close, but not close

i tell the ghosts it's okay but they never believe me

pick-up truck

maybe it wasn't night, but an afternoon. maybe it was that day you took me through the woods by your house to that big lonesome body of water. i forgot what you called it. i forget what it's called and you won't answer my calls to tell me. you tell me nothing. we walked through the woods, me right behind you in the wrong shoes, the sound of leaves and twigs cracking under us feeling just like whatevers in my chest, under the skin, behind my lungs. there. the world was listening carefully to us, you could tell. we sat on the ledge of a wooden deck and put our feet in the water. i was shaking. we had white wine in plastic cups, i think. thats how i remember it. if the cups were not plastic i'm sorry. it might have even been rum. i don't remember how the sky looked, things were moving too fast for that but i know i kept looking up at it. it was much safer than your eyes but not bigger. i was so nervous even the trees had heartbeats. when we were back in your room all the light from the day had shrunk and swam inside us. a radiohead song was playing loudly. i floated backwards down with your hands around my back, you kissed me how the song sounded, it was 'house of cards' - i was only half sure i wasn't dreaming. it could have been that night we got really lost somewhere on the mountain. everything was pitch black-black. that mountain grew, expanded, it made new sounds. i remember we were suddenly somewhere very unfamiliar. thats lost right? it didn't feel like lost. it felt like dreaming. i felt tall and nomadic but i was still afraid. you found everything that fell. if i cried it wasn't for sadness. i promise it wasn't. we were on the edge of something and i should have gone right over. it seemed to go down very, very far, beyond the edge, a downward, dark abyss and i was too afraid. you took me inside. the rest was what it was.


- they all think we’re dreaming i think maybe they're right. are we up against the wall? are these our legs? are we baking chocolate cake? when love says shhh it is never polite and that’s okay. i’m not allowed chocolate cake, really, but last night i tiptoed outside to find you wearing the underwear i bought you in the kitchen making coconut macaroons for me and little tears came to my eyes. 

- october was apples dipped in caramel that i couldn't have but found in your eyes. it was wet woods, wet leaves, red oranges and ghosts and your knuckles, your knees. 

- you, grabbing the tall weeds around your legs as you walk, pulling the leaves off with your hands, a little boy again.

- jasmine flower tea and every time you say "you're so pretty."

- i used to sleep on the floor of our old apartment, almost underneath the bed. sometimes i'd cry. it's december now, you can tell with your eyes closed. i sleep inside of you. we even share a pillow.


when it comes on i taste it, i roll it around in my mouth like a hard sucking candy. i don't feel anything except mid-air and warm. i always think, 'it's coming' and then it does, its here, 'its happening.' it is crying without sound, without moisture, outside the bones, past me. i want to put the world in my mouth, i want to turn things into themselves multiplied. you have no idea. everything that touches you from now on will be made of light.
'my heart feels big, so, this' i say in my head and then i typewrite there. i walk forever there, i make everything else so, so quiet. i say 'so' twice. i go places i know really well but haven't seen in years and i breathe in with the hands in my heart. 
just walking. to walk. in the fall, in the winter, everywhere, every second, every season, walking was singing. 5:47pm, waiting on the train platform for the F to get to class, headphones and a stillness only a city could birth. to doctors appointments, to 6th street, to 13th, drunk stumbles at 4am - the night air so alive, begging you to dance, to acting class, to a party - butterflies doing those things to your heart, to anywhere, to nowhere, everywhere. every thing. when i say it i mean it, it's e v er y t h i n g. the sidewalks were big faces  that belonged to your family, ancestors, angels, to genuises and ghosts. it's one of the most beautiful things ever that existed, this place and time, it lives so largely in my heart and and if you look at it all right everything makes the most beautiful noise no matter whose died no matter whose dying, what pain? 
i'm crying
do you cry?
he asked me who i pray to and i said i'm not sure it just comes out. maybe the scratchy sound of bad classical music in doctors waiting rooms accompanied by that static feeling, waiting for what? for ruin? that man that was always outside of connecticut muffin on 1st street and 7th avenue selling books, the best ones. jumping into my parents bed in the mornings, their still sleepy smell and the pillow around my dads head, always pressed by his arms over both ears like he was locking his good dreams in. a babysitter i think i was in love with as a child, she had one curved ear like an elves that she'd always let me play with. a coffee stained and coffee scented toyota. a glass jar of pretzels, clasping open and shut, couscous and spices and chili, the framed photograph of my best friend so small, riding  the top of an elephant. the grapes in the backyard that fell to the ground from the overhead vine to stain up the bottoms of our feet. a wonderful older man teaching me to push my thumbnail into the skin of my fingers, hard, when getting a needle to dull the pain. i still implement this theory everyday.
how do you write the world down? it doesn't fit, i'd do anything to bring you but i can't. i can't. it will not allow itself to be contained. i drink too much tea, i try and rest, i read bellow and updike and i envision a healing, i let the words in my head slow-dance lazy and lull me to a daze i never share and i wait for the day i can hand it right to you.


it is so continuously fascinating to me how much it took 
for me to re-learn what is and is not important. important.
i have so much
 to tell you. 

my birthday is soon/i don't want to

i walked to the library in town today, it’s very small and old and smells absolutely wonderful, i got a saul bellow book i’ve been wanting and one bukowski didn’t have yet. when i kneeled down to look through the books which i always do, sometimes i even sit on the floor for a really long time, but today dust got all over my knees and it made me feel really good for some reason. there was one librarian, a very old lady whose hand wouldn’t stop shaking, i wanted to cry, but i bought this sticker for a nickel and she told me i looked like someone famous but she couldn’t remember the actresses name. i wanted to hug her for a really long time but i just smiled really big and tried not to cry. 

