Thursday, December 30, 2010

today's inspiration

found this gem stashed on my mac.

atticus and scout finch (a.k.a. cutest father/daughter in literature).

Thursday, December 23, 2010

the first love poem i've ever received

"sam" by enrico bruno

emily always knows

I felt a funeral in my brain,
        And mourners, to and fro,
Kept treading, treading, till it seemed
        That sense was breaking through.

And when they all were seated,
        A service like a drum
Kept beating, beating, till I thought
        My mind was going numb.

And then I heard them lift a box,
        And creak across my soul
With those same boots of lead,
        Then space began to toll

As all the heavens were a bell,
        And Being but an ear,
And I and silence some strange race,
        Wrecked, solitary, here.

And then a plank in reason, broke,
        And I dropped down and down--
And hit a world at every plunge,
        And finished knowing--then--

-Emily Dickinson

Friday, December 17, 2010

oh. my. goodness.

"And for just a moment I had reached the point of ecstasy that I always wanted to reach, which was the complete step across chronological time into timeless shadows, and wonderment in the bleakness of the mortal realm, and the sensation of death kicking at my heels to move on, with a phantom dogging its own heels, and myself hurrying to a plank where all the angels dove off and flew into the holy void of uncreated emptiness, the potent and inconceivable radiancies shining in bright Mind Essence, innumerable lotus-lands falling open in the magic mothswarm of heaven. I could hear an indescribable seething roar which wasn't in my ear but everywhere and had nothing to do with sounds. I realized that I had died and been reborn numberless times but just didn't remember especially because the transitions from life to death and back to life are so ghostly easy, a magical action for naught, like falling asleep and waking up again a million times, the utter casualness and deep ignorance of it. I realized it was only because of the stability of the intrinsic Mind that these ripples of birth and death took place, like the action of wind on a sheet of pure, serene, mirror-like water. I felt sweet, swinging bliss, like a big shot of heroin in the mainline vein; like a gulp of wine late in the afternoon and it makes you shudder; my feet tingled. I thought I was going to die the very next moment. But I didn't die, and walked four long miles..." (162)
-On the Road, Jack Kerouac

i can't believe i'm just reading this book for the first time; it's so mindblowingly incredible. the feminist in me will admit to there being some patriarchal ideas in it, but i'll accept that that's how things were then. anyway, the language is way too good to even get stuck on those things.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


i've been getting into helen vendler, an amazing poetry critic, who has a new book on emily dickinson out. i've yet to read the book but it's on my list of things to read.

this is a link to a great to interview on her by some guy named bruce cole. good stuff.

click here.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


so one of my friends shared his favorite poem with me the other day, and it's so incredible that i have to share it with you, too:

The Truth the Dead Know
by Anne Sexton

For my Mother, born March 1902, died March 1959
and my Father, born February 1900, died June 1959
Gone, I say and walk from church,
refusing the stiff procession to the grave,
letting the dead ride alone in the hearse.
It is June.  I am tired of being brave.

We drive to the Cape.  I cultivate
myself where the sun gutters from the sky,
where the sea swings in like an iron gate
and we touch.  In another country people die.

My darling, the wind falls in like stones
from the whitehearted water and when we touch
we enter touch entirely.  No one's alone.
Men kill for this, or for as much.

And what of the dead?  They lie without shoes
in the stone boats.  They are more like stone
than the sea would be if it stopped.  They refuse
to be blessed, throat, eye and knucklebone.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

feeling the shittiest

You’re a hungry fool,
and I, the simple man’s psalm,
the prophecy of the utero-cave, 
the umbilical vines
in which I’ve trapped my pen and hands.
The next season that reminds you of
the closeness of your death
will be stuffed with blank holly
and cinderblocks.
But this...
is not a verse to make you think.

I’m hooked to this life, dangling from a doorway
Neither in nor out
a smoke signal away and yet I can’t start the fire
a simple leap up but this fatigued body holds me in place
this hairy slumping body holds itself together
the carpet set numbly against the floor
like my mother’s dinner on the table
the vapid lights of an aging city
again, again, repeat, again
I know not this language I speak.

How to begin the stories of my life. 
And then, how to begin the stories of others. 
Finally, if attainable, how to begin the stories of the made-up, the unreal, 
how to turn the empty space into life? 
It is the work for God only, 
to big bang this thing from question mark to pen. 
Smiling, bright, shining, blinking life has left me. 
I know you’re out there, friends, stripping your clothes off, 
while I pen you down but will never understand the precision 
you give to unraveling the straps that dangle from your shoulders, 
the halfhearted toss of a belt and shoes,
that comprehensive look you give to your lover, 
or to the mirror, or to anything that moves. 
I have resigned from the comprehensive; 
nothing can sum me up anymore except the curve in a cursive arc. 
I am a word in cursive, 
left to the uncertain precise emptiness of the blue line. 
I am the victim of white space. 
I am a thought monster. 
And you will never remember your drunken fits.

Monday, November 29, 2010

good stuff

"Interior with Sudden Joy"
[after a painting by Dorothea Tanning]

by Brenda Shaughnessy

To come into my room is to strike strange.
My plum velvet pillow & my hussy spot
the only furniture.

Red stripes around my ankles, tight
as sisters. We are maybe fourteen, priceless
with gooseflesh.

Our melon bellies, our mouths of tar. Us four:
my mud legged sister, my bunched-up self,
the dog & the whirligig just a prick on the eye.

We are all sewn in together, but the door is open.
The book is open too. You must write in red
like Jesus and his friends.

Be my other sister, we'll share a mouth.
We'll split the dress
down the middle, our home, our Caesarian.

When the Bishop comes he comes
diagonal, from the outside, & is a lie.
He comes to bless us all with cramps,

mole on the chin that he is,
to bring us the red something,
a glow, a pumping.

Not softly a rub with loincloth
& linseed. More of a beating,
with heart up the sleeve.

He says, The air in here is tight & sore
but punctured, sudden, by a string quartet.
We are! In these light-years we've wrung a star.

I am small for my age.
Child of vixenwood, lover of the color olive
and its stain.

