Saturday, December 27, 2008


i sew myself into my new life,
checking carefully to make sure
the binding tightens.
i'm carefully darning
what remains
of my holes, which are few.
the last person to enter
has exited
and i'm getting more and more
comfortable with reprising my old role -
seamed shut, a beautiful tapestry
with nothing inside,
not even a space
for what could one day be.
i do not leave anything empty,
just sew until there is no space
left for anything,
not even me.
but i don't take up much
time, or room
and i am comfortable without
a home -
i spent ten years searching
for one,
and then three more
learning that
there is no such thing.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

waiting for it to show up

pissing on a stick
did not alleviate
my concern, merely
provoke a period of pausing -
waiting to bleed, or
failing that,
any appointment
to scream out,
what the hell
is wrong with me

inside i feel
something insidious,
really wrong,
much like the first time
before i bled out
what would have been
our child -
the bleeding that
will not come,
the imbalance
of body

and i, yes
am terrified

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


my silence has not been
i am not
stemming words of woe and
holding them inside. it is simply
that they do not exist,
my mind
is too tired to create that kind
of vitriol.

i won't cry through my words,
because i do not cry. i will not say
i do not feel this at all,
surrounding you: i do.

i let it wash
over me like a vague sort
of stain, a dye
given enough washings,
begins to fade.
the parts of me i piece together
are undiluted, raw, freshly mined
and freedom is an empty shell

yes, empty. not damaged, nor destroyed,
or any of the adjectives used
to convey this

think pristine:
an empty ballroom, a
thing unused
echoes through an empty room.

Monday, December 1, 2008

rainy season, the

perpetual sounds of moisture
my shoes squelching through the dark, spongy leaves
the overflow of the eaves
falling against
the walls of my room while cars
plow through puddles and deluge
the sidewalks with gutter water
the patter of raindrops against
the ground,
as silent as the rain is here
i still think of rain as noise, a
soundtrack for a life.
a way to gauge the passing
of time.

wet tracks into the house, a trail
lurking on the floorboards
the impermanent marks
of occupation
you'd never know i lived here.
is not a home, and i act
everything into my four corners,
wait the weather out.
rain gurgling into the gutters,
weeping down the shingles,
leaving rusty tracks behind
caressing the walls
do not touch, that do not
touch me.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


i am inundated
with silence. blank pages
scream their accusations, beg
for a passion it seems i've
somehow buried, stifling myself
in order to tamp down the riot
in my mind.
bombed to resume peace
and order, and so i kick,
scuffing through the ash.
the rain has come, & i crunch
through yellow leaves each morning shrugging
my hood closer
to my face.
drops scatter against my glasses.
nothing moves early in
the morning but
cars slushing through the street,
the winds blow and
trees shake water into the air.
the early hours grow bitterly colder.

i pull on chilly layers
and stand pebbled
and plucked in front of my mirror,
relearning my face.
it is hollow-eyed
and rarely moves.
i leave in, and return to,
to a place where silence remains.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

for andre

what i want to do is call:
you have no idea how badly
i still want you, even
though it's been years.
i still
want to lie in bed with you
while you blow smoke out of
the cracked window, deliciously
naked, pressed thigh to thigh.

you say i would not recognize
your current condition, too skinny
and strung out on love
if that's true, i'm unrecognizeable too

you wouldn't know me either.
we both are different people now
than who we were,
had delirious sex after nights and nights
of touching.
now i don't bite off
my desire for you. it bubbles inside
i know
how badly i want it. it's
crossed my mind more than once
that you and i might have made it,
if we'd manage to live
in the same state
might have turned out differently,
in some alternate place
and all these foreshortened maybes
don't get me anything but
a bit regretful

i wish i'd stuck out that town
and seen where it would go,
you and i,
the misfit couple sent
straight from hell
and it's been
two, three years but now
i want you more than ever
i still
want to be pressed to your side,
thinking about old possibilities
and the ridiculousness
of figuring everything out
a bit too late.

Friday, November 28, 2008


i've slowly locked
myself away, through the years
behind layers of armor until
no one is left knocking
on the doors to get through.
i'm realizing
that no one's through - i
don't know a single person who
is past my bullshit,
my straight-on i-don't-care, not
family or blood
or girls whom with i shared my head
and i'm sick of it

sick of wanting to peel out
waiting for someone
to tap
on the knocker, look, ask
if you can use it
chip a little
at my layers of paint

am not invincible, just
put on a good show.
i wish you would know.
look at me,
ask me
what i'm made of, and maybe
this time i won't
throw up my persona,
i'd put it down,
a bridge of it, let you come
picnic at the edge
of it,
want to know.
ask me who i am
and maybe,
i'd tell you
the truth.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

and yes

i am disappointed/indifferent/crushed/stoic /lonely
i am not who you'd think i'd be, although your
face feels smug in its worry and i hug myself

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


blank, i feel:
canvas prepared
but abandoned, still white

i am letting the lack of color
it doesn't seem to matter
what the other hues could be.
me, renovated:
freshly prepared
for the next person i
won't let in,
stilled and repainted

enough paint will disguise
almost any flaw
the cracks become invisible
lines of glue begin
to smooth.
are harder to fix,
a little plaster
but give it
a thin layer.
soon the dent
will go unnoticed.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

get your hands off of me

you still touch.
drumming beats onto my knee,
pressing your thigh to mine
the oh-so-casual lean
against my shoulder as you listen
to me.
you bump my side as we walk.
i shy away
has become too much. when
you press against me
i move away
i want to
but will not
touch you.

but your easy reach for my body
has not disappeared
you hug tightly and
won't let go.
i cringe.
squeeze back, and run.
closeness is only pain.

you left, staring
through the windows on the train,
hands pressed against the glass
as you gazed at me.

i return your stare
but do not wave
i run
as soon as the train has passed.
i try
to forget the look
on your face.

Monday, November 24, 2008

whatever your dark desires

know this.

light piercing down
will flay them,
until the darkness
has washed away
and you will only be left with
the cold, naked,

Sunday, November 23, 2008

wish list

what i want
is something thick enough to do the job
not too long, but
not so short it can't
hit the back of me
don't care about the denomination,
paper, plastic, animated biped,
give me a hand[or two]
make me drift out, and then into
my body -
make me remember
what it's like to scream and sweat

one or the other, or both, of the sexes
as if there's enough change to
make a difference, as if
any person or thing could possibly
alter the thrumming solitude of
this bed
say rubber, or latex,
go for hard and indifferent,
so it
won't care when i don't
want to cuddle
don't want to let it settle in my bed
long enough to get comfortable
and stay

Saturday, November 22, 2008


look -
white snow speckled by flung
droplets of blood
the red fur of the fox
clamped into the trap, steel
teeth in its foot
to the bone.

and i, i am that pitiful animal,
duly gnawing
through my leg,

look -
i'd rather limp away
under my own power, bleeding
missing a limb
than be caught in your trap.

