intimate forms of resistance

1. barbara
the chiropracter
almost wiry woman
built of kindness and ferocity
presses my shoulder with one hand
twists my head with the other
my neck
a string of pops
my spine
a sheet
of bubble wrap

2. raúl zurita
calls them
intimate forms of resistance
and also
this option:
poems as the earth’s dreams
and the bait falling from the sky
in one of these earth dreams
doesn’t register
two pages later
the bait becomes human body parts
somebody’s son
somebody’s mother
falling on pinochet’s chile

3. overheard:
professional superficialness
s and sh sounds extra enunciated

4. what if
we made time capsules
at the beginnings
of everything
so that we would have something
to round out the unclosed circuit
(a quarter sheet of art stamps
purchased at the grants pass
[it’s the climate]
post office
go unused)

5. i see you everywhere
but today
in that slice of moon
in the dusted dusk sky
dangling over
the poof of palm trees
the wide green shine of banana trees
same shape as a
three-whole punch scrap
viewed from the balboa park pool steps
radiating the soaked-in sun heat

6. plastic smoke alarm
unscrewed from ceiling
crammed inside desk drawer
so palo santo incense smoke
can rise
around your saltwater
your housekey

7. day thirteen
of wall street/zuccotti park occupation

words for snow

1. chiropractor
hands me a neon-new tennis ball
wilson ti 4
for rolling the knots out of my back/shoulders on
this is after she suggests
something warm
something with weight
to drape over me
so that i can sleep on my back
and still feel protected

2. the rush of traffic
more acute after
the cracking of my back neck hips cracked
streets like this
were not built for bikes
and still aren’t
but san diego doesn’t offer options

3. six sambusas
(spinach, lentil, potato, coconut)
tonged and tucked into white paper
in the rush between classes
six deep fried triangle pouches
that were never meant to
go unshared

4.  stein didn’t like the word ‘repetition’
he says
she preferred ‘insistence’

5. corinne and i
give each other 15 minutes each
plus two minutes after that

6. as many kinds of missing
as there have been said to be
eskimo words for snow
(which is a myth
but the sami [arctic indigenous people of sápmi]
have hundreds of words for it)

7. grey
pulled across the sky
a dusk of many blankets
to hold the warmth
in your redwood nest
how i would like to perch and curl there too

wade in

1. in the dream
i was searching for yogurt on the cooler shelves
and in the diffused light of pre-morning
i woke with eyelids
like tops of muffins
risen over pan edge

2. slowness
padding the edges of day
underwater movement
to match
the quality of your closed-eye photo

3. to the juice of three oranges
i try piecing it together
for kaya
voice and back giving way

4. that marching band
i sent it in from san diego
suited up and started marching last night
left a trail of sequins and music
up the coast

5. sun breaks into sky
washer whirring
i clip clothes to the line
the heat liquifying my shoulders

6. dear beloveds
it starts
i understand that to address this poem to an entire planet but to write it only in english is problematic. this is a small beginning.

7. i carry two candles
into the bathroom
set on white tile counter
before squeaking the faucet to
it might be the same time
you are washing work
off your body

8. kaya, rachel and i
take the paved steep path
twisting around the ocean cliffs
no moon but the moonstone in my back pocket
in my hand
we find our way fine
and at the overlook
i can’t help but say/exclaim
oh. my. god.
on repeat with every crash of blue glow waves

9. kaya and i scream
on shore
in water
so warm
i take my tights off
and wade in

10. your heart
in the water
leaving luminescence
under the kick of my feet
stuck glittering on my saltwet hands
like constellations
like embers


and in the belfries
of the world
chimes pealing out across sky
the reverberation
in our ribcages
(our hearts tossed
into the salt of ocean waves
and the soft of redwood moss)

soundtrack: nina simone
fire: palo santo

is the best word
for the crossover of our (pre)histories
bear paw
mark and neil
the jolly roger
master locks
summertime rolls
needles/fishing wire
citrus-slice windows
bombed-out postcards
blanket skies
geryon and ancash
william steig
maurice sendak
caps for sale
glitter pony bitches
springsteen remix
open skies
cardboard clouds
porch prince
mint and rose
water to water
and all the rest
too grand
too gold
too much made of the things stars and dirt are made of
to wrap in language

arcing from here to the gates of dreamworld

1. if sadness is made of strands
this morning they are long and bowed
the quality of sunlight and spun gold
arcing from here
to the gates of the dreamworld
where i shook her hand
both of us unexpectedly authentic
body language of reception
the glitter of kindness in my eyes
but first
i refused to look up from the book i was reading
because i wanted you to reel at the surprise of my presence
i wanted you to reel at the impossibility of you and i in the same room
the ache of every accumulated lover i’ve ever given myself over to
the ways we’ve twine and wound up unbraiding
the wonder at how the shape of your legs
how the calves angle out the knee down
hadn’t changed
how some signals / patterns / appearances
key us back
to times we have wiped from memory
like standing in the spot
where a childhood house once stood
now paved (a parking lot)

