the communist manifesto


The theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property. -Karl Marx

(all words taken from the communist manifesto)

exorcise this
a haunting
hurled back against holy
fight large or in the common ruin
exchange a rising
an impulse spectre
we find history
an arrangement
of rapid reconstitution

meantime markets
between naked and man
steam corresponding counterpoise
in the asunder of
immense extension
worth cornerstone exchange

converted awe
put in the shade
cathedrals and crusades
found their fitting
in national nestle
fast-frozen complement
before we ossify
a world halo arises
over profaned agitation
remotest raw
disclosed modes of everlasting sober

remain possible
your reproach is just what we intend
to act as a machine wrangling us asunder
the (w)hole of this shall have associations of coming catastrophe
succumb to the hateful upstart
remain possible
even in the domain of old cries
rally the alms-bag
the banner now antiquated
cut up root and branch and upbraid
beet root sugar
potato spirits
barter truth and wool




turning to light

in the dream
it was kindof like a hold-up
or that moment in movies
where the shit goes down
it was haze-gray
and we three worked in a team
we unloaded ourselves from the van
maybe L.A.
maybe somewhere southwestern
maybe a city i’ve never been to/through
dusty air suggesting an old saloon
something like plucking eyebrows in the forest beforehand
i was pretty sure i was one of the good guys
so getting killed wasn’t an option
but when we attempted to  surround the classrooms
nothing seemed foolproof


blue-handled scissors to clip
front yard mint
off-white string to
wrap the bunches
tiny nails
hammered into shipbed
to hang herbs upside down
to dry


taylor tells mango mango man was back last week
no words for this news just
hands to heart and
face turning to light


the other day
digging in backyard garden
struck a tangle of nerves
undoing the deep belief
that i am a dime a dozen


church-step perched
liz and zeia and i wave to the kid parade
we watch the walks of life
we pass the 2-strawed thai tea
(that once belonged to lisa? sarah?)
back and forth
until sufficiently drugged


the wonder of
the leg-braced
rough-haired man
with a sign that says god bless
i feel my pockets for spare change while he
asks if we like strawberries
lifts a pint from his basket
and hands it over

and on the walk home
i run into the man who i earlier handed me
a hot-pink sign-language alphabet card
and i fumble through
what alphabet i know
to tell him where i’m headed
and we converse this way
for at least 5 mintues


i’m glad outer space could aid you in your healing
i say

voice carried via satellite
to what once was a rainforest
shiz and i laughing
into the mouthpieces


the disjuncture /hilarity that occurs
in the kitchen when will
asks about the life-changing conversation
i mentioned several days ago
but for the life of me
can’t recall now


no necesito cosas correcto
217 says
solamente palabras que son verdaderas
to which i respond
with gratitude
for this wisdom
and perspective



this just in on the undercurrent:
a few days ago:
more than 170,000 students boycotting classes in quebec
and 250,000 people taking to the streets
you wanna know what happens when you hike tuition $1625?
raising of voices
another spring breaking through earth


tugging out tallgrass around five foot sunflowers
wrestle and mulch with bent back
til sunshouldered and sweat-stached
signs of growth
plus hummingbird visitation
(wingbeat whir
perched on clothesline a foot above)
is all the afternoon needs to be made of
(something like a popsicle stick bridge
or toothpick structure
minimal materials make mighty possibilities)


one hour into the phone conversation
i am orbitting far
from great lake places
imagining my handwriting
on seed packets in a blue crate
organzied by flowers
mystified at the wonder/power
of progressions
how timelines rupture
how timelines overlap
we live untouchable story lines
(the accumulation of seeds
commenced 10 years ago when i moved
from a strawbale structure in northeast missouri
to a trailer on a farm on an island in portland
happened to leave them (seeds) in the patio cupboard
of the last house i left
which happened to be the next house you moved into
where you gardenplant this spring
with your current _______
you being some sort of ex but not quite
which isn’t to say we are still lovers
but ‘friend’ is too shallow a vessel hold all that presence/history
and as it goes, most of my relationships are more complicated
than pre-packaged terms allow
which is one of the reasons i refuse to say i love you
all of this a whole mountain of words
for how gold-gild brilliant it is
this overlap
of lo/iving)


popsicle delivery for a sun-hot day:
salted caramel
strawberry basil
lavender lemon
slightly melted during ice-cubed transport
we lick drips off
some we catch
some run rivers down our palms


it was strange
to live in a room with nothing in it
for a month
she says
we of the painter/lost eyesight fathers
we of the sewer/quilter mothers
we of the october birthdays
we of the quiet-in-a-corner-despite-birth-order childhoods
we of trauma of loss
we of the letting go


what it must have been like
the vacating


kate, meet 217
217, meet kate
i mention the paint set
the time capsule
the handwriting
the voice files


what do you think
aunt or uncle?
217 says
6week puppy in my arms
how about uncle


it’s like ikea
i say
before it got all commercialized
in reference to everything about the film l’argent
by which i think i mean
everything in its proper place