I live to leave, but I never either.
One leg is so long we can all walk it.
Outside is a thousand bitten skins

and civilization its own murder of crows.
I am ever stunned,
seduced whistle-thin

& hot with home. Breathless with
mercury, columbine. Come, let us miss
another wintertime.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

well done, poem-a-day

"He who binds himself to a joy
Does the winged life destroy
He who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity's sunrise."

-William Blake


my lips withdraw
my tongue withdraws
my hands withdraw
my very fingers withdraw
my eyes withdraw
and my nose withdraws
my hair withdraws
my feet withdraw
my nails, too, withdraw
everything inside of me that
makes me a woman withdraws
half the things I own withdraw
except this pen,
this pen does not withdraw
as my heart withdraws.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


The dishes clatter and chime as
my mother puts them away in
their rightful places.
Hard porcelain plates scratch together in
a raspy lament as fingers retreat.
Glasses clink and mingle in the drawers,
behind cupboards.
Hissing legato water melts from
the tap to clean her working hands.
My father raps on his aging keyboard
as the images around him darken
in the glow of his desk lamp.
He brings together lines to fashion
houses that families
will one day inhabit.
His parents glare solemnly at
the moving screen in the next
room, the next dimension, calling
out for silent help with the
washing machine, with the phantom
remote control;
alone among their pleas.
My brothers, friends, gods slam
together party glasses and
shout of love;
real, or artificial, or forgettable.
And I, upstairs,
somewhere in the dark and frothy
edges of purgatory,
can hear the sounds of the working day
from beneath the clatter of
messy heavens crying and orgasming
as they mesh with new hells.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

last night

The stuffed panda is coming apart.
My internal organs are comping apart.
Walter is indeed coming apart.
You know something about the body.
Speak up, then.
Advise me on the rope dangling from my navel.
Advise me on the bleeding, on the white stuffing.
Last night I applied bleach to my whole body.
The splotches faded while all of me faded.
Everything around me faded.
Some dreamed-up villain held a sword to my throat.
And to think, those things could happen in my own bed.
But I need some patching.
Patching and coping.
Fall asleep to a woman’s voice, oh Focus!
I don’t breathe the way she tells me to;
I breathe my way, my huffy burdened quick way,
The way that comforts me.
But he should, because I’m a-comin’.

Monday, November 22, 2010

my story in school publication

so my story "split" has been published in our campus news magazine, the perspective.
there are also a bunch of great articles on the site.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

i love

mark ryden. and leonardo dicaprio. and a mark ryden picture of leonardo dicaprio. mmm yes.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Sleepless Season

We took off our clothes as fall drifted into winter,
the opaque stockings floated from my shivering legs
like leaves, unsure which dirty plot of land would be
their hibernating home.

We lost ourselves to the dirt
and you fell into sleep so quickly and with so much
blissful weight that I wonder why the same wind
didn't carry me to the same subconscious nights.

Rather, I sit winking in the still air beside your glowing body,
a leaf full of holes and clinging to some branch.
I turn my lovely colors and pass on here
and it is a slow, deep, sighing season,
until the spring comes, the way it always does,
and we wake from the icy bed and dress --

I wrap the black stockings around my dirty, crinkled legs
and watch your new green body drift away
toward the trees.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

gorgeous french poem

"Déjeuner du matin"
by Jacques Prévert

Il a mis le café
Dans la tasse
Il a mis le lait
Dans la tasse de café
Il a mis le sucre
Dans le café au lait
Avec le petite cuiller
Il a tourné
Il a bu le café au lait
Et il a reposé la tasse
Sans me parler
Il a allumé
Une cigarette
Il a fait des ronds
Avec la fumée
Il a mis les cendres
Dans le cendrier
Sans me parler
Sans me regarder
Il s'est levé
Il a mis
Son chapeau sur sa tête
Il a mis
Son manteau de pluie
Parce qu'il pleuvait
Et il est parti
Sous la pluie
Sans une parole
Sans me regarder
Et moi j'ai pris
Ma tête dans ma main
Et j'ai pleuré


[I'd translate it, but it wouldn't be the same]

Thursday, November 11, 2010


A gothic October had the courtesy to go
when we winked it away in the candlelight.
November stretched her frozen arms around us
and we all sucked in each other's heavy warmth
on the second floor
where we drove around to escape the cold fingers,
the breaking telephone calls,
each of us clutching together to make a giant, inescapable
centripetal force.
But I don't know science
and you were a gem for the word.
I put my fingers to the cracked glass without looking
and November passed.

And the kids hung to the trees and the stars,
making love to the harvest moon
and Peter shattered a pumpkin against the wall
quoting "shema yisrael" as the yellow guts
flew up and evaporated, the seeds
caught and sticking to our hair.

ramble ramble ramble on

A square box white shoes leather hands coiled around a fragmented body all the things in the air and what they mean no more glue on my abdomen no more messages from the air the doctor, oh how he looked like Jackie Chan and there are so many damned places to go but no, this isn't about boys or drugs or the festival of lights or arriving late it's a series of images a pale road made of ink a lead tablet mounting to the finish and I wonder if I've fooled you in the way my hands move on things need to be done not in the frozen air and away from tawny death my thoughts somehow progress and bolden stop and I wonder if you know the things I know of rejuvenation of spells and wishes of empty interpretation of many pages and sources and sorcerers I'll prize you if you tell me what I think.

This isn't something to jolt the senses. Rather, I'm in my prime and it is time. I'd choose classical music behind a nearby door, a sign of something changing, rather than waiting. I'd choose a brigade of heavy dark brown metal doors with the paint peeling off before I'd choose to do this myself. A firm opinion of mine -- we'll never really "know" each other -- what is it to "know" a thing? Rather, we'll be barred behind sensual imagery, thick doors cascading over our inner selves, stuck up against ourselves, ready to die because of a feeling, a whim. A beep, a buzz that you're on my mind thrice. And then what? Agitation. Knowing is immediate. I'll make more signs, you'll respond in your usual numb gestures, and nothing will be proven. Passive tense. Passive experience and relation in passive gestures. Eliminate the bodily senses, like an odd mucous, and get to the dry core of the feeling. Okay, what is it? Do you "know"?

i need more unity

burn off the residue of the former year --
the sticky substance between your fingers and legs.
you were so out of love that you quit politics
and they told you to send your thoughts down the river
like the newborn messiah,
just keep breathing and they'll grow great.