Friday, November 21, 2008


this winter seems suitable for saying
all those words that never
came out before:
i'm sorry,
i love you, i'm sorry for loving you
really fucking sorry.
winter devolving into a soggy mess,
as we all hide in our layers

who can even see us
underneath it all.
can really tell what we hide

Thursday, November 20, 2008


in the spaces we conscientiously place between us
unspoken longing lingers still.

do not believe in hope, so
say nothing.
you've heard it before.

what i do is disengage
a little more every time i see you
i wrench my body away
in degrees.

soon i'll be separately self-contained,
from acting as if
my desires
in any way
coincide with reality.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

to ash, to bone

i walked you home, you
asked me in. i
said, "i'd rather be set on fire,"
your face fell

but this is why: it's memories
that rage in my head
stepping foot into your warehouse
of them
would be akin
to setting plates of food
in front of my starving girl, saying,
touch, savor, smell
envelop, hold it
in your arms, snuggle close
but do not give in.
DO NOT want.
do not taste,
open your lips, do not
inhale and let your mouth water
do not want do not do not
do not cry
do not desire what
you cannot have

do not
pretend as if
none of this matters
to you.

i would rather be burned alive.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


the fireworks, explosions
in the rain,
flashes of light
as the neighbors run by screaming
honking their car horns,
it's late
election night
i listen
and look forward
to picking up the paper
tomorrow morning,
finally see it
in ink,
blowing in
on the wind.

Friday, October 31, 2008

if there were a saint for shitty timing, i'd pray to her

when you said it at first
i thought you were lying,
i mean
what a way to admit,
years after the fact
you'd wanted most
what you would not do -
ask me to be more yours,
than simple fucking

and i, unknowing
the frail hold you had on fraying nerves,
a snake lying in wait
for the next sudden movement,
which i got all wrong,
so i got bit

which is fair,
i suppose -
after all
i knew i was handling something
and wild

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


i dyed today -
myself, i mean
spilling ink all over my knuckles,
which now as if i've engaged
in gloveless boxing
and it won't wash off,
but settles into the lines
of my wrist so i can
see the tiny creases
we normally don't notice
all over our skin

i look like a law
office suicide
pants&sweater set
off-set by my
blood-like spatter pattern
that clashes with the decor,
and my shirt
should've used black,
i suppose
better to look
a fool with an inkpot
than someone who might
bleed on your files

Monday, October 27, 2008

liquid parts of life

the shock and suddenness of
unexpected bleeding
as your lower lip blossoms and
all you can taste is iron, dull
and lifeless
or the smell of it, as you crouch
behind your desk and hope
a handkerchief is enough
blood caking inside your nose
or the vividly visceral watching
a razor part the skin and peel,
in layers, the truth from
whyever you are doing it, even
while knowing how
maladaptive and unnecessary
and useless the action is
and knowing you do it because,
not in spite of these things -
always a conscious choice,
for you - the need
to show something,
and knowing
exactly how
to do so

Sunday, October 26, 2008

if we still love

i answered
my own questions,
as i often,
accidentally do:

yes, no; maybe
[indifferent, i believe you are
but i am livid with it]

yes, the relationship remained
and no, it devolved
into tears, fears, and
other excrement
and maybe in a few years
this won't seem so urgent, or desolate
indifference may one day remain
for more than mere moments

in the meantime i bide time
dulling myself whichever way works well enough
and i hope
that in enough time
the answer will be yes
and i won't be using
your name
in the same sentence as
the phrase,
"stupid fucking man"

Saturday, October 25, 2008


instead of hiding inside
the sickness that lives in my head,
i bide my time
biting my lips.
they eventually crack
and bleed
and it's painful when i smile, so
i rarely do
especially when thinking of you -
i just chew harder
when wanting your face,
now you evoke for me
the iron taste of blood,
a clenched jaw,
a nosebleed
i can't stop

Friday, October 24, 2008

police get called

sirens swirling through the still dark street,
who knows
where or what or whether
the cop just felt like running
a red light
or whether the red is blood
reflected in the blue and white
night light
on the pavement

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

the time has come to say these things

ad infinitum
until the brain stops responding
when you drift back to the subject
and i hear
what you're saying, but
i just can't care
about what you have to say.
talking like, what if
i have kids &how will my
fucked-up mental case
of a mind handle
that scenario?

all the while saying, i
don't quite fit into your picture

but you're the one who started bringing
up potential offspring

and maybe it's lodged
in your mind, because
however briefly,
i did carry for you
unknowingly, until
it was at an end

and i suppose i'm not
the only one still wondering
what would
that have been like,
you and me

i mean, really

Thursday, October 16, 2008

dryness in winter

i wonder
how long it will take
to stop bleeding,
how many
handkerchiefs i'll dirty
and leave stained for you,
whether any
of the marks we make
will fade.
how many days
holding my hand over my face
so when blood runs down my nose
no one will ask
if they see,
i wonder
what are the lengths to which
you will go
to run from me

Monday, October 13, 2008


the wrong end of town,
i don't mean bad
just opposite
side of the city,
where it is all too apparent
i do not belong
from the strange glances i accrue
walking in my winter coat of wool
my office shoes stark
against the shifting gravel
of a supermarket lot
with a worn sign,
three letters on the face
and the stamp
of poverty
on all the faces

Friday, October 10, 2008


i imagine it is something like
what a heart patient must feel -
ribs cracked apart, sewn shut
around a chamber
necessarily larger
to fit the hands that molded it.

a chest must gape far
to remove
all of what you left in me.

so i walk through the room with
the peculiar feeling of a weight
the space beneath the
breastbone hollowed. scooped out,
sanitized and clean
for its occupant.

there is little that remains.

now i hold my chest high to hide
the fragile nature of its incurved bones
the ribs that fractured beneath
your hands, on the coldest night
of winter. the ache
of a cavity in a tooth.

