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daniela Apr 2019
my roommate tells me
that actually it can get you
on the *** offender registry
for ******* in a hammock.
she and her boyfriend were apparently
goin’ at it like chinchillas, like two teenagers
made out of nothing limbs and first times
and urgency, when the parker ranger shined
a flashlight on them. she tells me
how officer told them to be more
careful next time, as she nervous
sweat through her deodorant,
clammy palms and stutter heartbeat
as she had to fish her bra from
the bottom of the tree trunk.
and how ****** is it that two kids
trying to stumble through love with
no training wheels can become *** offenders
for wanting to feel july on their skin, but rapists
can sit in class next to me? move in next me to?
hold positions of power over me?
how ****** is that that can happen
and this country can elect a man who wants
to grab half of us by the *****? see, america
has always been a hypocrite with her ankles
crossed like a martyr. she will punish you
not for injustice, but for indecency.
hello anyways CUPSI really is that ***** and my creativity feels renewed af, here's something i wrote in a workshop where we were given eight minutes and 6 words we had to use in the poem
daniela Apr 2019
it’s always national something day. national pancake day.
national sourdough bread day. national tweed day.
national jelly bean day. national talk like shakespeare day.
there are bakers with flour hands and runny batter
and elbow patches and rambling professors and assignments due
and the bertie botts every flavor beans that make you think of
hogwarts and sonnets. there’s always a tomorrow dragging
itself up over the eyes of last night.

today is national reconciliation day.
the planet has eleven years before it starts biting back
and your heart feels like a timer. you should see
hawaii before it sinks into the ocean. you should see the polar
icecaps before they melt. you should climb to the bottom of
the grand canyon and look up at the sky if you still see it
and celebrate national canyon day if we have one on the calendar.
you should accept that life is beautiful because it’s ugly.
you should call your mother more. you should tell her that
there is a word for “soul” in every language. tell her alma.
tell her you were buried under snow for so long that you forget
that your father, born of rainforest, still takes it for magic.
tell her that life’s not fair and you still want one anyways.
tell her that people always ask you how could you write
about love at time like this and you always
answer how can you not?
in my poetry class today we wrote poems in 30 minutes using adages or idioms as the titles
daniela Oct 2018
i am trying to get better at correcting people
when they say my name wrong.

i am both good and bad at conflict.
my hands were born into fists and they never quite unclenched.
when my mother tells me to pick which hill i want to die on,
i pick all of them. but sometimes i let people say my name wrong.
it doesn’t feel like they’re talking to me,
it feels like they’re talking to someone else.

sometimes i say my own name wrong, my tongue getting
tangled over a language that belongs to me
but doesn’t always know how to fit into my mouth.
maybe this is what america took from me.

my father didn’t give me all his names.
in america, you only use three names.
the rest is superfluous, they don’t fit in the boxes on forms.
he didn’t want to give my brother more than we could handle.

people always spell my name wrong.
the first time i ever got published they spelled my last name wrong.
my email inbox is riddled with mispellings, extra Ls and Is.