fall came like hot water,
melting ten fires inside you all at once
and you picked up the applebasket of your mind
and sprinkled its innards with thick honey
then you cleansed your hands but
the dirty soap smelled too much like semen

and your head -- the dirty stinking messenger
of an unknown god, boats floating ashore
you were all trapped with nowhere to go but
in, in, inside, deep within and in.

and that was a beautiful day
but now I count the hairs on your beautiful head
and they are burning out from the inside.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

more bones

Scatter my bones into the sea,
across the table --
into the cracks of the dinner table --
between your fingers.
Scatter my bones onto the crisping pages that hold together your manifestos,
your treaties,
your guidebooks,
your classic literature.
Toss my bones into your sweating beverages;
let the dust sweeten the bitter kick.
Toss my bones into the closet where they become
the playthings of ancient history.
Let my bones burn in the sunshine,
melt them and bake them and freeze --
Let them loose in the air so that they form some
mystic message;
they are cold and will need some warmth.
Gather the dust and wear it as a warm bath --
itching and scathing and trickling.
Recreate me in the warm light, in the soft light,
in the snow.
Carve me anew to the fingertips, to the dusty inside,
then touch me, scatter me, pinch me apart
and I'll become what I once was --

Friday, October 22, 2010

absolutely beautiful amazing heartbreaking poem

(about his gay lover who died of aids)

"Here" by Paul Monette:

everything extraneous has burned away
this is how burning feels in the fall
of the final year not like leaves in a blue
October but as if the skin were a paper lantern
full of trapped moths beating their fired wings
and yet i can lie on this hill just above you
a foot beside where I will lie myself
soon soon and for all the wrack and blubber
feel still how we were warriors when the
merest morning sun in the garden was a
kingdom after Room 1010 war is not all
death it turns out war is what little
thing you hold on to refugeed and far from home
oh sweetie will you please forgive me this
that every time I opened a box of anything
Glad Bags One-A-Days KINGSIZE was
the worst I'd think will you still be here
when the box is empty Rog Rog who will
play boy with me now that I bucket with tears
through it all when i'd cling beside you sobbing
you'd shurg it off with the quietest I'm still
here I have your watch in the top drawer
which I don't dare wear yet help me please
the boxes grocery home day after day
the junk that keeps men spotless but it doesn't
matter now how long they last or I
the day has taken you with it and all
there is now is burning dark that only green
is up by the grave and this little thing
of telling the hill I'm here oh I'm here

Thursday, October 21, 2010

To the Man who gave Her candy

I don't especially love writing sonnets, because I feel way too forced. For my class this week, however, I had to write one. It was difficult enough to stick to iambic pentameter, so there's no rhyme scheme. I thought the subject matter was appropriate for a sonnet [it's a true experience, too] but I still feel it would be better to allow it to breathe more, to add more sensory descriptions because the senses are extremely significant in this experience. Anyway, here it is:

The jellybeans have hardened in the jar;
My grandma in the kitchen, soaking flowers
by bowls of sweets that burst when you bit in,
so gently wrapped in golden crinkled plastic
that sounded like the rumbling of trains
that took the victims to their final stop.
Her mother said to send the nasty thoughts
across the stream, a new messiah born.
Every day the silent tears of Auschwitz,
the smells of burning, of dirty factory work;
She prayed until the man who made the rounds
had stopped and saw the child growing old.
He placed a single hardened candy in her book;
her tongue against it wept and danced and hoped.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

mmmm whitman

From Section 1 of "The Sleepers," from Leaves of Grass:
The female that loves unrequited sleeps, 
And the male that loves unrequited sleeps, 
The head of the money-maker that plotted all day sleeps, 
And the enraged and treacherous dispositions, all, all sleep. 

I stand in the dark with drooping eyes by the worst-suffering and 
the most restless, 
I pass my hands soothingly to and fro a few inches from them, 
The restless sink in their beds, they fitfully sleep. 

Now I pierce the darkness, new beings appear, 
The earth recedes from me into the night, 
I saw that it was beautiful, and I see that what is not the earth is 

I go from bedside to bedside, I sleep close with the other sleepers 
each in turn, 
I dream in my dream all the dreams of the other dreamers, 
And I become the other dreamers. 

I am a dance--play up there! the fit is whirling me fast! 
-Walt Whitman

Friday, October 8, 2010


Every rigid line, every shimmering crease in a foul double bed
and the aches in the muscles of our legs when the sun rises
like your round, golden hands in a classroom scorching with light
when you say perfect words you’re too stupid to know
The way you say “good-night” and that’s it--
Two words, maybe one 
(something you could say in a breath)

And we dreamed in our locked-up skulls,
looking out for the narcoleptic Freud on the other side
who pervaded our subconsciouses with images of each other
A nervous old man with spectacles and a crooked laugh,
who made note of the orange-scented empty weight of our stolen glances

And the plane made it to the holy land with too much turbulence,
The way the seasons changed that year,
a humid summer melted our faces, then morphed
into a chilling fall with an interlude of soppy rain
But we made it and we clutched the rocks in our hot palms
and looked around, so afraid of people seeing our bones,

So afraid the natives would see us counting our demons on our fingers,
Shifting to the side when we got in each other’s way

and Michael told me he was the most alone person in the universe

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


i want to miss the way you shine so hard
you take a cheap breath in your rust home
make me rush home to know you new.
the bed hurts it creaks with each step
of each new soul you get.
it feels so right like the tip of the knife
the gray sharp thing that melts to gone.
eyes brown cheeks quake new flesh, my home.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Infestation Above a Pink Room

I remember when I brought the demons home with me;
they clung to the space beneath my shadow until 
I locked myself in my box of a room 
and they lingered in the narrow space 
above my ceiling, in the attic I saw once
but was scared of falling through.
I heard them running in the summer nights as 
I trembled beneath the thick white canopy,
on which I placed my collection of
stuffed bears like amulets.

But their stuffy faces and rocky eyes betrayed me.

