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

2ndperson.JPG

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.


Men Who Help Me

Another man I trust
listened to my story,
he’d been burdened with before,
loved my mind,
told me how to be something else

I said “I am not defective”
He submitted, and
tried to collapse himself.  

Without ill intention,
we teach young people-
prisms of feminine ears devour tenderness,
while
masculinity mouths spat characters
in the distorted mirrors of a fun house.

My other man
Didn’t always know what he knows  
about himself.
He listens,
like a woman

The world didn’t trust his unfolding
right away
Wasn’t born with the right body to fix me
He stopped adapting
My best man,
Being the man he’s always been
He knows me too.

MenWhoHelpMe.JPG

She Who Is Never Not Broken

Akhilandeshwari .JPG

“Akhilandeshwari”
She Who Is Never Not Broken


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 Philadelphia, devoted to
going somewhere else
I am running away from


Fantasy

“surprised”
I chose as a word for
inspiration,
but
second place
to “disappointment”
because
every
other
moment
has plenty
and i'm not in the mood
for disappointment
this morning.

Surprised that
I don't go
to the beach
more
than I had imagined
when I created this
Saturday morning
fantasy
of the sun
touching my toes
through the window
Like it is now.

I’ll walk
down
but,
I can’t decide
between two books.

Interested to break
the rules
that prevented me
from
this
breathing in
this.

It often
feels unsafe
here.

drenched in perfectness
sunshine
and fear
I settle
into disappointment
chose the book
that gives
knowledge
for some
future fantasy.


Cold Shower

Warm is safety
Warm is comfort
Warm is relaxed shoulders
Warm is exhale
Warm is reassurance
Hot is eradicating
Hot is pain that needs to go somewhere
Hot is punishment
Hot is worthy of punishment
Hot is red skin that isn’t phased the next day
Hot is temporary
Cool is transition
Cool is potential
Cold.
Cold pauses
Cold is sentient
Cold is somatic
Cold is raised shoulders
Cold is skin preparing for attack
Cold is feeling the changes in the air before the water is touched
Cold is protecting your most vulnerable areas
Cold is the face and chest
Cold is stepping away and forgetting how bad it is
Cold is fear
Cold is the brain
Cold is knowing you are safe, but feeling unsafe
Cold is spending time with that
Cold is victorious, efforted breath
Cold is victorious
Cold is growth
Cold is practice
Cold is the difference in running away from discomfort,
and running away from yourself.


Turning Men into Poems

Second Date  
His room smelled like his neck
nervous pheromones
unsuccessfully masked
by unscented gender neutral deodorant.    
I liked it so much
that
I pressed my nose
into that spot
behind his ear,
energy shivered
cold circuits
throughout my body.
He fiddled
with his laptop
when I came
back from the bathroom.
Pressing more
keys than he needed to,
he said
his music is as weird as he is
through the teeth of
a nervous exhale.
We listened, acting
like the hollow muscular cave
inside both our chests weren’t
chattering.
I don’t remember the music.
I knew
how permanent of a choice
this had been
in the past-
Coming
into a man’s bedroom.

Don’t you
ever just want more from a person?
I admitted
“Look. My femininity isn’t casual”-


I’d not believed
in my closed off heart
chakra
until his response
spatted onward about scars
from old lovers
and I squealed
“I have them too.”
and exactly
51% of the glass wall
around my disposition
melted
into his bed
underneath me.


I told him
I was slut shamed for
being raped,
about belonging to 45 year old men
when I was 18
because I desperately needed
to feel
intact,
only attempting
intimacy
with people I hate
because
I didn’t want to expose
good people
to
my poison.


He tells
interesting woman
he’s gay
because he is afraid
of being
a predator.
He asked
to touch me
and I answered
“I have body
dysmorphia”,
He wanted
to know more
about it.

I told him
if I were to share myself
with him
I would likely determine,
soon,
that all his niceness
was
constructed.
And he looked
at me with his big,
deep, sad, green
mind and
listened.


I told him.
I’m afraid
of men.


Therapy;
partners
who said
“Oh I forgot, you are a feminist
when they could have said
“You are in charge
of what happens to you.”


With my legs clenched
together,
he declared he tastes
my openness


He told me
he doesn’t know
his pleasure;
when he is embraced
he thinks
about things like
size, smell, hair, being too early, or being too late.


Sharing until
finally
we settled.


His gaze
was hasty, like
it wanted
something,
I asked him
what he wants,
his imagination screaming
he was too
afraid to say the
words,
But I didn’t stop staring
at them. Words.
I thought
we wanted the same thing.


The room was heavy
and cloudy.
The music may have
stopped or our ears had
stopped listening.
I could taste his
delicate
ideas
of my power.

He said
“I only know you
by smell so far”
His arm reached around me
I squeezed him
and smelled him
and embraced him as,
as hard as I
absolutely could and
we were locked in
we surrendered.
Like we were insulating
possibilities,
recovering.
Like we were safe.
He said
“You aren’t broken”,
and we mourned
together
with our clothes on.


Third Date
I hid my face
under your padding,
poem
man, because
the last time
I allowed myself
to be this
exposed,
I believed that if
I can’t
see the world, it
can’t see me.


Fourth Date
Yesterday, I laid
on the floor
alone
and said
you just weren’t
the texting kind, and
I convinced
myself to believe it.
Today, I continued
to turn you into
a poem,
but I wasn’t
supposed
to give up
like that yet.
You were
a man
until,
you text me that
you weren't ready
for me
so this poem
is you now.

I don’t
want
you
to feel bad,
but
that was the first time
I have ever bought
two tickets to a concert


I really wanted you
to read yourself.


I wonder what
to do
with the tickets


I wrote
“you are special”
on the note
I haven’t changed
my mind.
This is not
a sad poem.

You
shattered
my glass heart,
previously
made of steel.


Although you said
to send daily texts
that didn’t get responses,
The only thing worse
than a
broken heart
is a heart
that can’t break
And.
The only thing worse
than a
bad poem
is a poem
that can’t exist


First Date
I was reading
on the bus
to meet you
about a girl who didn’t believe
in herself
and I knew it was
me,
so I was late
to you
because
I sat on the curb
to finish
and I realized
that
I was so sure
no one will like me.


So
when we were on the patio
and the band we had payed
to see was playing inside,
but I liked you more,
I didn’t stop myself from saying it.
Because
I let myself
like you.