I felt around the threading
picked at each seam until
there was nothing at all
and every inhale you took
took a part of me with you
down an empty echoing hall
and your lungs filled with the pilling
of each fabric I swore by
on my way through the fall
and with that breath you held
and kept so halfheartedly
there was no one to call
FATHER I’m sorry
for the ventilator in your throat
there was no one to call
FATHER I’m sorry
for the infection that ran up your spine
like an empty echoing hall
FATHER I’m sorry
for the pill that they said could help
on your way through the fall
FATHER I’m sorry
for the cloth that couldn’t hold you together
because there was nothing at all.
I became solemn in my own grave
and shallow were those who forgot
and sunken were those who mourned.
I laid facedown and bruised from honest
words that broke my heart and
offered the pieces to each deity
that played with tiny crosses on my skin
like I was the wide Mediterranean unknown
Where is your god when the sea breaks and
bellows in riot?
Where is your salvation when each breath
drowns in protest?
I indulged in your grace and came up empty-
handed and from there the words were all
scattered and helpless on my tongue;
the syntax I could not find to sift me out
of my old bones that shuddered in a nature
as though they might crumble into dust,
and it was your face that I might not see again
that held me tight between a sky bloomed of life
and the inundating tides of
Mister always told me he liked my dress
like it was my sunday best
and I sat before the god of my inane
thirst as he rowed me across the atlantic
in romantic suicide.
I laid with two stakes in my hands for
eight years hung up on the cross of
my Father’s back where he carried me
to the center of my own christening,
and the gathering’s gathered eyes hallowed
“I swear he’s a good man”.
I had to dig a hundred graves to bury
the parts of me that died with you
and your fascist grin,
I had to burn the home that housed
your greasy robes
and from the smoke those memories
rose unforgiving and sordid where it
was my throat that choked instead.
How do you figure what stays
and what goes
in order to live?
It began with a break that wrenched
my heart, a red-bloom sack,
back into my hollowed chest--
a coffin that had been recycled
after a few good deaths.
I regrew two months in an old
cast on a regimen of self-love and
strawberry toast, reminiscing tales
of Venus and Rhiannon, who I
believed once ran ghostly white
through my veins and then exited
as newborn of my guise. O body!
I regret the dust that had settled
in your stomach; the bones that couldn’t
even mold the blood was too dry;
the worth that looked leonine but
was serpent in the placid waters
and bartered with me to cross
where a noose was tied to my
name; the skin that twisted at the sight
of blighted bloated bones the hands
of scandal held tight.
Gone, gone, gone were the days
before calamities rang in my ears
and tamed me submissive to a
garden that refused to flourish but,
rather, grew into itself to protect
feverish in desert-dry tides
the mountain hungers in crescendo
for the sky that crucifies her;
her staccato tops of green
and earthly graves
are titanic gods in all-
these congeries of grandeur
do her not rise but sink the
valley of mawkish men
trembling poignant and bare
sprouting liturgies from their
beaks, bespeaking the apex
pregnant in exploits
where the sun resurrects daily.
dissonant from the ground that ached
fractured and mistress of
she birthed the thin ghost of dawn
drawing the trembling line of
fervent, the bulbous-born sky
in fat drunken clouds of
climaxed in the aqueduct of
and emerged as deity of
bagatelle and dust.
the bones were hard to give up,
they pushed out like daisies
caressed under the hounding
heart of a copper sun.
unbridled and undried they bore
zealous arrogance of themselves,
petals dripping ****** convictions
and vibrating like awful angels.
under cruel devices they tried to
soften my bones and mold thick skull
constructed of lackluster candles
on their last flame.
days passed like doctors and white nurses
examining old wires that pray tell
the routines, the stools, the teeth.
i am their Jesus, their Lazarus.
my hearse, my sheep keeper,
my pretty things,
i become the acrobat at the
finale, the last supper,
supplementing at the **** of my
recovery. i lay my skin down for all
of you to see: here is my breast!
my toad belly! my glass feet!
i plunder through swollen sky,
cursed by the air surrounding,
coddled and heated at the pyre
with a stale fist to the stomach
like a sacrificial cow before a feast;
i gather at the table and dine
with serpents at the altar
before the King.
