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. Photographs in the subway. Photographs in the cinema. Photographs in the phone. 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. Holds it against her. Eyes on thighs as she walks by. Her words responded but he just wanted her mouth. Rational reactions often halted, in fear of another attack. But she no longer holds in her expression for his convenience. Someday he’ll never expect 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.

American addicts

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It started with a collective itch, absorbing unseen elements. Seeking and searching, we all left and met here. Hopeful the unknown would be better than the known. But still craving, switching spaces. On to the next psychological shift. Give us options, and we’ll name the poison. The united states of faces falling to the ground. Another cage of syringed bodies. Just human. Still animal. Sure, we can migrate to a new state. We can evolve. But what’s next? Mental awareness morphing into mind control. He talks like a robot. A meditative/medicated existence, far removed from the jolts of the past. Blacking out the rising sun. Looking out turns in. Don’t let them see muted emotions. Fear and insecurity tucked into a belt. Veins popping out. Red with misplaced anger. Blue with pain. A splitting people. Either you care about others or you don’t. They say it doesn’t affect them, it isn’t real, but their children will singe. Blur this dirty scene, a failed humanity experiment. Phase from consciousness. Lean on the mind and leave reality. Or leave the mind and enter reality? Maybe it’s not that simple. Who cares if we can turn it all off? Focus on the breath. An unthinkable chance for many. Those who cannot escape. Those before us. Stoned apes eating mushrooms. Circling around the fire. Making sense of sounds. They couldn’t afford to shut it all up/off. Why do we think we can?

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. The shit in the obvious. Read this, mister. You should be worried we don’t believe lies like they did before. Muddy the facts and make it about 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. Heat up the water please. I need some more tea for this anxiety. If he lied about that, then would he lie about this? Distract from the past. I don’t even wanna think about him anymore. Maybe buying a new bra will help me ignore. Can always fall back on this capitalistic bliss. 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. Flashback. Manhattan, 2011. 2012? Couldn’t even tell you the year, let me check my calendar. Flashback. The guy who drugged me, pulled down my pants, and threw me in a room with his friend. Woke up on the bed, from open eyes to open eyes, with him behind me trying to do something. 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. It 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 face never change; no one will ever know your name. This was not written for you, or you. But, you. We see you.

West

Three hundred years ago he moved from Bern and changed his name from Aebi to Avey to sound a bit more neutral, a bit more American. I’ve been thinking more about what it means to be American. Who, how, why. I have some reference points. It was easy to move to Germany. Music I know is everywhere I go. My Colombian father-in-law told me to hide my passport because it might get stolen. I underestimate that blue cover. The public schools and libraries. Hiding a heritage of human sorrow and potential. Somehow still allergic to this land. Poison oak forms a resistance on the trails we blaze. Oozing with red bumps, making me question the way. I’m the non-native species. Make it more American. But how? From the jazz to the mundane. Paint the spectrum black or white. The distance between what you know and want to know lies in what you create. Between places you’ve been and places you can’t imagine. How could it be so hard to write under your parents’ roof when they gave you every neuron? Drive north on the 1. A loud bed and breakfast might be awkward. Let’s take a quarter and go explore. Another pioneer couple walking on a boneyard of tree branches. Looks like beach cheese. Sitting halfway up a Monterey cypress. Staring at the setting sun with the moon to our back. This place makes me sleepless. I heard a man inside the wall with a pickaxe. Crumbling down the structure from the inside out. But then the mother of slumber blacked out my vision with her placement of fill-in-the-box. I’m home. Horace Greeley might have told you to “Go west, young man,” but I’m called by the wild poppies and cortaderia. Those here before us. Junipero Serra paved the way, killing with faith. Priests on a mission overlook young women. Left out of the literature. I’m pulled in by the Pacific, the way redwoods hold on to their neighbors’ roots. Prioritizing nourishment. A church turned grocery store. Looking at another “All Are Welcome Here” sign made Sam ask what that says about other places. A bold statement against a dark reality. But damn this place is hard to reach.

Away

It’s easier to establish a voice after leaving home. Surrounded by expression so foreign from my own makes me feel more alone. And there’s comfort in the solitude. Background voices merge into a mush of sounds. Hidden in a cafe, away on a train. Language becomes noise. Until I hear my own. That familiar accent pierces past and I distract. Mind deciphers meaning. “We sold two so far.” “She was so wasted she couldn’t stand.” “Should I be writing this all down?” The words of others crowd my mind and expel any I want to read or write. Familiarity pauses attention. Everything stops. I fall under a spell of the known, craving the strange again. Lips moving in silence. Everywhere I go, one language turns up the volume and pulls me back. Drowns out stream of thought. The others become a sea of sound I can sense, but not grasp. A loss of comprehension can liberate. Submerged in the unknown, searching for significance. An inner voice becomes more clear. More distinct. I can think.