they say we spend
looking at the faces of our friends
than we do our own, and
in the millennial era
that’s a massive pile
of raw bullshit
but if “friends” were changed
to “enemies” perhaps
it might be true.
like the last replacement girl
is the second time)
thinner than I was and
and way cooler hair.
i assumed you are also more
creative, more cunning,
better at cooking and
better in bed.
joke’s on him though, now
i’m a human spider haunting
his high corners, shaved
part of my hair and
on its own.
i trained my eyes
to see through
and when you
can see your
prey but your prey
cannot see you then
it means you are
as for the things i assumed
i suppose as logic dictates
i was correct
on every point:
made an ass of him and me
but not of you, so
guess you win this round
written october 2016
he makes me thirsty, desperate for growth. all I want is to be there beside him.
but he told me once he loves tiny women, small like birds, with delicate bones and fingers — the things I find beautiful, the things I will never be. I was born into a trap: a cage of flesh built a bad way, crooked and thick, short, wide, soft. a human sausage, a turkey leg, a flank steak with extra flanks. mm, meaty. this one bleeds. built backwards, everything fragile went inside. the big tough parts moved out. protect and serve. a body to beat back a life that attacks head-on, would take me in cold blood if it could. I am war-torn, scarred, uneven. I am no little bird, though I see them and I love their feathers and their feet and their songs, and I envy so their ability to fly.
written february 2017
crashing through the bedroom “door” in typical grunting fashion, fighting back the plastic laminate and lifting the blanket pinned to the frame behind it, I stumble into the little hovel i’ve fashioned into a solitary living space — curtain, window, desk and chest of drawers, radiator broiling bitter oil and threatening to set the place aflame. These items stand stoic round the single bed shoved in the corner, positioned as if guarding sentry against the devious nothingness that steals in every night and hogs the tattered blankets: the only thing that enters here other than myself.
imagine my surprise, then, as I toss my keys onto the table and unshoulder my pack looking up just in time to see you there, stretched out on that tiny plank of a bed. though the dreams i’ve had of you have often kept me warm and helped me pass the winter nights, never did i have so clear a vision of you here — lounging somewhat comically, one leg extended fully to the edge of the bed, perhaps a little over — your head propped up on one hand, the other resting on your hip, sumptuous as a curvy mistress posing stacked in lingerie, clutching a can of whipped cream cooing “welcome home, honey buns.” But it’s you, just you, in your sweater and your jeans, glint in your eye and your gaze on the doorway, waiting to surprise me. flew all this way just to find me, hunted down my address, broke into my house… that’s fine, that’s all just fine with me.
but again, the shock. i draw a sharp breath as my head jerks back to get a better look at you — just in time, as I said, for in that flash of time you’ve vanished. again i’m left alone — certain but shaken, gazing blankly at the imprint your body left pressed into my shoddy bedding.
my boy, my lad, stop haunting me.
only three times in my life have i experienced these visions, if that’s what you want to call them — unearthly flashes almost too vivid to possibly be a product of the mind, the conjurings of shining eyes and wet lips parting to murmur all the half-truths I want so madly to hear. perhaps it’s some sort of miracle: to love a person with such delirium that the heart, mind and eyes set to collaborating, constructing human forms from dust and longing and poor lighting. i like to think it’s not a symptom of a broken mind but I know I shouldn’t jump to conclusions; when a mind is born broken, so are each of its careful creations.
there was one time on the subway in Berlin late at night, my brain full of fumes in the flickering jaundiced glare. i was the only person on the night line — then looked up and bam, there he was, clear as day though so clearly not, gazing hard at me with those sparkling blue eyes, transmitting everything he never said that night when I left him. I dared not to blink as I knew he would vanish so I sat there, swaying in my seat in that hurtling yellow tube, waiting for his dimpled smile to slowly lift his cheeks, and I could not move or breathe as I watched him — that’s the rule, see. twitch and you break the cosmic balance. reality comes busting in and sets the scene to neutral. everything you ever loved will vanish in an instant. remember, remember: remember not to blink.
smearing black liner over my swollen eyelids, bloated from crying. must be out of the airbnb by 12. it is 11:55. he left at 7:30 to catch his flight, climbed into bed with me before he left, hiking boots and all, wrapped his big arms around my body and kissed me deeply as if it was our last kiss ever, which it would be.
i have a problem with love — too much of it to give out. a problem with timing — mine is terrible. a problem with pain — i like it too much.
love is a really ridiculous bond. almost more physical than mental. the mind doesn’t choose who to love, the body does. the fact that i could sit at his side and listen to his rambling, all of which i find basic and relatively meaningless, contemplate his way of viewing the world and end up being disgusted, or disappointed, or just confused as to how he came to be this way — how could anyone? in conversations, feeling like i was constantly educating — giving out my knowledge and ideas like candy, most of which he accepted gladly, as he needed them — validating his existence over and over, which he told me so often nobody had ever done, while simultaneously he tore mine down.
according to enrique, i am
intelligente, lista, guapa, adventurera, diferente
dificil de entender, dificil de aguantar, rara, demasiado liberal, rápida a enfadarme, i push people, i like to get under their skin.
told him i wanted the feedback. i would listen. i did listen. i want to think about it. I want to improve. but so much of our incompatibility came from his direction and his blatant fear and intolerance for difference that it’s difficult to know how i could have done better with this one. except for the obvious: to have left him immediately, or at least after the first intolerant attack on my being. when he called me a slut, when he behaved selfishly in bed, when he kicked me out of his car on the side of the highway. i held out. in the end mother nature brought us down — my period came before his final visit and it disturbed him. he wouldn’t touch me after he realized.
