This seemed like a place 

to be scared enough to feel alive 
but safe enough to write a poem 

This deck creaks and squeaks  
The sand, forced
to hold the old wood in
silent, obvious rebellion
of it’s task.
The water slaps and gargles on the rocks like
my queasy stomach 
Is he mad? 

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I am cold. Bare
knees
let my black scuffed boots,
the ones I wear to look tough, 
defined as— withstanding 
rough or careless handling, 
hang a few inches above the 
dark,
gentle water. 

San Francisco twinkles tiredly 
over the laziest landscaped trees 
somewhere in Berkeley
in the horizon 
surrendering to
the line of red taillights behind me 
I’m too late 
to need to be a part of.

I missed the pink sunset—
higher forms of possibilities,
I was on 580. 
I read the email wrong. 
Learning,
the meeting already started. 
I drove here instead.
I’m wearing my favorite sweater. 
I didn’t know what else to do. 

I told him where I was 
I wondered 
somehow 
if he blamed himself.
He does that sometimes. 

I wish he knew 
He’s the reason I didn’t turn around
and drive right back to San Francisco 
I wait for him 
to know where to go
his place or mine 

He’s yet to reply. 

I wish he knew how this place feels to me 
on this deck 
over this water

I wish he knew how this place feels to me
scared enough to feel alive 
but safe enough to write a poem 

Tight Ass

I have held my glutes squeezed 
all the time 
for years now
for fear of being weak
or looking weak. 
Sometimes I allow myself to release
my tight ass
and it doesn't hurt to stand still 
as much anymore
and my hips dont hurt
as much anymore 
and my back feels less fragile
and it allows me to unclench my jaw,
notice my feet on the ground
surrender my shoulders
relax the tension behind my eyes 
have real exhales.
But sometimes 
I notice my tension,
And it feels normal. 
And relaxing feels like so much work.
Letting go 
feels exhausting
sometimes I just have to give myself 
a break
and just stay
in tension.

White Yoga

Aparigraha, last time I checked
means non-grasping, non-attachment
was the theme of the yoga studio selling 
the yoga pants only people who have plenty 
of yoga pants can afford. She said
only taking what you need and not more
made me think how interconnected 
we all are. Pie. 
They keep saying life isn’t like 
If I take too much,
does someone get not enough?
I can afford more pants. 
If I wanted. If I needed. 
I have so many. 
The difference in wanting 
And needing. 
I’m afraid I got too big of a slice. 
What do you 
need? 

Waiting


the first and the second time 
I waited for you 
wondering if that meant
we shouldn’t be together
I waited 
until we’d mostly decided,
But we didn’t talk about it.

You are a storm
Your dust lighter 
My dust is sand-like-
Maybe thicker
My sand is cold, wet, violent 
It’s settled impatiently.

There is no need to compare.

I think love is what they said it is 

what it felt like-
a heavy heart
inside 
silent compassion 
because you need 
space 

You astronaut.

What does it mean
to be bad for someone? 
to slow me down

I wanted…
to I love you 
Like 
Every human deserves 
But I’m waiting 

What does it mean
if that’s not how I 
love?

keep your promise
give it back
you still need space 

Instagram won’t stop suggesting 
I visit your profile 

I had a dream last night 
That you proved me right

When you need me
taking care of myself 
Felt empty 
I want you to need me
But maybe I’m afraid 
To need myself 
It’s easier to focus on you. 

I cannot take care of you
in replacement for what I decided
I do not deserve

I’m sorry I tried.

Another person told me my worth
the way I tried to make you see in yourself
and despite my fears and patterns
I decided to believe them.

Maybe I’m worth taking care of.

Embodiment

I’ve been doing yoga for about 8 years. 
I haven’t figured out 
how to breath while I move, 
or move while I breath. 
I haven’t wasted these 8 years. 


I spent them in my brain, 
the only place I was safe 
while I was learning 
how ok right now might be. 

I don’t know what my body feels like 
yet

I don’t know what it feels like when you touch me. 
when I’m scared. 
when I’m happy. 