my name is not even very hard to say.
when my parents picked it out, my mother says
they wanted a name that worked in both languages,
portuguese and english.
i don’t think they always understand what they gave me,
the act of being lost in translation
before i even took my first breath.
daniela Aug 2018
i read somewhere that every face
we see in our dreams is just the face of someone
we’ve seen before, remixed and regurgitated
to fit seamlessly into a new background.
our bodies cannot conjure anything
that doesn’t already exist somewhere.
they don’t know how to.
when i dream about you, all i see is hands.
i don’t know what that means.
when i think of love, we are both sleeping.
i don’t know that means, either.
sometimes i fall asleep in the valleys of your body,
in the juncture between your neck and your shoulder,
and you let me stay there until i wake up
and i get greedy on borrowed things.
if i hadn’t been there, i would think that some part of me
invented the sound of your heartbeat under my ears.
it’s funny what you remember, what your brain holds on to.
we forget 90% of our dreams, within five minutes
of waking they’ve already evaporated.
i remember every time you’ve held my hand
and it’s funny because i’ve spent so much
of my life afraid of forgetting things,
my grandfather’s voice and my grandmother’s eyes
and all the times i’ve felt truly happy
and last summer when we were the only car
driving down the street to my house late at night
and our voices were fighting against the radio.
i’ve spent half of my life afraid of forgetting the things i love
and now i can’t forget anything about you.
when you talk sometimes i write around
the cracks and pauses in your speech,
i build whole worlds that don’t belong to us
in the in betweens of your sentences.
i try to turn your words into confessions
and then pick them apart into promises.
when i call you baby it gets stuck
in my mouth, caught under my tongue.
when you tell me you love me, i memorize the way
the words curve in your mouth and i dream about it.
i dream about your hands in my hair.
i don’t know what you want from me
and sometimes i don’t even know what i want from you.
what do i know about love anyways?
i want to keep it in my bedside table
and only pull it out when it suits me.
i want to swallow it whole and i want it to leave me alone.
my mother thinks we’re in love. so do a lot of our friends.
i think we are in love, sometimes.
if i read us like a script, i would think we’re in love.
it makes sense from a bird eye’s view, but it’s hard to see
with your eyelashes so close to mine.
you told me that you had a dream about me once.
you told me in the dream you got in your car, the old one,
the one where the speakers didn’t work
so you stuck a portable one in the passenger seat
and we just had to scream the lyrics extra loud,
the one we parked in the mud that one june
and had to take to the carwash,
the one that we sat in when you were supposed to be
driving me home and i just kept hanging on to the door
in the driveway, telling you one more thing
and one more thing and one more thing.
you told me in the dream you got in your car
and started driving and driving until you got to me.
you told me you hugged me and you held on
and you held on and then you woke up empty-handed.
so please, don’t tell me that you didn’t love me.
i was there too. i know what i felt.
i know what the quiet of my driveway sounded like.
i know what inside of the palm of your hand felt like
in the dark of a movie theatre or in the sunlight of july,
what your arms felt like across the my shoulders,
the way your breathing evened out under my cheek.
i don’t know i could have made that up.
i don’t know how i could’ve conjured that.
i can’t imagine something that wasn’t already there.
i can’t dream about something i didn’t already have for a minute.
hi i keep writing the same poem about the same person but it never comes out right so this is all i have
daniela Jun 2018
i’ve tried to write this poem a lot of different times.
my love poems are never my best work.
they always come sounding a little bit off,
like i don’t know what the **** i’m talking about.
maybe i don’t.
i’ve got an apology where my mouth should be.
i’m sorry i love you and i’m sorry i’m so bad at it.
affection tastes like blood in my mouth,
sometimes, and i try to talk in between it.
talking to you feels like open heart surgery,
sometimes, and i don’t have steady enough hands
to sew myself back up.
and sometimes i think of telling you,
when we sit together and you end up with my fingers
against your mouth in a parody of a kiss
and your eyes are somewhere else
and we are so good in the quiet that it almost hurts.  
i never loved someone so up close before,
so up close i can taste your name in my mouth.
i’m always too much with my heart, too greedy
and always reaching, and eventually people walk away
from that when they can’t stand the sound of
my heart beat in their ears anymore like tinnitus.
too loud. too loud. always too loud.
so maybe you don’t make everything about me
always feel quiet, but you never reach for the volume
to turn me down and that feels like the same thing.
no one loves me like you love me
and it always comes back to that, doesn’t it?
sometimes you love me too much.
sometimes i don’t know what to do with it.
sometimes i think i am an *******.
i want you, but i also resent being tied to anyone,
i resent feeling so in love and pliable,
willing to break and build the world for you
and i don’t know how to explain in a way that
doesn’t make me feel cruel.
in my english class, we read a story called
the husband stitch about a woman with a ribbon
around her neck and a man who wants
to possess every piece of her.
i think i was both of them.
in the story, they **** for the first time by a lake
and they don’t drown and all the ghost stories she tells
come half to life, like necromancy.
sometimes when i miss you, i keep you in my heart
as a zombie. reanimated. fictitious.
nothing more than disembodied hands in the dark.
