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the last time i saw my face, it was balancing
in the dew drops off my cat's whiskers. i watched myself
drip and fall into the places even you don't want to exist;
the hole in the stairs where you found the spider's nest
and the refrigerated dust bunnies
in the places integrity used to be.

you taught me to be an outlaw:
how to feel the friction in our shivers,
to sit neck-to-neck with you for an evening
shining on the hood of lover's lane 1958.
it's where i saw my face again,
balancing in your pupils of washed watercolors
and last week's sepia painting; your iris
like the waste beakers in their green
solutions to why i only want to paint
you with my left hand, balancing from a grass blade.
my heart murmurs at the sight of you

painted in the lunar brush strokes of god's thumb.
i want to drape my arms like sheets, like
down, like your wings and those moonbeams
gathering in your eyes over your body.

counting how many heartbeats the moon has,
i've watched your cheeks pulse with the tide--
beconed by the sight of your tongue
poking like an anemone from between your lips,
like the golden island on the back of a turtle
filled with something uncut and priceless:
too un-beautiful and too interpreted with enough clashes,
you've got me thinking sideways.

you could wear the sun -- i'd still stare,
still try to match our breathing heartbeats
with the pads of our fingers. i'd still hold you
in explosions. no matter how deaf i get
(i don't need ears to see you with).

i'm burning:
either there in your flare
or here in its afterglow.
this murmur for the moon
i'll have to live with or die for
or beat you, hands down,
at sweaty palms and stammering.
we looked for faces in the ceiling,

sprouting stories of leprechauns
and dead dogs from the findings.
we forged the horizon of conversation--
the reason why it glows so brightly
and makes you swallow ice cubes
just to know you're going somewhere.

living in the delicacy of polaroids
in petticoats (plaid, to match the high
heeled shoes of our mother's shopping
trips), i swear i curled around you and your
humming. i was copper; you're electricity
back before being bronze and bendable
could get a girl stolen.

we're pretty sure that's what happened:
our beds aren't next door
but we still find ways to charge
and clashspark our way into an atmosphere
of particles -- just secretly. i've found
your tune has gone with your hearing
and i'm not quite so flexible (or bronze).
extra virgin

i'm praying on foreheads anointed in olive oil
in the dreamscape on spirit-nights. i could ride fire:
be both the wick and the wax with my center
that glowing place of heat-and-light energy. spread-eagle
in the womb, i'm chanting the passing of passion
from one hand to the next, the quaking blend
of human water-wash, when yours-mine is ours
and i can pray like you but shine in something different.

it always starts with drumming like our birth pains,
our feet thump to the pulse in their hands
and the vibrations of stretched hide.
we even spiral in the block house,
shaking those cement bricks, reminding our Lady
we're here and celebrating. in our age and youth
we weave with our bodies, the tilting of it so bittersweet
i don't want to wash the dirt from my toes, how i sleep
it through and soak the last bit of Mother from that dust.

we dreamed of leaves and earth
my body like a child's arms aimed at Father
declaring her position at the north watchtower;
how she beckons sweetly under the web
of our yarn: children are a message
in a witch's bottle. we baptize our houses
like we wiccan our children: through dancing
and olives and how leaves hum so perfectly.
and everything comes back to him.

i used to lie on newsprint
without eyes rolled in everything
the headlines will say again tomorrow.
using the world as a pillow,
glancing through the glances that had to be god.

when everything comes back to him,
no matter how far i drive,
how many pills i mistake for divine
intervention, he's still there --
hovering in neon and steam
over the highway. too busy
summarizing interviews and leafing through
the middle east; he just hovers.
you wanted me to write you a poem about progress

i would have run if it wasn't for your lips around the word 'awkward,'
and how your breast falls so abruptly. it's not even because you're sexy
or taken, but because you're here and you're female and i'd like to see how far
i could slide my hand between your jeans and skin.
maybe if life weren't so silver

we're not in today because i think
you're beautiful, but because you're female
and you're here. i don't stare at your legs
because of how your thighs flex
but because they are legs and shine
to be stared at. maybe if life weren't
so silver i wouldn't think this way --
maybe it's all those streets i've crossed
without a hand that's made me this shallow

but even puddles have sparkles
and even puddles reflect clouds
but mostly puddles get stepped in and
separated by the denim in our jeans.

we're not in today because the sky
doesn't care enough to tarnish silver,
even jeans can tear,
and the first puddle you jumped in
will always be deepest to frog boots
and that little silver rain slicker.
You wanted me to write
you a poem about progress.
I don't know how to describe leap-frogging
through history or how pounding
formulas is progress, but I asked for prompts, so

you wanted a poem about progress.

a to the one-half power + b to the one-half power = c to the one half power or,
Athens + war = the Golden Age

and that's the history of mankind.
sometimes in my dreams i'm dropping
bombs out of zepplins while playing ode
to joy through loudspeakers for all the soldiers
dead in combat, all the service men, women,
veterans, puppy-dog-wet-behind-the-ear americans
who enlisted yesterday that have ever texted b***h
to their husband/wife/significantwhatever
during the national anthem. in my dreams
i drop our stripes so i can burn
our stars up, but if they were really stars
they'd be exploding their way out
of those perfect little rows and uniform shapes.
texas would be biggest
since everything that raw is messy:
size is messy, creation is messy,
explosions are messy and that's why we created
atom-bombs. even when we're old
we can't help but stick out our fingers
to make mud pie, to trace people better
than us to learn to copy, to trace
people etched in milliseconds to stone.