i bite down harder in hopes
the pain might dissolve
into the sudden rush of fire.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

something out of nothing

i wonder
how anything
can be made from loneliness,
from nothing at all,
how something can spring
from a lack
of something precious.
and when i drive
all thoughts from my mind
in some pathetic attempt to pretend
i don't ache
for another so hard my teeth clench
involuntarily in the night when
what little sleep i get
fails to throw
my body into any port of solace,
nothing springs from the tension sprung
tight-wound in my aching spine
there's no such thing as something
made from an entity
that only subtracts.
in the morning when
i wake, head pounding, memories
mere blurs
and i stare into that mirror,
loneliness is not a component part,
there are no parts
with holes that need the filling
but some things can contain
emptiness, yes
and when i stare into my eyes,
that is the only thing
i see looking back.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

automated autopilot

if i never stop
i will not have to process anything
but what must proceed through
in orderly fashion -
the march of days melding
into a steady delirious deluge
of information
i let pour through,
although it will not
touch me.
i live life
in a haze of things i take
to forget you
and i wonder
how much of this year
will be left to slumber
in the dungeons of my mind,
while i try to get a few
pieces back
from the ravages of time.
but don't try too hard,
lest every piece
i tried to bury
might resurrect somehow,
and claw its way
to the surface
like a wild thing i'd
go out of my way to smother,
if only
i could get close enough
to put
the pillow to your face

Thursday, September 18, 2008


voices muffled behind closed doors
i can hear the cadence but not
the conversation
from my perch on the unused steps
the ninth and tenth floor
the elevators
give me my solitude.
i need it
i do

trying to erase everything in my head
and wondering how far running
is far enough
this city's not large enough for me
to get lost in.

i can feel insanity creeping in, silent
as a cat
don’t know whether to fight it or
welcome madness back in
like a long-lost lover and enfold it
in my arms.
there is comfort, after all,
in the familiar.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


all the way home i took the curves blind,
hand sure on the wheel,
body clenched
around the hard knot of my stomach.

staring at the waning moon as if somehow
it might shift things.
all the way home
i imagined the touch of your hands on
my body,
arching against the seatbelt,
along in a sightless night.

you asked me to
tell you what i was thinking,
i had
no idea where to start so i just shut up,
which means,
i want you to
hold me so hard you bruise my skin,
make me feel my own body,
touch me
let me know you are here.

Monday, September 15, 2008


i repeated the words,
a sickening mantra to myself:
not need, not need
do not feel

hoping to bear down
and force my longing for you
into the same box
as all the other former lovers
i never really left behind, just
scrubbed their stains from me

i'd mouth it silently to myself,
not need, not need
banging my head against the wall
behind my bed,
hoping to somehow sleep
wishing you would hear and come up the stairs
to me

i couldn't even feel the pain.
not need, not need
i'd plead not to
but i do.

and i'm not finding it a weakness, but
a strength, standing
and facing you
when i could have ensured
i'd never hear your name again,
until i'd convinced myself
you never meant a thing

but i find strength is not,
self-reliance. it's
the willingness to face yourself,
and everything you attempt not to see
when you confront your mirror.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


i'm watching the sun shriek up
over the horizon,
mulling over
your inability to claim me the way
so many others tried

i refused all but you
so now you
refuse me.

you talk, about restlessness and
the feeling you're still looking for something -

something you won't find
until you understand
what you search for
can only be found within you,
and the rest of us
have nothing to do with it.

you call us contentment, when i ask
if you are happy
where you used to call it love

and i'm screaming this,
as i watch this devolution

your problem is in front of your face:
it's not that you're not done
looking around for
a better bargain
but that you do not give
even value
for what you possess:
you don't
count your losses when figuring
on next, or "better"

and you know i love you, but
i'll say it straight:
by the time you figure out
you might just want me,
after all your posturing,
i may have become disgusted by the fact
that you call this merely contentment
and do not take what i freely give

you shelve the offer, tell me
you don't know how
to let someone closer in
as long as you're still shopping, you never will.

i'm starting to feel
like the bruised banana you leave
on the counter and won't eat,
but watch it slowly darken
through the week.

you dissect the idea of happiness, and whether
i belong inside
and i'm tired of this weight[wait]
sick of persuading my shell-shocked self
to try

this morning's cold
i'm shivering two hours
of sleep from my eyes,
waiting my shift through to
come home to you, and not know
what to say

so instead i'll go drink beer and shoot
bleary photographs
and on that film
i want to show
the bruised look
of my eyes,
an honest portrait of what toll
i take from you

i won't come home to the cold sympathy
in your eyes.

if you will not claim me,
i will reclaim myself
and fucking piece myself
back into my patchwork life
scraps into a quilt
until the holes are again
made whole

Saturday, September 13, 2008


this is what they
do not tell you:

it doesn’t end when the scab closes,
and the skin heals.
penetrate deep beneath the surface,
when you press their newness,
until you rake your fingernails
over the sensitive new tissue:

they do not tell you it can take years
for the tenderness to leave.

doctors will say: stop
cutting yourself, you
[scar visibly, raised, violently]

patiently waiting for your skin
to finally start to assimilate,
when the redness
starts to fade
– these
are the lessons you learn on your own
lessons you relearn,
every time,
each time, you manage to forget
and the agony of healing
surprises you

Friday, September 12, 2008

on razors

stop trying to tell me what this means,
let me
tell you: it's
(release?) yes, of blood, but more

pent-up energy that, left untouched,
will explode
the tears that will not come
what you attempt to drink away

this impetus begins in the mind
the cyclone of thoughts
that won't let go and so
you get frantic trying to kill it, i mean

wouldn't you do anything to make that hold
to force the storm to be through?

anything will do
whatever makes you slip into a state of staring

the terrible desire to crawl out
from your skin, or,
failing that, let something escape
and not knowing how

blood, (tears, if you can make them)
the need to run like hell
like a drug, like any other escape
yes, it is

i said it

so imagine, if you will
not how hard it might be
to work yourself up to do it -
put a knife to your skin and pull
and part

but instead
what might horrify you to the point
where bleeding is a desperate haven.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


the trees are vomiting
petals into the streets
nature's finest display
of flowery fertility
& i'm slouching along in my newly
baggy jeans, perversely pondering death
the dying confidence i have in myself,
the new kill of the trust
between us,
i tried hard for that
but won't work anymore.
this time i want
something to come from you.

scuffing through fallen blossoms
thinking wanting
to run
until i forget
but that won't do
i can blister my feet all i care to
but there is no forgetting this

i tried
sitting on the couch staring
through you like a window
as you asked
me why friendship wasn't enough
you said, stop it. don't
don't turn off.
with me.

so i did
because you asked
and shrank within myself
to fit the way i feel
growing smaller
and foundering in my self-loathing,
expended too much of myself
on you.
now i'm failing myself,
unable to run when i need to most
too ashamed to admit
my failures, &
angry enough to stick out your bullshit
but vulnerable enough
to tell a stranger, when she asks
me to call her,
that i will.
and i do.

