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I was a kid other kids’
parents gossiped about.
They told their children
what I was: too negative.
I get it. Fair to fear
contagion of bad attitudes,
You used to be so
and now you’re all
like, you’ve transformed
I don’t know how to describe
you don’t like canasta anymore
you text IN ALL CAPS
You charm’d me not with that fair face
Though it was all divine:
To be another’s is the grace,
some towers are made of cladding
some made of ivory
some burn in the night
some built by slaves
wind rushes through coarse hair
body aches between vertebrae
That night, I opened your wardrobe and found
a trophy of vultures, their necks pierced
by hanger hooks. I saw at once
that you hunted everything I loved —
I’m a gecko on a wall
that simulates a cliff
with rainbow grips
I’ll touch any colour
that’ll have me
midway is high enough
wary of emotional
I don’t mean home-
Leaves, asleep under wind:
a ship for the wound.
glories in these ruinous times.
Trees growing in our own eyelashes
a lake for the wound.
The wound shows up in bridges
One night, fire fell into a reed bed
It burned like love falling onto a soul
As fire’s head warmed to its work
every reed turned into a candle at its own grave
To Windrim or sycamore
rustle cicada or bark and to Wayne
to rustle and psoas and psoas to Belmont and Germantown hills
hills as to nearer Plateau as to Central and whisper wall Indian
at least in our waking life
doubles as force
the most benign
are tinged eurocentric
when brown women die
Two dicks, sitting in
my daughter’s inbox,
like men without hats,
waiting for any door
Sighting a stranger’s penis
used to be rare. Remember raincoats?
I remember my birth
like it was tomorrow, the unholy sensation
On the night we dug up your father’s body
(for reasons I can no longer remember)
we took turns with the shovel
as we passed a bottle of Whyte & Mackay
back and forth.
He is not doing well. She is not
My poem without me in it—would it be like
my room when I had returned to it
after my mother was done with me.
Under my bed, only the outer
space balls, of dust, only
I wear a peineta & pin a mantilla to my hair
I want to be Conchita Piquer warning women
about becoming lemons. The goal: tener alguien
quien me quiera. I want to be my mother singing me
I've dreamt of you so often that you become unreal.
Is there still time to reach this living body and to kiss on its mouth the birth of
the voice so dear to me?
The bodies are on the beach
And the bodies keep breaking
And the fight is over
But the bodies aren't dead
And the mayor keeps saying I will bring back the bodies
The thing that death gave you —
your face leaks
your face overflows
Your face is the grave of your nose
your face is the grave of your ears
After learning “me” and “I”
but well before my father learns
a restraining order's
between him and our home,
we share some good times.
Remember the back of his bicycle.
power lines held by birds
of prey the hostile expanse above
ditches teeming floral invasive
late summer the shoulder sang
holds breeze by
The 31st day of August 1914
I left Deauville a little before midnight
In Rouveyre’s little car
bear with me it wasn’t long ago I was brainless
lazily pulling fireflies into my teeth chewing them
into pure light so much of me then was nothing
this is the transsensorium
there are indo-robo-women fighting cowboys on the frontier
& winning finally
the premodern is a foundation for the postmodern
wintermute, tessier-ashpool, armitage
The whiskey on your breath
Could make a small boy dizzy;
But I hung on like death:
What I adore is not horses, with their modern
domestic life span of 25 years. What I adore
is a bug that lives only one day, especially if
it’s a terrible day, a day of train derailment or
A work of art is a world of signs, at least to the poet’s
nursery bookshelf sheltered behind the artist’s ear.
I recall each little motto howling its ins and outs
to those of us who might as well be on the moon
Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.
Should lanterns shine, the holy face,
Caught in an octagon of unaccustomed light,
Would wither up, an any boy of love
Call the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.
Nobody in the lane, and nothing, nothing but blackberries,
Blackberries on either side, though on the right mainly,
A blackberry alley, going down in hooks, and a sea
Somewhere at the end of it, heaving. Blackberries
for Alton Sterling, Andrew Loku, Philando Castile, et al.
I wanna live, son. But which son are you?
There where the rivers are made
of moonshine and the lights still wait,
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I’ve come to talk to you about shaving cuts
I was waiting across the road
right over there
for the light to turn
and you were on the other side
fumbling with change at the newspaper box
If you can’t speak / write in a fissured / alter-language
Of nerve-matter / dura mater / orbit of the central axis
By a crevice / scattered / venous lacunae / lamina code
I can manage being alone,
can pace out convivial hope
across my managing ground.
Someone might call, later.
What do the dead make of us
that we’d flay ourselves trying
he played injun in gods country
where boys proved themselves clean
dumb beasts who could cut fire
out of the whitest sand
he played english across the trail
I threw away your letters.
Years ago, just like that.
The tight black swirls,
circles and strokes
filling fine sheets —
I would not see them again.
The last items I had left.
take the moon
nd take a star
when you don’t
know who you are
paint the picture in your hand
nd roll on home
take my fear
nd take the hunger
take my body
You’d have to pay us
Could you pay us enough
To live for a stretch
The place, the question, the question.
The place, the interest, the question.
There is the place.
There is what you do in the place.
There is your belief.
There’s a joke that ends with — huh?
It’s the bomb saying here is your father.
Now here is your father inside
your lungs. Look how lighter
the earth is — afterward.
— say the names say the names
and listen to yourself
an echo in the mountains
say them like your soul
was listening and overhearing
and you dreamed you dreamed
In the empty classroom, at sunrise, a girl
sits on the floor, staring at a glockenspiel.
She’s shredding the cuticles on her left hand
This is our welfare half
a duplex with mint green
siding shrugged between
Both guitars run trebly. One noodles
Over a groove. The other slushes chords.
Then they switch. It’s quite an earnest affair.
At the heart there is a hollow sun
by which we are constructed and undone