Oh what a pleasure 
The possibilities 
To have such a gift unopened 
To have this journey. 
To know I am missing. 
To know that ok 
To feel that ok 

today’s shower

I’ve been writing poems for things I want to say that I don’t understand. I’ve been writing poems for things that I have to get out of the shower to write, in the Notes app on my phone, holding the phone far from my wet body. I’ve been writing poems about things that just thinking about has helped me learn about them. What does it mean when the things that happen in my brain, somehow gain weight as I assigned them words? Or as I can’t? Or try to? Some things don’t have words. I learn from these—anti-words, these, negative spaces. In fourth grade my writing teacher told me to never use “things” and a few years later music gave me my first sense of belonging and told me to break the rules. So, I almost got a tattoo once that said “break the rules” and I don’t know if I regret not doing it or not. My favorite author told me to question everything, and I believed him. I’ve been trying to write the perfect poem. Or maybe I’ve just been trying to not write a bad one. I can’t take feedback right now. Why does it matter if my poem is a good poem? Who defined these rules of good? Well, I hope you like this. I’ve been told this is universal, so, I don’t feel special. Do I want to feel special? When I feel special I feel alone. I think maybe writing about this might make me a little more special. No. My theatre director said I’m not different. She said only that I’m brave, and that just makes me hate everyone else’s coward. Brave is a complement I cannot always hear. My ears and my brain get a little mixed up sometimes. I was told that writing about writing is juvenile. Ok. I wasn’t told that. I assumed that. But that feels real. I’m trying to understand what it means when things feel the way they feel. I’ve been trying to feel. I’ve been trying to trust. I don’t know what that means but I’ve been trying. I’ve also been trying to not try, because my zen teacher said so. It feels good to believe him. But, my life coach said I have to get away from good and bad, but I feel too bad at it to start trying. Or not trying. Or…feeling, not thinking. Not sure. I’ve been told that I can’t think about feelings like I can feel feelings but I’ve been told I dissociate and I can’t feel a lot usually. Some guy on Facebook Live said to not avoid the feelings, so, writing this makes me feel crazy, and, maybe you are too. Writing this feels good. I’ve been working under assumptions, that I can’t decide real. My therapist told me nothing is real. She didn’t say that. I assumed that. I think that. If nothing is real, how can I trust myself?

teenagers getting out of Teslas

I adopted a pair of really nice sunglasses from the lost and found at my work had my eye on them for a while and when I found it was safe to claim them I put them on and the whole sky seemed more blue I’d never worn polarized glasses before and I wondered if the person who paid for these lives the life that their skies are more blue or if they never noticed. 

I’m not listening anyway

ecstatic
listen
to your body 
follow your breath
pay $20
fluorescent lights
airy spiritual music
made for and by
white people 
brown-green linoleum squares
it’s a safety concern
The sun is shining on the porch 
with a Do-Not-Enter sign 
How unsafe is the sunshine? 
How unsafe is formidability?
these walls without feet 
they said keep your feet 
on the ground. 
the upside down world
prefers walls that can dance
I don’t feel very safe. 
Can I dance in anger? 
Can I pretend?
Can I leave?
Listening. 

The woman in the pictures is an adult

He showed me the camera, 
the only thing I thought was that I look old.
Not old like an old person. 
Not old like too old to stop me from anything. 
Just older. 
I didn’t want him to scuff at me and say “Pffff, just you wait” 
like they always do
Like they always will until, one day, I will 
So I just said “I look like an adult” 
The woman in the pictures is an adult. 
And she has scars and stories. 
And she’s stronger than she’s ever been. 
I didn’t think I’m fat, or I look big, or
“let me do that again so I look different.”
I didn’t have anything to fix this time. 
Just older.

San Francisco

I have mundane art days, I run into someone I'd fallen in and out of love with, I have memories, I know where to walk, I have people, I give direction, I feel badly for the homeless woman who has to pee and just keep walking. I wanted to be held by the city and it said no, not tonight.