it's NOT that i don't
want you.
but it's nice to feel,
even for a night,
that there are no ghosts.
and it'll be just me that she desires.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


i get asked often,
by men
who've never tasted desperation on their lips
i do what i've done.
"i couldn't do it," they say, shaking
their heads,
and i'm thinking,
you have no idea what degradation is.
something more like humiliation: like
standing barefoot on the filthy floor of
the local convenience store,
barefoot because
beer from deposit cans
has soaked through
your shoes & socks, thirty minutes
into your shift,
dirty construction workers throw dusty money
onto your counter
as if you, not they,
are the one covered in grime.

degradation: reliving over and over
the moment
your lover says he's looking for something
better than you

standing swallowing bile,
cash while thinking about $20,000
of student loans and that bachelor's degree
that really helped your career!!

i tell these men, they know nothing
of how humiliation is made.
they've never seen it.
here i own this stage.

i roar.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


words scatter through my periphery
and i only grasp
at a time.


when your lover wakes each morning,
contemplating whether or not
to keep you,
what can you say to that,
what do you do??

i spend my mornings lying awake, while
trying not to be -
curled into myself,
counting down days to destroy what is left
of this month, the last of this house.

waiting for the space that is ours
to disappear.

Monday, September 8, 2008

he does not touch me

naked in the bed, you
wrapped around me
you are further away than when i go back
to the city
and leave you behind

and i know what's running through your mind
like an endless marathon
whether to stay or go
what the hell you're to do
about me, and
where i fit in your picture

sometimes i wish you would let me go
but you say you're not ready yet.
as if
sooner or later you'll work up to it.

i want to build a life with you, but
hold my hammer loosely.
no sense
constructing something you may tear down
without warning.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


even the sunshine
through the window is dingy
today, as though my brain sees
through a thick cloud of pessimism.
i'm not trying to cultivate this lens
to focus the world within,
it comes unbidden
much like your dreams at night
when they snatch at your ankles
and you run
faster than you really can
but they never let go
and they always catch up.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

life's too short

we spend too much time
on the unimportant things,
what will leave us,
in the end -
laughing times with friends
you'll never hear from
when they leave the city,
girls who want nothing
but your naked body
beneath your sheets.
we misplace the time
we should use with the friends
who will not leave our lives,
the time we should spend with family
and the types of lovers
who won't go
when the reality of life begins.

your priorities are an exercise in
error of judgment.
and i am sick of waiting for you
to decide
sickened by the fact that you
don't know what you want,
or who, or why
so if you don't feel
like coming over,

but don't make me waste my time
waiting to see, if
this time
you'll be thinking of me
for once,
instead of being
so caught up in your own head
you lose sight
of everything

Thursday, August 21, 2008

only years, love

i wonder -
how little
truly separates me
from the people
i have been?

Monday, August 18, 2008

the things we know only when sleeping

i ran through the sheets
of a portland thunderstorm
splashing through freezing puddles,
laughing at the crash of lightning
with the city.

i was still warm from sleeping
in my lover's empty bed,
curled up and contemplating

"stay," he said
despite his weeklong absence,
with the half-hearted excuse of
watering his plants

i know well enough
it's not about tomatoes, or
a house that needs no sitting
this is about having someone

creating a home
to return to,
about sleeping solitary,
but not alone.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

"you really love that, don't you." "yes, i do."

i'm breathing you in and you
are already inside

i don't know what this means, or

my mind slightly dizzy
tasting the scent of you

our heat melts the worries
our troubled heads tumble inside
like stones waiting
for polish

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


now even the alcohol
will not dull me enough,
not even mixed with
the pills i use
to keep my mind to a dull roar.
the mixture just drugs me
to sleep, which is
torturous enough,
with dreams i do myself in
without having to drag up
your memory.
perhaps my sudden freeze
will splinter you
into fragments, too,
after i am done
cracking in two

you float to the surface
and you are a ghost
that will not be set into its grave

Friday, August 8, 2008


profanity & inanity
all that seems to flow from me
when we speak
on the phone.
i'm by turns enraged
or just stunned,
sometimes trying to remember
what it was like
when we talked
without the compunction that
now separates us

sometimes when we
are both falling asleep
on opposite ends of the line
it's like being in
your arms
would be, if i
were a million miles
away from home

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


you were shocked, i could tell
as i snorted
some stranger's coke

off a long, dusty mirror.
i was staring into you
daring you to say

i watched that stupid girl
you wanted to fuck so badly
gaze at you like jesus or,
failing that,
a minor saint at least
watched as she inhaled the
drug she didn't really do,
except when trying to please you

she was already drunk.
i knew
it would make her sick, but
said nothing.
my mind was clear.

you were quickened,
with the insipid anticipation
that comes when you think you might
get your way,
but haven't yet

i wanted to hit you, but made do
with fucking your crush in the backseat while
you drove my car home,

fuck you.

at that moment
i would have been happy
if i'd never seen you again
at all,

much less when you
crawled into our shared bed
ravenous with desire

i wished for the last year of my life
to disappear

it wasn't about the drugs, good
as it was to
deaden myself

i wanted to hurt you
as hard as i could.
i didn't care how.

Monday, August 4, 2008

loneliness equals desperation

i would have given anything,
last night
for your recognition.

i needed you to touch me roughly,
erase her presence from my skin.
a fluke, her presence in my room, and i
with no reason not to let
her in.

but i was dreaming you, eyes
closed over her gentle fingers,
until i could hold you again
and lose
myself in the frenzy of our joining

but instead, i held you
as you slept, fury barely held back
over the time we don't have,
the reasons that keep me
driving back to my shell of a house
at two in the morning,
waiting out your obligations.

stifling the urge to cry
as i wrestle with my mind.
but it is not enough, no.
i need more.

i want you to bruise my body.
let me know i'm still here.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


the sidewalk sports proverbs in its cobblestones
tells me to go slow.

i do.
i keep wondering as i walk this path
each day,
how one could be slow
enough to turn to stone.
curl into
the cobble until my backbone
solidifies, hardens.
make my skin
go granite.
every day i pass in too
much of a hurry to read the stones
although they shout as i pass:
time is nothing to a stone. their
thoughts will remain, their silence

Saturday, August 2, 2008

after i cried

i carefully licked
blood from the scratches you left
me off of my face

Friday, August 1, 2008


i sat in the bookstore, listening
to Ursula Le Guin reminisce
the lack of lost lovers' names

and i thought,
why i write them,
a pebble in my stream

words unimportant in the memories of pressing skin,
but still
i want to name them
preserve the small part of myself
that chose: you.
you, and you, and you.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

i told you

if sex was all
that was driving me,
i certainly had easier, and likely
better places to get it,
and people who would treat me
like a goddess
as well you know,
as well i know you
could easily find someone
our remaining revolves
around more than mere chemistry,
pheromones, hormonal polarization.
my hormones have
other places to be,
and other beds i'm
invited into - pity
i can't get you
out of my head -
your claws sunk
too far in to pry loose