scraped from the plate,
cast into a sack,
and handed 209 pills
i become the Queen of Blue
enrobed in hospital-white flesh
commanding Father to kiss at my feet;
i grow tired of these things and
let the stagnancy seep.
my memoirs crown like
multifaceted gems emerging
from a fatherless Mother
gripped at the neck by some
heretic proclaiming about prodigy
and the people applaud at my feat;
i shake hands with the devil
and go back to sleep.
i slumber across the Atlantic
where i can hear your voice
breaking at the shores, calling
for a revelation in me,
oh! for the love of God--!
the current worries and swallows
me whole like a crook in need
of a baptizing.
how far have i gone
to collect these uncomfortable bones
whose aching shakes in my skin
like a hungry hound tied to an empty home.
how many blues have i sown
and harvested from each vein
that failed to bleed red, but screamed
"what are you going to gain?"
and crumbled instead.
how many homes have i burned
that nursed me from fetus in my mind
taking stock of careful crutches
while choking on the smoke
in my lies.
how many words have rotted
and blackened like berries on my tongue
that left the god grown belly trembling for
mercy, and the heart begging
"when is it going to be enough?"
i am deficient and undergrown
beating battered fists into every word
that made me sink too low.
i took the breath that would turn me blue
and gripped like a mad man
onto all the threads i thought
might have been attached to you.
i built churches and mosques
out of matchsticks and glue
but not even bringing them to flame
could summon you
and among the pyres rescinding
were the prayers i left in the hands
of the faith that left me too.
and litanies shook their teeth at me
and bellies bellowed and growled
while my fingers grew numb and faltered
under empty words and drivel
in a world that was always too loud.
among tongues sprouting with jargon
where the ties bled at the cut
i no longer knelt at your crown.
lowering into the hum of empty bones
among a tired floor
i feel unknown
i feel shaken by drowsy notes
from unruly voices
translating parts of me
between the cries for father and peace
between the silence on my lips that kiss
at the grave digger’s feet
i left in the early morning
before my own breath could
fragile, a storm raged in her throat
fingers clenched tighter than the hold
between a father and a motherless child
flowers plucked and sewn among the gravestone
that never fed the soil beyond a week old
that never took back the mind from the piles
left out behind what was once home
tangled in the weeds between sinking knees
her body collapsed and heaved
as lightning licked at the trees
with the last shuffling of cold feet
she fell past the tremors and trembling
and knew not what it was like to be free
but what it meant to leave prematurely.
the dark squeaks through,
sinks in the holes
in the lungs—the worms
found her too.
appendages of the hands
grown from the soil of old hysterias
to sate the browning mind,
the eyes no longer do.
in the caricature of her boots,
the prints left in frenzied twos
are auxiliary to the compounds
that do not do
anymore than the supercilious
breath she left above ground
when she was twenty-two—
latent now in a grave
where the light can’t produce,
but the heart still beats.
Monster mouth, sulfuric flies, sitting on the highs,
flames licking at the bolts and screws;
serpents of the night cultivating the blind
in the starless sky and singing with fever.
This is not how I was supposed to die.
Bagatelle in a sack lifted among the crowds—
unheard of and undone,
biting at the wrists
left fetal on crumpled ankles
and bleeding their psalms
kissing at poison on the palms
crying “Mother! What have I done!”
Dragged to an aluminum bed, multiplied by three,
godsent and clean.
Women with boxed feet sighing,
layered by concrete and signs, foot prints, mud, and rot—
“this is how she died”.
Father hunches at the site, sorting old flowers and things,
collecting the mites and the bees with weathered hands
and feet, atop the bruised bones of a daughter of seventeen.
This is not who I was supposed to be.
the lilies had bloomed
but i had not
for grim was the light in my eyes
i ****** everything in sight
where you were not
grasping at the absence
fumbling for the words on my tongue
and tumbled and mumbled
and stumbled off to bed instead
slumbering over the years
i departed at the sounds
and drooled out orchestras
of endless blossoming
to the hum of expiring days
and the lilies bloomed for you
but i did not—
with your constant flow of madness
withered and weathered and worn
and i with my electromagnetic bones
sitting beneath the sylvan glades not far
you touched me with your pooling eyes and
rooted me down to your supercilious boot.
and every spoor to the sky was lost
and we were left to wander without hunger
as rocks settled in our stomach and our mind
while our footsteps cried out
"how am i alive?"
and the calamity welcomed us in each breath
as we toasted to the end of each yellow zeppelin
that went down and crumbled into the vein that
clamored for help in each mirror that i found myself in.
