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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for a year

we sit on the sofa her mother gave her
and smoke until one of us laughs into the bong,
sends water and weed across the faux leather.

i want to say you look like someone i kissed
everyday for a year everyday
with an unbrushed tongue.

instead i do not kiss her, instead i keep
the whole couch between us, sitting
with my legs parted at the knees.

experimenting

I am trying to write poems that are different – that are not in the same style that most of my work is in. I’m trying to write new. It’s hard. One of the ways that I’ve been trying to do this is by revisiting old poems that were either too short to be a real poem, or only had one or two good parts in them, and re-imagining them. here’s one such poem.

Continue reading

reorganization poem

I went through a bunch of old poems and picked out some lines/images that I like and reorganized them into a new poem. Ta-da.

it is too hot to sleep or fuck.
we have run out of wine-words.
flip our bodies and toss ourselves
across the futon, a fever fit –
our brains and ankles swell
and soften like rice.

i tell him to pull my hair:
want a fist full of me yanked
down my back like a zipper.
want mandolin strings wound
around my arms, termite lines
in the skin of my wrists.
want my ears covered
with his open mouth.

he is like this sometimes:
a fruit fly drowning in peach juice,
a bread-stuffed sparrow too fat to fly.

he rolls each nipple
between his fingers like
corn kernels. luckily
they do not stick in his teeth
the same way.

moving in

when the first gray hairs sprout from his temple,
slightly thicker than spider silk but
thinner than cracked glass,
I lick my thumbs and smooth them,
trying to fill again with red earth color,
fissures in drying clay.

when he starts to sleep on the far side of the bed,
folded knees pressed against the doorframe
I start eating six meals a day.
if he gives me this much space,
he must want me
to find some way to fill it.

when he turns a fist on the set table,
rolls wrapped in creased napkin, puddled butter,
he yells because the salt is white,
not pink himalayan rock crystals.
we eat the pork with pepper and thyme instead.
later, i rub the skin of my cheek over the fine side
of the cheese grater. our little salt shaker
fills with pink.