blue-tape name tags

i wanted to draw a picture of a bus
for you to bring home to madix

_______

kaya cheers
down b street
at her topographical genius

_______

gray air overhead
steel thighs pressing forward
a body in motion can hum

_______

just breakin’ some ice he says
outside the sideporch
notecard in hand
we laugh about looking like
we know what we are doing

_______

related to an unnamed phenoma:
same word
spoken in two separate rooms
of the 22nd street house
at the same time

_______

blue-tape name tags
it is impossible to show up
without wonder
at what we’ve built

_______

this is not quite feedback
but i’d like to offer my deep gratitude
and massive appreciation
and then we hook arms
_______
bikes is taken so i go with
brilliance and resilience
_______
how is it we talk about safer spaces
without even getting to assault
race oppression
sexism?
_______
wherein my appreciation for sectional couches
is re-inscribed
_______
the difference between queer and unqueer spaces
annunciated by a pair of hot pink pants
_______
alia and i
laughing on the couch like
this could take us somewhere
_______
after the advil i come
to understand the empty
space
as freedom

dialect of the vicious

i switch seats so ami can soak in the
light blue + white
arched windows and open ceiling
mental noting
the color combination
for my next sunny room

_______

air channel above
water channel below
bobbing under the pacific flyaway

_______

travelling swallowing dramamine
chorus on loop
from 1990 til now

_______

unnamed phenomena #59348753:
the feeling (something like stupidity)
that arises when one points
to something we are supposed to see off in the distance
(a bird, deer, a landmark on a hill)
that our eyes never find

_______

nine miles out in pacific water
let go and lean in
wave rhythm

_______

in the middle of the mega-pod
wai’pio valley kind of gut punch
breathable joy
awe for blood
sacred punch to solar plexus
dialect of the vicious melt
of a 10,000 year old icebergs

_______

the difference
between mediocrity
and streams of light
we photo-sift sleepover
scalloped edges
baby buggies
view from a snowhorse in central park

_______

you offer me a half-chewed
loquat candy
liquid inside undoing you
the year-old gewürztraminer
unsipped in teacups

back when flying was new world

extracting oranges from the secret kitchen
section and slice
while woodenspooning stovetop oats
_______

citrus blossoms in jacket pocket
denim and metal under fog burnoff
how we are woven
smell-based

_______

they ways you see/interact with the world
she says at the edge of a manicured sidewalk
venn diagram if there ever was one

_______

hold on the handrail at the
reflexology foot path
when the time-chimes peel
a fleet of masseuses
black-clad
courtyard spill

_______

free of worry
now that’s a goal
he says
i would add to that
free of pain also
coming from someone who was
diagnosed with arthritis in their teens

_______

selfish wishes
tossed into pacific
continuous vein through found rock

_______

from sandshore i study sets
the slush
attempt to identify rips
(as if ocean were fabric)
surfschool homework
in mentor’s absence

_______

from here i also do the tourist
shoes in hand
followed by yoga headstand
wetsuited surfers riding sky

_______

there is a word for the ocean and i
a kind of folding-in

_______

this song  somewhere between
the bulk aisle and coconut water
four lanes too far your departure
looming

_______

for thirty minutes in low light
we try to shake out all
but a few words that mean nothing

_______

silver crackling along the cord
(think metal, braided cable)
crown to sky and root-wrapped feet
variation of conduit
release rowboat from dock

_______

you say houston
and i say madonna bra
back when flying was new-world
and california too

 

ribs of the city lift and fall

locust pose
half bow
low cobra
pigeon  (letting go of what no longer serves us)
yoga and heat
giving us back to our bodies

_______

we share a birmingham green
with two straws
in a window seat

_______

tight hugs in front slab sun
plus the gesture of a thin mint

_______

dear oldtown,
you may be an (over)glorification of colonialism
and a tourist trap
but your taffy
is incomparable
and i enjoyed posing in front of the cactus

creak of the mercantile floor
layered cotton costume
sound of the highway marking the border of this place and a good view
of the planes lowering themselves to tarmac

_______

badger balm
chocolate rocks
mini candles in mini tins
bins full of gems and stones
glittery pony stickers
25cent roll of smarties
nothing short of some alphabet
set in silver

_______

it is dark in the dark
but not unbearable
and in the un-seeing
sound
smell
touch
rise up

_______

we brought a blank check he says
previous to losing a bedazzle from a
self-embellished button-up

_______

cactus quill
poking out from finger
we stand staring

_______

i point west out rear window
at the top of juan street
to blue swath of horizon-line water

_______

straw-like stalk bits rising
to the surface of soaking lentils

_______

it might be fitting right now
she says
wall paint meets limb-paint the satisfaction
when shapes align
gotye’s got it

