                    We put on little dresses that make me feel dirty

 

Mommy drives me home and I play with my dolls

                       

                                    We whisper to each other in the room until he enters

                                   

I hear the front door open and I run down the stairs

                                   

                                    His boots smack angrily on the tile floor

 

I call out for daddy

 

                                    He makes us call him daddy

 

Weaving

The woman writing in the window is no longer there

She doesn’t walk through the farmer’s market on Saturday

To buy her tulip seeds

Nor does her long skirt get blown up from the

Subway steam

 

No, she doesn’t sing in the garden

With dirt making residence under her nails

She doesn’t sit with her left leg tucked under her right

Birthing poems to elevate her burdened words

 

She doesn’t wrap her fingers around your neck

And press her forehead to yours

To look into the shadows of your eyes to tell you

“It’s gonna be alright.”

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Heat-Exhaustion

It got so warm

poems didn’t come out of me anymore

except

in sweat

clammy, damp

salty

poems

dripping from me

exhausted, beat up

poems

 

I didn’t know this heat

I was from a rainforest.

Brown // Water

It is brown above me, brown below me
and there’s so little brown around me
where the hell did these blondes come from

what sunless hole were these albinos born in?
This place is not safe for humans, clearly,
They are terrified to go outside
Or else sit in incubators to ensure their darkness
To blend in with the air and the sky and the ground
Below me and around me

And the sea is gray and gray and gray
With sealed-in surfers lying down and lying on shore
“You missed it, honey, that perfect wave”

There is a reason God stole the sky from the sea
And I lost the ocean
I lost the ocean
I lost the ocean
To this massive empty lake
With invisible islands
Of floating trash
Where I assume the white people come from

Where the hell did all these….
And can’t they see the world is brown and brown and brown 

I lost the ocean.

 

 

 

 

City Sin

A madness arises slowly,

Like the skyscrapers off the 110

My bones don’t really know me

As I settle into the city’s sin

My mind numbs gently

As the smog creeps in