bird imitates viola imitating car alarm

1. fava beans sproinging from stems
at all angles
backyard sun rests hotwarm
on my shoulders

2. even though i do not know her
i’d like to help lay the bridge planks
t0 carry V over into another world

3. how the springsummer new heat turns
streets and houses into things i don’t
recognize even in the dark

4. 11:33pm and that one bird
with at least 5 different chirps
(like a’s towing’s infamous car alarm
in the driveway next door
that chikin learned to replicate on her
viola) is still going at it

5. lent
you say
give it up

you’re a liberation fighter

1. gratitude for this space we
make on wednesdays and the work
we do there

2. we’re arm in arm
you’re a liberation fighter
i appreciate that about you
he says

3. man with boombox at shuttlestop
cane-leaning while brickhouse floats
out the speakers

4. workshops prevent the revolution
of writing, of collective writing
heriberto says
they work to enforce the idea of property
the idea that ‘this writing is mine’

5. this is a communist poetics
sharing bodies of text
theory is basically an improvisation
he also says

6. i feel safe in writing, but in art
i feel danger

7. riding the sun crest before it dips
joe and i shuttle-seated
he tells me about tracing the tannery
from his texas hometown
to factories in japan
and the stigma attached to this work
and where does the stigma go
after the factories have gone overseas in search of
cheaper labor

8. pink pulled across sky and my arms still
bare, hair pinned up and again this balance
between body heat and air temperature
noticing the closer the two become to each other
the more content i feel

for the dogs barking in unpeopled streets / dear fukushima

dear fukushima

a poem for the dogs barking in the unpeopled streets
the cows left to fend
untended rice crops
photo ablums
sinkfulls of half-washed dishes

a poem for the shoes and slippers lined up at the door
for the button up shirts and wash cloths flapping on the clothesline
for the pot of tea half full at the bedside

a poem for the  music collection
for the thread spools and pin cushions in a wicker basket
the rice steamers tucked next to steel pots
a poem for the streelights flickering on with few to witness
a poem for stuffed animal families left on unmade futons
a poem for the pearl string left coiled on the bathroom counter

a poem for everything left
in the oozes of radioactive rain and air
a poem for those who refuse to leave the fukushima evacuation zone
and for those who may never return


1. someone says hemming and hawing
and i think
domestic work

2. i’m creating an ideal which may be naive
she says
but i’m too old to be naive so you’ve gotta call
it something else

3. we are creating a community here she says
from the podium before she asks
100 students to turn
to their neighbors and exchange contact

4. for a second we entertain an elements of style addiction

newspearl necklace

1. ankles cold
as ice cream i
wanna be bianca casady

2. i’m so sorry to hear
you’re whoopiecushion coughing

3. newspearl necklace strung
together into news noose
•in yemen
an abandoned government
weapons factory
explosion kills 110
water from a japanese nuclear plant
could soon leak into the ocean
•u.s. apologizes
for photographs published of u.s. soldiers
grinning over the bodies of afghanis they killed
(relieved i cannot bring
myself to open
the photos after warning
of graphic content)

4. rabbit-sister on the other phone-end
says we should keep jade near us
wear it around
our necks
wrap red silk around our waists

5. in the evacuation zone around fukushima
a 70-year old rice farmer refuses
to leave
though if he does
his cows will be left to fend for themselves
for those who did evacuate
almost everything
including dogs
could not come with

like a rehabilitated lion

1. couchperched corinne newsreporting while i peel
bright orange skin
from tangerine fruitflesh
thirteen hours later i cannot
recall, but
lightening bugs
world end
world end
world end

2. white suspendered and purple-plaid scarfed
taylor kicked back, work break in
truck cab, corinne notices
purple mascara in the late noon sun

3. citrus half-priced sometime past
one and before two sunday victory

4. wild flowers i
do not know
the names of:
1. yellow (sometimes with a shred of white) petals on
queen anne’s lacey stems
mad in bloom in the hills of balboa park
2. white petaled (daisy shaped) with purple centers,
sometimes purple leaves
srpouting up in patches around the neighborhood
3. complicated colors, often involving maroons and golds
petals that curl closed at night
in clumps on the west edge of the geisel library
and in yard after neighborhood yard

5. couchnapping while i stir
beans rice mushrooms red peppers greens
in the cast iron while i flip
corn tortillas in the other cast iron
hot water bottle belly resting
serving you is an honor/gift

6. barrel cactus spines i
lay my fingers on what feels/looks like
feather quills
fingernail clippings
dog nails

7. people sleep here i tell
corinne winding through
balboa park trails

8. ace of swords
seven of wands
set free into the overwhelm of summer
like a rehabilitated lion uncaged into prairie
air element guide me

detail fall asleeps the voice
filters in:
what’s the worst part of their motorcycles?

parade of righteousness

in celebration of the absence of numbers

found a slice of clear glass on the black/blonde
ribbons of sand set
it on a grapefruit peel (yellowpink and white) before
slipping it in
the name of safety
to a ziploc plastic bag carried
up and out in maroon backpack

ryder, brusso, corinne and i
the soft pretzel crew
tell it like it is
to the man with the board who
when we stepped aside to let him pass
said good girls. stay.
the same way one might talk
to their dog

a parade of rghteousness we
march past and one
by one lay it on the line
from trying to wrap his oceanwet head
around his blatant disrespect of women to ryder’s
you’re probably angry because we get laid more than you
after he called us lesbians, talked shit
about our tattoos and said
hope you have fun working at starbucks for the rest of your life

waved tossed and sunshone
and me
bones buried under months of sand considering
selves we move through
selves we abandon
and selves we are on the edge of becoming

selves we shelve like home-made jam
to be set aside now
for winter decadance later

riding the edge of greatness
with hopes of falling over
to the other side

the best thing about the excitement of forward movement
is contagiousness

corinne and i couchcurled and crying
at the layers of suppression, anger, class oppression
packed dramatically together
laced up our throats
like billy’s ballet shoes laced
up and over his ankles

clump of fishhooks

1. first news of the morning from corinne on the striped couch
about boots
about water over the tops of boots and onto footskin
about radioactive burns on the feet of nuclear plant workers
about japan
about how that water should have not been radioactive
indicating a previously undetected leak/malfunction/error

the terror of if the news/government is telling us this much
then you/we know
it’s got to be worse than that
i have come into the habit of washing my face
after it has been rained on

