Have you heard

the one about the man who climbed a thousand fathoms down the rabbit hole, ¬†who trapped and released outside the house a hundred dragons just to get to the girl who lay there in an elaborate coffin pretending wakefulness? He pulled at her heartstrings and she giggled and appreciated all the same art and liked all the same coffee places, but her heart kept spilling out cotton in great wads, stuffed with old receipts and other miscellany- nothing of substance. He traversed all the Ntrails within her, leaping from one slippery blood cell to another looking for some surface or substance to hang his haberdashery on. Peeking through her femur, rummaging through the large intestine, circumnavigating her big toe. As he crept through the thickets of her body hair, stopping to rest in the webbed hammock space between her thumb and pointer finger, he shivered and realized everything was freezing, already frozen over. Underneath her on-trend oversized sweater, a thousand sweaters deep, was an ice block he would have to chip and chip. The princess is in another castle, of her own making, a web woven over and hardened into resin, a safe cocoon coffin cocoon. There is only room for one, and anyway, we only destroy what isn’t ours to love.


City of angels and collapsible steeples with ghosts folded in the laundromat on every corner, drunks stirring in the streets with a look of vague contrition, their faces so used to the arrangement of some sweet apology they’re too numb or sleepy to remember.
Strangers become friends become lovers without ever having stopped being strangers.
Billboards are as high as steeples and it is difficult to know which to worship. Don’t mistake loneliness as emptiness, the void is not outside, waiting to be filled like a new plot on the Hollywood Walk of Fame- it is inside waiting to be punctured.
The overdrawn eyebrows, fake moles, and real tans gleaming in all directions like false gods make your heart wobble and dive, skip a beat, 1-2-2-check, and you do a little dance to the snare of his cutting up coke on the board, watching his eyes roll into the back of his head as his shopping cart rolls backward down the street, creaking.
City of angels, of ghosts, learn not to be afraid of the unfamiliar. The familiar is what is scary, the familiar is compulsion, is the need to overdraw brows and lips everyday, the need to conceal the same purple hues patterns on the body, the need to keep shoveling small amounts of diamond dust into the nostrils.
I walk the streets and see perpetual thirst, the plants and people grow quietly deranged with thirst, consumed by deficiency. I walk the streets and see a city of Angels, stripping their wings, peeling off goose flesh and plucking feather by feather, the feelings of unworthiness caused by this star-searching city resulting in an epidemic of inflated breasts, augmented dreams, and deflated souls
And I just remembered overhearing that girl in the restaurant who folded her napkin over her folded legs, pushing back her straight black hair, her chopsticks poised over a piece of teriyaki salmon with the precision of Krasznahorkai’s crane-

She said, “all these years I thought I loved sushi but I love soy sauce”


I guess it depends
if you want to be lonely
alone or
with many others
squeezed so tight in this
fist of a city
spread out so far in this barren
womb of a city
in this place where children come
to be adults,
adults, children
restless from pure
mushroom pumped into veins
the color of a smog-dusted areola
the palm trees here
made of steel, blooming
into rooftop gardens
the buildings here hollow
memorials to other lives
lived onscreen
how are bodies shaped
by their cities
what cramped haggard
structures erected where
there is no room
what augmentations, swells
from too much room
either is a growth with disfigurement
and both are so rich
in poverty, in sexiness
in loneliness
which presses in on all sides
in the form of people
or lack of people
rubbing up against you
on the 1
or so far away your voice
dissipates in the distance
it takes to carry yourself to them


I think the first time you grow up
is when you get sick and there is no one
to take care of you, no one to force
slippery rice congee down your throat
they are too far geographically
or emotionally because of all
you have withheld out of fear

I think the first time you grow up
is when no one is there to cool you
with rags dripping in cold water
and instead you must drag
your aching body to the shower
and sit on the floor
in huddled darkness
your hands clutching your face
wordlessly screaming
as the hot water flames your body
in New York where the walls are so close
so thin, that even in the shower
with the fan on
you have to cry silently

and now I know that I have to
bear children, even with no man,
just to know what it is
to feed a child while their hand
is pushing yours away
to love that which is repulsed by your love
or at least has decided it doesn’t need it

motherhood, that
perpetuation of mistakes
which is all the same one
of not knowing which love is needed
and that perpetuation of love
which is all the same one
of knowing that no matter the magnitude of mistakes,
the lack or excess,
the mode of delivery,
it is needed

cliche love story

In some ways, I think I’m still recovering from all those years of walking into a classroom and seeing dozens of blue green eyes swivel towards me, their blonde hair flashing as they turned, a sudden movement dazing me in the doorway. Years of smellier and soggier food than the perfectly prepackaged Lunchables everyone else had. Speaking perfect English all day, I remember being shocked in the bathroom mirror by my own black hair, round yellow face, and small brown eyes. And eventually, one of you took me home and I thought after all these years, almost a decade, of forgetting, denying, and conditioning myself, I had made it, had finally become white or something close enough to it. You took me to your perfectly prepackaged split-level Lunchables home, with your perfect and accepting parents who wanted to take us all out to an authentic Chinese restaurant and we got to the restaurant and you all wanted me to order for you so I did, and then you had all these conditions. You wanted the dish I ordered, but with less oil, and no spice, and I thought, you are always going to do this, you are always going to want me on your terms, change me to your preference, diluting my culture, and myself, something I’ve done since I was old enough to see that I was other. Well, the sheen of your collective lustrous yellow hair has worn off, rubbed off in patches as on an elk’s antlers and I see that you’re just another white boy using me to make your life more interesting, to make you seem more interesting and I’m just another girl who gave up her power because she didn’t think she had any.

