playing at death

it was like this: i hear five-year old footsteps
and drape myself off the edge of the bed
eyes rolled like white marbles for his discovery.
he walks into the room. first he says kiyoko
i know you are ok get up ‘yoko helloooo
then he says kiyoko? you okay?
and pokes me in the cheek. it is hard
not to laugh but that would ruin it, this joke
we are sharing. his voice rises
and i can hear the crying building
in his throat. ‘yoko stop it get up. please.
get up. it is amazing how young
children recognize death. it is just the two of us
in this big house and he can’t reach the phone.
i am still holding my breath. it hurts
but it is worth it. this is not a joke
this is about power, about being older
and smarter and able to be so still.
he is crying now, really crying
the kind that only little kids do. it takes
their whole bodies working at the grief.
suddenly it’s over, the thrill of the whole thing;
it’s just the two of us in this big house
and i ruined it. i unroll my eyes and get up,
hugging his boy shoulders saying sorry
i’m sorry i don’t know why i did that but i know
i’ll do it again and he isn’t mad.
he’s just happy that i am okay
and that is the worst part.

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Cornrows

the day before they found her baby tucked
into the crawlspace beneath her home for safekeeping,
I sat on the floor in front of her:
knobbed bones of her knees dimpling my back
while she tugged my hair into cornrows,
racing stripes down my little girl skull.
I gnawed my nails to nothing
trying to keep silent with the ouch in my scalp.
sometimes it overflowed out of my mouth.
she laughed like the sound of a coke can cracking,
told me it shouldn’t hurt – she has a daughter,
and mothers understand gentleness.

Museum

you were taught to love with your arms
by your sides.
very few acts of affection can be performed
without the hands.
Think of love-making: two bodies,
snakelike.
Nothing good can be made like this
But that does not stop the body from making.

If there is a chid, you will first see the ways
in which it is lacking through the holes in yourself.
If will grow into the failures you have provided,
as children grow into all hand-me-downs.
The gaps in it will form this way. The same
as cloth tears when pulled too tight.

If there is no child, you will try again.
Love-making:
Arms by your sides, hands clasped
behind your back, as if inspecting something behind glass.

Southern Utah & Boulder

I haven’t given an update in a few days because I’ve been pretty much going nonstop. It’s been a pretty amazing few days.

So, the last time I posted I was still in Salt Lake City. The next day, June 5th I believe, I set off for Canyonlands national park. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, but it was incredibly beautiful. I did several small hikes, all of which were incredible. I was in the northern most district of Canyonlands, Island in the Sky.

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Upheaval Dome.

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Initially I had planned to do some more intensive hiking in the national parks, but after the hard hike I did Saturday I just wasn’t up for too much more than a couple 1-2 mile hikes. After spending the majority of the day running around Canyonlands, I decided to drive about 15 minutes up to Arches National Park. Although Canyonlands was beautiful, I actually thought Arches was considerably cooler.

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Unfortunately, after about 2 hours of walking around arches, I started getting a really bad headache and feeling really nauseous. I wasn’t sure what was going on, but I decided to head out as I still had to find a place to sleep for that night. It got even worse in the car, and after a few minutes I realized I might be dehydrated and too hot, give that it was 97 degrees and I don’t handle heat well. After a lot of air conditioning and water, I started to feel better. It definitely made me more aware of how easy it is to get dehydrated and too hot out in the desert.

June 6th, I headed to Boulder , CO. I took a meandering route because I wanted to look around Aspen and drive Independence Pass. The Rocky Mountains were so beautiful. I got up to 12,000+ feet, well above the tree line. Up there, there was still 3+ feet of snow, which was awesome. I made the very poor decision to try and climb up part of a mountain for a better view…in three feet of snow…in Birkenstocks. Not my brightest moment. I ended up with very cold feet.

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On top of independence pass.

I arrived in Boulder in the early evening. I stayed with one of my friends from childhood, Grace. We were best friends when we were younger, but we haven’t seen each other in years. I was nervous, just because it has been so long, but it ended up working out wonderfully. We have always been really goofy when we get together, and this was no different. There were many laugh until you cry moments, lots of catching up on life, and reminiscing on the weird stuff we did as kids. It was a lot of fun.

June 7th, we spent some time wandering around downtown Boulder, having breakfast at an adorable little Cajun-influenced breakfast spot called Lucile’s, and then going on  a hike. The hike we did was about 5 miles long, up in the flat iron mountains surrounding Boulder. The wild flowers were out in full force, and it was a beautiful walk. Plus, even though I didn’t get any pictures of them, we saw two bears! It’s been a while since I’ve seen a bear, so that was pretty exciting. 

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Today is my last full day in Colorado. I’ll be staying in Denver tonight, and then heading North from here tomorrow. It’s starting to feel like I don’t have a ton of this trip left, which is very sad. Trying to focus on continuing to explore instead of jumping too fast into the future.

 

 

 

 

Pieces

Piece #1: Girl

She hid it like a traveler hides cash.
The first piece tucked behind her molars
At 16 she hoped the dental surgeon
might mistake it for a little piece of wisdom
and cut it out, too.

Piece #2: Raped

She left one piece behind her right ear
just above the infinity symbol she got tattooed
drunk on her 21st birthday.
she didn’t like the symbolism sober.

Piece #3: By

One piece hung on the refrigerator in her apartment.
A drawing she did, age 5.
She held her parents hands, grinning
in a triangle dress
You can’t see bruises on stick-girl thighs.

Piece #4: Dad.

 

(This poem was inspired by an episode of House – inspiration comes in funny ways.) 

Asphalt and Peaches (Old Poetry)

She let her first kiss tumble
from the windows of her father’s jeep
as the car hurtled over the tennessee line
the fissures in her face were smooth
as she watched the kiss pummeled by oncoming traffic
swept under angry semis and bearded motorcycle men

her kiss became trash, tucked away
inside a splintered McDonalds cup
wishing it were rough like teeth and asphalt
soft like peaches, dirt and throats.