dear san diego / eyeliner mustache

despite the way
i woke up
with a certain stuffed brown bear
folded into my sleepwarm self
while i said
lord bless this city

when i heard the rainsounds
pattering on the neigbor’s  specklegray roof tiles

and despite
the lightning
slicing sky
the way free ways
slice your geography

and despite you
and your year-round glory
of temperatures
averaging in the sunny 70’s

and despite the fact
that i can sometimes
detect the ocean salt
carried in your air

and despite
a backyard garden
green with the likes of lushness
i have rarely seen before

i hate you.

i hate your pot holed and crackling streets
i hate your unrelenting half angry cars
i hate your overpriced food
i hate how since arriving
my main occupation
has been
cleaning up everyone else’s mess
i hate your 8-hour stoplights
i hate your styrofoam leftover containers
i hate your two or three bike lanes
i hate your lack of adequate bike racks
i hate your one co-op in a city of three million people
i hate your military jets
their razor sharp sonics
slitting ears and
shredding sky
to hamburger meat
i hate your tiny
back yard dogs
i hate
your palm tree
colonizers of the horizon

(if i truly hated this city
as in
have to get the hell out
i would not have been able to write this
this is an exercise
of working the hate out
so it becomes
almost manageable
and soon
or altogether


let us not forget
the mustache moment
of 2010

at the open mic
that felt so much like a smyrc event
only with less glitter and rainbows

a man
goes on and on
about how he can’t stand
the feel of a woman’s mustache
when they kiss
and how
he implores her
to bleach it
wax it
take it off
is called
spoken word)

several performers later
it’s my turn
my poem retrieved from allie’s car
i begin
by telling the audience
i have a minor emergency
and ask
if anyone
has any mascara
or eyeliner
and the possiblity seems bleak
until a woman
comes up to the mic
digging through her purse
triumphantly producing
her green eyeliner

will you draw a mustache on me

i ask
and she does

and then i go on
to inform my fellow performer
(mustache man)
that one of the greatest things
we can do
as artists
is dialogue
with each others’  work

and then i go on
to tell
the entire audience
that their bodies
are perhaps
the most amazing gift
they’ve been given
and no matter
what kind of body it is
it is beautiful
and  it is perfect

descending one bluetiled step at a time

1. another
in a series of broken things
sponsored by ucsd:
desk barely balancing on three legs
(other broken things include:
two staplers in the copy room
and a pencil sharpener
that chews insteaed of whittles)

2. today has been brought to you
by a bright blue pool
filled with clear chlorinated water
a pair of goggles dating back to the 1980s
and the smell
of someone else’s

3. woman
with bags of ice on her shoulders
moves from poolside lounging
to the whirlpool
one bluetiled step
at a time

4. this one
is navy blue with tiny white dots
one of many
from the dress collection

5. the way
things can feel
more safe
when a door is closed
and everything on the inside
is soft

6. we learn
who to bring cookies or plants
who to say yes yes to
who loves to talk about animals

7. when the room
is even smaller
the unkindness of flourescent light
even more apparent

8. number of times
since this quarter has begun
that i’ve checked out of my body:
approximately 2 ½
number of methods
i have employed
to bring myself back home:

some methods include water
one includes hand-me-down running shoes
and another includes
collapsing flat and limbsplayed
on industrial office carpeting
until the air
entering and exiting these lungs
becomes the air
entering and exiting my whole self

9. a rip
fabric frayed
in a vertical line
the upper arm of a woman i don’t know
but i overheard her
talking about
how you can bike forever
on the flat streets of chicago
and later
she also used the words

powerUp, MFA’s. we got this shit down.

1. with full tires
and sun
diffused and forgiving
might be the day
of conquering
this new set of streets

2. i observe a snack of
cool ranch chips
and doctor pepper

3. transitioning
from marx’s essay on estranged labor
(where labor alienates humans from themselves on several levels)
to talking about
how the 50th anniversary edition of ginsberg’s howl
is cheapest
plus free shipping
from amazon

4. which is to say
don’t be confused
i also bought books
from amazon
cringing the whole time
and asking
my favorite independent feminist not-for-profit bookstore back home
to forgive me

5. first
i teach jennifer
the secret powerup handshake
in the fern and concrete-lined courtyard
i teach it to allie
leaning against hallway walls
on the first floor

the secret handshake
like a public service announcement
to the mfa class of 2012

powerUp MFA’s
we got this shit down

6. the root
of the word
derives from
the greek word for uterus
because once
someone decreed
that the uterus detached
from it’s place
in the woman’s body
and when that uterus went wandering
all hysterical hell
broke loose

7. the farce
of such grandiosity

8. from hand to hand
we pass around a loofah
we pass around a pink eraser

9. it’s been said
the piling-on of adjectives
is a sign of weak writing

10. for the fourth time today
the word footnotes
comes up
and all of a sudden
i am fascinated
a distant relative
of the catalogue.)