I emerge at the calm before the storm
where they can't reach me by the quake
Before the plunge I am unwithered and unworn
calling Mother at the folds where it was torn.
Cast as foetus and bag of stone
I am pulled down into a blend of effulgence
and the lungs linger in my mouth
before settling for breath between the bones;
marked by nascence and polished.
Held in an agitation of hands I am lifted
onto the summit of all things,
and she cries at the final separation
of our veins,
of our beings.
Mouth full of God
and stone heavy feet
crushing each other on the
back roads and hushed;
making structures from silence
with the hindsight of knowing
where this would eventually end.
Father grows with the stalagmites now
in the cave off the coast
where the dead think they've found themselves;
suicide off White Rock.
Into the ashes he climbed with
an unforgiving fervor
like a redeemable brute,
and the children cried out
with tongues like dark deities
and their hands beckoned him no further
than the flames that already
howled in their pitted chests.
Do you know that it’s in the way
that the breath of mine outlined the heart
and my body beat as a whole.
It’s in the drumming waves that
I found myself suffocating in the
raw submission of your hands and the
gentle rhythm of the hum that went
Not that it was supposed to mean anything
in the beginning,
but that it graced the blueprints of
my veins and shook the bones
and protruded from me,
and grounded me
into a grave of every fear
and bore roots of taboo words
on my tongue.
Not that I was supposed to feel anything,
but I did.
Written for my boyfriend of almost two years.
Or if the morning doesn't come
by the time you find home
I'll paint white doves by your feet
to take care of your bones,
so that if you can't open your eyes
by the time I come around
I'll lay in your grave, meet the gray ocean and
let you be
you'll get to know peace,
and the wind will tell me it's okay for you to leave.
I've outgrown the hibernaculum I was sewn into
at birth--the beast cannot be tamed
by suppressing the lungs and drowning them in liquors
darker than the sludge inside our bellies. And full
those bellies have grown; pregnant by the
Bourgeois hands that are fat from a materialistic complex
as though the bounty hung before them is silk
and succulent on the tongue (as they are cut from the mouths).
These minds are like rot in the veins,
and they permeate,
and they anchor,
and they sink into our bones only to remind me
that there is always an ocean to
if the land is too dry.
I'm too awake;
in any case the concavity
of my body can't be filled
by the skin of another being.
My hunger is of an old, coarse mind on a
woman serpentining through valleys
of the mawkish trees and hills of man.
I found them pulling roots out
at the bottom of a boiling river--
almost like cold gods with hot tongues
for stirring storms inside of things, and
at the ****** of my rotting capabilities
of sentimentality I dug out a soundness
from the heap that bellowed in response
to the boorish nature of those dreams.
Like strong silhouettes against street lights
the presence of these beasts solicited cities
of sludge and cheap favors feigning happiness.
And amongst the babbling brooks
and golden moons on the seventh red district
between fat hands and young diamonds
I'm too awake
searching for harsher realities.
I've got the cold sweat of the night justifying
young adult Carpe Diem decisions that condense
into memoirs told on the subway while looking for a fix; suppose
they are to overwhelm any listeners who need that
strung-out advice of how high to get before you start
to think of all the crosses you forgot to pray on at dinner--they become vibrations--
the teen culture unculturally bends in the direction of the favorable presence
of skin and tattoos in a clash of irony and
estrangement from oneself and
the cigarette ash tells more than the contents of their sulfuric stomachs.
back in the corner I'm survived by the awkward density in my bones, and I could see my veins crying, and near the end I was bored by it all.
Suddenly things are too loud--
hungry and bloated by a gangrene of
and expostulating with me about the
waves you encourage so quietly.
Ride or die.