I remember the night the ferret got loose upstairs and
wandered into my room but I knew
it was Teddy, the oldest of the pack,
with the broken ear and crusty sides,
directing the haunt.
And the people in the graying posters mocked me
as I lay still on the floral quilted tomb that
jutted from the bare wall,
listening to the demons scratching in the walls,
desperate to get out to get at me to
end my childhood.
And in the morning the leafy fingers of the
trees would rouse themselves awake
outside my two closed windows.
A car, maybe two, would pass in a 
strange kind of silence on the empty road.

Monday, September 27, 2010

how it feels

A September sun sets and I am a crumbling crooked bolt of lightning
Flashing and panicked in the arms of a wide world
Knowing I am impossible to contain, impossible to hold
Impossible in the dead of the night when the sparks in the sky 
are brighter, everlasting, more sure than I
Too thin for the work of a steady soul
I am a snapshot, a flicker in time
Something to tell your children, if only in horror stories
I am deadly and inescapable, a static cling on your fingertips
A rumble in your inner ear

Sunday, September 26, 2010


The online literary magazine,  The Writing Disorder, has published my pieces, "It All Comes Together," "The Nihilist," "Bienvenue, Summer," and "The Architect's Daughter."

Please go check it out here!

And, as always, thanks for reading and for your support :)


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

one last quote (sorry)

“It’s never the middle that I can’t make work. It’s never the beginning that I can’t make work. It’s always the end. Because what is the end of a story? What does that mean? What is a story? To confect some sort of plot “ending” seems very artificial to me. I’m just not interested. I used to have a friend who was a carpenter and I remember watching him make a bookcase once and there was like, it was like this sort of plank with all these other planks sticking out of it at these crazy angles, you know. And it looked like a porcupine or something and I said, “That’s a bookcase? What are you talking about? That’s not a bookcase.” And he said, “Wait a minute.” And he grabbed this other plank and he sort of smushed everything together and went wham wham wham wham wham, and it was a bookcase. (laughter) I cannot tell until the last minute of the final draft whether the thing is going to work or whether it’s just going to fall apart and it’s nothing.”

--Deborah Eisenberg, in an interview with Bomb magazine

no free will

a quote from Reading Autobiography by Sidonie Smith and Julia Watson that articulates my ideas much better than I can:

“That is, they have ‘false consciousness’: they collude in their own lack of agency by believing that they have it. It is not enough, then, to say that people exercise free will. The concept of ‘free will’ is itself embedded in a discourse about the Enlightenment individual, a historically specific discourse through which subjects understand themselves as intellectually mature and free to make their own choices. To claim that all humans have something called ‘free will’ in this way is to misunderstand an ideological concept as a ‘natural’ aspect of existence.” (43)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

great words

"And yet it was for me a time of great learning. As I think of it, it was the most common and essential kind of learning, purely natural and irresistible. Life itself is the object of such learning; it is not so much the achievement of study; rather it is simply the construction of an idea, an idea of having existence, place in the scheme of things."
-The Names, by N. Scott Momaday

and also...

“When I was a kid, I used to wonder (I bet everyone did) whether there was somebody somewhere on the earth, or even in the universe, or ever had been in all of time, who had had exactly the same experience that I was having at that moment, and I hoped so badly that there was. But I realized then that that could never occur, because every moment is all the things that have happened before and all the things that are going to happen, and every moment is just the way all those things look at one point on their way along a line. And I thought how maybe once there was, say, a princess who lost her mother’s ring in a forest, and how in some other galaxy a strange creature might fall, screaming, on the shore of a red lake, and how right that second there could be a man standing at a window overlooking a busy street, aiming a loaded revolver, but how it was just me, there, after Chris, staring at that turtle in the fourth-grade room and wondering if it would die before I stopped being able to see it.”
-"What It Was Like, Seeing Chris," by Deborah Eisenberg
(This is just one paragraph from it, but I highly recommend reading the full short story, because it's incredible. So much power and restrained emotion. She reveals thoughts I thought I was the only one thinking -- an awesome ability of a writer.)

Friday, September 17, 2010


Read my piece, "Summer Work," on the Young American Poets blog at: 



the sun is going down and i'm left in the arms of a wide world.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Things We Did to Make Up for Who We Were

     I ran my hand across the smooth metal bars on the window, trying to remember what it was to be new. 

     The gothic October sky had darkened hours ago and it would soon be time. In the little window above my desk I could make out the abandoned shops and streets. All the people were gone and I didn't blame them. I'd have been scared, too. From above, I could see a drunkard stop and talk to two young girls on our front stoop, then stumble away. 

     It was a small, brick building with no distinguishable features besides its barred windows and the sign above the door, thick with dust, which read "Old Street Asylum." You could barely make out the broken letters beneath the aging grime.

     As I moved my line of vision away from the bar I saw that the two girls out front were conjoined. Freaks, they would call them here. They liked freaks here. Would they come inside? Would they end up like us? Everyone deserved to feel the way we did. Everyone was just as crazy. 

     The lights began to go out in the halls and a guard would be coming around soon to check that we were all in bed. We weren't allowed to have locking doors for fear of what we might do. It took the suffocation away, at least. There were times when I stayed up talking to the walls, talking to the shadows, talking to anything that moved. That’s why when I first heard about the ceremony, I was intrigued, all for it. 

     When my hands dripped blood I had been throwing myself toward anything that would justify this new life; I wanted to have a constant reminder that this would be my home for a long time. I tried to make myself feel like it would be all okay. Even though it never would be. But it was only a defect of the brain that made me felt the yearning, not the dark hallways of the building or the coldness of the bars. Those were not cause for alarm to me.

     Soon enough, the guard outside would be dozing off to the noises in his headphones. I would be free to go. Not that there were many places to go without being totally horrified.

     I snuck around the corner and into the shadows. It was always important to remain in the dark. Never be seen, never be known. The rest would join from their respective corners like spiders coming to the center of a communal web.

     There were exactly fourteen corners to turn. Six flights of stairs down. A heavy door with chipping paint marked “Do Not Enter at Any Cost.” It was written in thick paint that had faded with time. It was the cellar to nowhere and everyone knew there were ghosts of forgotten patients there. Whatever, every asylum had one of those. But it took time, cunning, to try to find it. I remember the first time I saw it. Stitch had led me down blindfolded and we went down to begin the initiation. It was just us then.

