life, poetry, prosetry, Uncategorized

Holding Water

What I wouldn’t say out loud;

At a dinner party, when the conversation turns to

matters of personal identity and the such.

That I live in a country where

self-confidence is in the very water alongside Chlorine

And possibly many pissed out Pharmacuticals

I don’t know how they import it or how they bottled it

in the first place

but everyone takes a long swig

and grows up self-important and rarely doubting

their worth

A la the internalized cheerleader

I must therefore hail

from an island of thorns

because I didn’t get inoculated against

the sumptuous barbs

my skin punctures at the slightest retort

I bled easily even after I cauterized the wound.

Necessarily, this has caused some

discomfort

people don’t get how

someone can hate themselves

be a painted sin eater

for all insult

until that gobstopper of internalized anguish

turns on them and it feels like

it’s always been about hating the self

Such a natural elegant process of self harm

looking back in the mirror

wishing she could erase

the very DNA, the very face of her.

Now I have a second sight

for bullshit and fakes

and often I’m told; Give me a chance you never know!

But O I do

and I stay away from the saturating crowd

as they live their camera-ready lives

to the fizz and hiss of the insta-bulb

wondering if I will ever

feel differently or if this

deep phlegmy cough

will inhabit my very soul and become

a new lingua of self loathing.

Sometimes I see girls who

could have been me, but grew up

in a different world where

presumably they were inoculated against

self-hate at an early age and given a healthy dose

of worth and manifest ego

they seem like an identical twin who

was raised on grass instead of hay

in the sun instead of snow

and even though they still possess

the abhorant figure of myself

with her squinting mash of ancestral sabotage

I find I like aspects of them

as they flourish weed-like

unawares

there is a shadow

watching them

wondering

if I had grown up just like them

and taken my Happy Pills along with my self deception

what would I have gained?

What would I have lost?

I might resemble them but

I suspect, I would be nothing like them

except in the cracked glass of us

broken and repaired many times

until they can stand no more

to hold

water

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Uncategorized

Ever seen

Give me back to the century

Where emotion rained hard

On the blessed shoulders of mortals

With not long to live

And in their reckless squander

A divinity of purpose

Feel it all before the raging blaze

Is quit

Search the very foundation of self

For magnificent adrenaline

Surging cosmos in franetic energy

Furthering simplicity of day

With abundance

Yea

I follow the trodden path

Tapering to our end

With potence of resin risen from stone

Breaking its balm on thunderstorm

If I do one thing

One thing at all

May it be everything

To discover my core

Welded on the bright of this quick life

Ushering me near, its damaged flame

That I might behold you

As you step from earth

Encrusted with star jewels

The planitary alignment

A sword wound

Carved in my fate

We may only have together

A day

Or life time

In the wandering of us

Beneath mortal skin

A magnetic pull

Brings us to our circumference

Behold the power of two

As they blaze into this long dream

Their fire

The only part of them

Ever seen

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Uncategorized

Of collision & oxygen

Long ago

And just yesterday

I stood behind you when you did not know

And felt, in the shimmering silence of proximity

An answer, I had been asking

Why you stirred in me a maelstrom

How an unknown could

Capture this woman

As if they were a fisherman

In search of a whale

Who did not know he was searched for

Or even led

To his fate

As you are my last doorway

For afterward there will be

No you and no me

We are bound to see the end of ourselves together

It is written in my veins

Activated when I saw you

As clear as diving bell

Will warn the unwary

Of collision and oxygen

I liked when I said

I needed nothing

It is already in motion

My sustaining because you exist

And I breathe your name

And the smell of you gathered furtively

In each step made

Nearer to your guarded heart

If someone asked me

How did this happen?