Sunday, July 27, 2008


baby i want you
to hold my hands
they are cold.
they are waiting for you.
i want
you to tuck them into your pockets
and wait until i
melt into your heat.
come over here
i want to tell you
that you are beautiful.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


the utter rage
that once had me fisting walls
so hard my
metacarpals cracked
is so frozen now
i can't
even find it

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


i think in order
to settle your spinning mind
i should close my lips over your mouth
so we cannot speak

Friday, July 11, 2008

drawn to complication

i don't know if you realize
how much i appreciate
your hanging around until two
although you tried to leave
by midnight -
i relish the seconds
i am not alone
in this house's walls,
sitting bolt-upright in my bed
with every creak, which is strange
as i raised myself in
the noisiest old house i know,
so i ought to be immune
to the sounds of timber resettling
on its foundations.
i want you to know
i'm not quite so immune
to you as i let on,
but don't quite know how
to bring it up
so i just smile into your eyes
when you are here
and hope you can hear
what my brain is screaming -
how long before you will recognize
the desire in your eyes, or mine?
i am so drawn
to complication - to the thrum
and beat of a racing heart,
the patter of skittish hands
that i wish you would use
to cover my trembling ones,
and hold them
until i can stand
to let go

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

in praise of mouthy women

i did try, briefly
to quieten myself
for you,
give you a touch of stability
on my constantly shifting ground.
"your" chapter
is the end of the piece,
no matter how i look at it -
that kind of fierce desire died
in the small piece of sunlight
i gave it
hoping it might grow,
in your looming shade.
so now i brush
the dried twigs with my fingertips
and palm the leaves and crumple
them into powder.
the wanting
until all i need
is my breath steaming in the air
on the streets,
good shoes for rambling
because my mind will not sleep,
enough alcohol
to make me smile - my needs
have simplified,
back to the days before you
when all i wanted was a pack
of cloves and enough coffee
to drown my slumber in,
since i don't like
the way it snatches,
a razor hidden in my wallet
for comfort rather than need,
for bleeding is a conscious act
of mutilation now,
not an excuse for escape,
but a little self-hatred
peering through the walls of the room
i lock it into,
music on my headphones
so i can rock myself
to apathetic staring
when i am the only one
in the room

Friday, July 4, 2008


i wish i knew how to say what
it is i'm feeling,
words only make it so far
before tumbling like dominoes,
leaving fallen soldiers in their wake.

i'm beginning to mistrust words
as they twist and reveal themselves:
not what i meant to say.
not what
you think it means.

i don't
even know what i feel anymore,
except an obsessive need to release everything,
and no way i know how.

i want it physical. i want more
than shifty words on a page,
want to be able to touch my rage
and mold it
into a display
i want tangible things
i want
to explode silently i want you
to see.
i want you to fucking
see that i cannot write this for you.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

it's not hard at work

the copier's pulse is steady
whirrr, ka-chunk. whirrr, ka-chunk.
the sound of plastic colliding,
numbing. i could be
thinking about anything now
but i am
as brainless as my copying assignment
my stare is intent:
watch pages
flutter through their assembly line.
no, i won't think.
i will not
remind myself of you.
i take
my job's monotony and apply it:
in the morning i count the stones
as i walk, studying texture.
i focus
on minutinae, sink into the
relief of routine until i forget
to remember
why my brain
is shutting off.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

depression distills you

all i want
is to be done with today,
to crawl home and
hide underneath the covers,
for there is nothing else worth doing
except masturbating my own
and seeing if they'll
decide to stick around, this time
after the doing is over
and when drinking's the only thing
that lulls me to sleep anymore,
i know i might as well stop
sleeping, because at least
that's not toxic to my liver
only my mind
which i'm trying
to leave behind,
like an unwanted animal,
so it acts accordingly -
keeps staring with its
adorable eyes,
showing me the potential
good times
but it never follows through,
and only the truth will remain,
in the end -
the type
that pisses on the rug & then
cringes in
the corner, expecting a blow

Thursday, June 26, 2008


i wanted you to watch
my every move,
take it in hungrily,
as you do
and try to play it
off, as if your
concern somehow lies
within the saccharine
sentiments you spew;
am i okay, what in
my world is new

why do you care, and
what business is it
of yours,
the shape of my heart
and its unsteady beating,
the details of which
you relinquished
the rights to

i watch it snow
in my inner sanctuary
blanketing what is raw
with a sense of solitude,
and solace
in the masking
of what lies beneath
with something that obscures
my details
from your view.

Friday, June 20, 2008


sometimes i think maybe poets
are the least useful of all
wordsmiths, although
a friend likens us
to gods
maybe, if gods have
the ability to scrutinize
the things they create, and see
the changes -
we do have a way of eviscerating
the matter.
but all my skill's as
useless as anything else
i've ever found,
for, lacking an
audience, we mean nothing

so i stabilize myself
against the wall
and try to remember
why i matter, why
what i say
makes any difference at all
and i wish
i could know it did.
what we all
wouldn't give,
to have that kind of certainty
that what we do
has impact

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


i just want to be done,
and i don't even
care how,
or what that means
running is the wrong word, or idea
but i feel a sense of urgency,
a need for motion in
whichever direction will get me
the furthest distance away, the fastest.
of course, there is nothing left
to hold, which is easier,
when cutting ties
to reappear somewhere
completely untouched,
and alone.
the type of pose that
is maintainable
when no one knows your name.
and i am
willing to go
waiting on one hinging factor
as to whether
leaving is worth
the hassle, or
if it is the only thing left
of worth.
my hands twitch
with ideas i do not finish,
half-broken thoughts
of a life elsewhere
and nobody i know
to watch my devolution.