the kiln

Breaks my heart to see you again, to see you walking through that door, stooping a little to fit, hugging your shoulders in as you hunch inward and look for me. I’m already in the rounded corner booth, having gotten there extremely ahead of the agreed-upon time so that I can gather my composure, have enough time to seem completely at ease to see you when really I’m sticky all over with sweat, hair plastered to the side of my head, made even more sticky by my awareness that this isn’t at all how I wanted you to see me again and already I feel bloated from the sparkling water I ordered to pass the time. I wave you over and as you walk over, waves break over me- I’m drowning in a half-pipe of how you walk, how you look, how you look at me. You awkwardly inch in, doing the scoot slide scoot slide on these leather half shells. Does anyone have an easy time or look good getting into these kinds of seats? Last time we were here, we had a great time until we got into a heated political debate, one where you knew everything and were ruthlessly trying to educate me by going on a search and destroy of my ignorance. I was drunk, on wine and on you, just trying to hold on, desperately trying to please you, impress you, wishing my love (though a love that couldn’t quote Noam Chomsky, that didn’t know about foreign government or healthcare systems) could be enough for you. You left me there and I don’t know if I’ve ever felt that not enough for someone. I finished my drink and in the next 4 years, I slowly became the girl you would have actually liked to have been at the bar with. Ain’t that life though, how it always goes. Today, I could have told you then, thereby saving us for now, that what is civilized is damaged. You broke me to make me and the process of your making and breaking made me perfect for you, but was too much for us, made any further relationship impossible, our relationship the kiln of our uncoupling.

ask jeeves

watching her text in the front seat with trembling arthritic hands like she’s trying to find where to thread the needle to another human connection,I’m struck with love pity and understanding,the phone and the internet all just a jumble,a scry and a screech trying to answer this question we all have which is when will I have this great love I felt I was made for

tea matrimony

I sit on a long tongue of blank carpet waiting for the ceremony to begin. Listening to the gentle sts-sts-sts of the bamboo whisks striking thin bone, we look at each other. I find her expression difficult to read. This was all her idea. Initially, I was just concerned about the logistics- the cost of having to fly everyone to Japan. I didn’t even think about the difficulty we would all have involving language. For this reason it took much longer finding the chashitsu for the wedding. And of course, there were other cultural things we had to consider. I was doubtful, for instance, that we would be allowed to have a wedding like this. I was certain some kind of cultural police would put a stop to it, could still put a stop to it. And yet, it was going quite nicely. We looked at each other from across the tatami floor where the long green carpet unspooled between us. I liked the concepts of Sabi and Wabi I learned in Japan the first couple days here and ended up incorporating them into my vows, written with the aid of too much Suntory Toki. I wrote something about wanting to see the beauty imparted onto each other by time and care while also cherishing our unpolished selves, enjoying the present with each other. Overall, it was a great wedding. I enjoyed it. I had never been to Japan, much less participated in a Japanese Tea Ceremony, and I don’t know when else I would have been able to do either. Mostly, I enjoyed it because, well, no harm telling you now that it’s done. It was her idea to get married. Initially, I was just concerned about the logistics- the cost of having to bind your life to another irrevocably. But I became certain in my decision to propose when she walked down the aisle, and we faced each other. Lifting the veil, I saw in her eyes the same dislike, distrust, and fear that I felt. Dislike because this society makes us believe we should hold onto only one of 7 billion inhabitants. Distrust and fear in a future together, in one another, and in the word “forever.” And when I saw that, I knew. This is someone I can spend the rest of my life with.


let me tell you of the day I tripped over my wasted body, all that youth he plundered and shaved off, whittling my heart until it was a twig he could snap, dropping the pieces as he walked away. I found my body there in the shallow runoff water, in the gullies and trenches of dirt, matted hair mistaken for ferns, dulled goldenrod. My hands I turned into spades, dug in and lifted my splintered self, staggering out of the drudges, dirt clinging to me. I shoveled inside myself, unearthing him from my body, upheaval of grime and grief. I lay his head down next to the rest. Gently. I use his remnants, that foul blooming decay, to irrigate my dreams, my visions of you. My shovel hands glint in the sun as I drop the spades and wail. I sing you to life, to vibrant being. Thrusting my hands into moist earth and ripping at the roots, lifting them up, sprouting whole women with low-swinging hips, fleshly orbs of breast, small and large, pink, pinched, and tart as a rhubarb stem, dark blue and marbled as a bruised grape, hair writhes, backs arch, toes splay and the dirt exults at finally being loosed, I exult in being finally loosed, rejoice in the ability to loose others, unfastening those roots which bind and bury, daughters you are my lineage and my sovereign


I know you

have no lack of love, but what a gift to give you mine, to join my hands with all the women before me who have held your beautiful head. I was afraid this time of the absence you would leave, a firm footprint at the base of my heart, welling up slowly with salt water, an ache that last time spilled out, overwhelmed, and drowned me. I let that fear keep me from saying and touching and feeling and let’s be honest, loving you as much as I wanted. But the sun rose and dusted the waxy leaves of the houseplants with its golden pollen and as I watched the sun creep over the small hairs on your arms and chest, incinerating them with light, a stray flame crept over me. I watched the rosy pink dawn fill the spaces of your powerful body and as the long streaks of sun started to caress the length of your body, my cheeks flushed and I joined my heart with the sun in loving you, fully, warmly, without reservation.