is it enough to know you died in your house
without knowing how?
whose business is it
who gave me this broken back?
this misplaced rib?
this ache telling me
if body is home then this home is broken
and if home is a place we are meant to die in
then it ties us back to the beginning
how do i include you, reader, when i am passing through this world
which means you, by default, are passing through my passing through
i bought a chocolate chip peanut butter cliff bar for one dollar and seventynine cents
ate it in the sun with barthes before me
i rode against the wind and spent the day coming down
punctuated by handfuls of cinnamon squares
flies off the biker in front of me
cartoon style on university
airborne over both our heads
mom told us you are back in the emergency room
but your energy is up and you’ve been talking ‘a mile a minute’
enough words to toss behind you like bones
a sense that we’ve known each other all our lives
the desire to slice myself open and carry you home inside
secret: i am really a human in a costume. this mane is ridiculous but convincing.
i’m supposed to miss the hunt. the feel of my legs flexing. my lungs reminding me of what elasticity means. but i don’t. and i don’t remember the old world. we’ve got running water here. electricity. i am removed from my original self. my mother told me i was not allowed to be pretty.
chacoan peccary, ice-age relic
we like each other. we stay close. w have a tended cactus garden. the spikey plants make us feel less alone. our mothers told us we will never have much, but we do have each other.
my mother told me i am perfect. but secretly, i can’t walk.
we’ve decided we must scrape along the dust-dirt for food. we are more than you ever knew. our mothers split us down the center of our stomachs, told us to climb inside ourselves and live this way. our bellies the same white as a fish belly. no one ever notices we stole teddy bear ears for our own.
call us frosting. call us useless. call us something like palm trees- easily mimicked.
mama said there will be days like this.
i am untouchable.
my mother told me we would die. but faster than we should. she did not lie. my mother did not have to tell me i was powerful to understand. our names on a long list of the disappeared and disappearing.
my mother told me i was the most beautiful thing she saw. you told me she was lying.
“you cannot tell what it is.”
i am your curse. i am your gender trouble. i am all the looks you never want to be.
–my mother told me i will have to fight
-no she didn’t
–my mother told me i will learn to fight
-no she didn’t
–my mother fought me
-my mother taught me that the only safe place is home
this is what i fight every time i step out the door
mountain lion (or puma)
i’m looking for a way out. my friend has died here. searching for a thin seam to slice open
my mother told me that concrete in soft shapes is not really concrete.
my mother told me this was good enough, but i know there is earth under here somewhere
mom: grandma’s in the hospital
you should call her when you can because
we don’t really know what’s going to happen
grandma: oh i’m so glad you called
you’re such a good girl and i love you very much
me: how do you say i love you in polish?
grandma: kocham ciebie
mom: kocham ciebie
mom: i’m tired
grandma: you know the reason your girls moved
so far away was so that they could get away from you
mom: it’s like she has nothing organized
and you’ll find pair after pair of knitted slippers
all over the house
grandma: your girls love you very much
even though they have moved very far away
they still love you
spooling and unspooling
towards /away from death
unwinding into the great crossover
softening into selves your daughter
(i’m seeing a different her than i’ve seen all my life
she doesn’t have that fiery anger in her eyes)
grandma: i not eat very much
i drink water
lots of water
but it taste no good
mom: she hasn’t been eating much
but she did finish the container of applesauce
her hands were so shaky i had to ask her if she needed help
peeling the foil off that plastic container
of my 53 year old mom
spoon by spoon
to her 88 year old mother
grandma: i have no home
me: what if you thought of it this way,
what if wherever you are, you carry your home with you
mom: after we moved her from her house to her apartment
she was angry with us
for a whole year
1. there was that time, mom, on the top of neahkahnie
when i held your hand and reminded you to breathe
what did it look like? first
i must tell you about the air on our faces
weaving over scraggle rock
how i must print a picture to continue dialogue
of ocean talking back timezones
2. dear collections agency,
it is not the cacao berry clarity itself
(seagreenblue foil disk)
but the fact that, through all your research,
and for that, we are
5. the tshirt in the photo smells like your room
6. nina simone on cassette in kitchen
while 5 beets bob and boil on the back burner
and two cups of hand-shelled, garden-grown fava beans
boil on the front burner
7. free typewriter tutorials til midnight
plus a discussion on the tragedy of plastic
to plankton ratio (six to one) alongside
the relationships we have to the bodies
of our dead
8. 2:17 a.m.
rain against window wakes me out of
sleep vs. blog, sleep wins
no. no no no no NO.
next to akilah oliver‘s name
flip flopping math around so that today is not 2011
so that through numbers i might find a way outside this
suggestion of death
and just two or three weeks ago, noticing your putterer’s notebook
missing from my shelf
and just yesterday reading roland barthes those words again
because it was you, akilah, who taught me this phrase
it always comes up in your voice
last time i emailed
you replied ‘come back this summer’
regret might be the word
death might be another word
dead is definitely not
echoing back to boulder days
i read agamben this week in the sun
and again heard your voice in his name
then texted google for the definition of aporia
there are some words
you have authored (into my consciousness)
and even now, two and a half years later
i tug on them and they are strings looping california to new york
that’s one way of saying it
impasse. confusion. where to begin.
obituary is an ugly word
dragging their serifs into the earth
or are those my heels? nooooooo.
don’t want the math to be right
2011 equaling now
for you who taught us the practice of investigative questioning:
if the future never arrives, how can we be certain about death?
what does the dream mean if it includes red ribboned rats?
if i am out on my iceberg edge fringe and you are out on yours does that mean if i lean out and you lean out, our pinkies are at least touching?
who draws the curtain?
who wrote the first letter to the dead?
candle lit we cast nets of poetry into night
spinning language to carry you over
the only thing you need to know
about my today
is jean jacket over hoodie over sweater
the discovery of a gravel alley and every molecule of air
daphne-scented with a woodfire side
and the tiny bouquet of some flowers whose names i don’t even know
plus a few i do (daphne, alyssum, lily?) in my right hand
to the small brown, green, blue glass bottles in
windowsills and on altars at 3624 texas street
plus tales of the beautiful heart medal of planet earth
and how i told you i wasn’t convinced when you said the g-word
800some miles north of here waiting for february snow
1. deepwater prarie flash of blue
hay before it yellows rims
of liquid gold
2. they have a spiritual
hunger she says from behind the podium book
layed open to ginsberg’s howl
3. woman with finger cymbals
shing cling cling
clang cling dinging
announces herself with bronze sound
4. for you
on the food poisoning mend
a spill of bougainvillea
5. someone says the phrase inferior spaces
and i scratch lead against paper in the shape of
letters so that i will not forget
6. like children running behind
DDT truckspray in the 1960’s
we douse cities in clouds
of wireless signals networks passing
through the weave of our nerves
7. we look at images from
a gallery of david hockney’s ipad art
wall hung as if paintings
you’ve gotta be fucking kidding me
8. you almost get a gentle introduction
a new zealander speaks of earthquakes
but not this time
a hush for the 75 plus
collapsed under rubblecrush