too much? too much

bottom right

i'm so afraid. fuck i'm so afraid. i'm too afraid to sleep. i’m doing everything you said. i know all of the breathing patterns, the positive reinforcement, the mantras, i’m saying them and still the things won't stop walking around inside me. please, i'm terrified. you couldn’t imagine the fear and i know i shouldn’t write it down, we shouldn't  give voices to fears.  right? what lets them go and what keeps them in? i can’t remember, i don't know. i'm sick. nothing will let go. can you hear me? let me tell you, the pain is so bad i can't tell when i'm asleep in a nightmare or awake. there is a silver slice of light wrapped around my brain, pulling and growing. there are no moving birds in my blood like there used to be just their bones, sitting in thick puddles with no way to move. now i haven’t done this to myself since i was really small, i would keep myself awake all night, i wouldn't dare fall sleep because i could hear things happening, i felt my body respond to things that weren't from here that weren't human, i heard death. i could smell it. it did things to the air inside my head, it stirred me. it spoke and it sang and i shrank and waited and begged. here i am. here i am i know you’re there just please don’t take me. 

i am not explaining this right, for the god damn millionth time, i'm not explaining this right. but i had the words, i had them, my left ear goes out, like a light switched off. the bones break in tiny microscopic slices and the muscles push.  okay, how many times can you fall backwards into yourself? how far do i go? let me ask you something and i'm sure the answers yes, i fucking hope the answers yes, i don't know what it will mean if it is not, tell me, do you know what it tastes like to be very, very alone? very, very alone. i am the opposite of air. 

my brain is white hot and flashing and my blood has stopped moving. my hearts slowed way down. there are not enough words for frozen and there is not enough air in my lungs. eventually i find a way outside. i am clutching papers in a field. in the sun were rows and rows of small children that seemed sort of old, or timeless, they are all wearing a crisp shade of orange. in the field the children are lying down or bent over.  a small girl stops me. 

she says you're kerry. i say yes.
she says you are everyone.
i say nothing. i say please. i have to know about certain people, if they’re safe. she says who? her eyes exist but are not there. these children were all knowing, i knew, so what was i?! i say my brothers name. she says nothing. she says he is hurt. she is not sure or will not tell me if he is still alive. i cry.i ask about you. she would find you, she said.

i missed you, my heart. i was dying. 
i knew you knew.
she said everyone knows you because you are everyone. she said you will be the one.
i don't know, i can't sleep, what is beating? fucking nothing. this is only half the story. this is only kerrys second tooth (bottom right) 3/4/93 in an envelope.

the medication

  • when i lifted my arms up in this light silk lazy butterfly robe a really pretty moth flew out of nowhere from the faucet in the bathroom. it had light hazel spots. i think maybe it thought it was in a butterfly cave, i think the moth was like "finally." do butterflies have caves? they should. the moth followed me to my room and i let it sit above my mirror while i folded clothes and listened to joanna newsom. it was the first time i was able to tolerate music in months and this is the first positive thing i have put into words with my fingers.

  • cleanse song / first day of actual movement in about six weeks, a new course of treatment begins, not fun./ first day hearing sound and walking around / i found one lace glove and notebooks from high school / i put things on shelves /i listened to music like a thirsty god with bare feet in the desert, we never learn if its a real life desert or if it comes from his head but god damn the music is good. 

  • hi jade tree. jade tree i promise to try really hard to bring you back to healthy life while i work on mine and we'll get better together and be the greenest and full of water and chlorophyll and we'll use our arms to wave around while dancing.

but we'll be okay, i tell my hands, we've lost things before. this is it. we'll be fine, right? the blood is thick and hot and not human. not just "inhumane" thats too easy, too moral, its an animal with claws. and you know no one can tell you you're dreams. that's the thing, you're alone there in them, even after them, you're alone with them still inside you, no one else is there, are they.


sometimes i wash my hands for a really long time, too long maybe, the water rushing onwards is a cool-warm answer to questions i don't have to efficiently  translate word-to-word or worry about answering. i hate talking on the phone, it  feels insincere and flimsy. there are movies and songs that get underneath my skin and stick there. they make my heart close in on itself, like a million doors slamming shut until the oxygen has no rooms left to sleep inside. i've had these specific re-occurring dreams periodically, since i was little, that seem to acknowledge some spiritual hallway to walk through. it's somewhere close to suicide, like a nudge, a gateway. a "nows the time."

hell isn't a place it's a thousand bugs in your brain. hell is slow, hot blood in the skinny cold shells of blue veins. hell is a bruise. i'm sorry. did you call my name? i seem to have lost it somewhere. i lay in its absence for hours. i have found it is almost bearable if i stay perfectly still. i listen. i can hear them. don't mind me, this is how i cry now. 

In the trunk of your car.

i can't write anymore. at all. my brains turned into some kafka-esque cockroach that sits curled in the corner worried about its inability to show up for work. 


you're not just my rock you are the tigers eyes pebbles i'd always search for when i was really small.


some asshole kid keeps yelling out of his hotel room window while a bunch of his friends laugh in the background. their voices have the stepped-on-frog-sound of fresh puberty. i'm sitting outside, alone, in what they call a gazebo, inside this small white-painted wooden structure. one million years ago in high school we'd climb through the forest-like parts of prospect park to a gazebo just like this one. we'd bring kegs and throw parties there until the cops came up and chased us. we'd scatter and hide. i remember crouching behind trees and bushes holding my breath until their flashlights were far enough away, just tiny, tiny dots. it's almost as dark out here now as it was back then. 'STOP SMOKIN' THOSE FUCKIN' CIGARETTES!' the kids yelling, 'YOU'RE GONNA GET CANCER.' they sound really drunk and it really just makes me want a very strong fucking drink. yeah, a drink. yes. cancer. yes, that's the plan, kid. you think i wanna stick around forever? like this? forever thumbing through thesauruses? with my thoughts fighting love off until we're both bruised up and bleeding? with the aching tosses and turns in my pathetic excuse for sleep? some wedding party for a strictly spanish-speaking couple is moving loudly from the banquet hall to the bar. nothing here is poetic. poetic would not be caught dead at this party, or in this hotel. i know because i've looked. mostly i try and put it where its needed. i place it somewhere and then try to keep it still, like a squirmy toddler in time out. i don't have to be out here, kid, i don't. but smoking these cigarettes is just about the last reckless thing i'm privy to. my life has other ideas and they exclude all of mine. i'm gripping this last dirty habit like the phone your lover called to tell you that it's over. and yet still, everything moves. everythings moving. the kid spits out his window. i don't know where it lands. i don't say anything. what could i say?  i am breathing slowly in through my nose and out through my mouth because that's how you breathe when your head and lungs can't remember how to. reminding them is a full time job, unpaid but full time. to curb the side effects, i do it. so as not to wake the monsters. for christs sake do not wake any monsters. doctors orders. the kid yelling out of the window has no idea. sure i could come up with some things to yell back that might teach him a lesson. something really clever. but i don't. i'd rather let life do it, in its unkind and unexpected ways. let life tell him. life can let him know it all. he's still got so much time not to know. 