1am moon
thinner than paper
half full and horizon-huge

take it somewhere interesting

the opening night of a production by tuesday
new performance piece
seat in row 200-something
fishing wire marking rows
somewhere in new york
on the trajectory towards big-time
dimmed light
red velvet
dark blocks of concrete for walls

we manipulate my body
so that my legs even themselves
so that the spaces in between my bones crack
it takes some cooperation
and arms X’ed across chest


overheard while sipping iced berrypatch tea:
it’s your world
i just live in it
claudia rankine’s
don’t let me be lonely
opened in my hands


i really like being
around all those books
lydia says over
skype from the bay
she in two sweaters
me sleeveless
another difference is the quality of light


from 217’s porch:
snowless mountains
(the near layer and the far layer)
and a green moving cloud
wild parrots
flying low without sound


i never talk this much about my family
she says
her dad’s postcard-sized watercolor
in my hand


fava mountain
shelled and plate piling
summer sweat behind denimed knees
rectangle of sun migrates across quilt

do you have anyone like that?
she asks
after we talk about the kid she helped raise
whom she lost
two years ago


kate i say
kate is one (the only?) reason i believe in books
(which is to say
i am easily overwhelmed
and it helps
if i think
if for no other reason
i want to publish a book
so i can write her name
on the first page)


los rakas
she says when i ask who
before pronouncing the soft t
in reggaeton


white people don’t get excited
i laugh in the wake of

complications regarding affluence and isolation
just after defining the term socialized female


take it somewhere interesting
she says
handing me audre lorde’s sister outsider


approaching the corner of texas and university
i hear it before i see it
thinking first:
soccer game?
confused at how the sound rises from both sides
instead of from one general direction
(air horn whistles bells cheers)
and then a river of blinky lights
rolling down university avenue
for at least a mile
if not more
(if i leave out the cop cars
it sounds more empowering)


killer moon and redblue star
die-cut into nightwalk sky
accompanied by
saxaphone spilling out window 6018


from page 92 (sister outsider)
in a dialogue between adrienne rich and audre lorde
audre says (about teaching at tougaloo college in jackson, mississippi):
i didn’t know what to give or where it was going to come from. i knew i couldn’t give what regular teachers of poetry give, nor did i want to, because they’d never served me. i couldn’t give what english teachers give. the only thing i had to give was me. and i was so involved with these young people – i really loved them. i new the emotional life of each of those students because we would have conferences, and that became inseparable from their poetry. i would talk to them in a group about their poetry in terms of what i knew about their lives, and that there was a real connection between the two that was inseparable no matter what they’d been taught to the contrary.
(wherein my history and future of teaching tendencies

assert themselves as something greater than coincidence or habit
wherein, despite the tears, i am gifted

some kind of future sight
some kind of galvanizing
around teaching as not just something i happened to do

for the past 10 years of my life
but something that i have clearly carved for myself
from here to the horizon)

deep mint antidote

in the dream i was
asked to look
after the place
two houses down from
the lime-wedge windows
only this place
was in the golden hill neighborhood of  san diego
or somewhere southern california-ish
not in northeast portland
dark woodwork and
something 80’s about the interior
i wanted to move the beds near the windows
i wanted to take out the screens
i only needed the tiny bedroom
but instead there was the tiny bedroom with cubbyholes
and an east facing window
(imagining the square of sunrise
moving across my half-slept self)
plus a gigantic bedroom
just off the kitchen
in the gigantic room
a couple hooked up
to a breathing machine
due to the recently discovered
huge amounts of radon
(that’s what you get
when you don’t know what you’re moving into)
plus some construction out the window
lane filled with safety-orange cones
circled in reflective bands

first alyssa tells the story
about how the moon laughed when the elephant
whose belly was stuffed with sweets
fell off the mouse who was giving him
a lift home
how when the moon laughed
the elephant banished it
so there was only sun
for an entire year
and when the elephant
allowed the moon back
he said it can only be full once a month
hence the wax/wane cycle
the light balanced by dark
the duality
and when alyssa asks us to pick an intention for the day
she tells us to honor/recognize/embrace
something from our darkness
and it is only from this angle
do i find the self-forgiveness
spend the next 50 minutes
stretching into it

when i laugh about how
someone would call a 36 year old (me)
and thirty-year old (you)
woman a girl
you say something about my attire
something about  stripes
and petiteness
to which we laugh
all the way down texas st.