2. leopard vest gift delivered from columbia (missouri) thrift store
blue eyes
glowing out from fake pockets

3. vanilla chai and mate hot on the table
we discuss the finer points of dj deuce’s method
when grades are bullshit
handing out all As
except for missed assignments or absences

4. kid on mini bike rolling to sidewalk edge while
parent swoops down
gathers child
mini-bike and all
transporting him arcoss intersection
at 30th and polk
released with a push

5. the best thing about this loveseat
is that
in order for two people to fit
some lounging upon
must occur

6. half-written letter
on yellowed graph paper
it is the first time i lay
wisconsin, 50 years of collective bargaining wiped away
japan, tsunami + earthquake, nuclear disaster
libya, air strikes, world war three
end to end
first time
i allow myself to look at it all at once
instead of small conversational bits
a knotted cherry stem
a nest of tangled yarn
a clump of fishhooks
stand in for my gut

7. most queers at once since i’ve lived here
gathered in my living room
3 imported from portland
i follow a thread back
and find myself there

8. a bar named cheers
just the right gradations of music volume
and gays factor
ice melting into shirley temple
neon halfstraws punctuating tumblers of whiskey
tallboys in  glass mugs
and some kind of cinnamon fireball
one of us recalls middle school- giving up masturbation for lent

dead, wait

if only we had the power sometimes
to see ourselves through our friends eyes
she says
so that when we are feeling like the only fraud in the group
we can see the brilliant and amazing version of ourselves that the others know us as

when we started dropping bombs on afghanistan
i say
i couldn’t write for a long time
at least two or three years

1. a position or situation from which there is no escape; deadlock.
2. a road or way that has no outlet; cul-de-sac.

dead weight called language
dead weight called wage-labor
wait, what is that black smoke rising over
wait, her astrologist said another war would begin in march

the alphabets
are trying
to catch up
racing our hearts
into our throats

quelle horrible

1. in the morning of toilet paper coffee
you rest an ear against my chest and report
you’ve got a peg-leg walking around inside yr ribcage

2. quelle horrible the american-english massacre on repeat
you instruct
keep the words/sounds in the front of your mouth
near the tip of your tongue and your teeth

3. frantic waving and airblown kisses
across security lines
through single and double window layers

4. somewhere
on an airplane headed north
a plastic salad container sproings open
carpets the aisle in lettuce

5. along the harbor a white-pantsed man
with clunky rings boards
sips lemonade from ice block melting in plastic water bottle
your smile
(the kind of smile that never falls from one’s face)
i want to tell him
is beautiful

6. peanut butter cookie
plus fizzy water
and an army of voices packed inside

7. rain presses against shut windows
just enough that i can smell the cool wet sneaking in

8. i loved watching the TSA employee
(once you answered enough questions to prove
that you are you)
guide you towards the metal detector
because you
might be one of the few people capable of bringing out
such tenderness and patience
from a woman whose job it is to look heavy-faced
and severe

9. online news video reports  high levels of radiation reaching tokyo
(tap water
and the first comment-response i come across is:
if the situation asks for it, I’ll adopt two 18 year old Japanese girls into my home..

when i cannot find the words
(such polite things in a moment like this)
for the bloodboil
the kneejerk toothkicking urge
the rising within me
i am failing as a poet

or perhaps i am failing as a poet
because i am failing to recognize
when to leave the words behind
in exchange for my knuckle-shapes
(jagged mountains)
rising from the landscape of my clenched hands

and in moments like these
i can understand
the history and endlessness of all war

because in moments like these
i have a violence
powerful enough to propel me across the internet void
to your actual face
and this violence
does not want to look into your eyes and breath deep
or tiptoe its way through non-violent communication techniques

this violence wants decibels
so i can lodge every syllable of this fury
into the tendersoft of your inner ear
so that it will be the only sound you know
this violence
also wants to see
the pearlwhite smooth of  your nosebone
splintered through skin
and ribboned
almost festive
in red


1. rain
when words cannot

2. timeline celebration:
strong-shoulder mason jar filled with
three hundred sixty five pinkpurple rosebuds
goldthreaded and ribbonwrapped

3. we are pop-tops
a collection of yeses
metallic thread looping
pancakes still steaming and held to face
we are matchboxed bookends
finger-pinched orange blossoms
and sheets of rain accumulating in a city that doesn’t
know the meaning of water
we are peeled back like farmers market tangerines
sometimes prone to morning bouts of crying
sometimes prone to public bouts of tears
we are three hundred and sixty five books
pressed cover to cover
we are vials of glitter, wind-tossed and face-stuck
we are the rust at the edges of tin ship sails
we are scale-tipping and space
taking and sometimes percentages of presence
we are tossed-away end-tables in alleyways awaiting
tea party installation makeovers
we are canyons
bright green and burstblooming below us