I'm A.W.O.L., pups.
I'll be back soon. It's dark.

hear it?

i'm not explaining this right. there were bombs going off everywhere. i wanted to look for you. i wanted to look for you but it's always such a waste of time. it's the needle in the hay, and so on, and nothing, whatever. bombs went off one after another, crisp and lethal. the sky was desperately attempting to maintain some kind of serenity. i shouted up 'i love you so much for your desperation' and then i realized that i was praying. it was like a prayer, how to really do it, the way we were not taught. i wanted to find you and ask you if you've ever really prayed and if you said yes i'd ask you for what? but you were still far, you were still nowhere. i wrote lists in my head of things desperate for other things. i counted them off, 1-2, behind the bombs (1-2) i could hear the pencils lead-tip scribble inside my head. i decided then that if i hadn't found you by dawn i'd grab one of these bombs, light a match and swallow it whole. 
birds were panicking and gathering, forming groups. they using their little bodies to create weird, thick images in the sky and maybe that was them praying too. it hurt my eyes to watch them. the cracks like wrinkles in the face of the pavement were all filled with blood. it swam slowly and gurgled with the heat, a thick dark burgundy. as soon as i saw the birds my hands flew right from me and disappeared to chase them. a blue-eyed boy i knew well that you didn't know at all was there calling me over to a shaded green spot underneath a tree. it was a mossy secret the bombs did not yet know. with the missing hands and your missing love i went to him. together we pretended there weren't any bombs. i pretended my hands had found the birds and then they became one, claws and all. we talked quietly about the tree we leaned up on - or it leaned up on us - i'm not sure - i was only just then learning. after each second clicked i understood the one before it as a fresh one licked its heels. 'seconds never crawl,' he said, 'not anymore.' i understood. i tried to catch sight of the seconds sprinting, never touching the ground, but i couldn't and i didn't feel bad at all, i didn't blame them for moving like that. i just wanted them to take me with them. somehow the bombs were shouting all our names. i could feel the exact weight of just how far you were from me. it felt like sinking. i didn't even miss my hands, to hell with it, i thought - i could only think of yours, and as the tired earth shivered and the brilliant birds were blown to falling feathers, the sky still desperately seeking solace, the blue-eyed boy held my face to his and kissed me. inside the smoke and distant cries he let his tongue lick the tips of my teeth. he shook my shoulders as if to wake me up. pulling back from him, his eyes were two mouse traps and mine those two blind mice, he said 'so smooth.' he placed his steady fingertips that felt distinctly unlike yours on my two front teeth and then my bottom lip. 'so smooth.' with a swiss army knife from his pocket he carved both our initials into the tree and laid my head against them. could we fit in you? was he how asked me, like he was ordering a drink from a too-pretty-waitress. 'the birds, the sorry sky, me?' the people left were aleady ghost-like and everything capable of making sound was throwing a temper tantrum for no one, for nothing.
he waited for answers as the trees leaves screamed, keeping up with the wind. i hoped the sky had my hands, i hoped it would give them to you. i looked dead-on into his blue blue eyes, the smell of left-over burst open bombs made it hard to breathe, i leaned my face into his mark on the tree and i licked the freshly carved initials, bottom to top. i laid flat down on my back in the grass and let the bombs eat up my brain. i moved the taste of the tree bark around in my mouth, thinking about existing solely as the whole planet earth for so long, for all this time,  then filling up with  blood, and then suffocating inside smoke that lasts forever before turning totally to dust.
i saw my hands then, finally, in the mouth of an oil-black crow in flight. i closed my eyes. the blood lingered with the grass, smelling like childbirth and chaos. i didn't want to talk, it didn't matter anymore, a needle in the hay. they say this is right when i fell asleep, they say i missed the worst of it. 

little threads

four girls
four ghosts
four claw-foot bathtubs
four times
four good reasons to die
four good reasons to stay alive.

faking it

it's just that every time i've seen you, 
you're alone smoking a cigarette and you look so sad, that's all. 
i just wanted to know why. christ you're lovely. god damn. it sounds crazy, i know.i can take care of you. i make money. lots of money.

he laughs loud, loud like a lion would laugh.
are you happy? god you're so beautiful. who are you?
how am i supposed to live the rest of my life now, after i've seen a thing like you? what do you want? anything. look at you. anything, i'll give it to you.
he moved a lot, backward and forward, manically on the plushy cushioned chair. a lion would never do this. i sat near him on the bench of a piano in the lobby. he tried & tried to get me to sit in the more comfortable chair before he went to his room to get us beers but i didn't want the comfortable chair. i pressed the piano keys slowly one at a time while he was gone. he came back with two warm coors lights. i'm usually of the opinion that coors light tastes just like cat piss but i'll tell you, that one went down like water. 

'i can't believe you're still sitting here'
in between his sentences i'd press a piano key down until it's note was finished. you have no idea what this does to a room. it was so fucking perfect in that lobby in my life, it hurt my feelings. he didn't mention the single notes i kept playing, ringing dark and singular in their place, in the midst of our conversation. 
i liked him for this.
his friend came down with whiskey in some paper cups and i laughed,
 'what do you think you're doing?' i asked him as i took the cup.
'i have no idea but i'm trying to make it last as long as i can.'
'this doesn't look right,' i said. i pressed another key.
it's note vibrated. 'to who?!'
there's something outstanding about the way the keys of a piano resist slightly at first and then give in completely. it is definitely something.