i wonder how much more my fingertip knows,
how their backs much ache,
how many years ago that boy decided
his ball was never going to come back down
and it makes me want to scream sometimes, it
makes me want to scream sometimes, i want to
******** scream sometimes, i'm ********
screaming that there are still people out there
who use Orient as a stereotype and think Native
American is a ******** costume.
i don't go around in black-face for halloween
and i can't even raise my fist to brown power
without feeling like a hypocrite for all those transcripts
that i marked Caucasian because i'm not brown
enough. and i'll never be brown
enough, or white enough or tan enough
for it to be okay enough for me to dance in moccasins.
i'm almost apologetic i can't talk
to my uncle who calls me miha twice in every sentence.
all i hear is dear habla dear habla dear
habla con mi since i took Japanese
and those stone pictures are enough
lanugage for right now.
i know i'm just a girl and i could be
grown and it's time to stop
chasing rainbows, and i have
stopped with all my eyes but
the corners, all my body but the
tips. i'll admit that unicorn's aren't real
unless i'm santa clause and
my raindeer are in drag
but i sure as hell still fingerpaint
to clunking piano songs trying too hard
to use the good notes. i still pencil
lead powder occasionally, smearing
thumb pictures on my face like paper
mache without the paper or mache,
just the mask acne break out.

i still press buttons
and the more i press
buttons, the more it make sense
to not press buttons but i keep
pressing like my fingers have minds
of little children that have learned to play
more secretly. they're still loud,
still rambunctious, still spindizzydoitagain,
but only when i've got something
to bend my corner/finger/s to.
i've tried to write this so many times in so many people
next to so many different places that i'm not sure i'm ready yet.

it's only been recently --

i'ts only been recently that i've started coming out
about how i was abused sexually at five
and eleven. it wasn't by the same man or in the same house,
but i've found the similarites. of all the places my dad has lived,
the two i've hated with the most spaces to hide are the two that had
it happen.

i've come to find the hollidays less like something pleasant
and more like work to pose and look like i actually enjoy being tussed up
and shipped out to sit on some old guys lap and smile like
it's christmas.
the holidays are stressful enough without
the pre & post santa panic. the shutter can't close
fast enough and it feels like they use a whole roll of film
before they find something worthy of my mom's approval.

that red suit is too much like a clown suit,
like a birthday party,
like a bathtub where everything that went wrong started.

his lap is like a snake pit or
a nightmare where i can't breath
and all the small spaces i used to sit in aren't big enough to hide my terror.
there's vibrations under our street signs
and street lights that thump out like street fights
and it's electrifying. we're breathing
fire and rubber and tires and i can almost smell the
sirens that always come too late,
but always come anyway.
(i'm laying on my back in the
back of a van in
the back of an alley in the back of some building
in the back of the city and i can still hear it.)

they run on smog and bad habits
hiding in cigarette smoke and in the hallways
of college dorms because those are the party days
and those are the last things we're supposed to remember.
i sit on the side lines, mumbling
memories to prayer beads, pretending
i'm buddhist when times get rough
and maybe that's why i absorb bad karma
and turn white when the camera flashes.
i'm surprised with all the stomping
there's not more footprints in cement
and cracks in the viaduct when the city feeds
so steadily on broken hearts and chipped veins,
sticking in our addictions and
drunkenness to meet the riots and provide the feasting.

i've met a cat who sleeps on her backside;
bends her feline-feminity around the metal
like there's something comfortable
between aluminum and concrete. it seems
even cats like bling to lounge in (at least
the female ones) and she always cracks her eyes
when there's headlights reflecting off her statue.

i brought her turkey that was warm when i left
but cold when i got there (i don't think she minded):
left like an offering to bast
on a concrete alter in an aluminum jungle. i watched
her gobble the meal; watched her swallow; watched
her roll onto her back and hiss when i tried to pet her.
every time my mom talks abot her rape,
i stick my hands down my pants
and rub.
We both grew up
father-haters. We loved
to imagine their demise
and everything we'd do
if we ever dared to dream
about it. I was raised on intuition
and prediction about what he's thinking;
out-plotting his snaking fingers
under dancing pipe smoke, I ran
from Santa Claus at Christmas
and started taking showers at eight
but there was a time when I fought
against having to wash at all.

(I still fight against being naked
unless it's your chest I'm up against,
and you're too shy to touch me.)

Its that same inspiration that makes me
grab a fine tipped marker and scribble
poetry under your clothes, in lines
along your veins and in the crooks
of your elbows. My lips still circle
the planets on your fingers and orbit
your eyelids, but I won't say I love you.
I'd draw us a blanket if I could:
the threads would be thick
enough to handle all the cliches
we'll drag it through, so
even when we're sixty,
it'll keep our old toes warm.
This doesn't mean I think
we'll be together forever
or even now, since I don't love
you and I can't draw blankets
or know if you'd want me to.

So let's forget about it
for an afternoon; let the sun
tickle it with rays until they run
from laughter and sunlotion.
Let's go fishing; casting bait
to tempt away our fathers and phobias,
just back-to-back with a pole and icechest
and no voices for company.
I'll apologize in advance for falling
asleep on your shoulder; I'll hear
your smile in the red on my eyelids.
soft shushing sound your skin makes.
Listen: the air is telling you not to move
or make the soft shushing sounds like skin
and my breathing; just forget we exist
and smile since its easier than waiting
for the dreams we've only harbored
in the black hole crooks of forever.

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