2. heading west on the #9 someone behind me says
could you stare any longer?
to some man looking out the window
at the woman in workout gear
she just puts it all out there
he says
lycra or spandex
bright yellow shirt and fitted pants
nipples evident
conservative dress for what i’ve seen on sidewalks
and he wasn’t the only man staring
all of which is the root of my desire
to smooth it all over on my own body
to press chest and nipples back into themselves
so no one feels
to own me that way
so no one can play the
she’s asking for it

3. two folks
face to face mostly filling the aisle
the people who get on at the next stop
have to walk through them
brushing limbs past limbs, belly to belly in the process
an unintentional reinactment (clothed)
of marina abramovic and ulay’s imponderabilia

4. valarie opens door #302 to reveal
the magically arranged and decorated
total transformation of a pacific beach apartment
(where the doucheboys play beer pong downstairs)
including fuschia and teal
accents and arrangements and
if i fell asleep on the bed
i would surely wake up wondering what
fantastical and magic faerie tale
i woke up to
i love your place/this space you’ve created
i say
i love your colors she says of my plum shirt and various others
her atlanta accent making me feel like she’s offered me tea
or lemonade
(which she comes quite close to
when she offers me water
for the road)

5. she offers to hold the canvas bag while i
roll the black/pink wetsuit
for placing inside

6. two mylar balloons
ribbon-tied to porch railing
heliumed and windswaying
the number 30 printed on each
at 3566 ingraham

7. white pinwheels of plumeria
tucked behind the ears and long brownblack hair
beyond the fence of the pacific islander festival
as seen through the glass of a half-opened bus window

8. i use the word shitshow
when talking about the adams ave fair
which happens to be going on between where everyone is coming from
and crg’s house

9. someone calls us
the sober sisters
and ryan and i lift our
lime-water glasses

10. at some point
the idea of dressing up as that paperclip helper from the old
microsoft word
for halloween
becomes unexpectedly

11. the knit
on the hooded sweater
so loose that it lets the night air in
cool and cutting
as i pedal towards texas

12. the four of us talk about the very real possibility
of the eventual dissolution of the united states postal service
mailboxes as ghost towns

the new c’est la vie

1. first sounds of morning:
rain hitting the shingle-angles
of the neighboring roofs
and shortly after
a tiny zipper
undoing itself across the southern sky

2. a white peach
sliced in half
splayed in platebowl
wobbling while i transport it
from room to room
twenty minutes later
prized cinnamon swirl raisin toast
a knife in the almond butter jar
thick sweet dough slice luxury

3. at the shuttle stop
a guy talking to his friend about the night satellite images of
the world/countries/regions
if there are a lot of lights
he says
you know they’re wealthy
if you look at korea
south korea has tons of lights
while north korea has none

4. you will be communicating with/dealing with
a bunch of different people
i say, desk-perched

just be kind
as lorraine told me last year
a kind of golden baton
a kind of passing on

5. the seven of us
dissect the difference between
fire crews tackle scrapyard blaze
and a line of broetry

6. the use of the word
to talk about
a style of poetry/writing

7. not that i understand much
about physics
but still
when i hear the speed of light
has just been exceeded
i kindof lose it

8. ni pena ni miedo
(without pain or fear)

bulldozed into the atacama desert
by raúl zurita
chilean poet
after his arrest and tortue
undre augosto pinochet’s 1973 military coup

9. regarding ‘haters gonna hate’
it’s the new ‘c’est la vie’
lester says

10. superqueer
lester says about ginsberg’s line about
cock and endless balls
and i imagine
taking on the challenge
of deploying the word queer
at least once a day
while in academia
some kind of think globally act locally mission

11. in my black leather kitchen clogs
i chop
red cabbage
after whisking peanut butter and coconut milk together
vegetables cooked to just the right tenderness
while the rice flake noodles cool
stirred with toasted sesame oil
so as
not to glue them together

12.gilded light
lining cloud edges
the renaissance
makes a comeback
in the san diego sunset sky

write like dogs bark

1. in the dream
i was self shorn
stole the front door from shams’s place
my head shaved with
accidental locks left long
and maybe
there was something
like a blue light special
or a red work smock with plastic name tag

