Oct 16, 2014
When the night creeps in
Long and awake before me
I am remembering you.
I am lying in bed staring at the ceiling
and dreaming of waves
To cry is not a weakness-
It is my own attempt
to summon you from the confines
of my head
and onto the paleness of my cheeks.
To let you try to touch me again.
Aug 24, 2014
Because patriarchy is for suckers
And Wonder Woman ain’t down for all that.
Wonder Woman doesn’t have to adhere to archaic standards
Of western beauty.
Also, who can fly around and fight crime
With all that hair in their face?
No one drew her a hair tie so she’s cutting it off.
Wonder Woman ain’t out here to please men.
She has things to do.
She’s gonna get a haircut and keep it pushin.
Wonder Woman wonders why her hair is so damn important
She saw a note on facebook about how short haired
Girls are damaged
So she got to chopping.
Wonder Woman doesn’t need permission
Or an explanation.
She did not just go through a breakup,
Or a break down.
She is not having a phase
Or on her period.
She can still save the motherfuckin world
While she’s on her period.
Wonder Woman is tired of spending hours
In front of the mirror fixing her hair.
Her femininity is not defined by flowing locks.
In fact, her femininity is not even defined
By her womanhood.
She defines it
However the fuck she wants.
Wonder Woman wants her hair
To match her shorts.
Also, maybe Wonder Woman
Likes other wonderful women
And wants to display a little more visibility.
Wonder Woman don’t have to explain shit to you.
She only wants to know why you never spend
This much time
Talking about Superman’s hair.
It is not enough
To unfollow these sorry fools on Facebook.
When my time line
Devolves into bullshit and victim blaming,
A wasteful circle of whose grammar
As if knowing the difference
Between their and there
Will bring somebody
No one in this thread knows personally
Back from the grave.
As if changing the point from
To your personal feelings
A whole coastline away
Is going to save anyone this time.
I am sitting in a room in Berlin,
Scrolling through facebook.
Outside the streets are busy,
The market smelling of Turkish delight
And curry wurst.
Not so long ago
These streets looked like Ferguson.
looked like Gaza.
looked like something someone shared
On my facebook wall this morning.
And we have started to block,
To click “hide”
To hide from the fact that just because
It isn’t happening here,
Doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.
Doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen.
It is easy to look around this
At its graffiti art and high rise apartments
And forget that it was almost
Wiped clean from the face of the Earth.
My facebook wall
And the Berlin one
Are covered in chicken scratch,
In ugly and insulting,
But also in art-
In color and expression.
I just want the paint on these walls
To be loud enough.
Because I keep hearing the shit
And the trash and the ugly people
Who keep talking
Because they like to read their words splashed
That ought to be torn down.
Walls that tell us that people
On the other side are different.
That struggling is controllable,
That silence is effective
That it’s all in our heads.
I am writing in Berlin
Where Hitler tried to murder
Every single unarmed Jew.
And history is shouting at me from every
Street corner and parking lot
While BBC news shows footage
Of another unarmed black boy
Being shot on his way home.
And I wake up thinking about it
Scrolling through pictures of dogs
And engagement rings
On my iphone
Until jarring images of tear gas
And rubber bullets
Come Technicolor through my screen.
I am hurt
And I am angry
And I am tired of people being told
Not to be hurt and angry
Because there are still thousands of humans
That no one got to say goodbye to.
The difference is that our gas chambers
Are livestreamed on youtube.
May 30, 2014
When people ask me
If my girlfriend and I live together,
I tell them no.
Because they don’t know my definition of “live.”
They think it means that we
Reside in the same physical structure
At the same time.
That we always grocery shop together
And make rent payments
And do our laundry in the same washing machine.
There is an old Arabic proverb
That says, “to know someone,
You must travel with them.”
So if these people mean that we have
Seen each other
Lost in another country,
Weary and tired somewhere in between
Boston and New Orleans
With the same dusty pair of sneakers on,
And a number of times I probably
Took my frustration out on her.
Rolled my eyes
At her in Providence
And she rolled away from me
In the pull out sofa bed
But she kissed me hard
On the train platform in Chicago,
Wrapped her arms round me
In San Francisco
And looked painfully into my eyes
When the bus driver called everyone
And it was safer to just wait until we got
To hold hands again.
When it was pouring rain in Minneapolis
And I made her laugh when I said
This place always has too much weather.
She kept me warm in Vancouver
When we stayed in the cramped apartment
Under the stairs
And she complained sometimes
About me complaining.
