for a friend

it gets dark too quickly while a past-friend
talks at me over the phone. it is almost incomprehensible
but not quite. i know her girlfriend left her, i know
she has trouble keeping food down i know
i cannot be much help from this far away.
i am not even sure if i could help from across
the table. she says she is on the moon
and i believe her: she has no job no friends
in her city she just sits and thinks herself
into winter bed darkness. she accuses me

of keeping myself busy of keeping myself
to myself, of moving my hands enough
so i don’t have to think myself into anywhere.
i want to tell her it is not a defense mechanism.
i am not afraid to be beneath the blankets alone.
moving your hands makes heat and other bodies

like heat and that is how you find friends. i cannot
keep at it like this. this is the third call
today and my ear hangs from my head like
a corded telephone. she asks me what i would do
if i was in her place. what i can’t say is
i would never be in your place. you have to move
your hands. you have to dress yourself and leave
your bedroom leave your bedroom Amy

get out of there. there is a reason nobody stays
on the moon very long. this is not an avoidance
it is just what people do.


Unzipped (a fresh take)

This is a fresh take on a poem I wrote last fall. The original poem had a stanza that focused on the scene depicted in this poem, but the rest of the poem talked about other things. I received a suggestion that I should further explore that one stanza, and now I’m finally getting around to it.

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How to be a White Girl Poet

Write an ode to Starbucks.

Start a blog.

Smoke weed (but not too often) and practice yoga poorly.

Keep an expensive notebook inside a vegan leather backpack, and make sure you always write in public places. Display the notebook prominently on the table, even if you aren’t writing in it.

Act embarrassed anytime somebody mentions that you write poetry. Insist that you aren’t any good, but always have a short selection of poetry on hand to share, should the opportunity arise.

Chew on the tops of your pens until they are dimpled with incisor-punctures. Make sure you look like you are deep in thought.

Journal obsessively. If you didn’t write it down, it didn’t happen. Do bizarre things just so that you can record them in your journal.

Gnaw on your fingernails, the ends of your fingers, the carcasses of your cuticles. But keep trying to paint them. Write about how you wish you could stop the chewing.

Read cheap volumes of bad poetry. Read hardcover copies of selected Whitman. Read the sharpie on the library’s bathroom stalls. Read the creases in your tongue.

Stay awake until your nose won’t stop bleeding and then blog about how you’ve been feeling “off” lately and are considering trying a cleansing juice fast.

Siphon in SSRIs until you’re sick with serotonin. Drown yourself in dopamine and figure most poets were fucked up anyway.

Spend Saturday after midnight fingering brass buttons in bass-heavy basements. Find yourself hoping that one of them will rape you, so that you can write poems that someone will actually read.

Try to paint your nails on Sunday morning.

Discover that you have chewed straight to the bone.


Your voice is a therapy
the phone static crackle of bad
parts to let you pour through the
pinpoint speakers,
reminding me that the medical credit card is mounting and
$150 for 30 minutes of professional listening
might be a bit steep.

So I listen to
our faults our unfixable flaws
breathing in the antidepressants
hidden in your syntax
the southern lilt of your tone draping over
my shoulders like a shawl
forgetting that you
swipe a credit card for this while I get what can only
be called
speech therapy –
your speech is therapeutic;
I cave in on myself as you say I am
missed this is 750 mg of hydrocodone
I feel moderated
(highs too low, lows too high)
when you tell me all the times you remembered me – a
clinical overdose of cymbalta;

the caffeine plummeting
straight for an overloaded aorta
– a line of cocaine –
because self medication seems the
only alternative,
I tell you I think I might
need some Real Help this time
and you remind me
that they’ll catch up to you one day and
$150 for 30 minutes of
professional life-saving

Just isn’t in the budget this month.