only REAL MEN please
a REAL men:
-UniversidAd De La kAlLe
-into “butt stuff”
-can survive on pussy alone
-30min underwater breath-hold minimum
-can ask questions
-NOT allergic to shellfish
-SOMETIMES wears thongs
-ability to pivot right AND left
-does NOT use a pillow
-allergic to yogurt OK
face streaked with black and the bus people are
either fearful or concerned. nothing
about you is what they would call normal. though at
home you’re just another bland fat kid in a
jersey sweater, here you are something exotic (if
by exotic you mean to imply an irksome foreign
terror threat in flannel visibly stoned at seven-thirty
in the morning unable to keep its paint-stained fingers
off a pen.) ‘You do it well,’ they tell you, and you say
oh! it’s a compulsion!
but it’s eight and you’re late again and you’re wondering
why this goddamned bus is so
painfully slow, time is a physical pressure on your
spinal column that gets worse in the cold, the bus
folks likely can’t relate. it’s almost their naptime already.
“fuck your God, your Lord, your Christ. he did this: took all you had and left you this way.” in the spirit of rapture and progressive rock, one lonesome teenaged boy burned this song onto a disc and upon it scribed a name in pink-red sharpie. the boy’s room was messy and saturated with a stale adolescent odor, the same one his teachers and classmates noticed on the rare occasions when he showed up at school. his absence was as palpable as his presence: the boy was a bear in camouflage, tall and broad, covered in scars from old facial piercings — one jagged through his eyebrow where a ring had been ripped clean out (the hairs still struggled to touch over the rift.) he also had scars carved in with a razorblade — a pentagram on the forearm, then a change of heart and a “John 3:16” carved above it. he was brawny and dark, with eyes a sort of jaded grey that too freely gave away his sentiments. he was “that kid.” you know that kid. everyone does.
it’s one am and the cd is playing. the boy leaves his window open a crack and the blinds up just a hair. he is “cleaning,” moving dirty clothes from one pile to another, waiting for glowing eyes to peer in from outside, for clammy shaking fingers to slip through the crack of his window and hook themselves to the frame for leverage. he never has to wait long.
the creature, not an adept climber, struggles through the window and fails to catch itself on the inside of the room. it tumbles awkwardly to the ground and curls up on the threadbare mattress, still shivering from the frigid night. the mattress is full of tiny prickled holes where the boy has lit it on fire to watch it burn. there is no sheet and the bedding is musty, heavy from being unwashed. the creature doesn’t seem to mind.
this is the routine: bare feet on wet grass, bloodied knees smeared with mud, the sordid night freezing the creature’s soft lungs from inside out, guts full of purple crystals. scale a small wall and tumble to relative safety: a few stolen hours after midnight clinging to each other on this filthy mattress, the burned cd playing “fuck your god”, everything stained an electric blue from the broken television propped on the dresser. the night is safer for their union as the world outside does not approve. the boy is too big, too scarred, too dangerous. the creature is small and dark and delicate, requires proper care that the boy cannot provide. this is what the world thinks: but love does not listen to the logic of the world.
burnt alive and limbs twisted
back like gnarled oaks counting
hundreds of years with the same
shoving roots. too aggressive
he says, and we say eat shit
bring on the chainsaws for our
slaughter, splay our needles out
like blood and bile for we’ve
always more to lose but still
a clear-cut in the children’s
park, church parking lot, public
private old-growth stands, the
silent heaving wombs that
made you now under your fire
fight back, he cries: the grasping
child swinging fitful little hands,
his mother laughing rises. time
again to teach him what is right
and what is wrong.
in solidarity with the women’s march against the Trump inauguration and the anti-Trump resistance movement
three girls who couldn’t be alone: some dirty seething tracks in our family line that crumpled us and hooked us on the backs of conquerers for survival. you say I am a free woman but you wonder when the husband’s coming (as we know those tend to wait just around the corner.) the free woman now in the family and finally I have eyes to see, a life spent hiding my head (despite its size) between the thighs of creature comforts to distract from the very illness of just waking. you say I’m independent but depending can keep a person breathing for a while longer if the tank’s still got juice and the tracks don’t run too deep. only me to rely on: a bottle of iodine and a whole lot of gauze to get me through another night as creature comforts just don’t cut it anymore. time better spent on a threadbare single mattress with a hand in your pants and a distant memory of central heating. look out there, see those mountains? men go trekking there alone and do it fine and well. I’d go but it’s too risky for a woman alone so I’ll just keep to this mattress and cooking for one and wearing my underwear inside out because laundry can’t be done for another two weeks (shower wash on a dime with your feet while standing and hang-dry on a flammable heater.) even the best of laundry machines don’t always get the job done, you can’t erase a bleach stain or pretend you weren’t bleeding. the iron stays with you and so do the scars.
an hour of sleep over Vigo. cheap champagne and fireworks and two hours of sleep on a Friday. two hours of sleep with a torqued spine and a broken promise weeping like a rope burn. two hours of sleep and a jar full of moonshine. two hours of sleep and my blood can’t keep warm. three hours of sleep in a bed with four people. three hours of sleep and nightmares of green smears across the sheets. three hours of sleep and is that contagious? four hours of sleep and you wake up crying. four hours of sleep on the bathroom floor. four hours of sleep with an epileptic on the sofa. four hours of sleep with my throat clenched hard in the jaws of a stranger. four hours of sleep with the tv left on. five hours of sleep with the whole world beside me but I can’t stay awake to see it. five hours of sleep on a hill above the city. fice hours of sleep with a mouth full of fur. six hours of sleep over Paris in the dark and zero when I tell you to leave me. six hours of sleep scraped again by my own edges. six hours of sleep and his back is turned. seven hours of sleep waking up to love each other but zero when it’s hot outside. seven hours of sleep on a futon by the river. seven hours of sleep in another dirty basement but it’s starting to feel like home. eight hours of sleep in my own goddamned bed with four walls and electric heating. eight hours of sleep and I finally get it. eight hours of sleep alone.
the earth beneath your fe et, the very soil
of your shit and your blood and your
ancestors’ bones ground to mea l
food for maggots worms and vermin
crawling infesting your floorboards, your fingernails, your eye sockets
workplace, the schools of your chi ldren
little joyful bundl es infeste d
finger pads no two the same making everything dirty
un-polished un-white, the filth
you see their dark stains
black flecks blotched where neutral beige would be nice r,
got them trained
so small already hate all that they see
each fleck a flaw, loss of wor th
not light, not pure, not whi te enough
take a k nife to it and slice it off
a vacuum hose to suck it out
p urge the blackness