Deforestation

Nothing in all the world is quite so lonely as a lover who wants to love but loses his beloved in a jungle the two of them helped one another create, plant by tree by vine. Nothing in all the world is so pathetic as a lover who thinks he wants to stand but always finds himself lying down, thinks he wants to speak but constantly falls silent. Nothing in all the world is so helpless as a lover lost in a jungle he has helped to make and cannot find even the edge of.

There is no escaping, either for the lover or for his beloved, when the vines have closed off the sun, when the trees have closed off the wind, when the plants have grown into a thick wall that no foot was ever meant to penetrate. Escape is never a possibility, anyway. The only possibility is demolition — either the jungle or themselves. They must choose. No one else can choose for them, and they cannot escape the choice. It is their choice. They will live with it forever.”

-Burton Raffel
Lovers Losing Lovers

Poems for Pedro

(x of xx)

vii

sea shells he brought for me
stained with my ankle’s blood

ix

it’s just sun on a page
until you look away
at another man with a suitcase

x

as soon as I drank him,
I went into a trance
and knew exactly what to do
oh no my pages run up quite soon
didn’t know he’d take up so much space

xii

everything else
the ink leaves out

xv

he wouldn’t want to rush anything
all these weddings around me
a man sprints past
a woman poses
a boy in Doc Martens shamefully stuffs
plastic checkered picnic blanket
into an overfilled trash bin
a little girl screams
“FLOWERS!”

xvi

all the leaves
I can’t collect or recollect
still fell

xvii

two men on their way
with a gallon of cooking oil,
preparing love

xviii

eye contact with a skater
as he bombs the hill I climb
it’s all happening in front of me
while I’m busy writing it down

xix

back through
the same alley I entered
of course I can’t breathe
with my nose plugged

xx

he gave me a poem

 

 

Off to Oz

The tension before taking off. How do you pack it all and go? Zippers inside zippers. A tetris of objects playing tricks of easiness. Summer clothes. THC tea, a blotter sheet, Dr. Bronner’s soap, Goo Gone for sticky messes. Rhodiola and yerba mate. 37 books. I’m ready. Flying into another season. The farthest I’ve ever been from home. My cells shake, anticipate. Preparing for a whole new world. New rules, new government, new order. No more sativa mornings. Walks through redwoods. No more Bart rides to 16th. Delayed by people jumping. New transit, new accent, new coffee shops. Wondering what will be. A place that seems mythical. A place also fucked by foundations of colonization, but somehow seems to function in a streamlined smoothness of well-being that gleams from many Aussies I meet. Generally okay. No worries. And that’s what scares me. The main thing I’ll miss and maybe even crave in Australia is friction to rub against. Something to be bothered about. An itch. Something that makes me watch out. Something that makes me critical. All the chaos home provides. The subsequent yearning to make, to do, to deconstruct, to transform. What will I do in a land called Oz? The same as anywhere: think, feel, read, write. Burn and rebuild energy. But will Australia irk me the same way? Will the people agitate towards change like they do in the Bay? Will there be access to the same niches of information and conversation? Talks on Tuesdays. Will the people care about what’s happening around them? Or are they too far removed, hearing yesterday’s news? Will the flag be half-mast everyday there too? Lifted into the air by migrants on minimum wage while those who pay to have it risen stay inside, scheming. The American Dream. If everything is relatively sane and easy-going down under, then what is there to reach? (Isn’t simply being there wrong?) Where’s the dirt? (Paved by Victorians seeking gold. Stolen generations.) Maybe it’s fertile soil for groovy music and laid-back design of neon pinks and blues. Quality gastronomy. I’m not sure how far I’ll go slipping into pleasure. A new place to consume. You can’t compare the two, but you can feel them differently. When you mix all the paint the color turns brown. Once at a bar in Paris, drinking my favorite color green, I overheard a table of Aussies saying they’ll never go to the United States. Because of the ignorance, the obesity. All the shit. The competition, the stress, the drugs, the mess, the machine. But I’ll miss the mud that springs lotuses of reform the world watches and replicates. The tallest trees and the dry breeze. I’ll miss California. Not the border, but what happens within. Channels of hope to grasp in the dark. The ones that pull you through and push you forward. This is just a time capsule of thoughts. A photograph. Maybe in a year I’ll have some answers to these questions. Maybe I’ll be wrong, again. And look, I’m outside of myself. Already there, wondering how next will be.