I'm not looking for a good time. I'm here.

the city can't always give me what I want

Good Old Days

I listened to the song, that I used to run away from you
yesterday,
walking in San Francisco 
I went backward
Your pictures are alluring. 
the music worthy
I closed my eyes to hear it again,
like I didn’t wish I was here when I did.
Inferior, 
considered the door with the light coming in,
consoled knowing I would dream about this forever.
But, I still haven’t 
The ephemeral, light 
the song on the long ride to you
Trains, music, the clouds. 
God I really love 
the clouds, only agreed with me as I stayed there 
longer than I would have without the song.
Walking around Pittsburg, devoted to
going somewhere else
I am running away from

2nd Person

We keep having
the dream that
I made art.
look back
at what I created
and know
this is
beautiful,
It will change
the world

I could never
make art that real.

I am both
Dreaming and Awake.

When I refer to myself,
I do it in 2nd person.

You will never be that talented

I
Dreaming or Awake,
they share a reality,
too afraid to define
with words.

Rational Dreaming.
If you can do it while you are asleep
you can do it while you are awake.
I tried to memorize the art
I tried to recreate it.

I,
writing this

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But
we live in different worlds
Dreamer and

the I

I
wanted to stare
at a blank screen and try,
try
to tell the beautiful story of
our dream.

Like blank words.
Like blinking cursors.
Like white papers.
Like this.

Portland


A bag of bags
and some warm clothes in the backseat.
bag of fruit. bag of almonds. bag of rice cakes.
lots of plastic.
windshield whippers that intermittently squeak
left an arch of unwiped raindrops right in front of my eyes as
I swiveled,
slightly nauseous, between
Redwoods, so tall and glorious
that they consumed the very small amount of light
that the clouds and rain allowed for me


and my white Chevy
my white rain coat and black puffy coat, my passengers.
that November, Northern California cold
of, like, always cold, although it’s not that cold
The heater being too…
on my face
then too on my feet
then I worried about gas and so I turn
the heat off.
I’m still not sure how much that actually matters?
I couldn’t see anything, that
I set out to see.
Headlights on, at noon,
after breakfast at a little deli in the rain,
and poems on the radio cutting in and out as
my cell service did.
I was tired of music.

Rain.
Rain. Rain.
Grey skies for sightseeing

tired of old songs
not in the mood for new songs

7:07 hours to go.
Please don’t start to be mean to yourself.

I turned the poems off.
Andrea Gibson,
either inspires me, or
makes me feel like I’ll never be that

good and
I needed silence,

thoughts
I swear this seat is higher on the right side
My back hurts.
Your posture sucks, you deserve this.
This is miserable and dumb, you could be at home, just watching TV, or
doing nothing.
No you can’t. You can’t do nothing thats why you….


thoughts

You seriously need to

unwelcome thoughts
I am not allowed to hate them

learn a lesson, like
how much of this empty space do you NEED to fill, like
you should have just taken the 3 days rest, but…


no.
thank you,
thoughts.

all the parts
of me
The I that says I like myself
and the me that says you should
turn the music back on.
We stared at each other,
like a 12 step group
around the doughnuts
on the first night.

When I talk to myself
I use you, not I
It’s a disassociation.

5:32 to go
Where are you even going?
Rain. Grey. Trees.
It’s boring
I’m mad.
another car comes every 20 min or so
and I want to ask them
how they are coping
but I just keep driving
because,
I am sure they are listening to
song lyrics they don’t care about
and they like the rain,
and they love windy roads, and
happy wet trees, and
they say things to themselves like
I like this song.


4:47 to go
I turn the music back on.



Portland.JPG

Actual photo from this trip. The sun had come out a little at this point. You can see the windshield streak that really drove me nuts.

He offered me a piece of gum.

He ordered some Minute Maid apple juice,
when the flight attendant came around with the cart 
I didn’t want anything 
He finished in two separate drinks that 
were 3 breaths apart, and
put the plastic cup in the pocket 
in the seat in front of him. 

We both opened the gum wrappers
at the same time 
he put his wrapper in the cup 
I held mine, crumbling it up
inquisitively. 

His cup had become a trash can-
cookie wrapper, napkin, and now 
gum wrapper 
but not mine.