'pianos,' i said.
 'yes. well if there was an audience here 
they'd applaud you just because. do you love him?'
'i do', i said. i do. the lion laughed.

'by the way', between chuckles, 'i'm brian - this asshole here is jake.' jake tipped his hat. the irony of all of this was making the room too hot and no one was there to see it but me. sometimes ironies get so big they can make even love look small. i pressed a key. a very low one. no one should know this much. not like this. not ever.

the lion looked at his hands. 'god damn, if you were mine' he shook his head, 
'you wouldn't be here. you'd never look that lonely.'

'i'm sure it wouldn't be the picnic you're imagining.'
 'oh but it would. like, see just your face is the picnic, fuck.'

piano note.
'i'm difficult' i told the lion.

'how? what's wrong?' he said.
 'what isn't?'

jake coughed and excused himself and i didn't care. the lion moved in closer.'i'm sick.' i said and his face got light like recognition, like in dreams. he nodded and said 'me too. is it your blood?' this four-word question was so beautiful and strange and he asked it so solemnly it resounded. it's not exactly the way most people would respond. it sounded like my brain shaking. the room moved, shuttered. a hotel employee walked by, interrupting the cloud of everything. 'who takes care of you?'

piano note.
i don't say anything.
'when where you born? where are you from?'
 i couldn't remember anything from before or anything from right then, for that matter. or maybe just the idea of telling that 'it's a long story' story felt impossible to tell. there comes a point in every persons life where how could it ever not be a long story anymore? why did mine matter to this lion? to anyone?
i should start lying, maybe.
the sound of each long piano key i pressed felt just like the inside of my heart outside, everyday. it was tailored for every moment i saw or sat in or overheard, it suited everything, it fit everything inside it.

i answered all his questions with questions. i strung all his stories carefully out of him without even really trying. they were good stories. they were. if he was the lion what was i? 'where do you want to go?' he asked me.

'what are you gonna carry me there?'
i just wanted to be inside the piano. 
he looked at me.

you came in then and the room swapped places with some other room from some other warped dimension. the three of us had a cigarette outside. when we parted you walked ahead first. the lion whispered to me and gestured towards himself, 'come back' he said, 'come here. i'll take you anywhere, i promise.'
he whispered it right there with you right in front of me. i smiled and waved and followed your back inside. neither of us said a word in the elevator.  i already missed the piano.


i was leaning against a brick wall outside in some small, shy rays of the sun writing in a little black notebook.  the sun and i hadn't seen one another in awhile so we were both cordial and semi-kind, whatever we had the energy to be. occasionally i'd light a cigarette and then forget it was between my fingers. i sat on the cement because it felt and smelled just like the city, i didn't think much of it, i couldn't think much of anything, but within five minutes, three separate people walked by and asked if i was 'okay' or if i had 'someplace to stay,' so i guess it was a peculiar thing to do, in a place like this. an older guy in scuffed up construction boots watched me from his chevy for a few minutes before approaching me. "you lost, little girl?" his face was stoic and straight. i wanted to say yes, i was, actually but i knew he'd never get it the way i meant it so i just laughed and mumbled something random that implied no, technically i was not lost.
i put my sunglasses on even though the sun was getting tired and i wrote a little contract for myself in dark ink. it articulated my official refusal to ever write anything at all that might be considered necessary or important. from now on its just whatever the god damn doctor ordered. i promised to quit documenting dates and all those times of night. if you know me, and probably you don't - i can't even count anyone that might on one hand - then you don't need to hear what time it is. you know what time it is. you already know. the sun went down without even  inviting me. i don't recognize any of the random wanderers in this hotel parking lot, even the the "oh you agains." 
'oh - its you again', they say but i can't remember them at all. i can't keep track of these odd, gritty construction workers that start intimate out-of place conversations with me in the parking lot. their faces are one single face, like a stranger in a dream. almost everyone else around here just tend to look at me sorta funny, they eyeball me like i have stolen something of theirs they've been missing forever. 
if you're really wondering where i am exactly just picture all the buildings in clumps of four or five beside a giant frantic four-lane highway, all of them the exact same size and the exact same color. like a more dulled version of the color of sand. i close my eyes often. i imagine the buildings lined up side-by-side ranging from short and fat to tall and skinny, each one a different color, sometimes way more than just one. i imagine people learning. lots of people learning fast, different things all in the same place and at the same time. 

i keep thinking about the pavilions movie theaters seats. that pavilion theater was like a home, i watched god create it. on the seventh day he rested. the seats were directly out of a little kids daydream, purple velvet and tall, the bottom with a little bounce and a big softness to the reaching-hugging arms. the walls were all curtained with a matching purple velvet. not the fake curtain-kind like the corporate movie theaters, inside shopping malls but the real kind from old film houses. that perfect park was right across the street, like the theaters own huge backyard, the cafe inside had big long windows that showed it off. 
everything changes. 
i had my first real and slightly scandalous 'make out session' in theater #3 of the pavilion, during a kids movie. we had 40oz's in our purses. i remember my surprise at the distinct cigarette taste of his mouth from the newport menthols he favored. i had never kissed a smoker. when he left my friends were grinning with me, really big, like they just kissed their crushes too. that's how much they loved me. like that.
the theater lobby walls were decorated with movie posters from the 20s to the 50s. i didn't think much of it then but tonight i can see them perfectly in my head. before this month i actually thought i knew what it meant to call a place a 'ghost town'. now i taste the cigarettes on my own lips. i haven't been to the movies in a really long time, not since i started smoking, is it strange to want to escape the big dark room to have one? 
everything changes.
let there not be light. 
i went outside anyway, strange or not, the movie was putting my nerves on edge and my bones were all screaming, so fine. all 100,000 billion of my bones and muscles, whatevers here inside me, screaming. once outside i realized there was no way back in, the mall was closed, the theater employees home or out or maybe they never even existed. i lied flat down on the hood of our car like it was my movie that i went to see. since when did things get so unreal, since when is 3D real life? grant me the serenity. i like the hoods of cars and velvet purple thrones in theaters. there's not much else, i don't think, there's not much else of worth.  if you're really wondering where i am exactly just close your eyes and get here.