You and your maudlin story of things--
like the messy hair of a boy no older
than six--no cleaner than your motives--
pillage me; and it's your sentimental implements
that warm my blood to percolate into
crevices and cracks that you can't see
without a hound.
Of the things to love, I have ****** myself
less than gracefully.
Remember that skin of yours she crawled under
that shook every breath you thought you
And no matter how thin the clothes on her back were
you couldn't get closer than a thousand miles
to those fiery bones.
Remember the coffee that wouldn't get cold enough
between you before you broke down
and begged for every strand of thought
just to know how she planned each
pull on your heart,
to know how she knew you better than your own
The wars waged held the same, dark beauty
as her eyes had, and
those words splitting you
into two different types of a man
magnified the feeling of breaking
and spilled from you a rage
that invited things to teach your hands how to touch so differently.
Remember how she left you
more alive than ever.
Do you hear those cross angels
overdressed in thorns and gold sandals
with spurs on the front? Their faces are
painted in cathedrals by the hundreds
of closed hands and stiff knees.
I'd like to dip my own hands in those oils until
the flesh soaks into a rot--
Everyone has secrets, y'know?
The saints will be real once the sins are,
and we'll learn to stop pulling teeth out over
hot tea. Those boats are sinking
before they're even built, Noah.
I don't know.
Perhaps they could have done a little more,
felt a little more, shivered a little more
at the sound of the desperate call of the early morning,
that ghost-bitten yawn of life before the life of those
who refused to wake.
Orphaning the roots around the dry fields and
you, the dry field, bear no good soil for
those farmers and hounds of Thoreau
who lounge in their tacky suits with
god-like mouths. They ******* the weeds
in search of something with appeal; there is no equality among these liars and hypocritical bats.
You found the grave of yourself under the overgrown
moon and howling fog, and beneath the beating of no heart cried
"Alive, alive, alive!"
despite the thickening thorns in your side,
in spite of the mass crowds defecating in your good eyes,
in spite of the love you acquired on death's bedside.
"I didn’t want any flowers, I only wanted
to lie with my hands turned up and be utterly empty.
How free it is, you have no idea how free." - Sylvia Plath*
And I'm so deep the lungs are starting to give like my
vertebral column, spinal column,
******* backbone--tap at it, shake it loose, I'll put it
on a silver platter and salt it down,
lick it up from coccygeal to cervical
until I can conclude that the last man didn't matter.
I'm full on a cold throat of second-hand smoke
and an empty stomach that voices an ocean with
vigor and angry waves. Never suppressed.
Was I supposed to learn something
when they said the common mind didn't cave?
It all shifts more violently than we'd like to admit,
and I float more aimlessly than I'd like anyone to know.
I'm not into gripping at testimonies from people
who feel me. I'm too self-absorbed
and your psychobabble is getting old as
I'm leaving it at the door, down by my clothes,
by my skin, by my nerves. I don't need anyone to
tell me how to grow, just how to dumb myself down enough
so that I'll stop spitting up irrational assumptions and
get over tattooing myself with Sylvia Plath quotes.
I brought out the old crosses from the closet.
Tell me how you hung for so long--
tyrant of the faithful and proud,
and if I get scared I swear
I'll try to nail you back down.
How cruel I must have been as a child
to grow with the mindset I have now,
and it's more than it seems,
the way my tongue sticks inside like
bleeding terrible verses in the corner
until the veins are dry
to realize that what you told the world
has only been a white lie and everyday
you are fighting to just go into the field
and burn alive with the hope that your ashes
will be named after saints and mix well with the winds
so that everyone can inhale you and praise you--
(is that what you were thinking when they condemned you?)
Hear this. I'm in my prime: I don't have room to
care about the pains, the ways, the love
of a father with a needle shoved so far
into the vein that it starts to grow there--
I'm growing in my own grave that starts
in the belly and thrives off the simulated
stimulant of an unruly class.
And I'm sitting here begging for a life
that hasn't birthed you,
that has made me to exist under
different ghosts where the only memories
I have are flowing through the motions of wild adolescent to tamed adult,
but it's too much
and I'm too less.