     I made my way down the thin, wooden steps into the darkness. My tiptoes made no noise, there was no creaking. At the bottom I stood in complete darkness but could imagine everything around me. The large boxes of paperwork, the files strewn about, the chains of cobwebs that were a foot thick on every wall. I lingered for a minute, enjoying the privacy, then lit a match. It sparked and quivered. I knocked softly on the wooden rail two times. From somewhere in the darkness a voice whispered, “Come in.”

     Dean sat cross-legged, rocking back and forth. I didn’t know how long he had been there. It would have been useless asking him, anyway, since he never spoke. Except those two words. He thought he was a living dead. And looking at him, you would have believed it.

     He was a scrawny kid with a pallid face and bony arms. His large, black eyes hovered over the flame. I sat down next to him.

     “Wonder what this one’ll be like,” I said.

     The match went out and we sat for a few minutes in the stillness. I was terrified of mostly everything, so this place was like an eerie home to me. Fear was familiar. It reminded me of a past life. Of course it bothered me that I could hear low noises from the corners like voices, distant snickers. But it kept me alive, not numb.

     A soft light appeared from above. The door was opening, then closing. It was time.

     Moments later, we heard the two knocks.

     “Wait for it,” I said.

     Then two more. Stitch was bringing the new patient. The initiation was about to begin.

     “Come in.”

     Two small flames shot up from the darkness. Stitch was holding two red lighters in his hands and gave them to Dean to hold so that we could see.

     In the light you could see his large, hardened face. He had thick cheeks with scars running down the lengths of them. That was how he had gotten his nickname. No one really knew what had happened to him that he needed that many stitches, or better yet, what he had done to deserve them. He had been there longer than any of us.

     “What are you lookin’ at, Ash-Face?” he said to Dean, who was driving his gaze into him. Dean was a starer. It made Stitch uncomfortable, angry, enraged. He once had to be taken away for a few days for punching holes into the wall because Dean “wouldn’t stop looking at him.” We never knew where they had taken him. I didn’t want to know.

     Well, Dean got the hint this time and looked away, back into the flame. 

     “That’s what I thought. Now, gentlemen, today is a special day. We have a new guest here in our charming, loving home. In order to be an approved member, our new friend, Alex, here has to undergo the rituals. Alex, do you want to proceed with our dastardly ceremony?”

     “I do,” answered a deep voice in the darkness.

     “Then step into the light.”

     I heard Alex shuffle to pull off the blindfold Stitch had tied, probably very tightly. Then a face lit up in our small circle. I had expected a boy shaking with fear and a look of intense concern. A look that asked when he would see his family again.

     But instead, I saw the sunken gray eyes of a strong and wounded creature. Shoulder-length curls the color of old rust shimmered in the soft glow. This Alex was a young girl, maybe seventeen, who looked as if she hadn’t slept in months; a girl who didn’t mind being strapped into the funeral gear of this place, the dingy blue uniforms without pockets we were to wear. She was awfully beautiful, in a dark, dangerous way.

     She caught my eyes for a brief second and looked at me as if to say, “What is it you want from me?”

     “Alex, the first step of the process is to unleash all your demons unto us. Please list, in broad strokes, why you are joining us here today.”

     “Murder. Theft. Thought crime. Incurable sickness of the mind.”

     Suddenly, I found myself whispering, “LIAR.” 

     “What was that, Sargeant? You think you know everything? You know the rules, no speaking during initiation. You’re just as messed up and it ain’t no secret.”

     “Look at her, Stitch. She didn’t kill anyone. She’s just a kid.”

     Dean was staring into me. I didn’t know what I believed but I didn’t want to believe that I loved a murderer. 

     Alex laughed and her smile was wild.

     “He’s right, you know, Stitch. I’m sorry and all. I couldn’t kill if I tried.”

     “So you are a liar?”

     “A compulsive liar.”

     “A compulsive liar,” he repeated. 

     I thought he would rip the lighters out of Dean’s hands right then and shove them in her face. I thought he’d smash his fists into her small skull and we’d have to watch the brains ooze out.

     But instead, he said, “I like it. Demons freed. Good. Now it’s time to take the oath.”

     The oath was like a spell. It was an incantation to the ghosts and spirits of the asylum, to have them watch over you so that none of the workers would harm you or experiment on you. After it was said, Stitch took out the small piece of plastic knife he carried around in his shoe. It was just a few inches of the tip, the serrated edge.

     “Give yourself over to us,” he said, “and place the blood of your hands into the flame so that its smoke lingers here with the airy essence of the spirits and you are not forgotten.”

     Weird, right? God, I loved that part.

     And she did it. She took the half of the plastic knife that had been steaming in Stitch’s shoe all day and dug it into her palms. First the left, then the right. A few drops of blood trickled down and Dean caught them in the flames of the lighters.

     Then, she was no longer new. She was just as settled in with the demons as we all were. I caught the last curl of her smile before the dim light flickered and went out and we stood once again in darkness.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


"I've waited so long and now I taste jasmine on my tongue, and I feel so proud to be alive. And I feel so proud when the reckoning arrives."
-The Mountain Goats, Heretic Pride


The voices of the seagulls are the whistling breath
of some resting god;
a senile deafness lumbers its way home;
I hear the panting of a jumbled soul

and a bell that strikes time in the stillness.
The colored words under our hands
fall through the cracks,
And we lay in the dirt;
the dust is so new to our form.

And he awakens with a shallow puff,
this massive god,
this prince with a falcon's skull,
And he collects me and my elders
beneath his wings.

There I undress in the dark and holy space
until my time has arrived,

until a new bell rings for me.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

belated new year

"Our origin is dust and dust is our end. Each of us is a shattered urn, grass that must wither, a flower that will fade, a shadow moving on, a cloud passing by, a particle of dust floating on the wind, a dream soon forgotten."