I’d know no adequate response

For who would believe in self driven things

Or the recognition of one

Become mistress of my heart

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fiction, prosetry

Fear and a Spirit of Hateful Accommodation

Yes, all those things are lovely, but it’s boring when all is said and done at the end of the day eventually in the final analysis after all—indecision can be a like standing in the middle of field of lilacs and sometimes we simply say too much. Speaking of lilacs and sometimes, I don’t do well on the fly, too little meaning caught in too many words, with “do” and “fly” being the operatives here, deep down undercover with fake mustaches and mirrored aviators for obfuscation. We all know “well” well enough, or so I tell myself, to hold the sentence together with minimal disambiguation. The sentence—life, with no possibility of parole, unless you’ve got a little imagination. We all step away sometimes, needing to, receding to or from or for with grimy presumptions of stiff finality all around, creeping up the walls like rot till they seem darker than the corners and we can’t remember how or why we serve the question, but we do. Insistent on the peculiar merits of placement, I seem predisposed to point to the energy and the process like it’s blame I’m placing, not credit, clinging to rhizomatic enthusiasms rooted in contexts so specific and references so obscure that the truth can’t go unnoticed. The truth. What is this appetite for absolutes? Strip that away, and what—the positive qualities of illusion suggesting that the walls and corners aren’t in fact closing in, that they simply have spirit? Having seen it done and having done it, I strain to model myself on something definitive, over and over, ever and ever, ever stepping away to return all over, mumbling mawkish mantras like Destroy, and piece it back together but this time with gold at the seams. Kintsugi, yes? and how appealing, no, how improving, with an orange-juicer twist drop of idealism plus the pulp. Each answer is formed of countless questions, as variegated as the languages with which we pose them, so thus I ask: Do we spill because we break or does our spilling do the breaking because we get too full?

Everything has to go somewhere (that’s definitive-infinitive); there’s action in the outpouring, but I could see it working either way, or both, finding a comfortably uncertain trajectory regardless, whether of containment or release, a course, of course, if you will, running roughly from vulnerability to repair and so on, with voice, agency, embodiment, and destruction all packed in and cozy snuggled between. And so on, and back again. Till it breaks again and I’m back here on the fly again, going nowhere till it feels too right to not be the wrong words for a story.

I had a rough day, she said, barely holding back tears and looking smaller and more defeated than she’d ever permitted herself to look. A hug and kiss were proffered as preludes to a word or two of unconvincing edification as I, draped in coat and bags, walked out the door and down the hallway to the elevator and another hallway to the parking garage so I could warm up the cold little car with rust spots on the hood and drive cautiously through heavy nighttime snow already covering the highway despite evening weeknight traffic to a hotel way out west of the city where there was a meeting of the old white minds that I had to endure the following day. The following day arrived and I woke up from an uncomfortable half-sleep with the outlines of a migraine that would gradually color itself complete as I tried to take notes and look like I gave a shit in a windowless conference room thick with recirculated air and coffee breath, wanting only the essentials of sleep, hydration, and a proper breakfast. The rest—freedom, love, pain—would have to wait.

 


Originally published on Art & Insolence.

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fiction, Uncategorized

Never Forget the Whore

I wanted to learn more about a Russian’s perspective on World War II, The Great Patriotic War, or according to some, simply THE WAR. Since paper turned out to be even more revisionist than memory, I asked around for those who may have lived through it. My friend Ivan’s grandmother spoke a bit of English and he arranged for me to meet her at her house on Tuesday. Her face was a mashing of slate and limestone, she had a button for one eye. She might have had hair, but it was hidden under a musty-green bonnet.

Her apartment was an antique apocalypse, strewn about were books, kettles, chair legs, mummified jars of pickled mysteries, numerous floral patterns creating an eclectic field of colorful dust-bunnies. Great booming closets and mirrored shelves lined every wall, housing dead photographs of even deader relatives. She navigated it well. In the kitchen she sat me in a chair with a flat piece of plywood nailed to two of the broken legs. I gingerly sat and took out my notebook.

“Tea?” she asked.

“With milk and sugar, please.”

She bustled about the dusty sink, taking tea from a tin and setting on an old kettle.

“So, how old were you during the war?” I said.

She didn’t turn. “Wait,” she said.

I waited, looking out the window through a mess of dead plants at the people walking past. It was summer in Saint Petersburg, finally. Outside people wore T-shirts and shorts with a desperateness that only comes in a place where summer is born a dead-leaf. The old woman came and sat across from me, placing a mug of plain black tea on my notebook.

“So, I am collecting stories from the war, from people who were alive and—”

“Bread?”

“Uh—no thank you,” I said, nervously. “So, I thought maybe we could start with the Siege of Leningrad, Ivan said you were a child when it happened?”

She looked out the window, then down at my notebook and untouched tea.

“You want to talk about the siege, but you don’t want bread?” she asked. She stood up and took a half-load of bread from a squirrely spot in a dirty cabinet. She cut a chunk and put it on a plate with some butter and a slice of cheese. I waited.

“Thank you,” I told her after she placed it beside my tea.

I took a bite.

