i traveled the world. it was fine.

::  lists  ::

genres
not-genres

survival
surveillance

 

::   lists  ::

bath salts
meds
nail stuff
grapefruit juice
keys
protein
tequila
other keys
gin
grapefruit juice
other other keys
hair

 

::   lists   ::

things i won’t be answering:
emails
voice mails
really any mail without a stamp
phone calls
call outs
call ins
ungrounded theories
anything that begins “can i touch...”

 

::  states  ::

potentially
pointless

surveillance
survival

 

::  states  ::

selfish
she invites
all the curses
(no curse for you!)

 

::  states  ::

how are we all so busy now
again

 

::  lists  ::

my name
the way my name
is said

 

yawn

At Harlem Hospital across the street from the Schomburg the only thing to eat is a Big Mac

after Z. S.

Still, somehow we are
carousel. We spin bodies
to the wall and back.

We are woman and
man and man. We
are surgeon and

operation. We are
everybody we love.
We are inside them.

We are inside and we
are laughing. We are
man and we will die too.

We know that much.
We are our own
shadow. We are want

of touch. We are woman
and man and man don’t look.
We are curvature—look!

We are train.
We are star.
We are big

tiny spiders. We are
crawling. We are biting.
We are hungry. We are

a stopped carousel. We are
bodies dropped to the floor.
We are shaking. We are our own.

Still, somehow, we are
laughter. We are the doorway out.
We are (again) the doorway in.

You’re really faithful to your abusers, aren’t you?

Like love: first you pick up; then you lay down; then discard; then discard; then discard. That’s love. Right? Did somebody say Dominoes? The problem of a street game is you. You’re already doing it wrong. Doing it wrong before you wake up. Before you walk up the street. Cross the crowded corner. Case in point: When you reach the bones table, you stop. Stare. Consider. Count. Think: This is a lovely afternoon for a friendly game of dominoes! Call next. Figure they don’t hear. Call next again. You call louder. You call in Spanish. Then you walk (again, with the walking) into the bodega. Come out with four 40oz bottles. Suddenly somebody hears. Suddenly the smell of holes burning pockets. Suddenly, the game you watch ends. Like love. Right? Somebody?

Manistee Light

Brother I don’t either understand
this skipscrapple world—

these slick bubble cars zip feverish
down rushes of notcorn of notbeets

notcabbage and the land and the land—

you should know, man, nothing
grows down here anymore except

walloped wishes and their gouged out
oil cans. Where notbloodroot spans us

guard towers land mined in the sand.
They twist us. They tornado us. No—

Do spring breezes bring the scent of smelt?

Remember? Even on strike our mother
gathered smelt by their fingery bagfuls

and fried them whole. I wish I knew
how she did it. It was almost enough.

Related Poems

Accommodation

The law wants my body reasonable
My body won't fence in its demands
Expects the world to stop
Whenever it wants to lay down
Throws up its middle finger
At deadlines, task lists,
Long awaited meetings
It ain't open to negotiation
Wants you to stop telling it to
Calm down
It has three settings: rest, spark, flare
All that talk about your inconvenience & your hardship
It calls that Bullshit
It will not wait in line
It will not be polite
It will not use its inside voice
It wants all the space
In every room of the house
The entire sky & the full lawn of grass
It wants to set it all aflame
My body is a pyromaniac
My body is the art 
Of Angela Bassett's right hand
Letting reason go up in smoke

Instructions for Stopping

Say Stop.

Keep your lips pressed together
after you say the p:

(soon they’ll try
and pry

your breath out—)

Whisper it
three times in a row:

Stop Stop Stop

In a hospital bed
like a curled up fish, someone’s

gulping at air—

How should you apply
your breath?

List all of the people
you would like
to stop.

Who offers love,
who terror—

Write Stop.
Put a period at the end.

Decide if it’s a kiss
or a bullet.

Wish List

To be the Mary J. Blige of poetry     to come back as Peter O’Toole     to have Peter Falk

expose his tender heart to you     as John Cassavetes would     make a monument to love

of a fragile wife     with a nervous tic    and strangers from a bar on the couch     to be a poet

of the sea      pounding down each syllable     ‘til it resembles almost nothing      but sound

between lovers     to be an unscripted scene of oneself     have a teardrop tattoo

inked beneath one eye     to practice right action and right speech     to summon a stiff drink

upon waking     at the foot of a dune     to be a grain of sand in that dune    to be seen

up close     at maximum magnification     as intricate and entirely plausible