She didn’t like how creepy Santa Cruz
Was in its off season
And she got frustrated when
I checked us in on facebook
Instead of checking when the Greyhound
Was leaving the station.
When we watched an Oklahoma sunset over
And danced down Bourbon Street together,
Made love in more than a few odd places,
Learned to two step in Denver,
Finally met my grandfather
In his porcelain urn casket in New Jersey
Then cried about it
At a Taco Bell in New York City,
Spent the last of everything we saved
On a blackjack table in Vegas
And didn’t regret a thing.
The real adventure for us is going to be
throwing our roots down someplace.
signing a lease,
And loading our lives up into the same space
At the same time.
We have never lived together
In a conventional sense of the term.
But we have lived,
And we have done it together
And neither of us
Are very conventional anyways.
Apr 22, 2014
My heart cracks
Each time she comes home
And tells me someone else
Sometimes the names are familiar.
Sometimes they aren't,
But they sound like
All the same.
Other mouths are all gossip
Hers is a straight line
Begging itself into quiver.
She is learning now
More than ever
That addictions like these
Are just suicide on layaway.
That all of our bones
Are inches from the cliff
We will ourselves
Not to jump from.
Mar 27, 2014
After Andrea Gibson
Sometimes my tears
are just love letters
flying first class kamikaze pilot
into a gravity of weight
I will never be able to touch.
I peer down and see what the heart
and brain tell me I cannot.
This nervous system is a nervous wreck
wretched and terrifying.
You are a stunning eclipse
A heaviness my eyelashes
will never understand.
One my eyelids do.
They close heavy at the thought of you
not understanding your purpose.
There are beautiful things you were made for.
You allow me to see better.
To not judge character by first glance appearance.
To look into eyes and hands and hearts
To cry open and often.
I pass you in mirrors-
Awestruck and shaken
You dart by and do not let me exhale
in the girth of you.
You are the ghost in the funhouse
Passing through mirrors
as if they don't exist.
As if they are stretching the truth
and I am still trying to convince you
that you are the best thing I have ever looked at.
Have I not told you that you are the only body
I have ever seen from and everything
about yours is perfect?
Everything about you is battle scar and war torn
and I swear I tried my best to help
but all I could do was watch.
But beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right?
This at least is true.
Oh how I envy the hands
And that they have held you.
How I envy the legs
that must carry you.
How jealous am I of the blood
that passes through you
and the bones
that rest beneath you.
How painful it is to send
Each tear rolling off the cliff
of the chin.
Each drop is a love letter
the brain keeps telling me not to write.
Jan 15, 2014
Last night I drove past the old train tracks
The ones wedged between the high school
And Wilson park.
I thought about the summer nights I would sneak
Back here in the ’93 Toyota Camry
And let Brandon sit in the backseat
And kiss me.
He would open his mouth like
And his arm of a tongue
Would reach out and explore
The soft wetness of my mouth.
His face was clumsy
And his teeth covered in braces.
Brandon was an overgrown middle school
And I was an overweight daddy’s princess.
Neither of us really liked the other.
Our late night make out sessions
were rehearsal for a play
Neither of us were pretty enough
To be cast in.
Two fumbling people searching
For someone else
To be alone with.
I liked his embarrassment,
His unwillingness to talk about us.
To proclaim to no one
That he was never in love with me
Because that parking lot
And those train tracks were not dress rehearsals
They were stumbled lines and script reads
With no stage set, no lights
Only two people attempting to be the star
Of a show no one would ever watch.
Occasionally a freight train would rumble by
And I’d realize it was past 2 in the morning
I’d tell him I needed to get home
And he’d ask me to stay
And I’d say staying is for girlfriends
And I am not going to be that.
I’d think, staying is for people
Who love each other and I am just a freight train.
Rumbling through your mouth
In the middle of the night,
Not interested in the journey,
Only the destination.
I wonder if the train conductors
Ever noticed the steamed up car
Pulled over on the side of the tracks
And thought about who was inside.
They never thought about how we
refused to hold hands,
To only carry on our public displays of affection
In the backseat of my car,
How I reimagined other people
Across his face,
How we had classes together and never
Once caught each other’s gaze.
That boy was my starter kit for disguise,
An opening act for how
To hide men’s smiles in my throat
He was merely practice for
How to kiss a man
Feel a thing.
Nov 21, 2013
NYC's The Inspired Word