it’s not pablo neruda writing free verse about your feet,
nothing so romantic, it’s just that if you were here whole,
i wouldn’t know what to reach for.  
sometimes i am a coroner.
sometimes i want you in bits and pieces,
can’t handle you all together.
sometimes i want to rearrange you, just barely,
and i know that’s not fair.
sometimes i still want you love me more,
love me differently, love me in way
i don’t think you love me
and i know that’s not fair, either.
going through bits of poems and retrying them in new ways
daniela Feb 2018
i have a very vivid memory of arguing
with my mother in the first grade on the eve of picture day.
i don’t remember what we were arguing about,
probably something about what i was supposed to wear,
but i remember telling her that sometimes i wished
i could just lay down in a coffin instead of doing this.
i know; brutal for a seven year old.
children are both somehow incredibly kind and incredibly callous.
i think i made my mother i cry, i don’t know i try not to remember.
if you want to get analytic, this could mean a lot of things.
i read a think piece recently about how millennials,
as a whole, have gallows humor.
most of us regularly joke about the impending collapse of society,
how to plan for retirement when your retirement
will most likely be the apocalypse,
how global warming can’t **** us if nuclear warfare does first.
we are nihilism and absurdism’s ugly red-headed step-children.
gallows humor is most common among soldiers.
the article wondered about what it says about the world we live in
that entire generation is under a comparable amount of stress.
and even though i’m an atheist, it’s difficult for me to think
of death as sharp as it is. as finite.
i don’t believe in an afterlife, of heaven and hell,
but maybe i don’t really believe in endings, either.
i still think about death like it’s sleep, hitting snooze,
pressing pause.
when i was 16, i hated holden caulfield
because he reminded me too much of myself.
we did this in class activity where we had to diagnose him
with depression and i wanted to claw my heart out
of my throat the whole time.
my sophomore year of highschool it seemed like half of my class
gave themselves stick and pokes, homemade DIY tattoos
out of india ink and mom’s sewing needles
etched dot by dot into their skin. can you blame us?
we all wanted to be something permanent.
my sophomore year of highschool, someone tried to commit suicide
in the bathroom during class and we didn’t talk about it.
we never talked about it. whenever people die,
i don’t know how to talk about it.
my hands are too cold to touch god
and so i keep writing, trying to generate heat.
i had a professor who told me that no matter what we write about
we come back to the same things —
we write about our obsessions. we write about ourselves.
we write about what feels closest to our hearts
or, maybe, what feels farthest away.
see, there are times when my life feels like it’s
happening to someone else.
if it wasn’t for poetry i think i’d be dead.
i don’t tell my mom that, please don’t tell my mom that.
it makes it sound like i have a problem,
i don’t wanna have any problems. she’s got enough problems.
sometimes i don't wanna be here, sometimes i don’t wanna be here.
i don’t know where here is.
sometimes i’m worried that here is everywhere,
that here keeps changing and following me and wearing down
new places to their bones.
but maybe this is human nature.
we feel like we’re not supposed to be here so we try to delete
ourselves from here or we try to delete here,
keep digging into there’s nothing left.
daniela Dec 2017
there is nothing more american than superman.
i know this, not born but raised in kansas.
at the movies, when the man of steel tells
the government agent that “ma’am he’s from kansas,”
the entire theatre starts applauding.
he is the only illegal alien people from kansas will ever clap for.
when i was little, my father used to tried convince me
that he was alien, just not an illegal one,
because, well, it was technically true.
he’s just like superman, really, a boy living in a world
that’s not quite his that he loves anyways.
white kids in my classes never laugh at that story
but i still think it’s pretty funny. white kids in my classes never
like a lot of things i keep talking about, writing about.
because they’re always talkin’ about bootstraps
like everyone is born with the same pair of shoes
and i can never stand that.
because america is not a dream, it’s a meritocracy.
i mean, superman, that’s why we love you, right?
you’re the best and we only like things that are different
when they are cutting edge, bodies sharp
but not knife blades, nothing too lethal.
the reason we should allow immigrants in the country is
because of how they stimulate the economy,
the reason we should fund public education
is to keep kids “off the streets,”
the reason we should stop burning our planet alive
is because we have nowhere else to go,
the reason we should care about another person is always
bound to how they affect us. and i’m tired of penning arguments,
aiming to teach people how grow empathy a few years too late.
stop talking about my people like they’re dollar signs,
like we’re only worth our output. you like us when we’re superman,
sob stories to success stories, model minorities.
but you hate us when we take up too much space.
you hate us when we’re too angry or too loud or too comfortable.
you like us grateful, don’t want us to ever ask for more.
can all our american dreams live at the same time?
or are they pack of cannibals, eating each other out of existence?
does a dead boy in kansas mean the same to you
as a dead boy in syria? do you cry for him in the same way,
is his body just as heavy in his mother’s arms?  
riddle me this, if a body falls hard against the concrete
and his murderers walk around as if they are not murderers
then does it make a sound?
how much is it worth?
how much is it worth?
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