*

Here. Made it. First impression: love.

Shut eyes see

Notebook entry on October 15, 2018 

With every journal I scribble the years. Wonder what’s happening. Detached from the moment, pen following behind the brain. Probably don’t write as much as I should, but it comes as it likes. And when it wants, it needs. There is no choice. No yes or no—just words coming out. So much to say, so much to miss. Where’s the space between? Do they connect? A perpendicular line across the two or parallel along the edges? Another divine intersection. Eternities we cannot see. Maybe it’s in a poem or a card. The secrets in the stars. What do they need? Nothing; anything will do. They’ll go on and on no matter what. Can we alter the course? Only forward.

 

To be

Telling her how to be and when to be. “There’s a time and place for everything.” A predicament inherent to being. Everyday reflections remind her where the power lies. In the subway, the cinema, this screen. Attention doesn’t equate to better treatment. “Smile, honey” becomes “fuck you, conceited bitch.” Every dismissed stranger presents more risk of danger. “Can I buy you a drink—no?—you’re not that hot, anyway.” Standard procedure: projection after rejection. Discomfort aroused from desires denied. Hold it against her. Eyes on thighs as she walks by. Words responded but he just wanted her mouth. Reactions often halted, in fear of another attack. But she no longer holds in her expression for his convenience. Someday he’ll never want again.

Migrate

3 am, can’t sleep. Don’t want to think about it anymore. Him, her. Is it possible to care and be happy? Considering place. I don’t want to label and critique every moving object. Get into debates in a digital web of 1s and 0s. So reactive by surroundings. Neurons scanning a screen won’t fix the anthropocene. Maybe I shouldn’t talk about what I think on that podcast. Me, me, me. I, I, I on the byline. Why even put it in a book? Thoughts keep coming anyway. Maybe someday I’ll write them away. Mental predispositions mix with chemical compounds. Exposing patterns in unseen conditions. Role play the foreplay ‘til climax; the end. A crisis, the meeting point. Rather read and listen. Get high and take notes. Entering a stealth mode to heal head and heart. Still migrating physically and mentally. Something I don’t take for granted. Something all humans should be able to do. Freely.

Vehemently speaking

Mixed thoughts and feelings from the last few days. A prose poem about the Kavanaugh hearing & repressed memories of sexual assault.

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Drinking parsley tea, watching the hearing. Disgruntled by the dirt in the details. But isn’t shit obvious? Smeared facts with his résumé (cool), his basketball practice (well done!), his grades (congrats!), and wait, his faith (still his, not this). But sir, one thing does not lead to the other. Let us explain in simple logic. Boil it down for you and drink the tea for this anxiety. If he lied about that, then would he lie about this? Seven hours of Him vs. her brought it to the surface. Manhattan, 2011. 2012? Couldn’t even tell you the year, let me check my calendar. He drugged me, pulled down my pants, and threw me in a room with his friend. Awoke from open eyes to open eyes, he behind me. I puked the whole way home, only drank one beer. Where’s the Off to these thoughts? Busy connecting the public and private. I try to distract from the past, but His face appears everywhere. September 27th, 2018 held me in a spell. After intaking the whole hearing I left to decompress and wound up in a dressing room, trying on a bra. Solace in fitting and dressing these breasts. Capitalistic bliss; an anesthetic drip. Our small is their extra large and it’s starting to seem like we’ve bitten too much. “Oh you don’t like underwires?” laughed the salesperson, “that’s cute.” This isn’t working. Still not sure what he did. Fuck that kid. Fuck all of you. Few of my exes too. The one who wouldn’t take no and the one who told me to go. To be quiet. Who gets to show rage in such a high place? Oh wait, can I show my emotions now or should I hold off a bit? Please oh please keep telling me how to be. Ha. “Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter.” Truth and lies can both cry. Read this, mister. You should be scared we don’t conform like they did. Doesn’t matter if you “like” or “don’t like” politics. Let’s call this place the divided states. Rewrite the compromise, draw a new line. Really wouldn’t give a damn, just preserve the land. Or let it burn and I’ll escort you to those fiery gates of which you believe, but don’t worry, you’ll still wake up in your bed tomorrow morning. Smash open the eyes on your head. Everything will be the same. Welcome to yourself. May that name never change. This was not written for you, or you. But, you. We see you.