I knew he wouldn’t mind
sharing his trash can
I’m sure of it 
2 hours left on this flight
2 hours for me to ponder 
Why 
I will hold this wrapper in my fingers 
Until they come back around 
For trash. 

one minute about my beauty

San Francisco airport. 
Walking through those big grey metal 
and plastic things.
A person in a blue uniform,
here to ensure my “safety”
squawked “female”
turned to me and explained 
“random check”
And I thought
“God, what if I wasn’t?”

And it’s not that they were wrong
It is that they didn’t get the full story
When someone with my length of hair
And fat distribution on their chest
similar to mine
comes to pat me down 
and I thought 

My “female” is telling men 
on dates 
that I like yoga,
which is not untrue 
But 
I don’t tell men how strong I am
on the first date 
because it’s not feminine. 

Can you please explain why a woman 
who you cannot physically overpower,
is less of a woman? 

My “female” is fluid. 
My “female” is a blinking cursor 
on a plank page. 
My body is a poet. 

My female is a hard image
of 
”Don’t fucking touch me!”
Not because I don’t want 
you to touch me,
But because I’m afraid
you are 
going 
to touch me. 

Not because I don’t want men
to think 
I’m interested in them 
But because I’m trying to explain 
that 
your version 
of female 
doesn’t define my beauty. 

31

I wasn’t 
expecting to not 
get older 
I just didn’t think
it would happen 
to me. 
It was always
Some future version. 
But my skin this morning. 
I remember your skin. 
The skin around 
your thigh and butt, 
that I was so excited 
to have my finger tips 
embrace. 
The way your skin 
sat 
more
delicately 
than 
people like me. 
I was 20 years old. 
Your skin 
was,
a tad more dry 
soft. 
Less resistance. 
It surrendered more 
to my whimsical touch. 
The way it sat
on your bones. 
Not unattractive.
But,
like it had been there
longer than mine had.
Like a book
that knew 
it’s home on the bookshelf. 
You were 32. 
My skin,
I hydrate
eat Omega3s
exercise. 
But I feel it. 

Eating Disorder Recovery

He gave me 
my requested black 
coffee 
in a white mug
that was slightly 
wider, thicker, and 
heavier than 
the average 
white coffee mug. 
but still 
when I grabbed it, it 
was lighter than 
I expected. 
He filled it 3/4 of the way. 
I always 
fill my cup up. 
I always 
fill my cup up. 
I don’t 
ask myself 
how much coffee 
do I want. 
I always fill my cup up.

"Goodbye"

It’s a little loss.
Getting older.
One more day.
How much is one day
supposed to matter?
The sky is a little darker 
at 6pm
on one side 
than 
the other. I wonder
how much time 
I gave
the sun.
A father who rushes
home from work to
a sleeping child.
The horizon splits 
only minutes in 
this productive
powerlessness.
I am rotating 
around you. You
are stable. 
It is our requirement. 
6am
with possibilities I 
don’t allow 
myself to feel.
Everything is 
doing exactly what
it is they 
are doing 
at 10am on Tuesday.
A makeup-less face.
Fearless insecurities.
Graceful powerlessness.
To what is,
in daylight. 

An Affair

anaffair.jpg

I doubt I’ll ever come back to you
But that doesn’t mean I didn't want more

Your yellow-gold leaves
wet, dying November
grass welcomed me
just less than I needed
as we read a book together in the park.
You didn’t ask me what I was reading.

It was my birthday
You didn’t know
You wouldn’t have cared if you did
I didn't want you to
That’s why I left
She cared.
She kept trying to tell me it was ok, but I couldn’t believe her
You threw your coldness at me and feed me pancakes in the morning.

The old bookstore you took me to had a squeaky floor
And I liked that.
I spent a few minutes sitting on the rotting wood
reading book titles in the Romance section
appreciated how whimsical I get to be with you.
I waste time when I am home.

Time is becoming more indefinite in our lives.
Everything I do with you is temporary.

The unfamiliar maps of your body excited me
In a anticlimactic version of having no destination,
or at least trying not to,
distracting me from my own, and my familiar.
The amount of time I’ve spent with them reminding me today.
That I don’t know where I am going
And that’s ok, you said, with no attachment
I believed you.
And I left in the morning.