what month is it even

i have way way too much randomly scattered pieces all over the place and my computer charger is dead and done for. also, i am dying.

all of us.
everyone outside.
i stand in front of the mirror
i look.
i look.
i look again,some more
"kids are so adaptable" he says
she makes a joke about lap tops, all they need, she says, or something . i think of the garbage bags, all of the things in the garbage bags, i think of basements, of the days alone the nights alone . i think of the people, all of the brains inside their heads, all of the things in their houses, their paintings and what's inside of their refrigerators, the smells on their pillows and sheets. i think of three hundred and nine yellow birds, nowhere, or everywhere, to each his own. i beg the keys to click click---to thunder storm, the phones to stop ringing, the sky to open up and sing, i want the hottest day in august & we'll be heading for the sea, the water high up, past my ankles in the shower, i'm spinning and singing it, twirls and all, this sounds like crying while kissing, both at the same time, tasting your tears, it sounds like water , & i want it & i want it & i want it some more. this is like falling in a hole and hitting different parts of rock and dirt and on the way down each time you do you think of something marvelous, like dolphin skin and how it feels to be honey, how it feels to be stirred in tea.
now don't lose your place, here, darling, don't run off course, this is a straight line we're walking, we have places to go and all of the people to see, all of the people with their eye balls and big jackets in the winter time, all of the red wines and the french onion soups. i look at him from upside down while i'm sitting on the couch, the song on pause, the world on pause, three cups of coffee down and my head is still pounding. i go up the stairs, the wooden sky, i'm out of some movie, the kind you've never heard of but god damn, you should, i get in bed, i sigh, i roll around. my eyes fill up with little water lilies, the pond we had on sixth street with the frogs, a pond in a brooklyn brownstone? i should have known , what a day dream. i call you, you don't answer, picking up the phone would be the first step - the connection, the humans speaking into the machines, i never call anyone, i call you again. the thing in my head stirring and baking, making pies for the end of the world bake sale. i reprimand it for never being on time, for never telling the right story the right way, for not having a book under it's belt, a thick one with soft pages, i scold it for never doing anything but lying around hearing songs and recycling water bottles.

king of bones

come here
don't move
your heart is my pet rabbit
look at me and tell me that i'm the only lover you've ever had
the only lover you've ever really had your whole goddamn life
go on, say it, show me and for christs sake don't stop moving your hands

tell those hands i said they are my first two poems ever written down
tell them that they make mountains and world war 
and thunder and famine and long-term illness and miracles
seem as mundane and un-lit as a motel parking lot
in the middle of nowhere on a tuesday night.

in my head i can hear the two hands
and what i hear is hunger
i just want to watch them eat
in my head i feed two flame-red foxes, wild-eyed and eager
i want to wait for them, i want them to wait for me
i want to keep them on fire and feed them again and again

see i can't stop thinking about what my lips 
or my legs or my hipbones are, 
what my ribcage or my back is without those two hands,
and the thing is without them turns out they're nothing.
and this here? this is everything, easily. 
the rest is just in limbo, everything else is so tiny and if you could just keep those two hands on me i might actually have a chance at this, at everything, and in the end i say, fuck the facts, because okay, you really are the only lover i've ever had and with your hands on me you and i are a goddamn standing ovation. 


don't move, come here.
your heart is my pet rabbit.


i poured all of my change out of a zip-lock baggie and found two crumpled dollar bills in my purse. my cash is always crumpled. i was on an amtrak train leaving albany. i had a pretty good buzz from the three shots of jim beam i had just to get on the thing, just to get to the station with the giant AMTRAK STATION sign outside that i stood and stared at for awhile, to really try and grasp the situation, just to pay for the ticket and walk onto the car, three shots of jim beam. i found the trains 'bar,' a tiny counter with a microwave behind it for the five dollar burgers. a teddy-bear looking amtrak employee stood behind the counter. he looked ready for anything. i wanted to know his secret. i looked for signs. an 8 x 10 sheet of paper was thumbtacked to a blank grey wall. 'spirits - $5.00' it said in tiny times new roman.  i looked at the teddy-bear guy, 'so when that sign says spirits does it mean...' we both said 'whiskey' at the same time. i showed him my wrinkled two bucks and handful of change 'yes. that. thanks.' 'so where exactly are you heading?' he was looking me right in the eyes in that way you know is stronger than the usual way. how many times does this man ask that i wanted to know. i told him syracuse which was only half true. 'why not further?' he half smirked. the question hit my skull over and over again in my head like a drill sergeant. he looked at my ID and then back at me. why not further? i put my money on the counter, he said 'god you're adorable.' i thought about the million god damn stories i'd find working on this train. they'd be pure gold. the teddy-bear told me to keep my money, but to come back to the bar. i told him that wouldn't be a challenge but i never went back. i took the drink and sat in the dining car alone. there were six tables and a single person took up each one. two tables over a kid in glasses was reading a book with his ipod on through a speaker so everyone could hear it. the douche-bag had on some god awful version of that italian opera song 'con te partiro.'  i wanted to kill him. 'you are a villain from a disney movie' i wanted to say. not even the cool kind, an anti-hero or a tarantino bad-ass. no, you're a disney villain with no interesting motive. directly across from me an older man with a skinny ponytail down the back of his neck right out of 'no country for old men' sat quietly at his table. i wanted to know him. when i walked in everyone stared at me, i felt lost. i was for sure very, very lost. i sipped my whiskey and coke. the train was moving and i watched out the window without ever really looking at what was on the other side. i had my brain for that. i'd never been on a train like this before and i wanted to know if that was weird.  everyone on it was going somewhere. i felt foggy, i'd been in this fog for weeks. i wasn't going somewhere but i was moving, like the train was, moving just to move. my thoughts went in and out like shitty radio reception. they got hard and then very soft. they'd suddenly jolt forward, out of nowhere, like waking up from a  falling dream.  i took out my little notebook and a red pen. the other people were still watching me. the notebook might hide me. i hadn't written in a really long time, way too long, i remembered a story i was told when i was little about a woman i knew that had to choose between passion and safety. the woman chose safety, but i couldn't decide how i felt about her outcome. the open notebook sat there, adding another life to the train table even though the little pages stayed blank. it felt like halloween in my head. i sipped my drink, crushed the ice up with my teeth, i relished the melting whiskey crushed up cubes. i realized that i already knew the teddy-bear employees secret, in fact, i had the ready-for-anything look down to a T, it was the actually ready for anything part i wasn't so sure of. 