Friday, June 13, 2008

sinking, but not in

i will never forget
the look on your face
as you told me this -
such severe pain -

"i want to love someone else
the way you love me..."

and i?
i couldn't feel
a fucking thing

Sunday, June 8, 2008

wondering what becomes

i push
pulling process from
the parts of myself
i'm loathe to hold a
mirror to,
for everyone's interested
in something that bleeds
out fresh
there's no end to the curiosity
about the sorrow we accrue like bric-a-brac
glass ornaments on a shelf,
where they slowly splinter and crack
with the temperature fluctuation.
the ink i'm leaking i'll
slowly etch into my skin
over the years,
documenting frantically
before it all fades
with time
& i'm push pulling from
others, now
pleading poems from people
just as damaged as i am,
wondering what becomes
of our creations when unleashed,
what we discover
and exploit in others
and our own fragile heads
how are we somehow more qualified
& inclined to mine our minds
for chunks that sparkle?
i can't define
but i know what lens we view
through - the 50 - 200 zoom,
getting close in view
while holding ourselves removed,
lest we get
too mired in life
to continue on alone

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


spiraling slowly down
is thicker than water, and helixes
more quickly than
you'd imagine
dissemination is rarely what
you think it to be.
and after years
i finally have enough hair again
to cover my face
when i lean forward
long hair is good for hiding,
which is why i never quite
felt myself without it
the choppy locks i used to sculpt
in the mirror,
bemused at my
smaller, shrinking body,
the lack of hair to twist
between my fingers

it was a mohawk, once
and once was enough
as i stared at someone who
wasn't me in the mirror

now i just avoid
my gaze
and the face that's
so much thinner
as if the lack of smiling stained
into a loosely-clothed frame
that constantly surprises

Saturday, May 31, 2008


if i run fast enough,
you won't be able to catch up
and i'm ready, now
to go
i'm expecting you will stay

what hold must release, for you
to forget me,
and i,

distance will do,
a lack of proximity
can temper most things
to a dull roar.

running to the next hole
i'll find to
crouch in,
waiting for the bombing
to lessen overhead
to gather enough distance,
and speed

so when i see you
in my trail of dust,
i'll have enough warning
to step off the path
i've beaten
into the pavement.

Friday, May 23, 2008


i'll never
be that tall, but
i'm working on it
squaring my shoulders against the wind
wishing for the strength to
straighten further,
steel my spine
against the strangers who stare,
the rest
who walk by as if i'm
i stiffen silently
trying to steal some serenity
from those who slouch into their seats
as if there was nothing
to this world.
i am sick
of circling up, scrunching knees
to my chest and bending
towards my book as if i could make
the leap elsewhere
by mere proximity

so i practice my pose,
shoulders pressed back
against the cold, the backs
of bus seats,
against my stressed muscles
to stand straighter
act a little taller

Monday, May 19, 2008

this isn't all about you

i hope you realize that,
when you're waking
there's more than the surface
buried within.
there are sure signs of surfacing.
asking me, terrified about
life and where it leads,
wanting an answer
i won't [be able to] give you.
you let fear
run rampant in you -
yet all your reasons fade
when we are two together,
the tether releases you,
that binds.
you are of my kind - too
wary of the good things
lest they fade, which
they will
if you persist in
turning away
trying to replace
something that still
snatches as you, something
that has a hold
which will not release.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

just remember this

i'm sorry i awoke you at three
to hear me sobbing, i
don't do it generally -
i needed someone to hold on to.
it's been years since a person
like you has been near.
or was,
as you're having a blast
running away

picture a forest of trees,
in a clearing watching
as branches tear at your clothing
and impede your leaving
i, standing motionless
as if stillness
could camoflague me

picture blackberry brambles
on the paths you're
wading through, because
clear and easy trails
are the most terrifying -
no telling where
they lead.

Monday, May 12, 2008

the mask

though it's not
my general style
i'm applying it all this time -
not because of you,
but to protect myself
from you.
it's like finding a mask
the eyeliner used like
the Egyptians did - black ovals
to protect against
mascara, color to cover
my pallor

it's the small bits of armor
we wear which
affect us the most.
and this does feel like a battle
for the upper hand,
no matter how unintentional
the warfare is.

i wish we could both stand
on the same side of the line,
each holding the other up
until we stand straight, alone.
but you will not accept the support
you push me aside
and blow in the breeze,
wobble, fall, stand,
wash, rinse, repeat.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

i even lie to myself

once i promised myself
i'd never feel this way again
i shut off all the proper circuits.
i shored my back
against the cul-de-sac
but stepped away
in an act of blind faith,
towards you.
with newly open eyes
i survey
this scorched earth
i stand upon.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

what we reap

there is a part of me, and it is
not so small
that think you richly deserve
what you have reaped.
it is no consolation, this
pathetic end,
two hurting lovers incapable
of soothing the pain.

this morning i dreamed
of your family, and
i do not wonder why
you turn away;
i am more curious
as to why
you'd ever think she
wouldn't run away
from you.
why didn't you see this end waiting
for you to fall
just hard enough?
my fate, i knew
ahead of time.
these things, this
is what breaks a life.
leaving over and over, running
until you find someone
who will flee
from you.
turn your habits into hot,
blistering ironies
that burn your heart.

THIS is what you've done
to all those you have left behind.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


the cold is not
from the milk i drink but
this sudden chasm
which has its hold
on my body - i feel
dizzy & i tremble
& feel sick why
do you avert your gaze
so avidly? why will
you touch every person in the room
but me?
no i'm shaking with cold but
that doesn't have to do with temperature
it is cold
because you've taken back
your sweet and easy intimacy
you will not touch me.
not until we are alone -
and you turn to me
as if i can answer your questions

and the only answer i have
is to this question:

are you in love?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


i cannot decide
whether to let
this feeling cascade
into me
or not
let it touch me
at all

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


[it isn't worth it
either way]

to let go
be let go

to never
have grasped
at all]

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

just fine

it is what i do not lift
to my lips
that will tell you the extent
of my despair
and loathing.
what i will not consume
the strange passion
for counting, and lying -
no, not hungry,
just ate a bit ago, really -
i'm fine

Friday, April 4, 2008

rubbing it in

a layer of salt on the wound
is all i'm going to get
from you
so i don't mind that you're
not calling to tell me
why i won't do.
it is a relief; my inferiority
i know all too well, can plot
the timeline
of my mind's rise and fall -
the freefloating panic
and empty inertia of apathy

i know more about my
being unfit
than you give me credit.
so pardon your fucking trouble,
dealing with me -
some lost, fucked-up self
pardon my thinking
this time would be worthwhile,
that i
might have deserved this;
i erred.

i do not need you
to tell me
because i sing it to myself
with every solitary step
on the concrete,
each song i sing
to myself,
a lullaby
voice cracking
on the walk home.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


i don't know what
to say to you, i am lost
in this.
i need to cry it out
but i don't know how;
i have lost
the reaction.
& i know it's not
what it happening, it's that
i want someone to really need me
call me up at night
saying come over, just
come over. talk to me.
i'm steeping in country
misery music, & i keep waiting
for someone who will want
to figure me out & show
the heart of the matter
i keep waiting, but
the opportunity is hiding
amidst my confusion
& i can almost feel tears & i'm
wanting it so badly but
it's a long time coming
it's not coming
it's not coming
at all.