“I remember going with my mother to bring bread to her sister,” she waved in a direction out of the window. “She lived not far from here. My mother would bring me with bread–we were more fortunate. She lived on the top floor of her building and people used to sleep in her stairwell, sleep until they died and there was no one to take them away, so they moved them into the windows. They put them there one on top of the other until there was no light in her building. Her children had died. I didn’t know them very well, but they died. My aunt too, one day. In her building she died because she wouldn’t eat, and they put her in one of the windows, too. I remember the darkness in the stairwell and I remember my mother didn’t cry.”

I didn’t write anything down as she spoke. She looked out of her window through the plants and sunshine. Her face suddenly went dark and she scowled at a woman passing.

“Her,” she said.

I looked. It was a young woman, she was wearing a light summer dress and she looked happy.

“She is a whore,” the she said. “She has been sleeping with the Jew who lives just there.” She pointed at a window, two floors up and across.

“He’s married,” she said ominously.

“Oh,” I managed, and with nothing else to say, I took a bite of my bread.

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life, poetry, prosetry

Glinting yet unswept

jump

you and I

were never meant to age

or get sick

or fall apart like a moth will when you

touch its wings, rub off the magic

you and I

were supposed sway in the assurance

of that hot gaze we both had

it was as if the world were stopped

on its axil and only we two remained

entwined around the other like long grown ivy

from the first moment it was that way

affixed by some kind of telepathy where

even as the storm attempted to separate

we always came back

like magnets repelled and attracted

will find their centering

when I looked up

you were my first thought

in every aspect of life

I lived with you

to imagine this has shattered like a glass

unable to be mended, leaves behind shards of itself

glinting yet unswept

to prick the foot of unsteady walker

a reminder of what is fractured

what cannot be saved

I never thought it possible, to rinse you from my heart

or that I could truly exist without you

hinging my world

but there are some violences

there are some moments too ruined

and my shame in not knowing earlier

how long you had given me up

that undo even the strongest bond

so now, when I feel alone

I do not find myself yearning for you

when I wish to be touched

it is not you I imagine or want

when I cry over us

it is not with a full heart

or even bitterness

but something cold and twisted

that cannot quite remember feeling

it has done the unimaginable

and stopped calling out for you

(One Promise

when you had spent

eight life times and

nine nights

ten turns of moon

one promise

convincing me I was

yours

to want to throw myself

off the bridge we often walked

when your eyes told me

you had given up

was it presumptuous

when you had spent

all my life and half of yours

teaching me love

and its poetry

only to decide when something died

and kill it

headless and bleeding

there in the street

where pointing

people gaped and wondered

who is that girl

climbing the rail?

where is she going?

there she falls)

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fiction, life, poetry, prosetry, Uncategorized

For as we live, we hide the place we found

In polite society, I was born before 1999 and know

You oughtn’t make mention of wanting to be fucked

Then behind your clean starched mask, you tilt wildly

Stringing sentences with unevenly matched Japanese pearls

Wanting to reduce the sauce and toss your marrow

Spilling on good clean table cloth

Pent up urges

Good girls with breeding

Even those with tattoos and bar bells

Have no karaoke for the need to be sexed

It’s unacceptable

Unless you’re a muse of Mira Nedyalkova

To show your keening before nightfall

If indeed there is a room for

The un-beautiful cast offs

Dampening their secret gyrate

When the door bell chimes

And lust must be folded against bedtime book

Empty beds, careless marriages

They stopped touching you, as the record ended

Scratching against needle in the sleeping dark of disinterest

Still you had unquenchable thirst

Standing by the window watching swallows gather force

You thought of your own lost voice and that place

Between your legs aching to be emptied

Of a bright star

Only women past the loving hour

Who do not possess tight arse and foals legs

Can hope for nothing better than a vibration of their own hand

Where did you come from then?

As I zipped myself into a drawer and prepared my flattening

The ache of years, a library of unread self-possession

So long the gaze averted in the mirror, I only saw

A ghost and the moonlight, casting shadows in drawing gloom

You paid me a kindness

Took my urges to the silent place beneath time

Where I was a girl again, wet against your silky hand

And I felt your mouth measure my climb

Into the breast of a cloud, oxygen deprived, no cry is heard

But the cymbals of holding back are loosed

Falling a great weight, your fingers entwined into my roots

I waited beyond my lifetime for someone like you

To open my need, pull me into you, set me free

For as we live, we hide the place we found

Ourselves that first time the sky splitting wide

Beneath the tree with fingers inside, stroking to climax

That unbearable feeling of being alive

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