_______

remember the brontosauri retreat from writing?
she asks
in welches, oregon
salmon river hike
mt. hood looming
the island of scandal and
after-dark excursions to the churning river

_______

when no human
must die from the system failing them
that is dignity
i say
that is just
bell clang
cutting through kitchen din
regardless of varying positions
none of us can disagree
nor hold a candle
to this bright light streaming

_______

some things to know about the most powerful new moon:
courage
boldness
independence
vitality
confidence
honesty
strong insticts
authenticity
self-discovery
pioneering (sic) spirit
new beginnings
direct communication

_______

don’t swat at me like i’m a mosquito
she says
as i wave shiz away over my shoulder
us adorning the room
hanging laughter like holiday lights
there is no other way to say it
except cliche
it is the language of home
and it is so remarkable
how this city changes
when i am side by side
instead of skype-by-skype
or text-by-text
with an ally
and not just an ally but a kind of
sibling twin ‘other half’
how the sky expands
the ribs of the city lift and fall
evidence of another unnammed phenomeona:
how sometimes the presence of specific other humans
help bring us out
making us more ourselves
than we are

the humility tour of 2012

storms roll in from the south/east
you should see this gathering sky
this mighty turbulence

_______

as kaya disassembles the kitchen for deep cleaning
we talk about what it means to fight for space
(as bikers in san diego)
and how those fightings can pile up
and sharpen each other
(as female socialized and identified in a patriarchal country)
(as queer in a heteronormative society)
and how this streetfight is so visceral
it left me breathless and rapping on an suv passenger window
at normal and university
to let the driver know
that her car-as-extension-of-body
almost killed me
and so i arrive
at the windblown market
defiant and shaking
a twist of the spigot
on the deep well of grief
_______

it is generally a good sign
when someone you tell about an oncoming sickness
asks what you are taking for it
a care-wrapped question

_______

we made it an internal agreement
she says
of the person with a truck and trailer
that looks almost identical to her

_______

past/present overlay:
last time we talked
you were sorting through your late grandma’s things
in a huge minnesota house
and now
after the leukemia
it’s marti’s near-mansion
where you sleep alone
heartbroken at the thought of disassembling her library

_______

the humility tour of 2012 with rockstar tendencies
unfolding like a time-lapse

_______

lead sinkers knotted  onto sentences
as if each line
were cast out over a still lake
reel spinning

_______

the unnameable varieties of absence
a compendium
including but not limited to the following entries:
1. death (but even then…)
2. body as husk
3. various ratios of in attendance and out to lunch
4. hand me that doorstop, will you kate?
5. failed circuit, clipped conduit
6. rockstar stagedives into parting crowd
7. a question of aura

_______

can you imagine
wingman says
tree houses in big sur with woodstoves in the same redwood grove
tin can phones strung back and forth

_______

the future is unwritten
you say
and i agree
but some people
have already been scripted

_______

unintentional ritual:
kaya and i split the last hard-boiled egg

you both light candles

from the garden:

it goes like this:
i am cardboard, you are cardboard
i am dietfood, you are dietfood
i don’t give it up and you don’t ask
you don’t give it up and so it is sealed
locked like a treasure trunk
welding
caulked
some kind of simile to doris describing how, limb-numbed, she could smell them cauterizing
as they sliced in
so as to solder slit skin

it also goes like this:
i know that porch and that sun
i know that garden path past soulship cove
i know how sounds sink through that basement ceiling
i know that shade of blue and how the sun hits the fuschia two floors up
i know the rust/off-white/brown weave of that blanket
the smooth of dark vetivered sheets
that work-tired body
how our voices serve as reminders
for what one’s rational mind
cannot arrive at
and one’s body will always know
(possible variations on voices: clouds / sky
sometimes needles
rose tea
palo santo
lime wedge windows
sea salt caramel gelato
the route to clackamas river and the geometry of its chained down trees)

and this:
balance-beaming it between
protective and present

and also this:
neither of us know how to do this
but we try anyway
and that is gold

