Elma

I should just write on my face
EATS WHEN SAD-
The Sharpie would probably
Stick in my cheeks 

I’m sick of the bubblegum girls
And their Ring-Pop tits
My tits are a backpack
In reverse-mode 

My armpits
Have not made me friends
Well, it depends
Not on the subway, but
They’ve kept panzerottis
And take-out manicottis
Warm for a friend.

It takes just about all of me to pretend-
Because everything tastes bitter
But I eat it in the end.

The Family Meeting

“My vote is for coleslaw,” Greg announced to the table, sliding his green thumb along the edge of the placemat. Dad snorted, opening and closing his fist as if he held a great clump of fertilizer in his palm. Why we needed to have a family meeting for this was beyond me, but I sat in my chair anyway and twisted my ivy hair to make sure that Mom could see that I was bored out of my tree.

“Violet? Honey, we need your vote…” Mom gave me a kind of pleading look and I saw that her eyes were the colour of milk bottle beach glass. I rolled my eyes and got up to leaf.

“Violet! Sit down this instant. Finish your spinach.”

“F*ck you, Mom. You never cook what I want.”

“Well, what is it you want?” Mom groaned, pretending to hang herself with a green onion noose. Greg and Dad went hysterical. Dad laughed so hard that his big belly bumped up against the underside of the table. His brussels sprouts hopped up and down on the plate, rolling out in a dozen different directions.

“I want eggplant, tomorrow night. And you’re all going to eat it right along with me.”

“F*ck you, Violet. That’s far too exotic. Do you think money just grows on trees?”

I could just kill them.

Little Cuts

this proud little home
bare ankles moving in
making it our own, jet-lagged
covered in sawdust
air mattress
giddy empty

possibilities.

the kitchen was perfect
cool barefoot and wine-drunk at night
pancake batter in the morning
shattered jam jars
lovemaking, jarring
little cuts and cereal boxes
clogging the pantry
even the glass bowl heaped high
with overripe mangoes

and underripe avocadoes
and outside a garden hose
black-eyed beetles
under a stone
who cares?
about an old painting
under the stairs

behind your ears
the sour smell
coming from
inside the furnace

in the corner
where the dog
we name and love
will
die in its sleep

impossibilities.

Relocation

Our city becomes another’s city and they don’t even live here.

Our city becomes another city that will one day glow, for miles underwater.

Our city has strategically-planned streets, and accidental cobblestones. The neighborhoods have their symbols, their light-pole banners, their car washes and coffee shops. Clogged drains and stray dogs and condos and bullfrogs. A little fence to keep the heart in. A garden. Ten Thai restaurants in a row. A bus stop and a newspaper on every homeless porch.

The neighborhoods remain separate, or they collide. Some are ramming into each other, smash-mixing, in the time it takes one body to fall from the observation deck.

The streets below the streets are daunting, gurgling with sewage. A black-gloved hand motions outside a window. People are coughing, steaming into each other’s faces on the subway. No one has a face unless it is cut out of a magazine.

I moved out of the city. Now, my neighbor is the one whose name I forget every other conversation. His neighbor is me, and a young family with closed blinds and a yard full of broken plastic. We circle each other like dogs, not saying anything. But the truth is that we live with our families and this is a nice neighborhood, close to schools and shopping.

I moved out of the city and now I don’t even live here.

My neighbor remembers how bright his city glowed too.
Our sons are jerks and we are embarrassed by what we thought we knew.

 

This poem of mine was just published on uutpoetry. so this is basically a cross-blogging platform #reblog.

eat me, she said
and she folded up her head.

i played at the creases until they bled
my want is a seagull with blood on its beak
not falling on
fish in a creek-
my need is a more prudent bird

you taste like your words
and i believe them, you taste like
direct sunlight hitting the brain
!the best kind of pain!
popsicle-stick headaches
and fat drops of rain

i am ready to ask you to let me in
i am ready now
to collect you on my chin.

a certain kind of homesickness

thanks to our parents
we were allowed to have
our own apartment.

a graph on the bathroom mirror
let us know how many days
we’d been outside
and that half our weed 
was in the couch cushions

and for a while there
we never cleaned out the fridge
and all our laundry
piled up in the sink

these people started 
to call our phones
their voices 
fit through the walls-

we rubbed our lips
on dryer sheets 
and waited for 
our ears to hum.

No One Belongs Here More Than You

our limbs are only softening
around the joints
and in the end, having to
find not only one single place to be ourselves
but to live out the life of a circus
wicked torches and trapeze wires
delicate and bracing,
strong and self-referential
a homesick tiger, pacing

spotlights dusting below
the under-cup of your breasts
it’s wetter on the dark side of the moon
nothing grows and nothing glows
but the potential leans out at us, for life
from the cratered things
which taste of borrowed light
from other galaxies 

the same tired words
now exploded on our tongues.

Title borrowed from a story (collection) by the wonderful Miranda July, because it ‘belonged’. The rest is my own.

what are microdreams anyway? are these them?

apple-blown boots / worn by impotent marauders

lachrymose papyrus / indescribably lucid scripture

lips splayed for days / endowed suckerfish

tantric eels / surgical head rush

plausibly known / indubitable moan

original stapler / the fresh-pressed lapels of a king 

dusk collects at dawn / what is forgotten on the lawn

phlegm the dinosaur / parties in a flax cabin

Sexy

I am leaning against the side of the house again this morning, smoking a cigarette.

I used to come out here before everyone woke up, to think about everything that is wrong with all of us. I am tired of thinking, lately, and I rest the back of my head against the brick and watch the smoke curl up from my lips. It looks awfully sexy, but strange too. Feeling sexy when your socks are soaked through with dew.

The cigarette is done now, and I stash the butt under the rock that I keep just behind the fence. My head feels strange, too, because I’ve stood up too quickly. A car starts somewhere down the street. I touch my lips and have to force myself to go back inside.

Lizard Skin

J. packs another bowl and we pass it around a few times, getting a decent buzz going, and then we all go upstairs to see Rusko. Our group is divided between those who have seen Rusko before and those who have no idea what to expect. K. shows us to his room, and everyone gathers around the dresser. On top of the dresser is a huge glass terrarium and inside it- a motionless yellow-brown banded gecko.

K. lifts the creature out of the terrarium and presents it to us, beaming, and the girls smile indulgently and quietly slide their phones from their back pockets. “Here,” M. whispers to me, “let me take a picture of you with the lizard.”

“He’s a Velvet Gecko,” K. announces proudly, looking down at his cupped hands.

I don’t want to touch it, thinking for some reason of the resin on my hands. I’m afraid that I’ll hurt the thing- who knows what’s going to poison something this fragile? I bend my torso around Rusko instead, positioning my head directly behind, and at eye-level. From the viewpoint of M.’s camera, the effect of my round, red-cheeked face is Rusko transformed; he acquires the majesty of his prehistoric ancestors, solemn and unblinking against the backdrop of a rising sun.   

We pack more bowls, and take lots of pictures of Rusko chilling out on top of everyone’s heads.