and then there was the part where i
hated poems all day
or at least the ones i’m handing in
which aren’t really working
i mean
i work at them but
they are not really
or properly fraying
and although this is the poetry crisis i signed up for

regarding invisibility
i joke across the study table
i’m glad my suffering was helpful for you

i would hug you
but i’ll high-five you instead
leaning half in her truck
liz r. and i big-mouth laugh
at the awkwardness of something like
messing up on a cheek kiss

for fear that the chamomile
wrapped us in its sleep spell
i offer
a fresh sprig deep mint antidote

and then
the poem
that is
partly failing:

is the history before history

when different people know the same body
of water by
varying names how do we
(roads rivers states)

first i give the voice
a body by saying i
then dig into my matrilineal side

          apparition: her/my/our body bent over turned earth
          how wind carries dust
          strands pulled from headscarf
          rippling skirts
          all of the fabric is cotton or burlap

far back
do we have
how to stand
see the (w)hole

          the way to deal
          is to sideswipe it without ever
          (rhymes with swallow-tossed)

 a poem becomes a building, a neighborhood an entire city

          call the carpathians
          a spine
          mention a river only by saying
          that it was
          mention a river by saying that there were
          once fish now there are none

the museums, pamphlets, libraries
say about the place(s) of your origins

          if my mother was raped
          before we met
          i will not be told of it

          if my father sought the services
          of sex workers in vietnam,

the unguided tour
what we freeway over
sites of

          memory as train
          someone else’s muscle drove
          those rail spikes in

a deeper document
(trees waterways stones)

                                            we inherit

body of work / when you take away punctuation

dear readers/friends/comrades,
first, a plug for my fellow writer a.m. o’malley and some fundraising she’s doing for her upcoming memoir project
support her!
you won’t regret it!
click here for details

second, i have returned to ye olde blogstone
(blog + grindstone)
and it feels good to be back
hope ya’ll enjoyed the break

thirdly, i rarely directly address you
and i am enjoying it
and am wondering how to do this more

fourthly, the details:

it’s basically like a lovefest
she says at the top of the stairs

poetry works best as a tax write-off
he says in the dimmed-lit blackbox

in a sea of achievement
you are showing up to this
joolie says via satellite
which is apparently one of the things i needed
to hear
tears gathering
as i perch somewhere outside
the engineering building

what if i lined up
all these words
just to hear you say
you have an impressive body of work
i mean
i didn’t
but what if

largest population of tomorrows
in san diego

people forgot how to build canoes
craig santos perez says of his people, the chamoru from guam/guåhan
the first contact was very violent
when you take away the punctuation
he says of
lines lifted from the documents about
military-occupied land
its acreage and location
you take away its finality
opening the possibility of other futures

susan m. schultz mentions the
‘proof of existence’ form
the font alone enraged me

feels like sri lanka right now
says liz r.
and even though
i’ve never been to sri lanka
it’s the best way to describe
the marine layer plus raincloud rolling in
they gray but still somehow blue up there
still somehow patches of bright
still somehow spring air
cool but not edgy

approaching mid-terms
wayne says
this is just where you have to believe
in the people around you
and along those lines
to the entire lecture hall
i don’t care if you like me
i don’t like you
i love you

poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless
he quotes audre lorde
and what follows is this:
first he drops his spoken word poem/remix
followed by myself
calling down my students to stand with me
so i don’t have to do this poeming alone
and there are at least eight of them
one of whom hugs me afterwords
and then
there’s alex
self identified queer asian
gets the lecture hall to clap a beat
for him to lay his rap over
which includes the line
i was born this way
and other gutsy dislpays of
and then
through all this
there’s me
pinching myself
at the sight/sound
of 200 undergrads
cheering on
their queer fellow student
during ‘out and proud’ week
pinching myself
at how anyone
could create a safe space
out of an anonymous-feeling 200-student lecture hall
but this guy did

make some noise
bang on the desks
he says
i hear they were made in prison

and i haven’t even mentioned the kid
that rolled in on gold rollerblades

liz a. texts about
the one raindrop that lands
on the head of a pin and
days that sparkle
and i text back about
the tectonic plate we perch on
that broke off
looking across water at a jagged edged continent

the forest calls

dear readers,

hello beautiful creatures! this is just to let you know i’ll be away from the command center for about a week. instead of palm trees i’ll be surrounded by doug firs. instead of a computer, hotsprings. also, a turbulent river swollen with springmelt.

