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

deadman-floating
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/guÄhan
the first contact was very violent
also:
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
shamelessness
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 smallest offering

my spine
a faultline

you
tectonic plates

how violent
must we get?

we move outside of time
relentless
searching
through dust-thick air
after our city has settled
into a silence so wide and deep
you could take your shoes off
and wade into it

ears
turned
and
praying
for the smallest offering
of sound
a breath
a cry
a shifting under ripped concrete slabs

bodies
pulled
from rubble
the limbs
have got the angles
all wrong

we are only capable
of these
heroic moments
because
the trauma and adrenaline
offer us momentum

where is she
where is my babygirl

i am aware
of the distance
across
my own country

if paper moves slow
this gut
this heart
this ribcage
are reams of it
making their way back
page by page
at the mercy
of a postage stamp



and a moment brought to you by lavender bubble tea

mainlining sugar
in both liquid and chewable forms
riding the shakes
uphill
5 miles home


awaiting the key holder

1. awake at 6am
locked out at 7
leaning against concrete
awaiting the key holder

2. the pleasure
of knowing where things belong
the ecstasy of efficience

3. tectonic-plate-shift moment
this generous heart
outgrowing
this elfin body

4. liquid hickory smoke
one-gallon plastic bottle
this is the worksmell
i carry home in my skin

5. coconut water
(aka: blood transfusion)
by the quart

6. she zones out
on kids book copyright page
hand on her shoulder again asking
you ok?

7. badger sleep balm
as massage oil
rough thin skin
under my hands

8. fellini film
in corinne’s bed
computer heating my lap

9. hip-opening yoga poses
i miss elaina
telling us
to let go of what no longer serves us

10. candles at bedside
casting shadow and light