Thursday, September 9, 2010


When we were born we just found each other that way. We didn’t have a choice to be anything else. And then when we arrived, cross-legged, jagged-brained, blowing out smoke on a stranger’s stoop, we had no choice, either. I didn’t know if we were something beautiful or not, something evil or not. I thought about how awful it must have seemed, the way we passed around the cigarette from one hand to the other, both of our hands, making two in all, stretching up arms that led to the same human torso. We were skilled at being one, but knew in our hearts that we were two.
I had never seen our mother before, only knew her. I knew the plotting, shrieking, ugly thing inside her but never the outside. Born blind and split, I was. Couldn’t see. Not whole. And she reminded us. Reminded me so bad that it made me happy that I could make my whole world invisible. I would never know how evil we looked. Reminded me so much that we cried every night until she couldn’t take the wet tears, the dripping sniffling dirty tears anymore and drove us away. Far. And we were scared and I couldn’t see where I was. We found a stoop, rough and large. And the first thing we did was pray.
We knelt down together, in sync like clouds, and touched together our shivering hands to make a whole pair. We sent up silent words. Words that would hit somewhere and reverberate, echo and send a response. Words that would propel something toward us, to save us. Save us.
We huddled ourselves tightly in our loose sweatshirt that had stringy holes on the ribs. I tried to imagine what it would be like to see us there, to see us at all, then to see anything but us. All I saw was the empty space; my body’s doing. It had done many unforgivable things; it made me the way I was.
What was a man then? A dark voice, a long body. I had heard that a man was defined by a grin. I had never seen a grin but the word sounded dark. I had felt the course baby hairs on a man’s hand before. He was older, stronger, by the weight of his palm. He was something called my father, all those years ago.
But I heard your voice like soft clay molding delicately, like soft clay gathering dust. You were a man. A man walking down a street with a jumbled shuffle. The dusty winter voice in you told us we were divine. You called us pretty. You said you wanted us. Wanted to have us. To keep us in a basement and do things to us. You told us not to be afraid. And you grazed my bulging cheek with your hand and I felt the baby hairs of what they called my father who was a man and you were a man and it felt good and I just --
We said no. I didn’t, at least. The other part of me, the more reserved part, the part that kept quiet until it needed to be stern, the part of me that could see, declined you. That part of me said you grinned at her and shuffled on. A drunkard, she called you.
And I wanted to scream at her. I wanted to stand up right then so she would have to stand, too, and I wanted to yell. I wanted to chase you down the street, wrap my arms around you, and tell you you could have me and my hideous body because it wasn’t going anywhere else. It was wretched; it was stranded, mutilated, cut in half, alone, ditched, defunct. And you wanted it. And I wanted you to want it. But I remember that you just grinned and walked away and that I should have known my place. So I sat in silence.
I heard your uneven footsteps grow softer and softer and vanish. There was no sky for me, I felt the material things. I felt the rough concrete on my palms. I felt my half of my body aching with hunger. I knew no one was going to come save us. I heard a million people walk by us. I heard them gasp. The cool dusk voice lingered in my ears and I felt the want in it.
And I remember how beautiful I felt then.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

nothing something whatever

breaking highwire and snapping skin;
my body is your vessel
take it where you will go behind words
let me heat your hands with bubbling words
so you can take them to sea before you react.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

okay, i lied

since i decided i will most probably minor in creative writing, i'm now taking creative writing. i may have lied about the lack of posting in the near future, but we'll see. anyway, today was the first day so here are some thoughts i worked on digesting (awkward disgusting mix of bodily functions?). sorry. okay.


Black hard shadow of a wall draping and sneaking around me and it's all straight lines straight faces straight buzzing above me behind me and an open window with a draft of wind and words that erupt in scribbling shock from darkly clad people in their putrid yellow metal chairs but not yellow of the sun but yellow of something dark as well and they look down look away erase and taste their places.

A furied piece of person with my hands and hair rips away the solemn metal of the iron chair so that the desk cracks down into the dirty pores of the carpet and she flings the yellow seat up high through the slivered window so that it makes lightening erupt in the sky where it has now become the sun and the girl laughs at her own power, the shivering of her fingertips and she sees the yellow chair mingling with the clouds and it is suddenly the sun, she did it and it's a bright yellow fiery blaring hard chunky piece of art.


coarsely ripening rain fingers through the spaces in the leaves and you want his fingers to touch you and break your skin.
but it hurts and you don't know why
and suddenly you smell the musty smell of your grandmother's home but it's only the clouds
because they're ancient and watching you!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

a meditation on no one

maybe i'll feel the warm fat kiss of a thick protruding tongue,
but no one is coming up the stairs for me
maybe i'll be shoved and scraped and mindwatched and
never know this body
that drapes over me and collapses into yours.
the people in the sea; they're dying, they're dying
and that is why no one is coming up the stairs for me
because you're out rescuing them,
brushing your opened palms against
their skin, their bony pale skin, the wet pale skin
that drapes over them as they melt
and you follow them down,
floating in rhythm to their finely tuned song
and i know not a soul
is coming up the stairs for me.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Her cold hard breath crumbled through
the crematorium.
"The skies," they cried, "the skies."
But there are no skies underwater;
wet and ashy with the acid waves
battering over you.

....more to come?


Okay, so I'm back at school now and unfortunately I don't think I'll be able to write/post as much for a bit so don't hate me. Luckily, I'm taking a class on the history of witchcraft so I'm hoping for some good inspiration. Wooooooo dark and scary things!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


we saw the bubbles and they were us --
we couldn't touch each other for fear
of crushing one another and
we couldn't hardly ever know each other.
and we were everything we saw.


and you took the role of the man,
and i, that of the woman --
and i remembered what it was like
to live in the thin arms of halflovers,
how time and i went by like ghosts as i pushed
myself in, tried to feel the locking snap
of transforming into a new species, living
without my spine and fingers, being another
man's waist pockets so he can keep me
where he needs me most.

skin and hair turning white in the dark light,
in the cool arms of his underground bedroom.
palely would i follow in a white dress with
my own mouth sewn up on his and
my eyes so open, vividly processing
my path, memory shot, and good because
i will never be back.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

worlds, revisted.

okay, so if you go back to the very first month of this blog, when it was a mere teet-suckin babe, you'll see some kind of awful piece called "worlds." i had a pretty big idea for it, but, like most of my ideas, it was buried in lack of articulation. i saw it today and decided to re-make it with a little more color and excitement. it may still suck, but hey here it is (with a little more hormonal attitude, i might add). tell me what you think? p.s. i'll probably end up renaming it.


there's a rainbow burning underneath your sanity
brush away your demons, fall into the cacophony
feel your dried-up fingers brushing the space between us
because you are all worlds in a conspiring universe

I am your distant stargazer breathing shallow
You can hear my feathered thoughts through dust
And all the notes of these anthems drone;
Adding planets to the never-ending solar system
That makes us strangers to one another, so far away

They float in gassy circles, each up against the next
Conspiring with the sun against me until,
Until it’s colder where I stand on the pilgrim earth
Because the naïve sun submitted to a whim

And she births worlds and worlds and they know
My sacred sinning thoughts, can see my bones from above
There is a certain nothingness that connects us;
A certain nothingness that is of our own making

You are mere pits of universes that crash into one another
And call it life intersecting, life, dirty life blooming and blending
But you are only worlds;
And you can be destroyed as easily as you were made.