if you are at a loss of what to do in my absence, you can always share some details on any of the pages in the i believe in collaboration section.

x to the o,


14,600 days

gigantic cast iron of vegetables
(including huge garden collards)
sauteeing on stove
pots in a sink-pile
garden cilantro under my knife
i listen to herman wallace (one third of the angola three)
who has endured 14,600 days (forty years)
of solitary confinement
(is enduring)
at angola prison
describe a house for him to live in in his mind:

In the front of the house, I have three squares of gardens. The gardens are the easiest for me to imagine, and I can see they would be certain to be full of gardenias, carnations and tulips. This is of the utmost importance. I would like for guests to be able to smile and walk through flowers all year long. On the wall shared with the kitchen is the wall of revolutionary fame. I would like to see three to five portraits with these revolutionaries, such as Gabriel Prosser, Denmark Vesey, Nat Turner, John Brown and, of course, Harriet Tubman. Into the upstairs master bedroom, there is a king-size bed, African art and mirrored ceilings. There is a door leading from the master bedroom to the master bathroom, with a six-foot-by-nine-foot hot tub. The cell I presently live in is but six feet by eight feet.


6 by 9 by 12
robert king (another third of the angola three) says
you have to acclimate to short distances

light exists outside of language / so it is impossible (remix)

in lieu of

bird so baby
s/he didn’t have feathers
just grey/red/blue skin
beak angled open
sidewalk splayed
guts-stuck i scoop up
with leaves
relocate avian body under tree



the way my subtext gets in the way of yours
and all of us are trying to be polite about it
but all of us also want to be the brightest brightness


dream, saturday night/sunday morning:

a forest house/cabin
(family outing)
and three ex lovers
one and a half of whom
i’d actually call ex

the first i told
if i wanted to
get any sleep
i’d have to find
another bed
but as i spoke
i climbed up
and laid myself on top of this
lover hips to hips
rib cage to rib cage
and this lover took my neck
in their teeth

i stood with
the second
in a side room
we could clear out
to turn into
a tiny bedroom
or a clubhouse
we were laughing in this room
crows feet
front teeth
possibly dance-aerobic-ing
or jump-jacking
the light of this lover’s face
the same kind of light
we encounter in old photos
of ourselves

the third and i
hiked to a hot spring
sealed in moss
rocks rain-shined
the springs on top of a hill
where the sun fell through
canopy gap
we wrote ourselves
in water
we were inscribed by light



we are in
a document
moving through a document
becoming document
documenting document
documenting becoming document
documented we are more
‘free’ here than others

dwight street, six pm

f and c looked and didn’t look
blood is so bright
when it first leaves the body
spread/slipped down the passenger side
smashed window white door
try to shake it by returning
to discourse on rainbows
i register it
as a half dream


there must be a name

for the phenomenon of feeling
less alone when we recognize ourselves
in other people’s narratives


how sometimes fact is like a punch

for instance: krupps and braun (coffee-maker companies)
once manufactured crematorium ovens for nazi death camps

one and a half ex lovers

dear reader,
wordpress has just informed me
that this is my thousandth post
not that numbers always matter but
there’s something
to be said
for this showing up
this practice
(especially through those months
of what felt like


the dream:
a forest house/cabin
(family outing)
and three ex lovers
one and a half of whom
i’d actually call ex

the first i told
if i wanted to
get any sleep
i’d have to find
another bed
but as i spoke
i climbed up
and laid myself on top of this lover
hips to hips
rib cage to rib cage
and this lover took my neck
in their teeth

the second
i stood with
in a side room
that we could clear out
and turn into a tiny bedroom
or a huge clubhouse
we were laughing in this room
possibly dance-aerobic-ing
or jump-jacking
the light of this lover’s face
the same kind of light
we encounter in old photos
of ourselves

the third lover and i
hiked forest to a hot spring
i’ve never been to
sealed in moss
rocks rain-shined
the springs on top of a hill
where the sun fell through
the canopy gap
we wrote ourselves
in water
we were inscribed by light


bird so baby
s/he didn’t even have feathers
grey/red/blue skin
beak angled open
sidewalk splayed
stuck i scoop up
with two leaves
relocate avian body under tree


porch-perched at 4610 cherokee
i exclaim about how
i can see the mountains from here
and 217 points out snowcaps and haze


i show her how to shell favas while she breaks down
the networkings of  structural locations and lived experience
but first, the window giraffe
to music enhanced by real record crackles


i wrote some postcards
while sipping berry-patch tea on ice
instead of critiquing poems
and it felt good


wherein corinne and i
articulate and take notes
on a 10-second delay
locating the thread
wound through us