we rise

in the dream, four of us were looking for a house
one of us signed the lease
upon moving in i discover
it’s the house over which i was taken to court by my slumlord alan glickenhouse (for ‘damages’) in waking life
a breakfast nook built into the kitchen and
the creaking stairs painted white with blue trim
the upgrades cosmetic
the street outside still gravel and
quiet as the edge of town


for the unnamed concept dictionary:
the phenomenon of driving/biking/walking frazzled and frantically to make it to your
acupuncture appointment / yoga class / meditation group / massage session on time


five freeze-dried strawberries
hotpink bleeding into red
crumbled onto what’s left of the breakfast cereal
plus a last handful of walnuts


after an hour of twists
a roomful of raised body temperatures
inversions and lunges
traingles and side angles
back bends and chair poses
we rise from the floor our eyes closed
seated we take in the metta sutta 
before sending it line by line out  towards any person that comes to mind:
may i be  free of fear and harm
may i be content with where i’m at
may i accept what comes my way
giving myself over to the lines

and giving myself over again when i offer them out to you





what the forest told us:

as if i could translate
wind and the fern fronds lifting
grey, how it thins and re-thickens as we walk through and around the bend
traffic towards the river that sounds like the ocean
branches limbs and trunks as umbrellas
where the path puddles
where our toes sink
how the ground springs us back up as we skip
coolwet air whispering raise your chin secrets
whispering you are capable secrets
whispering you are a channel for the magic to move through secrets
how it kept with us long after we left
rainwet scarves and shoes lodged with mud


coniferous trees
combing wind
branches under our heels
wet pavement sheening


gratitude for
the city that was once a forest and sometimes still feels like it
wind pulling limbs
the sound
not a whistle
not a whine
of air through green needles


we take turns kneeling
one legged
in the sassy shack living room
towards brown paper bag
we pick up in our teeth


ten at night
we peel apart home-baked cinnamon rolls
icing dripping on fingertips
under the one condition
that neither of us complain about how we shouldn’t have


wet denim

wherein the band-name
wet denim
is born
songs to be included on the first release:
canadian tux
cuff chunks
saddle sore
soggy bottoms

whereupon the pacific ocean at high tide
chases me onto the rocks
for frothy farewell wish

whereupon the saved coconut homemade truffle
is finally devoured
in the backseat
while wiping the fogged window
with my left hand

whereupon the search for a pastry
is foiled
triple time

whereupon the sideways rain
prevents us
from greeting the forest
face to face

whereupon we return
in a car named goldie prawn
with considerably less cargo
our bodies feast filled
our heads watery with ocean night dreams
our limbs drying under uncomfortable layers of rainwet fabric

whereupon we find ourselves
plus one sledge
arranged around the fiesta ware
of the thai place at
30th and alberta

me and my risefall ribs

for the sore thighs
yesterday’s yoga in today’s muscle
for the cold i wrap my body against
in scarves, double hoodies and double mittens
frost formed on grass and sidewalks
echoing the clearsky stars
for the shape of your curlered hair
fanned architectured sculptured across your skull
for the latke grease smoke
through the front door at 1315 13th
windows pushed open as escape hatches
for the 15minute nap snuck between
grocery attack plan and
coconut creme pie versus sea salt pistachio brownie
for the broken sky
sun pouring out
into morning and afternoon window
for collard and quinoa leftovers in a land of
going out to eat
for nine minutes under running hot water
for pocketfuls of peanut m & ms
percussioning against each other
for a coppercolored sequin dress
an exercise in body acceptance
for my arm around your shoulders insisting
i am taller
and the wordless way we let our limbs
pull each other in
for gracie silverado
the mixte with upright handlebars
and freshly filled tires
for oliver across the street
crawling under the truck cap
in the front yard
for a livingroom=turned=dancefloor
in solstice’s honor
and the sore feet i bring home with me
for celestina the skinny black cat with white
paw tips
lounged across me and my risefall ribs
for the click of the spaceheater and the hum of the furnace
for one cup of good earth spice tea and one cup of rooibos
steaming in my palms
for corinne’s cold hands on my vertebrae in the new seasons parking lot
for at least five blankets for layering and diving under

offerings of banana bread and tangerines

what a wonder it is to walk
two houses down to your porch
to see orick rolled up in the driveway
to hear your mom’s windchimes
from here


it’s a good time for kegels
macon says
while we wind through the postal line
in our scorpio stripes and colors


the person behind the teahouse counter
growing his hair since he last saw me
and now
he says
he can chop it off again


bond street chai steaming
my hands wrapped around clear glass


half-worn boot heels
clicking over the contours of
wet black pavement
13th avenue which is a street that looks like an alleyway
that feels like a secret


raki’s latkes nestled in a three-tier server
dreidel spinning on hardwood floor
the cookie box says ‘enrobed’
red wine in white mugs
herbal tea steeped
ziploc bag of homemade brittle
and a reportback from the gay men’s chorus


arriving from a city
where locating witches has so far proved impossible to
circulating around
several conversations of
solstice rituals
building and taking down circles
overnight observances
offerings of banana bread and
the difference between home
and passing through


attempting measure by measure
of the moonlit sonata at
celestina curled in the couch corner
brain doing backflips at
reading bass and treble clefs again
key signiatures
good boys deserving fudge
heart doing backflips at
returning to sound
and even if it is rudimentary
the fact that i do know how to read music
a re/discovery