Monday, March 24, 2008


i need to know you
in order to escape you,
or to stay
i can't continue with
only glimpses of you.
now i know you won't call
when i said
you would, partly
out of spite,
but mostly
you're afraid of needing me
as badly as you do - scared
of letting me into
the spaces in your life
that have no room
for lying,
which is hard to do
while telling yourself
you don't want
what you do,
that you don't need a center
to hold on to.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

archiving it

i don't have to dig deep down
to find the center
of who i was, once
i wasn't so complex
composed of sneering anger
and most of all,
bubbling fear of life,
which now seems
more justified
than i would have given
the emotion credit due.
i fear more now,
what there is to lose.
i'd rather lose the chance
and make my peace
with solitude,
and silent walls
where books stand sentinel against
signs of life
and the only thing
that stirs
will be a bit of dust
raising itself in salute
as i walk past.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


i am not quite sure why
but "homeless"
is a smell

quite specific, and in no way duplicable
not the stench of hard sweat, or
the utter lack of baths,
which is still different -

more of dirt, and unwashed
off someone who still tries
for cleanliness when it's possible -
the lived-in smell of a
claustrophobic winter, when it's
too cold to strip down
and become bare,
as well as you can try
to wash something in a park
bathroom when
you have nothing else to put on.

i've had friends who've smelled so,
unwashed hair
and the smell of earth,
oddly familiar
and comfortable

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


when we fuck
you stare
into me as though reaching
for my core.
you're not far. you are here. right now.
in me.
we move together, and fit
tightly. we meld. slow and
stop. begin again. slowly.
like... yes.
touch me here.
i want you to.

it is this:
hands, palms, arms and legs interlaced
your head
fitted neatly beneath my chin.
we're magnetized
together; thigh to thigh,
stroke hair from the face.
our inability
to disengage.
hand me a paintbrush, tell me
to make art of my words,
laugh off my frustrated anger,

you do not ignore:
you pull me back to you
when i'm far away

and one day,
because i felt depressed,
you brought armfuls
of baby roses. 217.
i counted.
that's it. that care, that desire

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


i should take
what i want from you,
pry it slowly from
your unresisting palm.
i should make your body
my playground.

we spent the morning in bed,
working out our kinks.
i said,
bite me til i bleed.
i wanted to feel your hold on me.

you look far away now,
living out your fears in your head
while i relax, my limbs buttery
your guilt
i won't take part in.

i will say: touch
me, lick me,
tear my clothes off,
let's slam into each other until
the world recedes.
you'll leave your worries behind,
and i
i will purr,
like a cat
with a mouse in its mouth,
tail hanging limply down
between the teeth.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

my image on the negatives

downstairs on a mattress,
someone i barely knew
i was thinking of you

and the way you feel when
you crawl into my head
wishing it was you
inside me
feeling slightly guilty about being
far away from my body

but i've rarely been inside reality, recently.
your hands are the only touch
my body responds to.
i've made my move-on gestures,
your body behind,

but you are still inside my mind.
still curled around me like a cat.
now you creep closer on the couch,
wrap your limbs around me

you don't know how to deal with the
conundrum i provide,
so you don't
and change your body language
to fit the hourly mood

someday, i will find your cracks
and i will stand and knock,
until you
build a gate
to let me through

so i tiptoe on your uneven ground
stubbing my toes against

Monday, March 3, 2008


will list a litany of reasons
it's not supposed to work

and i will think:
but in spite of this,
it's already working.

we fit into each other
you the sheath for my knife,
i the
pusher-and-puller of your boundaries.
i stretch you. you
calm me.
keep me still.

but you hold couch-side discussions still,
discoursing the fickle future,
and how the world changes
so easily.

i do not disagree.
but we parry back & forth, each time
repeating ourselves.

you say:
i am scared.

as also am i. but to concede defeat
to fear i find distasteful
i've always let those i loved
slip through my holes and leave.
i will not wait, this time,
so placidly.

i will say:
the only thing wrong
with us is your fear we may fail.

how sad, to never attempt
because you might not succeed.

i say:
chance it.

you say:
i don't know
if you're worth the risk.

Sunday, March 2, 2008


making friends with the strange realities
in my head again,
i'm jittery
staring off at nothing
and watching
my hands flutter like leaves on the trees.

waiting for the shaking to stop,
trying to ease off the dizzy spell
that threatens
to crash in and drown me in its wake.
and my tenuous grasp on this pen makes me wonder
what i'm really doing,
i mean
where am i in all this,
what am i doing
to my body,
how long
will i survive this?

i need sensation or sleep
a massage or
a good fuck
a long cry
or all of the above
and i need it
until i can make my body stop.


force my heartbeat (or just my heart)
into its proper place
& metabolic rate.
i will not throw up: repeat
until you believe it, or fail.

watch the page waver beneath
your frenetic fingers,
and hope with all your might
that when the person who relieves you at work
finally comes in,
he won't find you on the floor,
head slumped between your knees.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

and won't (no requiem for the wounded)

i don't want to say "itoldyouso,"
i'm not gloating
at such a high price.

i was hoping one of us,
at least,
could come out of our wreckage
now, you lean on me
and i feel your heart pounding
under my fingers,
racing along with mine
and i
wouldn't wish this on a total stranger,
much less you.
there is nothing to do for it, we
may only pick up our pieces
and limp away, i
leaking my bloody tears and you
tearing a hole in the canvas
where your heart should be.
no, this makes me feel worse,
as if even
the slightest happiness this house
might have seen
has torn away
from your outstretched fingers

i fear our future
these holes in us both that
we haven't the skill to fix,
the ache
nothing can fill, fuel, forget.

Friday, February 29, 2008

to my pathetic little uplifted hopeful self

i want to say,
what the fuck you were you doing
hanging a hundred stories in
the air?
don't you know even optimism
can die,
by falling so hard
that when you hit the pavement
they need to scrape up
with a shovel
what is left of you?

your wishful, smiling face
cannot alter the dangers
of suicidal behavior.

little self, you make me sick & now
you are hiding in the ranks
of my amazons
begging them
to protect you
with their arrows & shields.

try this:
hope all you like.
but next time,
take your own weapons.
buy your own armor.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


sometimes it becomes
the hardest part
not physically, i mean
but the type of shock
that sets your head spinning until your chest
is on fire from lack
of oxygen.
what you hear
doesn't matter, the end result
is the same -
a racing heart skittering in sync
with your gasping,
the oxygen deficit
pounding in your skull.
never hurt as much as this
razors never made so much
of an impact, not in a visceral sense -
a small cut never seized my entire body
and froze my senses, temples
pounding as your vision
goes black
and you sink,
to the refrain of
"hello, are you
okay, can you hear
me? can you
hear me?"