11. tomorrow
we enter
a new relationship
with water
sometimes chlorinated
sometimes salted

12. last night
the gaffers
were bang on
sounding train whistles
in two cities
at once
and then
the same
with ambulence/police/fire sirens
but tonight
with my head in the pantry
they’re taking a break

we are all in the process of understanding

1. awake at 7
tracing pink across sky
out south window
from the edges of east to west
remnants of anxiety dream sequence #621

2. florence and the machine
coming in over the freeway hum
for all-day sundays
where intentions took us
as far as the wild mustang desert of eastern oregon
and where
got us as far
as the thai place
on alberta and 30th
which was ok
because all we had to do
to find wild mustangs
was crack each other open

3. san diego
no one makes me sweat like you
on a 90degree day
sunheat refracting off a thousand
benevolent and angry cars
by degrees
with each exchange
between metal and cement

4. unplanned accessorizing:
maroon baseball cap
maroon arm band
maroon socks

5. between shuttle and and student center
kid rolls past
in a charlie brown tshirt
on a long board
aplogizing to the man stepping off the bus
that he almost clipped

6. beyond the set of metal blinds dark with dust
a window
opened onto the construction site
of a new parking lot

7. when he said
about taking on the writing series
he should have said
you’ve inherited a mess

8. there is the feeling
of being herded
when it comes to
boarding buses and
waiting in winding corner store lines
and then
there is the overwhelm
of the assignment
of one book of theory
per week

9.  i am so grateful
for the voice that asked
what if i don’t understand it
what if i’m way out in left field?

to which
the golden response was
we are all in the process of understanding

10. a voice
low and resonant
contradicting mountains of anxiety
that stops the whole room
for one half of a second

11. though the broken downness
tells me
to climb home and collapse
all of the buzzing
tells me
to run it off

after rounds about the baseball diamonds
arms sweatshimmering
migraine de-escalated
body wins
brain wins
bones heart cartilage

12. a single firefly
in the eucalyptus of balboa park
or maybe
it was a moth
in the light

13. and on the phone
in no particular order
you reinforce
what my body has just taught me:

you are whole already
yr not just cartilage, yr bone
this is for real
it’s saltwater

every moment that’s hard for you
is your scar tissue
growing stronger

yr language
is the most comfortable home
i’ve ever been in

14. oh
and how could i forget
the bowerbirds
the bowerbirds
the bowerbirds
the bowerbirds
the bowerbirds

san diego sky vs. portland sky, portland sky wins

1. in the dream
there was some kind of forest ranger office
down a lone street
yet a short walk
from home
perhaps there was a public pool
and airplanes landing outside
perhaps it was part-library
and half-closed
perhaps i was sneezing in the hallway
on my way out the door
a scarf wrapped around my neck
against the sundown chill of early fall

2. today’s shoulder muscles
telling yesterday’s story
of seaside cliff scramble

3. bloody sunday
crimson tide washing in
daws a clearing
in your emo haze

4. in the time it takes
to hang tshirts
and hankies
on the line
the floral cotton sheet
dries all the way through

5. the  cashier
at albertson’s
juggling the two limes i set down on the conveyer belt
while we wait
for my debit card to clear

6. overheard near the velodrome
in balboa park:
wayne’s world!
it’s the first VHS i ever owned!

7. the ink-smell
of a brand new ribbon
spooled into a cursive typewriter

8. san diego sky vs. portland sky
portland sky wins
hands down
every time
(it’s the clouds)

9. the glisten of a stranger’s sweat
on the curve of his calves
as he runs past under an orange park light

10. coronado bridge
white against pink sky
ghosts of two hills/mountains
rising in the background

11. this is a shout-out
to felice and pam
in the basil patch
while tyler
sends pictures
in real time

12. tonight
the air remains warm
long after the sun has dipped down
to rise
on the other side
of the earth

13. give me that humble broken body
she says
that strong able body
that everchanging shiftUp magicMargin body
put it on mine
let it go

the moon rising huge and lopsided in both of our cities

1. in the name of the archive and busted phones
i send
and re-send

2. in the name of bending the space-time continuum
i am
on felice’s porch
yellow raspberries on the tips of my fingers
like beanies
the needles
laid out and waiting
the black nitrile gloves
in a metal tin

3. i switch out tennis shoes for sandals
and opt for crumbling yellow sand stone
instead of the wooden steps

4. negative ocean ions
releasing themselves
at our ankles
with each crash of crested wave

5. giving myself over
to tidal pullings
i wash
into shore
this trust
deeper than bone

5. two san diego transplants
from brooklyn
and portland, or
laid out on the beach
moss green one piece
black top pink bottoms
identities of what we aren’t
rather than what we are

6. and then we discover
our desire to lapswim
our overlapped activist histories
her adventurous leanings
luring me out of
my tiny fears

7. a.m. arrives
bright blue
and three pages long
the pumpkin brew chronicles

8. jp
new work in hands
spanish like velvet
in his mouth

9. lester’s niece
legs dangling from bench
drawing out three kinds of balloons:

10. homecoming
in five parts:
oceansalt on skin
thomas’s gentlesweet brilliance
the imperfections of a d.i.y. independent art space
family to family hugs from lester and jp
the moon rising huge and lopsided in both of our cities

pocketpals to infinity

1. i wake
to a sunspilled bed
filled with books
and a bear
that wears a handkerchief

2. stirring
almond slices
and fresh-cut pear
into waffle batter
just after i stir in the cinnamon
and nutmeg

3. after a morning
of time management struggle
and tripping into the endless pit of the internet
i try
while alleywalking
saying nice things to myself
it feels so much softer to say
are doing a good job
look! you are pulling through
in a strange new place
you are finding your way

than to listen to the usual remorse
how i haven’t done anything
or how i’m using my time badly or wasted it altoghter

4. pink nalgene
to the top plus ice
with herbal berry tea

5. richard and i
pick up where we left off
last friday
i tell him about wisconsin
and he asks why i don’t have an accent

6. piano sounds
spilling out the open doors
of trinity united methodist church
as i walk past

7. zach
places the keys
white white black white black white white
into his piano project
while i listen to classical music
on what i thought was public radio
and slice

8. igotyou yougotme
pocketpals to infinity
around mindight is when we’ll gather
to create the clapping portion
of this handshake song

9. an ache
for every joint
but especially
my ankles

10. kaya and i
do our best
to emulate the 1930’s
we make do with what we’ve got
a tie
a vest
some boots
a skirt
and fishnet tights

11. sometime
i want to throw a party
that emulates your dream: