holes in the earth (rewrite)

Cambodia swallowed him like a pill
washed him down with ocean water –
mixed with sticky Khmer noodles,
Amok and curried vegetables hot
as equator sun – settled in the country’s
great belly, and some days still
it was hard to stomach him.

two months in the jungle country
in a one room apartment
with a woman, skin like split lychee
he peels fruit with his hands and
next day she is back for more.

six months of stripped fruit flesh and
she tells him, you fed me so much mango
i am growing one inside me.
his knees buckle beneath palm wine,
he climbs out of his skin
to bear the summer heat.

they drink cool broth from yesterday’s
noodle soup, lick salt from upper lips.
papaya skins the size of a baby
pile up in the sink.

A Portrait

She cooks dinner with Anderson Cooper,
tossing her vegetables in olive oil –
two slow twists of the pepper grinder.
when he pauses to smile, she asks
whether he’s eaten yet, imagines her
hands like crumpled paper serving him
forkfuls of overcooked salmon.

Four ounces of measured red wine
cools a clunky crystal cup,
mouth like a crack in her face
splitting to sip the eight dollar bottle.

After, she welcomes Don Lemon
into her home. Greets him the way
she never gets to greet her children.
Maybe she shifts her body to keep her eyes
in line with his, the closest thing to sex since 1994.
Maybe she stands up, puts her fingers
against his fuzzy television face, the length
between two knuckles, and asks
if he’d care for some dessert.

poet-tongue

Cambodia swallowed him like a pill
washed with water saturated in salt.
he mixed with sticky Khmer noodles,
Amok and curried vegetables hot as equator sun –
some days it is hard to keep him down.

a jungle-country, he teaches children english
(his poet tongue surely curling like smoke)
dropping seed like fruit trees until survival
seeps from his pregnant woman’s breasts.

knees bent beneath palm wine, claims
alcohol beneath his skin makes the heat bearable.
will the child have veins already split
from sun or pills, can breast milk feed
a family of three?

 

Personal Poetry

One of my past creative writing teachers always made the distinction between personal poetry and public poetry – the former is usually not very good, but a lot of times it’s something that is necessary in order to get stuff out. I don’t really ever post the personal poetry I write on here, because for the most part it’s not very good. But I think sometimes it is good to put that out there, if not just as a means to work through stuff.

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Tripped Up

Edges of his reason fragment:
eyes falling up, back, he burrows
between his own lungs, liquid
thrumming ribcage filling cavities, rising
like vomit in his throat
until it bursts behind his teeth –
sobs cracking like eggs on the boardwalk.
Too full to tell, the safety
of kaleidoscope vision rearranging
shards of cattails and sky into the curve
of his mother’s mouth.

Leaving home

I have been legitimately terrible about posting anything on here in the last two weeks. Normally, I would be beating myself up over this a little bit. Constantly reminding myself that I need to be writing, I need to be creating, I need to be keeping up with my commitments (like this blog). 

But I really haven’t been this time, for some reason. I think it is because I have given myself permission to relax, to turn my brain off for a while. I’ve been keeping myself busy doing art, journaling, being more social than usual, and watching the Olympics. Oh. And packing to move into my new house Tuesday. That too. I’m not sure I give myself permission to fully mentally relax as often as I should – these past two weeks have been really rejuvenating. I think I will keep that in mind for the coming semester. With 18 credits, it is going to be more important that ever to allow myself mental breaks.

This past week, I had a free afternoon where my best friend and I trekked up to the mountains for some chill adventuring time. We saw a beautiful water snake sunning itself on a rock in the middle of the river, and a bunch of giant (and terrifying) water spiders. We also found a beautiful little waterfall, and almost got swept away in the river trying to get to it. Here are a couple pictures from that afternoon. 


Tomorrow morning I set out for Wisconsin again. In some ways, I really don’t feel ready to go back to Wisconsin. – I like being at home. I love my family, I love Knoxville, I love being so close to the Mountains. But I also start to feel the need to resume my own life. Im excited to get back to Wisconsin, get back in the flow of things, and see some people who I have missed a lot over this wonderful summer. 

Ways to See

there are ways to see him that do not involve his hands.
the soft bones in his wrists, the invitation of his veins.
The sharp points of his grin, the way continual
expansion feels inevitable, but the vaults in his cheeks
pick up the slack.
The cusps of the toes he rises to, catching
the note he’s aiming for between his teeth,
falling back on the haunches of the breeze.
There are ways to hear him without imagining him naked,
but not many.
The tension of skin over bone or a flesh painted skeleton
with dried heaps of acrylics in eye sockets.
The space that connects his thighs and pelvis
where I imagine my nose would fit well.
I am again imagining him naked.
There are ways to feel his body without the use of my hands.
when i kick him beneath the conference room table
i can feel his bareness.
when i lick his condensed sweat off the walls
of the hallway, i am reminded of
unsweetened coffee and melting plastic.