i do know why i held out, but i don’t know where all the love comes from, or why i have to feel all this for people who hurt me so badly. he never meant to. he’s a good man with misogyniistic tendencies, like so many of them. nothing special. nothing unusual. i always think i’m just in it for the sex, then come to find out there’s always been more to it. much more.
i feel destroyed. everything hurts. all i want to do is cry, i sound like a goddamn country song. lord help me, save me from the images that stick. his arms and his shoulders. he put a little weight on. his eyes, green. the warmth. cargo pants and hiking boots and two grey shirts. mountain boy stranded on an island; forever conflicted, forever torn in two. i love it, i love it, i love him. i shouldn’t. there is better, there is more. jess, go and find it. jess, don’t be like this. jes come on. please. raise your standards. don’t give when you don’t receive. jes, you’re hard to handle. give credit where credit is due. listen more, listen better. stay calmer. retain control. control yourself.
this is nobody’s fault. it ended well, with love. like pulling apart a peanut butter sandwich. messy, had bread in it?
because feeling pain is still feeling, and feeling is better than nothing. living is pain, and living is also better than nothing. loving is living, and loving is pain. pain means you’re living. and so on and so forth. forever, or until you can’t anymore.
chasing one little baby tick of unblackened weed around the rim of the pipe, warm in my bone-cold fingers: cold white light and me here on this dingy old velvet couch listening to the boys in AIDS’s bedroom pretending it’s a real gym. they listen to eminem a little too much, but i won’t givem shit for it.
genezareth and hannah are considering busking on a corner on weekends; seabass was turned down for a resto job due to his lack of a work visa; bethany was selling Christmas cards for a euro apiece; i was considering selling knit caps, AIDS and I have discussed becoming regional camgirls.
we are sort of brutally poor, but we do our bestish. combat creeping depression with routines and rituals: open the shutters every morning and close them up every night, go for hikes, go for runs, do pullups and pushups and abs, chat together in the sparsely-furnished kitchen all squattin on buckets and low stools on the ground. we are all in balls deep for bernie sanders.
written fall-winter 2015. entry 1 of a series.
todo tiene su límite y tú
pero ninguna de ellos
sirve para mantenerme
una bomba química, lo llamas
esta cosa que nos une y nos
tortura como sal en las heridas que me
das y que te doy, rodillas raspadas,
piedras incrustadas en el piel,
falta de dormir y pesadillas de amores perdidos
y otros monstruos,
líneas de sangre, de cocaína,
todas esas líneas que tengo y que meto
entre tú y yo pero ninguna de ellas
sirve para mantenerte
eres mi guerra
por lo visto siempre
me hace falta una:
fíjate, el fracaso
eso te digo
pa’ que lo sepas:
con las tonterías estas
de amor y de amor
falso, y de no saber
you are the
you are gone
from my skin
like a mist
or a phantom
you rose out
left some stains
the clouds are red-black
and the wind
cools me down
i haven’t felt
pero vaya tío ya te digo una puta poema en castellano
a ver como me sale
mira, hay un hombre
quien vive en una isla,
o sea — encima de una isla
k adentro está lleno
todo ocupado por diosas bailadoras
con sus espíritus indignados y sudados
mientras sus tierras se queman al infierno,
el lugar dónde se crecieron sus hijas y sus
perros y sus hijos y sus
los mismos que luego se convertirían
en pescadores y cantantes
y cuidadores de cabritas,
en bailadores y bastante cabrones,
como suele resultar.
esta tierra está marcado y dolido,
y se nací al seco, con muchísima sangre,
cubierto en lagartos, y en la hierba seca
con un par de colinas, calas torturadas,
gente marrón con las manos y las almas
pequeñas y duras,
o sea compactas, listas
provechosas, cuando les toquen ser.
pero este tío de lo que hablo
pues él no viene de aquí,
su sangre es de otras tierras, más verdes y altas
con más cuevas pa poner casa y más paredes
dónde la gente se dispone de la espalda bien dura
y donde los perros
comen gatos y se ríen,
y él, igual que sus ancestros,
su espíritu no cae tan bien
ni con el sol ni con la humedad de aquí,
se moja la espalda y el cuello con
trabajo y lleva el ceño siempre fruncido,
concentrando o aguantando pero
siempre empujando, eso sí, es
algo en él que lo lleva adelante y k to trae
y lo veo
como si fuera escondido en las sombras
de un bosque en la niebla,
invierno y con frío y no sé cómo pero él
sabe mi olor y lo detecta
viene pa buscarme
y me encuentra a menudo,
soy su presa y el es mía, que a mí
él huele de montaña y de fuego,
y la única cosa que quiero
es quemarme en ello y al final
i’ll say it to you now: all that shit buried stinking in some putrid garden hole wheezing up pansies. petunias. daffodils and tulips. my favorite, your favorite, your favorite for me.
what can i tell you? you’re the seeping body feeding my veins via toes and thorax and torso to brain. i am certain I’m certain of nothing yet here i am standing blistered and knowing: the only thing certain is you.
venga, hijo. vente a mami. let me show you the things you didn’t know were hiding. ten feet down and it didn’t cross your mind to wonder — so you say.
kiss me you stupid asshole. put your mouth on my god damn mouth. let me feel the prickles of that sparse gorilla wire you call a beard while it chafes red raw my baby face (guess we’re not too old for this yet.) let me watch your angles morph over the years, i’ll check em in the mornings as we wake up side by side.
take my sweaty hand and squeeze it. press it hard between your hairy thighs, rub it, wake it up. smack it. smack my ass. get a load o’ that springback action, smile like a stoner. cock head, lean in — take everything you find, the survivor of some mortal tragedy feeding til his guts burst. the one thing sweeter than irony, baby. come on now, eat up.