i wanted to be distant like a watercolor,
head in profile,
a slow blink like a lizard.
if i can’t see you,
you can’t see me.
if i can’t see you seeing me,
i can’t be seen after all.
i wanted to stand in the middle of a crowded street
and hold back traffic with the tips of my fingers.
i put your head in my deep fryer,
sizzled it brown and crispy.
ripped the skin off and made you feed it to me,
your neck like a stump of a tree.
the bones, i tossed to the dogs.
i don’t even have dogs.
i borrowed them, mean ones,
for the occasion.
work feels like prostitution:
the way i fold and unfold neatly, crisply,
a newly creased book.
it is a smile too bright,
too many apologies filled with the kind of false sincerity
that i can’t even recognize as fake or real anymore.
i fall at your knees and grab onto tailored cuffed pants,
lick your shoes shiny with a brazen, natural sensuality.
sex and work, they’re a natural pair,
sex is work,
work isn’t sex but it can be, it feels like it,
it feels heavy and cheap like a fistful of money i earned the wrong way,
backwards, like wearing someone else’s shoes.
they need they need they need,
i need too,
to hold on
to your pressed khakis,
to that final bit of myself, i glimpsed her around the corner.
to papers and books and submission and yes and i’m so sorry about that
and of course, right away, i’ll do it right now, let me call them and find out for you.
i am left raspy-voiced,
someone dresses me, my clothes are made out of money and schedules.
i’m crawling after people i don’t even work with, never even met before,
how much longer do i have to do this?
sorry about all of the vacations i ruined
we went to disney world when i was 14,
that scratchy age,
where nothing fits - clothes, feelings.
my shirts stretched too tightly over my chest
and seemed to spring up buoyantly,
revealing a baby fat bubble.
14 grabbed me by the neck and stole me.
i was too old for mickey mouse, the trademarked magic,
and i was too young to enjoy epcot.
14 doesn’t want to go anywhere,
she wants to know why we left and when we’re going back.
epcot was supposed to be amazing, transformational,
but i was stubborn and sticky,
like the unwashed popsicle mouths of all the happy disney kids.
i ruined the vacation.
i cried during a tour of MGM.
it was a temper tantrum, really.
heaving sobs and protestations i couldn’t vocalize
over my stinging hiccups. it was an embarrassment.
children stared at me like i was the giraffe that blocked
the safari ride on our animal kingdom tour
(which i also hated).
14 threw fits, sure, but usually in the privacy of
her lavender bedroom, matching trashcan filled with
soaked tissue crumbles.
eventually i stopped crying.
it let it go, whatever it was.
we went on a tour of the costume department
and my dad took a candid picture of me,
half-smiling, cheeks still red from my storm,
admiring a dress on a mannequin,
in awe of her quiet, how she could show so much beauty
i wanted that. i wanted to be that.
i wanted to be cast in plaster, made immobile,
dragged like a deflating balloon to greet mickey & minnie,
eat a waffle cone,
told what to think and when,
find a stopper for my tears.
it was impossible, though.
14 was outrageous and moody.
she ruined vacations.
but she is sorry now.
OK now I can FINALLY make this exciting announcement (to the 2 people who read this) — Word Riot is going to be publishing [a newly edited version of] this poem in an upcoming issue! More details to come shortly or eventually.
I’m totally excited and in shock! And for someone like me, who is usually pretty self-deprecating and insecure, especially about my writing, this feels INCREDIBLE.
This is a nice reminder that I’m a capable person. It’s a great, unstoppable feeling.
oh my god poetry happenings
that was supposed to say “poetry things are happening”
but same difference
I wish I could make a living loving you
not because I’m so good at it
but because I could be
a man on the subway selling knock-off perfume,
shiny gold, reflective disco ball boxes, CKNY, Donna Klein, Chanel #3, Vera Wong, Valentina,
got in my face and said,
“hey girl, can I borrow some of your height?”
I cowered, dropped my eyes, sat down on an empty seat.
he kept his eyes glued to me and shook his heavy tote bag in my face, trying to tempt me with glittery containers and the faint scent of baby powder, mixed with sweat, mixed with the heat of bodies and the day and the train.
eventually he gave up, moved onto another passenger, another girl, another tall girl, maybe.
it wasn’t until later that I realized I had given him exactly what he requested.
I halved my body, made myself small, gave him my height, took it away.
but even when I stand I never seem to have my height, anyway.
I’m password-protecting this blog for the time being. I want to work on a lot of the drafts I have on here and edit some existing things. Just want to keep things closed while I edit! I’ll re-open when I’m writing again.