Just after my thirteenth birthday I killed a mailman. It was an accident as much as anything is an accident. There were no weapons and I never planned it and feel bad about it still, but it happened, and I watched it happen, and after it happened it seemed like something I would always be waiting to have happen again.Read More
The first time I had sex
was fine in the done
and done sense. He said
Now you’re a woman.
I thought, Not your call.
The second time I had
sex I don’t remember.
Nearby, we had raised our glasses
& nourished our bodies
in a sea-salt lull, as the air is often gentle.
I was drinking Coca-Cola a lot. I was exercising that privilege a lot. And Pepsi’s okay. I like Dr. Pepper, too. And Mr. Pibb, whenever I can spot Mr. Pibb.
My older brother is a very decent person at the range. He never criticizes me at the range. He never hurts me at the range. He never corrects my posture. Or my swing. And I smack those golf balls. And sometimes, they go pretty far. At least it looks that way.Read More
I didn’t learn
fucking a woman
who needed yes
with every action,
asking can I touch
you here? Is this okay?
He asks if I’m a poet, and I say no, I’m just a Pisces. He nods, unimpressed, and jots in the open file on his lap. The line is obscure, and that is the point. I am using all that I’ve read for screening purposes.
The social worker reaches into the business-looking bag by his chair and produces a bunch of tiny papers. I flinch at the sight of them. Sticky notes. These were found in your backpack, the social worker says, placing the pile before me. He waits, blinking, so that I might explain.Read More
The man dragged out the dummy panda again and put it in the middle of the yard. It was well oiled and for a few moments my body was readying even though I was like—no, intestinal vapors, do not rise and do not go to your battle stations, no no no—but then the grease globbed off, all melted in the sun and runny. This must be this dummy’s definition of romance, I thought, though I don’t think a real bear could control its thing if it wanted to because, well I don’t know. And I laughed, because I thought it was funny, though it was a little serious, too. I say serious because of the dummies.Read More
Is she good? And I don’t mean versus bad, but is she better? Does she do all the things? Does she part for you? Does she? Do you prefer part or spread? Does she spread? It’s okay if she does, because you know that I know, so it’s okay now.Read More
Who else would seek out the body
of an old battle, lion foe, & find
entwined in the bone cage a hive of new,
heart & lungs now floor to honey-
filled storage rooms, waxen—before
his downfall & blindness, & blindness
the strength needed to reach
through sun-faded fur into a rotting,
I made a bit of a joke about it. “Beautiful country over there,” which was my way of seeing if he was telling the truth. Because, when you’re talking one veteran to another, you never say, “What a shithole that place was,” or “I hate that fucking place.” You say, “Beautiful country.” “Real vacationland.”Read More
I went to the farm of retired racehorses,
listening as the guide told us of how
they’d been kept in stalls twenty-two hours per
day so they’d confuse speed with freedom
as they bolted down the track—how,
no longer able to race, they’d been
sold for slaughter, then saved
by a journalist from Boston who had
an idea: to give them these green-
brown fields, this long afternoon.
I guess this could be an apology letter,
of sorts, because I’m sorry, I really am,
for stroking those sound bars into their own
sonic, semi-erotic oblivion. Giggling all the way
to the flat screens and pressing their power
buttons in pivot so that all your beats pills screamed
yes, they are still in stock. Did you know
that everything in your store can be taught
to speak with one another?
Is it the eddy that makes us include the bits
we did not want? Is it the curving hill that means
snow shapes our pathway? or just the cold black
thought that the eddying of memory never
brings back even a swallow of the days
in which I wandered and left, and jumped
off the high stones in a ravine, near our lake.
Ravine, lake, stone, eddy, all to be leapt
Hurry body hurry. My time, almost quit.
Back then he saw himself, a Black Captain Kirk
cruising the cosmos in an Afro and tight gold shirt.
When he was eighteen, he tucked the doo-wop street corners
of his neighborhood into his back pocket and traveled
where no colored man had gone before. He crossed-over into suburbia
rang doorbell after doorbell while holding his breath, waiting
plus I dissociate whenever I get the chance.
how often have men watched me
watching my fingerjoints
(how they move like unfamiliar insects)
& interpreted it as desire?
You stand behind the bar gold-downed,
long-bodied, and say Would you like a thing?
and I say Yes, I would like a red thing
And the bartender says, “Sometimes, when it’s a slow night, I think about those vacant November days, when the leaves are an ancient language on the sidewalk, a prayer to something old and blind. I think about how this joke would look, boarded up and rotting.”
And the man says, “That bad, huh?”Read More
Beneath the old sarcophagus and inside the core of Reactor 4, there remains a black, molten mass. The mass has a name, though I’m not sure who named it. (Only a few people have seen it in person, and it’s unclear if any of them are still alive.) They call this black, molten mass the Elephant’s Foot, and if you look at it for more than five minutes, it may be the last thing you see. The blackened lava has solidified in parts and formed rings, loops like the bark of a tree. At its center, the Elephant’s Foot continues to burn. Thirty years later the wolves and deer and wild boars have returned, the sun is scorching, the mushrooms are scraping their fresh caps against the sky, oh my, oh my! And the core is still melting.Read More
This daily shrinking of a 28-letter alphabet
Trading غين حاء عين ضادfor the Fourteenth Amendment
Dragging inshallah by the vowels from right to left.
English no longer my second language
Nor Arabic my first.