Monday, August 16, 2010

the house

There were fingerprints on the orchids
And a blonde bushy set of trees just beyond
the screen door
The cat smelled of nicotine and coffee
Yes, we microwaved coffee
to ease us back into this life
And stirred it to keep ourselves moving
We put all our hate into
The leaflets we called books,
Fixed and pulsing hard on the shelves
We sat around and thought about what we could make,
Terrified because we were insane
The yellow lines couldn't hold our words anymore
So we made them smaller, quicker
The trees quivered when the gods came!
They came and we could hear them
Banging throughout the house
Dancing and shuffling,
And we were so afraid because we were crazy
And they would know it
We clung to each other
And smoked each other's foul breath
And beat upon our pockets
to kill time. And then it was dead.

what i did

I broke into you the other day
to replace something
Any excuse to get into you
I touched
I felt the weight of your eyes
(Lighter than I remembered)
I felt your skin on the inside
You laughed
As day made a show of itself outside you
As the clouds bumped along on thin skin
I could feel you watching them
I wanted to claw at your heart,
to fix its deaf and dumb
But it only smiled and gurgled
I drizzled out through your fingertips,
Under your nails
And it was night
I tried to sleep beside you
But you didn't recognize what I was
And your sleepy voice didn't try to ask
I slipped under your door into
A field full of night
And swerved home
Don't you ever wonder what I took?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Thursday, August 12, 2010

i could write us down in a couple of words over coffee--

The day I picked you up off the side of the road
Like a wounded animal;
Your spots and fur mangled and red,
Your heartbeat sickeningly slow
And something detached then,
The soul in you came out through the eyes
You breathed in my name,
You touched me and I bled;
But it was only your blood dissolving through me.

currently reading

so i'm in the middle of 1984 right now and it's pretty much everything i've been looking for. i didn't expect the prose to be so amazing, but i guess i should have expected it since i fell in love with orwell's essay on writing, "Politics and the English Language." this is one of those books i want to keep reading forever; straightforward but meaningful. and knowing my reading pace, it probably will take forever. okay i'm done with the nerd rant... to the majority of the universe that has already read this book years and years ago, i sort of apologize.

anyone else got some orwell lovin'?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

i don't know what i'm saying anymore

I am ancient.
I am as of yet unsolved.
And I am ever so slowly in self-destruct
Until you hear that fatal click.

I like my space to go in evil ways
But it is not all my fault.
I will filter through your finger tips
Like a mist, A forming shadow.
And you'll breathe in me time.

Shiver through me,
You old men who find sex appeal
In a color wheel,
And feel the weight of my young breath.
Go through me like an
Old diluted song.
Stay, be my friend for a minute
Then escape to your
Lonely homely world.
I was raised for rudeness' sake,
And need a brand new hand to take.
Take me down to the undergrowth
And discover me
Like you did when time was young.


Warmly vanishing like the ribbon on your wrist
Unraveling, fading in every direction, caught and twisted
Sold to the tides, you might say; a slave to the skies

And you’ve probed me so many times about
That lingering feeling, I don’t know / I don’t know.
My body is a living purgatory of eating and waiting

It is what I cannot transcend.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

need to feel.

Remember me in diamonds when the sun rises
Suffocate me; wake me from the yellow stinking fog
Release me to the wet, salty night
I know there are others at my door
In need of you and the orange
Flowers you press coolly into our palms
But rid me of this breath for a whim
Shiver through me in the blackblue night

A burning desert reduced to pools of mudslime;
A moon bathing my pepper skin in soft flames
Cubed rocks, iron locks, a garbage heap warning,
"Soul under construction. Do not enter."

Monday, August 9, 2010

i really like this.

[from Hospital Drive: A Journal of Words and Images at the University of Virginia School of Medicine]

Birthday Eight

I find her when I fall, a bike accident one week
Before my eighth birthday. The sun is neon;
We are exactly the same age.
I am America, nearly dead on a curb. She is England,
Travels by way of mud-plugged mushrooms.
Says she’s given up looking for a rabbit.

Alice has taken to healing, watches the world as it blends.
Maybe it’s all building, a hospital. The doctor tells me
I’ve ruptured my spleen.

She sits on the end of my bed that rises with a switch.
I hang from tubes and needles, still a girl no less.
Not imagined, but real.

Not blonde, but brunette. Not British, but broken.
My IV leaks—makes weather, comes water. It rains
For eight days, fresh wet road

Outside a frame of window. Sun again, sky rips in half.
Alice is ripped from a book. We talk about poetry.
Nobody knows what it is.

I trust everything: the cure, the doctor, all sharp things
That make me better, make me new. Alice asks, but Lisa,
What does the spleen really do?

Not sure, but I know how it feels when it bursts, spilling
Over other organs with blood. We talk about living.
Sometimes cells mount words,

Come before. I can’t be a poet with a broken body,
But they keep coming back, swirling around us,
Saying strange things—

England glows green. The moon is clisping.
Strawberry grass grows up to the stars.

You need a new word, she says, for what you do.
Call it epiphany, call it a lime, a religion. It isn’t words,
It isn’t life. It’s something else.

Can’t you see what you’re doing, looking into a big cliché—
Forests of trees without leaves, a bitter afternoon, your body

Sucked of blood, narrowing for clarity?

-Lisa Markowitz

Sunday, August 8, 2010

on a pillow.

our dreams are
controlled by a
narcoleptic freud who
sifts through our
secrets with dirty palms,
pushes through the
fibrous strings of thought
and presses his thumbs
down on our dusty

he does his work like a
sick ghost, dizzily
roaming in and out
of the minds of
hollow strangers.

a mother buries her
woven hands under the
dirt in a sort of prayer,
asking not to be next,
for her bones not to show.

