brown eyes,

gold skin,

black cross-hatching,

blue rivers of veins

running through;

i see you. i see you.

your fingers find mine,

carry their own heat;

i feel you. i feel you.

your open mouth holds

what we don’t need to say.

you unfold your acre arms; and

i fall straight through

to the other side.


forgive me, father

forgive me, father

for i have sinned;


it’s been fifteen days

since my last poem.


these first baby steps

are weird and wonder-


ful; i wonder where

they are taking me.


maybe to you—to the

brightest thing in my life.


let me know where

your heart is;


let me know your

words so i can


steal them away:

the purest relation-


ship, you say, preserved

in this crystalline distance.


can you see them? the pink

clouds rowing through the sky?


humming right along-

side? we’re almost there.


i wrote that poem

while sitting in a

waiting room. every

room is a waiting

room, really: a moment

wanting to bloom, to

become, to sing forth

like a glass of warm

rum and a night of

stars. my messages to

you are one-way, like

prayers—red-eye wishes

in a bottle, floating out

to sea—bobbing, whispering:

see me, see me.


smells like chicken

sittin’ outside in

the sweet spot,


under the tree in

the parking lot;


the dumpster by this

joint smells like


chicken. and this is

living, counting coins on


a corner, trying to buy a tiny

piece of the power ball.


the first words out of her mouth

this morning were mother fucker.


they were not literal



her pelvis is locked up like a fort;

nothing to see here.


in order to get this flushed anymore

she has to walk in the night rain,


fast, uphill,

thinking, thinking—


her head and feet so far apart

they scream.


in love with a fantasy:

it sustains her like the whiskey


she needs to wash down her bread.

she can’t remember the first


words said, or the time be-

fore they met, before they parallel


parked their force-fed lives full

of love, war, birth, joy, death.



i’m here.
i’m here in the heart of the city.
in the heart of pretenses.
calling you through this concrete window:

you just stepped out of the bath,
out of breath from the heat and the
stretching and the thoughts of wanting me
to see you even in the midst of your mess.

we’re both here. on this non-fiction line.
on this day of one lost hour. on this day
of the dead; of our continued living in
electricity and love and power and dread.

right before i stood up and
nailed it, all of it, right to the
tree and then sunk down on my knees
to worship her sanctity—

i sang you the words of my grandmother’s
story, and you told me of your father’s
eulogy, and our hearts pounded together
over the invisibly real sound waves.

everything’s going to be ok

i’m so confused.

those were dad’s last words
almost five years ago

that i wasn’t there to hear,
that i wasn’t there to answer,

explain, hold. mom was there.
she was always there, hadn’t

left his side in all those years.
and now he was leaving hers,

going on ahead, scoping things
out like he would a store,

restaurant, parking spot.
i was hundreds of miles away

driving through rain, trying
to get there; trying to speed up

time, slow it down, stop it.
we got the call somewhere in

west virginia. we pulled over
into a gas station where i cried

and shook and wiped whatever
was coming out of me into my arm.

yeah, i knew he was sick. yeah, i knew
he was dying. but that doesn’t make it

any easier when it actually happens, ok?
the man who gave me life just died.

he knew i was coming, that i was on
my way. maybe my spirit arrived

ahead of me, scoping things out, like
a store, restaurant, parking spot.

yeah, maybe i had been there after all,
saying it’s ok to be confused; we’re here

echoing back to him what
he had said to me months

earlier, what i had
somehow believed:

everything’s going to be ok.