So let me howl and beat my chest
and swear at every good family that doesn't
store a bottle under their mattress
because I want you to feel everything I have
to offer and hope it doesn't **** you
in the process. I'm breaking and shaping
each bone, muscle, tendon
to become more of the monster I should
have been when you first showed off
the blueprints to the pyre I was supposed to jump in.
**** your schizophrenic pseudonyms that
wave at me each day when I pass by,
the blur of each apology and promise mean nothing
when I'm going ninety-five and you're below zero
because you're too **** high.
I don't think you realize how bored
and uninterested I am in that alphabet
you've contracted. My speech is too well formed
to be wasted on stutters and comatose responses.
Each increment of time is looking for a shut down
and it will either be in me, or in you and your diagnosis.
I can't part water into verses of basic poem:
the classic forms make me choke.
I can't pull the heart out and serve it up
into every wave that pillages the pores
and I do not know how to raise myself from
comfortable fetus to raging sailor.
But I am still alive
and I am sober apart from the fish.
That is enough.
I prefer the flies in the cavity
of my chest.
The truth about coming of age
She peels perfect skin
from her bones--
there is nothing.
When you're thinking of that second chance;
Take note of Hera's closet
she meant business.
I skip Sundays to drink with Voltaire**
Too much of the sea's in me.
Don't tell God.
I fixed myself by the window and waited:
Perhaps the house would choke and catch fire,
or some skeleton would develop from
the closet with jargon and torpedoes
to fire at the neighbors that loom with
an idleness as though some sort of
calamity would propel them through my stiff door.
something would collapse somewhere and
then I'd be competent enough to know that
you weren't coming home,
and this upbringing wasn't getting me
out of it,
and these boots you gave me were creating sores--
Pull me out from under those cinder blocks of emotion.
Poke me with holes and drain me dry--
what is humanity, what is humanity.
I don't remember the day I died,
the guard at the gate had to tell me:
had to tell me how you plucked
petals from the headstone and tried to
reconstruct me. O terrible woman, you mother,
you'd be better off singing with the
Christian choirs and decoding their godly mouths
rather than rattling my rotted bones in front
of the age-broken hearth
where I spent twenty years trying to not
throw myself in it while the blood pumped
what is humanity,
what is humanity.
One does not think, does not do anymore
after years of birthing premature lives--
a copy and paste sort of resurrection where
I clambered out of you,
but the winters were too hard,
and you were not.
What is life like as a gravedigger,
where the stale cadavers make you their
last acquaintance and
there is something overwhelmingly beautiful
and sickening about it as you shovel six feet
into their calm faces, and the dirt
"What is humanity.
What is humanity."--
is it everything you dream of
I am a skeleton
and there is no heart to brag
and there is no significance to wrap
around the bleached-white bones
under the harsh light
I swallow nothing and in return
from soured organs
to a mental report of what I
should do to feel normal
because it's not normal enough
that I am awake.
I have held inside this enigmatic woman
a stillbirth of another kind
defeated into a void that is never
fed and it outlines
childhood blueprints and incoherent
babble, and I am
listening to its lungs punish me with
the resonating, ritual hum
I would trade all of the blood that punctures through
me to belong like a cadaver
of which becomes more incandescent,
of which whose memories become more moving,
and wouldn't I be even more alive then?
You sit on the porch in the fatness of the day
unaware you died a few years ago.
Now I'm going to tell you—
Ghost in a subnormal bind
bent to be fed on the elusive structures
of his society: he's a conduit housing blood errors,
handicapped in vernacular and sinks,
and that's how it feels,
it's like silk on the bubbling back
that arouses the skin, only more inconvenient,
and the only way out is through
and the only way out is through
and the only way out is through
so they stick you in the ground and beg you to grow.
How could anyone survive that?
I don't know, Tommy, but take that flame
to the kitchen before God finds you.
You're composed of sulfur and a god complex
and I think of you often
of how much I’d like to break you—
like I broke my father's crucifix
when he broke my heart.
It's been a year since I felt the rapture
of removing his shoes from the shelf
and cried in honor of you for not
spoiling me while my hands were agitated
with another man's buckle
and another bible's page,
but there has always been too much of me spoiled, Mister
I am permeated in festered sores and collapsed veins!