what i need

95% of the lightbulbs
in this house have blown
but not the christmas lights
and not this love
this love.

neuronal function

- i'm in panic
i see panic
it isn't something you just feel
its every single thing ever
in one place
distract me
i can send you that song i told you about if you like
i just put it on and i shouldn't have, i'm hiding in the bathroom with the door locked 
i can't breathe even a little 
what is outside this bathroom door,
what is life what is it? i dont mean it the way they do in those videos
that they play for adolescents, i mean it like the panic i mentioned
who are we to have any choices ever when we all know its not up to us, really, 
how does anyone ever know what it is to really want or anything at all, fucking anything? 
where do we go when we go? 
look i'm going to send the song because i know i should give it to you
 but i am afraid it wont be what it is for me for you. i am babbling i am panic.

-may i ask you something?

yes , always.

-you'd probably punch me in the face if i was next to you

-i wouldn't.

-is there anything in the bathroom that is pretty?

-god. just the song, i guess.  that question just helped me breathe, a little, it was a good one. do you remember that three wishes song? if i had three the first one would be that you would know how gorgeous everything that is you is.


-that is a word, i think.

-yeah, panic backwards.

- god damn. you're so good
 it also means something,  spelled different
'synapse' i feel  like it means the jist of a story i think or, 
oh wow i just looked it up.  --- "In the nervous system, a synapse is a structure that permits a neuron to pass an electrical or chemical signal to another cell (neural or otherwise). The word "synapse" comes from "synaptein", which Sir Charles Scott Sherrington and colleagues coined from the Greek "syn-" ("together") and "haptein" ("to clasp")."
my god. "to clasp". i only recognized the word from all the doctors.

- i'm here.
to clasp.  the song is on now.

-  i have had it for awhile, i put it on a mix and then left it on while i showered.  i heard it from inside and i came right out and walked out into the living room with water dripping off me, nothing was dry, no towel, the water was still running but i needed to get out there. i had to feel it for myself as close as i could, i couldn't believe what he was saying and how it sounded when he said it, i couldn't believe anything, i kept it on repeat for at least two or three hours. but it's hard to show someone something that is like that. especially because i think things are always debted to timing.

- that is a good way to put it, debted to timing. 

-it's true.
god, the way you spelled panic backwards for me, the way that it is c-i-n-a-,p the way this sounds like synapse, the way a synapse is essential to neuronal function, to give signals and pass them around, the way my synapses work, or don't work, or criss-cross, both fast and slow, i want to hold my neuronal functions in my hands and squeeze really hard, throw light against walls and make a sound, i want to crush it the way it crushes me. the way that i am sitting on this bathroom floor pretending the air in here is warmer and just making you listen and listen. listen, the organ in this song, it's both fast and slow too and i still can't breathe, why cant life be like a song.
they used to use organs in church but they were all fucking wrong about it.
why didn't they do it like this? if they had done this i'd believe in god by now.

-i think we'd all believe in god and maybe ourselves if people could see this, that this is what should be done, like when we are little and even when we get big.

-little is done for.
everything is done for.
do you know i know you're a poem?


- because when i'm around you or talking with you i'm in one and you make me feel like i am one. thank you for the poems i am sorry for the panic i am sorry for organs in churches  i'm sorry to go now, to just leave to never say everything i miss you. 

ten women

1. i just spent ten minutes examining a chamomile tea bag. i did, honest, i played with the tea leaves in their skin, moving the tiny pieces up and down like sand in an hourglass: ba-a-ck and forth. i touched the silk tea bag so lightly with my fingertips over and over. our fingertips are the second most sensitive body part to touch, after our lips. naturally.

2. i licked some drops leftover honey off the polished ceramic rim of the mug with my tongue and kept the little tiny golden crystals in my mouth.
 i pretended i was god.

3. i watched the water boil and then bubble loudly til it settled down and grew hazy and calm and ready for anything. i thought about the future but i did it very carefully. very carefully. i came up with nothing. 

4. i soaked a chamomile bag in cold water and pressed it to my belly and on the inside of my thighs and wrists, my ears were ringing, steady. i don't think they ever stop. i wondered what sounds deaf people hear, like is there a static? are there ghosts? of course, there are ghosts, of course. the water became air and i envied it, i watched the steam. i put the tea bags on my eyes and thought about time but i didn't do it  carefully. not so carefully.

5. ten minutes, sixty seconds each, were just fucked by someone who didn't really love them. they call this rape. 'non-consensual sex'. those ten whole minutes were gone now past the beginning of innocence and past any sort of growth or understanding. there was never a moment of consent or of wonder or grace or of love. i put on that one song about slowing down and i laid down on the floor. in fifty minutes it will be an hour and all i'll have is this tea and the ten minutes and i will be completely negated and de-virginized and dirty, maybe there'll be proof but i doubt it, i have to doubt it. the ten minutes and i are tired and if we're being honest we are really melancholy and a little lonely but we are not crying. the ten minutes and i smoke cigarettes and blow the smoke all around and i want to give them some of my tea tea but i know it won't make a difference, after everything that happened. 
'you're finished' i say from the floor out loud to no one at all. there is nothing. 


look i've never, ever had a nose bleed my whole god damn life and that is why i'm here, at your house, knocking on your window. don't look at me like that, all confused like. i'm here so you can fuck me up and you know it. you knew it as soon as you looked me in the eyes. i'm here so you'll hit me in the face really hard, black eyes, fat lips, you know, but listen, god damnit, do it right. hit me perfect, make sure you really fuck me up good.  i came here so you could help me show a little blood and i know i could do it myself if i wanted to, sure, but whats the fun in that? again and again? it gets boring, so i'm here to ask you to do it because i know you will and i know you'll do it so, so good.