Sunday, February 17, 2008

how to deal

i often wonder
if i couldn't stop screaming, how
you would handle it
because what i want
when i do
is to be muffled, crushed
against someone's chest
and held firm and still,
until all of the chaos

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

home calling

it's not so impersonal
as it appears
so many miles make familiar
voices easy to hear,
hard to let go of
once they've rooted, again
within you.
i still make my sweet tea
sugary enough to be a southerner.
it's quiet, if cold
and the blankets on my couch match
the ones in my mother's closet

home is not
a location. it's a sense
of belonging.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

who will watch

it's sick, but she's really
getting the last laugh

are tied into knots desperately holding
our maimed friendship's wounds together
with bloody hands,
and our relationship's
remains, they are wheeling

so neither one of us gets
what we desire.

she's enjoying the reaping of this
in a half-guilty, fascinated
sort of manner,
the type of pose
you strike when you know nothing
of loss,
and stand
amidst the wreckage
untouched, saying,
"not me, not me, not me."

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

i feel sick

i don't exactly
know why
but somehow
it is you,
sweet, gentle
who has
made me feel
more unwanted,
more unattractive,
more useless
than anyone else
ever could.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


well, if both of us have torn parts
of ourselves out
with our teeth, then
at least we know
we don't make
an ill match.
it is no consolation,
this along-side ache

full of heavy silence sighing through
our noses, our lips clamped
upon our treacherous tongues,
pacing through the house
until the endless rushing cycle of tormenting thoughts
begins to blur from your intoxicants [take your pick,
it's all numbness
in the end.]

we crash into ourselves and
pass through one another like ghosts.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

S [elf] I [sh]

call my cutting selfish all
you like, it
will not alter your self-absorption

the way you want me to wear
a band-aid
to cover the scabs
your guilt can't stand to see,

not because it will help me heal.
i think
it's a clear way to see
what lies between us: you,
handing me a small bandage saying,
cover your wound.
happy, i cannot bear to watch
you cry.
i can hide
beneath flesh-
colored tape if you really want, but

it will not erase your involvement
in creating the melancholy
i wrap myself in
like a shawl.

the picture of the painting this poem has also become:

Monday, January 14, 2008

the den

if i fall asleep on the couch
one more time,
i'll scream

so i occupy my time with obsessive
internet surfing
know why they call it surfing
it's more
like being caught in
a riptide. you go
where it throws you.

sick of being not-tired
waiting for the clock to circle back
into hours that seem reasonable to more
than chronic insomniacs,
or just those
whose brains spiral into the void

he loves me not, he loves me not. he
loves me. [not.] she. they.

trying not to stare
into the mirror, as though
somewhere on my body is written
an answer my brain might accept,
failing acceptance,
curl around
like a cat.
some nights
might be better, i might be able
to tell you
if i could remember with clarity
what blurs.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

the act of breaking


what supersedes
the act of breaking?
can you add insult?

glass knocked to the floor
tinkles into pieces that still fit
with glue. it does not alter the fact
that what you have left is
a facsimile.

you tell me
you are broken

and now i'm wondering if this can really harm me
i mean, you make me cry, but
i’ve been broken by better than you

say that glass was a window
if a window is broken
can thrashing the pieces to glittering dust
alter the effect of its breaking?
you can stomp the shards into a puddle and spit
in the residue
after glass is no longer
a window
it does not matter next
how it is split in two.


all last night i dreamed of her, as
i am sure you also dreamed

waking up every hour, or less, to
stare at the clock and wait
for night to be over.
you want me to hold you, but
you won’t hold me

and i have her face inside
my head, the girl you really
think could be “something,”
despite the fact that less than
a months’ worth of knowledge lives
between you.

and what
am i? you tell me
i am wanted i
am loved i am amazing i will find

am i so wanted, then, after all?

i refrain from the act of breaking
holding myself upright in a steely grasp
grinding fragments into something
that melds.
i have fantasies of acting
as broken as you claim to be

but i’m applying the pressure until i stop
feeling anything at all, although
my body
bears the brunt
of my refusal.
this morning, brushing
my teeth
i vomited into the sink
nothing but blood came up
and i watched it swirl down
the drain, thinking
this is not reality.

this is not a life.


“i love you,” you say, dick-deep
inside of me
break-up sex,
you’re calling it, as if there
could be such a thing at the
end of a relationship you

never acknowledged.

i know
your heart
is tied in knots, but you don’t
understand what i see
the lies you keep telling me,

or why i am
holding on.
and i lie
three thousand miles away now,
alone in a strange bed
unknown situations you are
or aren’t going through,
at the sound of the heater
on and off
hurling what little i eat
and drinking wine i have no taste for.
you keep telling me i lose nothing
and perhaps
i lose nothing but you

but in the month you’ve been unable
to leave my bed, i have come
to understand the complications
of love.
lie all you want.

your body is still
next to me.


so abrupt
one day consoling, the next anger
touching your voice, barely restrained

it does not matter
whether you’ve had her in your bed,
i felt you draw away

i will not need to ask.

that morning i awoke from a
noting the incredible
ill-timing of dreaming true.
if it’s
all the same to you,
stop trying to console me
it is only appeasing you
and your slow letting-go.
will not be comforted,
i do not want to,
will not
hide this from you

what a kindness
that would be, were i
to give it.


it’s the tenuous peace we’ve erected that
i’m scared of shattering
not just of arguing or
the [almost] accepted worst-case

i’m more afraid of better
a little something unexpected

and i don’t have the resources
to bear another change, the violent flipping
of the hourglass back
& forth, before the
sand can go from one
to the other.
my body’s
wound tight and twitching
awake into the night,
towards morning, and plane engines and uncertain reunions
at variable times
i am weary of watching my hands tremble
on my novel page

see, i’ve got this infinitesimal thing
clasped delicately
under my ribs and although
i told it to die, it turned to me and said
“Fuck you, Bitch”

it is this very last reserve of myself
i am bone-weary afraid
of breaking


talking about your disjointed
painting, you said

“i feel this is like
the last month of my life – pieces
look pretty but the whole is
chaotic. yet
i must paint it how
it must be.”

i say to you – here’s what this month’s
been like
for me: angry

red and rent flesh on my arms
bisecting the clean lines
of parallel, occasionally weeping

and when they finally scab, i
take my fingernails
and time and time again
scratch the layers away

until they toughen
into tissue that will not alter

no matter how i worry them. they build
armor and remain
scarlet in their anger screaming,

“no, you cannot
touch me. i am impervious
to you.”