But I could possibly appreciate it more
if you'd let me **** it inside you and flirt with
the stomach from where I was forced (or conceived, if you will)
but no, no, that's not what I really want.
I ****** up with the preconceived
notion of thrilling myself, but my skin is peeling
away and the bones are melting—love! the eye
contact makes me gag and bitter.
Tell me where the dust went after we swept it
out with our pretentious brooms
and I'll go collect it and beg you to put it back.
Tell me you don't love me
just the idea of me
of some pretty, little harlot with
a deprivation in paternity and childhood
who chokes on every man's definition of
a good bite—
and when you ask me how it was—
oh, was I supposed to feel something?
(is your wife giving you a hard time when
you tell me you miss me?)
It's been a year since I felt the rapture
and planted inside you what has now grown
into a sordid layout of imaginary rooms,
and idealistic romances,
and after some time to think about it
I wouldn't mind sharing a bed with one of
those gods you rendered,
because I'm sure he's one hell-of-a
demon, and religion is becoming.
My sheep-keeping shepherd
how mildly inspired I am by you, now.
Father told me he liked the way I dressed
Mother hated the way I spoke
about the rules and common sense
of good parenting
sighing, "**** it, child."
Excuse me while I get my head on straight--
it's going to take years for these men
to please me
and frankly I need to entertain myself
I could categorize every thought and present it to you,
tell you to eat it
and recycle it
so you could possibly understand them more.
I could break it down to the bed
and the skin,
to the bird screaming at my window at 6am
and the man snoring next to me
with the duvet wrapped up to his chin.
It took three cups of coffee that day
to walk straight
and maybe a shot to even look you in the eye.
See, it's 2am and my fingers are feeling up-tight
and useless without a decent man to
so I made the boy up
until you came home.
My life is taken by the percentage of two things:
ten percent listening
and ninety percent not knowing what the
hell I'm talking about
and I wish I were a few years older so a man
would take me seriously when I tell him
I'd rather be alone with my mind
than with him (while peeling off my
tights on his mattress).
A homeless man told me one day that the wind
is God sighing,
but years later I'm more convinced that it's
just an insignificant yawn
and now I don't remember where I was going with any of this--
"I can feel you here,"
he crept into the dead drum of
my ear, and I crushed my fingers into
the left of his ribs and sought for anything
from that hound: no blood spoor
Two more beers, child, and you'll be
bleeding the pollen of a harlot
and he'll be the
Mother warned me about this.
I'm a survivor of many things,
but I still don't understand
and what did you do those
three whole days
while that ship was under siege
and the thousands of my
nerves screamed at you--
Did you hold the anchor
close to that cross nailed to
I'd have been a different
kind of woman from the one
you left in me,
and if I wanted to be a
I'd have gone to a different corner
of a different street.
But that God of yours doesn't like me,
and if I can't have the sea in
your eyes I'll suffice with a fist
and live off the swelling.
of the back,
a rotten mound
It seems as if
I've been plundered.
I **** at writing love poems--
I'd rather indulge
on a feminist lens
because I hate the way
you look at me,
but today I'll let you
stroke my hair
without calling you a
in the frame of youth,
between the frustrations
of the tongue and mind, they
fabricate the size of their hands
through the ink and the page—
through the shriek and the sigh.
They begin with rain-soaked
and a love for Edgar’s
They’re fatherless and starving
out of their chests
criticizing each other’s whines
(does that make any sense?),
and it ends with skeletons in
and lungs crucified from
breathing too deep.
But the process is
Ankles twisted beside the bed
sound just like the God at your door—
Bloodhounds and broken glasses
birthing themselves through steaming
and restless avenues.
After the brandy the praying must get tiring
between the drought in your throat
and the flame in their eyes—
Demons with their black books
and thick smiles.
Now it’s all ******,
and what's that going to make you?
No, she did not stutter
when she felt the damp earth;
So rotted from her preceding bodies.
And they shrieked--those impetuous
tongues whose eyes lingered
from their ***** havens as they
knew the flavor of their smoke-
She did not stutter
when she felt the damp earth.
I'm still listening
while the district sleeps alone
in the night--Where I am.
And beneath these howling sheets
I couldn't count my crosses
— The End —