Living Off a Teacup Full of Cherries.

the first thing was the mattress. it was filthy. it had no bed frame and no home except the dirty floor it found itself on, like some dead animal in a road drivers keep passing by. "road kill," we say, like it's funny.  it was early in the afternoon and the sun was shining through the windows crudely, that day was playing show and tell and the subject was me in that crude sunlight on that dirty fucking mattress. but that day, for me the subject was you, this animal  hungry you, fiercely forced, covering the tiny glowing beam of light i called my life. you were  rough, everything was bearing down over and over between the sunlight. this heavy, heavy you, unyielding and sweaty and breathing hard with nothing at all in your eyes i could not hate and right there i became nothing. not even a tiny little voice or a whisper in the room even though i know i was crying out loud. the dirty mattress was halfway covered by an off-white sheet strangled tight around one corner. the rest twisted sloppy and confused into the  middle of the thing. i knew how it felt. the sheet. there were times i swear i couldn't even tell the difference between that sheet and me. 
time had its little ways with me and i suppose its a bit funny because you did too, in that god damn sunlight, so did you. besides all that, more than anything i think there was the spit. i was covered in your spit. you licked my whole face, my whole face, while you did it. while i was crying you were covering me with all those juices your body makes for your mouth.  there wasn't a spot on my fifteen year old face that wasn't covered in your spit and the tears i was crying. both were so salty but i could still tell the difference between the two. the smells of you and your mouth and hands and all your spit were sharp and massive and everywhere.  i wasn't given anything else to breathe in, i slipped out from time and circumstance from under the wetness and that heavy smell. i remember clearly that it wasn't the way a lovers spit should feel or smell at all but the opposite. it was hell, saying hi, dropping in. shady strangers, poison, hunger, it was me becoming a ghost because you had your hands around my neck. i thought of the the sheets and the way we are never supposed to stare directly into the sun, ever, and how small i was becoming under all your weight, your chest and tummy with the hard, hard hair, stubbled from shaving. it  scraped and scraped roughly against all my soft, my ivory blood, over and over and i said no and i asked you to stop and you said nothing, you never said anything, you let the drops of sweat fall onto my skin, i believed in hell. the whole soft-pink honest life i kept in my head was never anything, never soft, not  anymore. i went unheard, my words felt razor-sharp and sad coming up my throat, the "no's" that came out were for nobody, the air didn't even respond, it was busy closing in and getting hotter. maybe the sheets heard me but not you, you were busy taking something until you knew nothing would be left. roadkill. you were far away and i was bleeding but you wouldn't see me there, in you room, on your mattress until you were finished taking it all. in eighth grade my english teacher signed my book for graduation. she wrote, "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" to this day i do not understand, or i do, but the answer changes. i want to ask her why she wrote it in my book, i want to ask her things, get to the bottom of the sound. 

Why I'm Pale

please, it was my grandmother not me. its been her all along though i guess i'd really never know for sure since she has never touched my hands or ever braided my hair, but you have to believe me because i just know so you can't give me any of that praise because it was her all along, i've never ever been that flying source of light or the thing that saves you in your worst nightmares.
 she drank old school manhattans and always had a radio on. she forever kept things very clean, always spotless and my middle name is the same as her first. sometimes i pretend that this makes me a flower but only sometimes, when my brain will allow it. her finger-nails were always perfectly polished a deep, bright red.
sometimes in my bed late at night i'll fall asleep while writing, flush-cheeked, flashlight still lit and my legs vulnerable and unprotected outside any blankets. i drift off and forget about loose sheets of paper and almost always my pen, which leaks slowly while i sleep, the ink of which the very same deep bright red as her nails. and around the blankets in the morning light, on the sheets, the ink looks like bright tiny spots of blood but i promise its just ink but its the same difference, really. to me its the same difference but anyway never mind all that because i mention blood too often, at least that's what they'll probably say, all of them. 

maybe my grandmothers lacquered crimson fingernails could be mine, i wish they were mine. in those moments i use them to press into my wrist or my thigh and scratch hard up the rest of the skin, hard enough that drops of blood peer out at me just like the ink on the sheets. let me make my hands hers or i can trade my blood with the nail-polish-shade ink or i can clean and make things shine until i am that flower. but please. don't forget it was her first, without a glimpse of me or my heavy hurt-skin moments, it was my grandmother not me. my grandmother was a lily, was a femme-fetale she was hit by a car that was going backwards and her daughter gave birth to a maybe-lily with the backwards-moving crash stuck inside her blood, me cleaning until nothing is left. she was in a coma for awhile before the end, dreaming about something that no one can ever explain to me. they buried her with a radio. 

for emma

this is the
this is the end
this is the end of a very old sentence.
i need toast with butter i need a garden of heirloom tomatoes
i need rough hands on my legs and my hips gripped hard
i need whiskey or brandy or a warm blooded animal
i need a thing that connects all things
without having to stay up all night to contemplate them around and around while the moon watches, smiling with a hand over its mouth
i need sun, but never when i can see it, or when i'm really looking
make it sneaky.

