sugar high

i spend the whole afternoon making cakes
you won’t eat. they all turn trash differently.
the lemon turns dark where it touches air,
the blue-gray of storm clouds. the pumpkin:
frosting turns sour first. the carrot — each bit
of shaved vegetable starts to grow mold,
the rest of the cake remains. i try to read the rot
like tarot. i am not sure what this means for us.
i imagine i am getting better which does
nothing. i imagine you are getting better at handling me
which does worse than nothing. when the mold
overwhelms them, i leave heaps in the front yard.
the city animals ride the sugar high for days,
careening across the telephone wires and falling asleep
wild-eyed under tires. the street in front of our house
is part asphalt part fur. you say the city should clean up
this public death. you feel the dried, flat skins
on your body like punishment. you should have
just eaten the cake. i had to make them,
crowding us out of our small kitchen like artifacts
from a happy life. i am fooling no one. when i stand
on our porch the road screams with a dozen toothy mouths.

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distance

i wish your love did not feel as far
away as you are. i am no good
at distance. i am the same size
as my body when it is with yours but
feel smaller. it is amazing how
4,000 miles away everything
becomes you. two boys throw a frisbee
in a field. i order peanut butter ice cream
& mouth warm it. all of the parks
have ping pong tables. a man on the train
has stolen your skin, hair but forgotten
to take the rest. still, i try to touch him
just a little. it is not enough
but it must be. the days are easy. i am full
with the newness. at night i eat dinner
alone with a beer like melted caramel, walk
home like i am trying to find anything
except my bed. a man stands outside
an apartment building with an armful
of flowers in a way you never have, but still
i put his jacket over your shoulders.

all pupil

he pulls a gun from the closet
as if it were another household
tool. it is as long as my arm. he wedges
one end into his shoulder, the other
looks like an eye, all pupil. it is a staring
contest. he says bang laughs lowers
the barrel walks into the kitchen.
i can see the thing leaning against
the cabinets while he pours three
fingers of whiskey into the hole
he must have beneath his tongue.
i do not blink.

summer camp

the younger girls giggle and write “gay” in marker down their arms.
when the sharpie letters start to fade, they draw pictures
of girls kissing girls on each other’s backs, use the term
“raging lesbian” to describe their barely pubescent bodies.

the older girls talk about touching themselves,
about how sometimes in summer a body is already
so slick it seems impossible not to, about the way they trim
their nails. about how it is hardest to keep your hands
off yourself. the younger girls listen with their mouths open.

(Old poem) / Write More?

I found a very rambling version of this poem while reading through my journal from February/March-ish. I think I never really edited it and put it up because I ended up stealing from it for a bunch of different poems – there were several parts that I like, which I ended up recycling into other things. So I never put up the original. But when I found it today I thought I might as well!

Also – I have been not great at writing poetry for the past few months. I just haven’t been focusing on it as much as I want to be. I was thinking of starting up the “poem every day” thing again – especially since I’m going to be a camp counselor for two weeks starting Saturday, which should give me plenty of observational material to work with, if nothing else.

*ahem* okay, here’s the poem:

he moved in beneath my eyelids 8 days ago –
i could have picked any part of me to use for this metaphor.
his residency beneath my fingernails (a weak
explanation for the lack of chewing – I am growing
him room to set up his bed frame),
a nest in the pocket of my cheek (count his parts
like watermelon seeds, taste him before i wake up).

i could explain the terms of tenancy – see the lease
in the bones of my back.
i could have said he inhabits the hourglass between breasts,
how he hesitates to touch me but doesn’t wait
to make a home out of a woman.

when do you ask an overstayed guest
to start paying rent?