2. from you
a virtual lunchbox note
a desk apple
a cheer for making it to my second year
and choosing to continue

3. barbara the chiropractor
whose waiting room includes a mannequin seated
in one of the chairs, her legs crossed a magazine opened
in her lap
leaves a post it note on my backpack
with the title of a book
she’s pretty sure the public library has
about water stories
and this gesture
is something like a lunchbox note
an extra investment
a pass back and forth on the trust exchange

4. when she gets to my neck
she says
it’s closer to your ears so
it’s going to be louder
later i ride home thinking about the trust
in the gesture of
handing my neck
my spine
my hips over to her precise maneuvers/handlings while i breathe out
i don’t tell her but
last night i couldn’t allow myself to sleep on my back
too open / exposed
creating a channel for everything i am stressed about
i absolutely needed
to curl around into that
stomach almost fetal mode
my back as armor to everything incoming
so i might slip off into sleep

5. ryan and i laughing
in the first back seat facing forward
shuttling north towards campus
feel like makin love
we sing while i bust in with the
electric guitar imitations
cha cha tells us names of bands and songs while i
joke about not understanding
any other kind of music besides classic rock/rock and roll
(what? classical music? ummm, jazz? no. i don’t know what you’re talking about.)
this is
not a bad way at all
to begin the schoolyear
shoulders still sunwarmed and bare
sunglasses thrown back on my head

6. i drop the word queer twice today
first on our quick walk to center hall room # 214
a slice of coffee cake crumbling in my hand
leaned against the oven handle good for hanging towels on
arugula salad in a bowl in my hand
how we howl there in the kitchen
about queer bubbles and lack thereof

7. the state of california
he says gesturing around the lecture hall
that’s who built this, so watch out
see this, this
his fingers gripping the pencil sharpener
this is dangerous

8. the truth is wild
he says
you can get killed for writing non-fiction
he talks about silence and power and unlocking them
write like dogs bark
loud and guttural

9. as an illustration of
the wonder of the periodic table of elements
this crappy thing
he knocks on the particle board desk
is made of noble elements
we shouldn’t put it down

10. kaya’s mystery spice chili taste test
while i precaution about the approach to mystery spices
i end up being the only one in the room
to like it

11. i discover my school year mantra/approach:
taking everything by the jugular
and you reveal yours:
all mariah carey all the time
(especially ‘the emancipation of mimi’)

battle in the spirit realm

1. in the dream a ‘witch’
destroying the fabric
tank tops eaten up like old cinematic film
and me holding my open palms to the woven thread
willing it towards restoration with everything ‘whole’ i have
a heavy cloud descending
this was after she
looking a lot like someone i know
german accent and thick eye makeup
on her knees below me her fingers
full in me i stood holding on
and before i taught my mom
about battle
in the spirit realm
there was also something about a train
sleeping on it overnight with two of my fellow travelers
staking out camping spots

2. def leppard
(an entire album)
on rotation while i
at the edge of the last of the letter-writing days
(like one stands overlooking the grand canyon)

3. dr. brené brown
talks about her study of wholeheartedness
maybe stories are just data with a soul

human connection is why we’re here
its what gives purpose and meaning to our lives
recontextualizes shame by sharing this equation: shame = fear of disconnection

and how it unravels connection
she gives us the ‘original’ definition of courage
(from the latin cor meaning heart):
to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart
speaks of connection being built by a person’s willingness
to let go of who they think they’re supposed to be
(authenticity intact)
and a full embracing of vulnerability
(vulnerability makes you beautiful
it is necessary
the willingness to say i love you first
willingness to do something when there are no guarantees
when people realize vulnerability is important
they surrender and walk into it
to let ourselves be seen. deeply. vulnerably.
to love with our whole hearts even though there’s no guarantee
to practice gratitude and joy in moments of terror (can i love you this much?)
to feel this vulnerable means i’m alive
to believe that wer’re enough
is to practice/build connection.)

4. photos of light
and lines
and a blood-on-water elastic sky
rolling in via satellite
while you eat the pepperoni off the pizza
for me

5. hunched over the email avalanche
my arm
with ache
my spine
a knot-gnarled tree trunk
welcome back
to academia

5. two cast irons at once
tempeh with tamari and balsamic vinegar in one
orange pepper
in another
coconut oil moving through solid to liquid states
as the temperature rises

6. i tell you about the orders
to sleep on my back
while you practice corpse pose
900 miles north
it’s like
being pulled from
my mother’s womb
and all i can say is
i don’t wanna go