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.

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StorageSpace

a new place to be stored when you sleep:
space that makes skin taught,
air-broken flesh shade of stop sign,

you do not stop.
I am kept inside bathtub drain
when you eat, chin familiarizes with knee caps,
toes with glutes fingers to shoulder blades
chest thighs introduce yourselves –
like a paper crane creased to stiffness.

once you left me sitting stove-top
pink-soft skin needing days of licking.

There are six drawers beneath counters,
insulation spills into your closet shelf,
leaves me glittered with glass.
Your thumb smears shards above my eyes.

A number can always be cut in half.
you say, one body should be no
different, feeding me
down the neck of your beer.

 

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

Nude beach conversations

He was a black boy from Cleveland Ohio. But I met him in New Orleans. And I couldn’t decide whether not start this by calling him a black boy or a black man. the way he asked me questions about my sexuality made me want to call him a man, but the size of the shoulders and how we had to coax him into eating anything made me want to call him boy.

I asked what was special about him. He told me, “the only way i know my father is dead.” He said I wrote A poem about how my momma broke and the way my stepfather’s knuckles were dimpled with use. And I said no, I’ve heard that story before. He said I’m gay, and my momma asks me how many boys have you been with, and I reply, I pick a new one to accompany each meal Like a wine pairing. He says I’ve never worn A condom. And I say, yes, I have heard that one before, too.

he tells me about the first time he felt proud. He wrote a poem about learning his father’s cheekbones from the pile of brimmed hats left in the attic, his hands from the box of dish towels.

Playing House

I’m used to being an adult in the sense that 9 months out of the year, I live at least sort of on my own, and am in charge of taking care of myself. But I’m not used to being accountable for anyone else – sure, when I’m at home I’ll run my brother to a friend’s house or pick him up from school if my parents ask me to, but it’s really just filling in the gaps of what my parents do so well.  Continue reading

Dogwoods

So, I posted this poem first about a month ago. But I chose to workshop it in the Creative Writing class that I am in, and have continued to work on it. This is the next iteration of the piece.

We lock our knees together so
tightly that sometimes we drape our silky
bodies over winter beds and imagine what
dogwoods must feel in April.

We relish our purity, as if being untouched
makes our bodies rounder in all
the right ways, thinking of when we’ll be reduced to
something sweet against the cool cinderblock
of the custodial closet.

A generation of intellectual sluts
we open our minds – whoring ourselves
out to the gnarled poetics of men in blue ties, bespectacled men,
men who give us their publications like we are

panhandlers with growling thought, a bastion of potent
intellect, narcissistic in our naiveté,
Friday nights bent over
books, a cerebral prostitution

our brains stuffed with the words of dead men,
wing-tipped men, men who make lunch
appointments, our wrists bound
to the bed frame with strings attached to a final paper or
letter of recommendation, we recommend
getting drunk first,
it will make his antiquated erudition
easier to swallow.