_______

while searching email for ‘spanish language school’
i come across two threads of emails from kate
dated 2003
which i unravel while i unravel
and for those of you who don’t know who kate is
the story is too long to tell
but imagine this:
you are an undergrad and kate is the only professor that glimmers
so you slip a red envelope like a beating heart under her office door to tell her that even though she feels like she can’t handle one more day in this fucking town, you know her heart is resilient and full of magic and she will make it so far through that she will find herself on the other side in a storm of glitter and sun
which is one of the many inceptions
and though she leaves town halfway through your four college years
you stay in touch for the fifteen years that follow
via long letters and postcards and emails and even a phone call or two
across state lines, time zones and continents
including but not limited to wisconsin, minnesota, missouri, arizona, oregon, spain, united arab emirates, ireland, saudi arabia, oman
you almost visit her while she’s in spain but the details don’t pan out right
the more and more geographcially distant you are, and the longer and longer time stretches between you, the more honest you two become, the deeper you two dig, the more and more you shine, different points in the same constellation
because even though your lives played out almost opposite
you are both stitched with the same thread of humanity
which means you’ve kept your eyes open
from the struggle/resistance/survival you inherited
(the oppressions that forced our families in ireland/appalachia, in poland)
you both build altars and practice magic
you both believe in the power of words / of testimony to bring accountability and justice
you both light candles and avoid small talk
you both grow tired of conforming
you both believe that, as you just rediscovered in one of the emails, that love is revolution
the image of a heart door propped open
and the second-last gift she writes you is a letter of recommendation that helped you get into grad school and
the last gift she gives you is a store-bought snow/star card from the hospital in muscat because even though she brought her paints, she did not have the energy to create
in the card she tells you how the photo you sent of yourself building snowforts in 1998 is at her bed-side
you don’t discover her passing until your emails start bouncing back about a half a year after she crossed over
you can still hear her voice, the original lilty mandolin
you don’t have to listen hard for it to come in
you still light candles and bring her flowers
she once wrote in a letter you win the beautiful heart medal for planet earth
for which you are grateful that there are two, so she could receive the other
and it is her words tonight
pulling you back into the life force of her
with a punch

for you, language, i would

there are words for what happened in the dream
but in this case they will not do
because it was the quality of something like air or light
but not quite that either
unless i went so far as to say the quality of air and light radiating from inside out
let’s say there was eye contact
on a bus (trolley / light rail)
in the middle of an unexpected crossover
in an unexpected city
let’s say i noticed you first
and watched with kindness when you realized
it wasn’t surrender but something like
after all the shit, i come in peace
let’s say you looked back
caught off guard
eyebrows raised but face on the edge of warming
and when we hugged
you in a red tshirt
we held on
in an honest
it’s good to see you embrace

_______

unnamed phenomenon #3543498536
naming or thinking of someone so clearly and directly
that you manifest unexpected phone calls / emails / postcards
and then, the name for this phenomenon when it occurs numerous times
numerous days in a a row
the universe and i
we’re onto something good
this power so focused and tangible
there is no need to argue about whether or not it exists

_______

morning garden sweat
digging up grassgrown brick
clenched fingers lifting layers of matted rhizomes
working palm-skin raw and worth it
this work of unearthing this
flex of muscle and dirt

_______

the bedspread in the backroom so white
my garden-dirt knees my
earth-covered feet
exposed but never touching

_______

elizabeth isla’s one month body (head the size of a whiffle ball)
warm and cupped in my palms
how it is difficult to pay attention to anything anyone around me is saying
with a human so close to the other-world
in my arms

_______

kaya asks where i’m going
in jeanshorts + fishnets + tallboots
to a reading i say
and it is all for you, words, it is all
for poetry
even the bareleg chill on the nightride there
is worth it
for you, language, i would

_______

what it sounded like outside the bar:
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

what it sounded like in the kitchen:
blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
blah blahblah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

laughing under water ever since last summer

l beats me to the postcard punch
our husband in fine form
by the time i read this you will be
sniffing cherry blossoms in d.c.

_______

i telegraph the message 231 miles north
we need to build a cozy fort of love
for you to climb into
_______

that’s a good look
guy at shuttlestop with bike says
about the striped tights and grey skirt
which i hear as that’s a good book
baffled he has heard of juliana spahr
(what are the odds!?)
gauge for levels of in-my-body-ness

versus
in-my-head-ness

_______

ricardo speaks of the three phases of performance art
in its life cycle
confusion (artist doesn’t know what the fuck they’re doing. just figuring it out.)
achieving signature
death

_______

the universe responds to my list of desire-demands
in the dream
an unsuspecting pickup after a play party / potluck / dance night while ascending stairs
black curls
simultaneously bay area and just off balboa park
grey skies afterwords i
took off onto the promenade
as if to leave before overstaying
or at least give her a chance to choose
she, drawn across brickway to me
took polaroids there
like any good first falling would
sun inside ray-ing out
even the cops couldn’t tarnish
cool air cutting the flush of our faces

_______

the color of chlorination
under a san diego sky
blue and yellow
(sarcasm: go tritons!)
plastic bobbing
red hot chili peppers over outdoor radio
what i got you gotta give it to your mama
what i got you gotta give it to your

laughing underwater ever since last summer when we
turned this band into an inside joke

_______

yeah, there’s not really a lot of places to run
when yr up on top of a billboard