this is the calling forth,  the call for

but the keyboard is too lazy
it wears an elaborate costumes and i want whats underneath
this is where you show me
this is the attempt to breathe in
pianos say, ('no, go deeper')
('but my lungs won't open')
('then you are free to be nothing') it says
so i go          so slower
when i was six my piano teacher hit a key with his finger and said

 this note is 'b'
i said bees! i hate bees! i stopped playing the piano
this was a time of not quite yets and a still big sky forever opening
until it finally did and

 adults shattered and 
sex played it's strange b notes
while guitars began slowly strumming in.
and you know

i never knew how little i must have been seeing until now
i saw everything twice
this is the second time


heavy, heavy animalastic instincts, primal urges and even some carnage, if you want it. one million ghostly coincidences and scrubbing at things until they disappear and nothing is left but all the chaos you could ever imagine. my ears are ringing. i drew a deer on the skin on my thigh with a marker last night when i was drunk.  i found older and likely much drunker rambling writings in a composition notebook and i started back dreaming until my body felt funny and my head was drawing pictures to color myself into. the deer was smudging on my thigh and and my knees were cold and there was someone with my hands dialing phone numbers of exes i  somehow still had memorized. shit, no. not that last part, i embellished, i'm just running to the thought of you. only i did call, really. i called him. he was in his bed and i was in the middle of a dark road surrounded by white-out snow forests wearing sweatpants and no coat or hat. my ears were two stones in the snow and my cheeks and nose were beds for things flying around in the cold air. he called me girl-face and i called him a god damn bastard and that was that. it was the best i could do.


my heart has a terrible stomach ache. it has lupus, it has polio, it's infected. it has an ebola hemorrhagic fever. you've got to do something fast,  talk to it maybe, tell it something good. its shaking way too hard, this situation involves seizures and scratching and blood moving backwards. there's blood all over, its on my hands and in the sink and all over the city.
this situation involves any understanding whatsoever of a small child cognitively processing and comprehending and grasping just the gigantic idea of physically witnessing two planes fly directly into two very tall and very real buildings right in front of them, right the fuck there in front of them. there is so much to say, in this situation, it was an impossible thing, happening impossibly. it was where their hands were exactly, how steady their legs were, the last sentence they said out loud,  the sounds of every sound. the god damn occipital lobes in their brain visually processing the explosion of a building one hundred and ten stories scraping the sky with no logical explanation, 1 + 1 was 3 and 3 was screaming. somewhere in their little brains the knowledge that those buildings were made of steel and concrete, which is a word we use twice in our language. it is used to sometimes define rigidity and solidness. but fucking where? what solidness? the buildings burning put all the adult bodies into a new perspective, all tiny now, in proportion to the giant silver bodies burning and then crumbling until nothing crept around except the smoke that danced for the retinas that would send the visual message to their tiny, heavy, gorgeous, brains.

it is morning because mornings come everyday, despite everything, and the papers are flying all over on earth, in the streets, in your homes, in your stomach, inside my hearts diseases and all of the the blood. could i tell you about the smoke? probably not but listen, the schools classrooms filled up with it, no one on that tiny island knew what was going on but it was going on anyway. the south tower burned for fifty-six minutes and thirty minutes later the north tower caught up, fire is like that. in each of your eyes the retinas' 130,000,000 cells are very sensitive to light. when light strikes one cell a chemical change takes place that starts an impulse in a nerve fiber which travels to the brain. those tiny, heavy, gorgeous brains filled with papers and fire and repeated sound-waves of terror and everyone they've ever known and everyone they don't on earth.

to perceive my hearts size and sound right now, its stomach-ache and the seizures and the paper and the blood in the sink you must die one million deaths. the heart is an expert on this. it is beating and in between every beat is death. vibrating. i can tell it has more cells than the retinas of an eye and its also a great deal more sensitive to light. it is sensitive to the words 'chemical change' and 'perception' and 'tower' and 'war,' sensitive to the blood in the sink  its begging for. when i was little i would move my fingers around my face to break the world in pieces. i would blur and focus, blur and focus, deciding what was what and who was who and why and why not. the brain adds substantially to the messages it receives from your eye so most of what you see is actually created by your brain, it decides what it wants you to see and remember again, for later, for whenever it feels like showing anything it feels like showing. on the 106th floor was a restaurant called 'the windows on the world'. this is what i am telling you. about the heavy, gorgeous, tiny brains. it's all up there twisting and okay, so it was 56 minutes and then the 30 after that, but it wasn't. a group of us walked home early from school in the clouds of smoke that had become the new air, we wrote our names with our fingers in the dust on car windows. we went on our rooftops and smoked cigarettes and read the burnt papers that slow-danced around us. the fire the world and my heart and the tiny, heavy, gorgeous, brains had seen had been burning forever and would probably not stop and that's right when we knew it. there's blood everywhere and i can't remember why but i know that i threw my heart up into the sink, i'm sure of it because i can see it in there outside  my body still beating, inside the thick puddle of blood in the sink. beating and then dying, and breathing, and dying, and then beating and before you ask me the answer is no, i'm not okay.


right, okay, this. so it hurts a lot more when you're lonely while in love with the person right there rather than on your own just you, maybe not strong or totally together, but not really lonely. not like this, with you right now. this is why i always stayed in control, of my chaos or my peace, i remember. you're like the sad part of the movie, where the audience winces and wonders if the whole film is worth these  sharp, tiny, wet shards  of tears. i would pay one million dollars not to see your dreams tonight and to not worry about who dances in them. on second thought i'd pay one million dollars just not to have to dream mine. and before this very minute i was about to start writing about the end-of-the-world-sex we were still breathing in and out until i heard that grizzly bear song and started to cry and turned to see you had just fallen asleep and then i remember things i said and some things you said back, all empty-eyed and angry.  i needed to know and i needed to hear you, "do you swallow the darkness or does the darkness swallow you?" and light? and not ever sleeping? or actually sleeping but then having to dream? and to "owe"? not even only what you owe but how to owe it right? without crying? and the impossibility of all of us existing?
 "kerry fuck you and your self righteous sadness."
i doubt its the meanest things you've ever said to me but i still wrote it down. and i know i brought up your past lovers earlier but i really didn't mean to, it just leaked out of my brain onto your eyes and everything turned blue, with the song still playing in my head and your ghost, right here, asleep, away. now the room is dark. so. now the keys click and the wind screams like i want to but i won't, don't panic, i won't wake you up again anymore. unless of course, the words and the sentences and the typing stirs you and if it does well then that makes two of us.

 self-righteous: adjective Definition: smug Synonyms: affected, canting, complacent, egotistical, goody-goody, holier-than-thou, hypocritical, noble, pharisaic, pious, preachy, sanctimonious, self-satisfied, superior Antonyms: caring, humble, thoughtful, understanding.