Friday, July 30, 2010

what it do

        “Amazing. Truly amazing. How millions of mindless people can gather here like the living dead, huddled under a little roof, and wait for some big machine to take them somewhere else.”
They had been waiting for a train. The voice came from a hunched-over, dark skinned woman in a black windbreaker and nude stockings. She was homeless, carrying around what was left of her life in a shopping cart.
She felt slightly ashamed for standing there, waiting. Did she really need to go somewhere else, somewhere new, to feel differently? Wouldn’t it all come crashing back, wouldn’t she fall into the same dusty old trap of life? It didn’t matter what sun she was under, hot or cold, she was still the same woman living the same dream.
It was a tragic flaw of hers to over consider the views of others, to fall into their mindsets.  She said nothing to the homeless woman, just smiled politely, and looked back at him. He was looking away, into the distance of the train tracks. His mind was somewhere else.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

somehow, rather

We are stuffed with bones
beneath our blue jeans;
beneath our hairy skin.
And we can't stop breathing
through pills and smoke and lights,
we are all in sync with something else.
We are ages and ages beneath our time,
and many thousands of years old.
We're odd dreamers, we see the unreal
and watch it dissolve, for the better.
And we have earned our mothers' hands;
Rightfully broken, to make something whole.

And maybe it is worth it
to bend down and touch our silly toes,
to converse conversely and gesticulate,
to raise our children articulate,
to meet the parents of our brides-to-be,
to sit up and speak when the world
will turn either way.
To sit and linger, while the ground
will soon be above our heads.
To harmonize our minutes with
a life we'll never want, anyway.
A dog barking, and we want to
be that dog.
A child whistling and we want to
smother him with something
we never got.
He'll never get it, either.

A ranting column, a full breast,
a stomach aching with child,
a pile of money beside
something else green.
What does it come to, tell me,
when you add it all up?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

don't worry.

     Calvin was a rather sympathetic kid, which is why most people refused to believe that he had actually gotten stuck in the sky.
     Sometime mid-summer he needed a certain medium to do something for him. It was the radio. And somehow, the radio signals forced him to shoot up through the atmosphere of the Earth, right through the sky and right out into space. While in space, suited in nothing more than the street clothes he had been sporting, he met the radio waves of his hated enemy country. The two forces battled, producing electric metal arms that tangled around poor Calvin and he could do nothing. 
     After some time, he felt himself falling back to Earth, going home. He was shooting back out of space and entered again the Earth's atmosphere but he was going very slowly. So, so slowly, in fact, that he did not come back to Earth with enough speed and ended up stuck in a little bubble at the tip of the sky. Well, this was very, very bad, as you can imagine.
     Back down at the place where human beings live, Hobbes was explaining things to people, including Calvin's family, with whom he was on a big dark cruise ship. According to him, that was the way the world had been created, from one little space bubble that popped and everything was created. Another one could be very dangerous; it could ruin everything ever made. Calvin's poor position was the first ever recorded in human history, but no one believed Hobbes. Even Calvin's father told Hobbes, "that is most impossible. He couldn't even make it off the Earth without a space suit and a rocket. Plus it is impossible that he is just stuck somewhere very off in the sky, a place so far away that no one can see him. He is a victim of gravity, just as you and I are."
     But Hobbes was persistent. On the cruise ship, the entertainment director, who had been an English professor in a past life, was holding a poetry contest. The prize for the best, most beautifully moving poem was anything the winner wanted in the whole world. Hobbes thought this was the perfect opportunity to get his best friend back, whom he sensed was growing very afraid up there. Hobbes considered himself a fairly good poet and sat to pen the most emotionally moving piece he could. It wasn't the very best he had ever written, but he believed he had a very good chance. Plus, the dilemma was so incredibly important that he had had had to win. There was no other way about it. He felt confident.
     Finally, all the contestants presented their work. Most of the pieces were satisfactory. Some very good, and others okay. And then a dark-skinned young girl went up to perform. And when I say perform, I mean her piece was more of an extended rap. As if this had been a poetry slam. And everyone was going crazy for her as if she were a celebrity. Her name was up in lights, and Hobbes couldn't tell if he was just imagining that detail or not. Finally, after a loud standing ovation, the girl was done and it was Hobbes' turn. Well, how could he possibly follow her?! He, remembering his mission and his dear friend Calvin, collected himself and found the courage to go up.
     Halfway through his short, but rather profound, poem, the crowd began laughing at him! What was he to do? Well, he finished his reading with as little outward chagrin as possible, and then tried to block the whole thing from his mind. The next day, he received his score back from the judges. A 3 out of 33! What had happened to poor Hobbes? The entertainment directing professor had written some scathing remark on his paper about his volatile garbage of a piece and Hobbes became very sad. He would surely never get his friend back now.
     And then, while the contestants were sitting at tables going over the judge's favorite pieces, Hobbes whispered to the professor, a thin Indian woman sitting directly next to him.
     "Psst," he said, "there is something I must tell you about the contest."
     "Shh!" she said, "it will have to wait!"
     Hobbes was getting desperate. He was sweating through his tiger fur! And suddenly, he began to feel it happen. The room began to shake violently and people began screaming. It was too late! The world was ending, and he could have prevented the whole thing! He would never see Calvin again, or anyone he loved. It was all over.
     Suddenly, he felt a tap on his shoulder. Hobbes turned around, as the vibrations of the Earth were slowly beginning to subside. It was Calvin's father.
     "Relax, Hobbes," he said, "it was just an earthquake! Everything is fine and the world is not ending!"
     "But what about Calvin?!" Hobbes cried. He was so confused. Was his best friend still stuck somewhere deep in the sky?
     "He's right over there!" Calvin's father said, and pointed to the corner of the dark, colorful room, where Calvin was gently floating down from the air and onto the floor.
     "Calvin!" Hobbes screamed at his drifting friend.
     "It's alright, Hobbes," said Calvin. "It was all safe up there, no destruction or death for now. And besides, I don't know who would leave a stuffed tiger in charge of saving the world, anyway."


Okay, you're right. It was all a big dream I had last night.