2:21 am
two trainwhistles
crossing over
from opposite directions

seat 27d, you are not forgiven

3:50am i rise
under new berlin dark skies
one star sequinning
remembering mornings of two wakes
the first
at 4
while you shuffled into
steel toed boots and carharts worn through


at 56 miles per hour
on the lone road
mom asks if i am
disappointed in my blanketquilt gift


last nights orange slicing
in this mornings mouth
ziploc baggie of seeds and juice


backrow seat 27d
you are not forgiven
for your unforgiving position
leaving my back in what is called a compromise


corinne and i over beaterville’s scrambles
corinne and i in the red subaru
corinne and i surprised at the similarities of our families
corinne and i worn down and walking
corinne and i tie knots around the word groceries


i think i knelt akwardly at first
perched on stiff green threaded with gold
your living room an envelope
our breath
the cursive
the page numbers
the postmark

the muppets christmas carols
and fiestaware await
i don’t think i could come here on a sunday night with anyone else
you say
illustrating an effect of repetition
and even though we are one day late
we build our own sunday night around us
with scaffolds of laughter
and well placed bells


we relocate in front of the black panther mixtape
you in two layers of thermals and me curled under
someone elses blanket we pass
the hotwater bottle back and forth
there isn’t language
for the coverage of cops wielding guns
aimed into masses of non violent protestors


to walk three houses home
the smell of your vetiver
oakmoss neck
on my too clean hoodie



even though she didn’t use the words occupy or 99%
even though she probably does not identify with the movement
here she is telling her own story
about the slowdown in the housing market
about how the neighborhood grew in phases
phase one complete
and phase two dangling
lots that have been for sale for years now


how madix announces the buses parked in the lot
how he says no
because he wants them on the road moving
how delighted and honored i feel
to be the one
unclipping his carseat belts
lifting him up and out


geese V-ing overhead
their honking sounds
a kind of home


isabel and i exchange handwritten postcards
in the basement
drawing of me and you
(i’m the wearing the hood)


ropes and pulleys

the camera doesn’t catch
the green blue (cancun! the carribean! maui!) of lake michigan set against
bulges of gray sky
camera doesn’t catch
ropes and pulleys ting-ing and thwapping
against metal masts
in lakside wind
how i didn’t grow up near ths sea
but the great lakes make decent understudies
camera doesn’t catch
the kind of cold
slips through thin knits
but five minutes of fast pacing and
we have lit our own fires

signs pointing to i could live here:
1. day 59
painted in black on brown cardboard

and nailed to a wood stake hammered into the ground
bright blue tarp flapping in the park
one of several decolonize milwaukee sites
2. flyer tacked outside the co-op for
keep it dirty
monthly queer dance night

new years edition
3. the creaking hardwood of
a volunteer run co-op
4. the pink-painted trim of the free school/info shop
across the street from the c0-op
5. the free school itself
6. the lake that looks more like an ocean
and how we have known each other
for 36 years
7. an akilah oliver chapbook
bright orange and filed under ‘o’
in the shelves and shelves of small press publications
at woodland pattern
8. a photo of lorine niedecker
and a shelf of books by/about her
near the front door
9. every name on every spine i recognize
(know/have worked with/have read/have read about:
joanna ruocco, bhanu kapil, louis zukofsky, anne waldmen, ron silliman, rae armantrout, harriet mullen, denise sweet, anne tardos and on…)
and all of a sudden a room with three people in it feels brimming
10. all that beautiful brick
and all the industry that hasn’t yet gone overseas


i know our stories are different, but
here i understand the need for hard music
for the clean edge of a pillaged razor blade
understand what a window/frame means to a forehead in the florida heat

tomorrow i will try harder

as the blade spun

gathered around our noodles & company table
for joe’s 7th birthday
izzy asks mom if she’s ever been arrested
no mom says but ask your aunt
so izzy 10-year-old turns to me and asks

have you ever been arrested
to which i respond yes i have
for what she asks

to which i respond
for protesting
oh, prostesting,
she says, that’s a good thing

(what i don’t say: many of the people who are arrested are good people
just in the wrong place at the wrong time
targeted because of their skin color
their lack of access to money
housing, or other resources)
what were you protesting? she asks
which time? i respond
the first time
i was protesting a slaughterhouse
where they take animals in to be killed for meatwhat were you protesting the second time?
a labratory where kept live monkies for testing

we don’t get to the third time

(what i don’t say:
how we u-locked our necks together and laid down in front of those trucks at the entrance and had to be cut out with a hand held saw
how i remember sweat rolling off the man kneeling over me as the blade spun)