2010s · Conversations with Gravel · Poetry

How to Go Backwards

Remove hands. Remove tongue. Remove legs.
Leave heart. Leave eyes. Leave voice.
Remove say.
Leave said.
Remove fuck. Remove kiss and dark car.
Leave ache and story.
Remove naked.
Leave cold.
Remove knowing.
Leave knowing.
Remove lover and want.
Leave honest and cordial.
Remove betray. Remove conflict. Remove open.
Leave close. Leave accept.
Remove complicated. Remove layers. Remove hold.
Leave alone. Leave alone. Leave alone.

First published in Cultural Weekly.

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2010s · Conversations with Gravel · Poetry

If you ask me what I want,

I want you unraveled
I want you edge-frayed
I want you seam-busted
threads dragging
I want you broken glass
and rusted gears
tornado torn
tsunami choking
I want you black-eyed
swollen-lipped
nose-bloodied
I want you raw
I want you singed
I want you fat pulled
off the bone
I want you diary-read
secrets on billboards
I want you spit out
I want you dried-up
dead flowers hanging
I want you burnt forest
and dry savannah
I want you limb-splayed
arms tied and hands nailed
I want you teeth-cracked
you feet-blistered
and back broken
I want you heart-dead
voice-cracked
lost-souled
I want you motherless
and child-lost
I want you loveless
and ugly
I want you cheap
and fucked

First published in Cultural Weekly.

2010s · Conversations with Gravel · How to Unexist · Poetry

How to Unexist

Go from friend to flirt to lover. Do it fast and without remorse. Stay lover for days or weeks until you become mistress. Be a good mistress until you become secret. Stay secret until you lose the key to his car. Then become lie, not a lie you’ve told but be a lie. Stay lie until your fingers break and you can no longer touch. Then become weight around a neck. One to be carried as heavy as regret. Stay weight until you become formality. Then, become cordial. Become a multiple choice response of hello, how are you, I’m fine, you’re fine, we’re fine, everyone is fine until your fineness becomes echo. Stay echo while you begin to scrape your insides out. Pull out blood vessels. Pull out gut, fat, and muscle. Pull out bone. Lick it clean. Save your heart for last. Let it feel every ounce emptying. Then become translucent. Become as clear as ice so when he looks at you he sees nothing. Hears nothing. Feels nothing. Stay clear until you become forget. Become forget until all previous days dissolve. Stay forget until it never was. Until you are not even ghost. You are just not. Just no.

First published in Cultural Weekly.

2010s · Poetry

Jigsawed

I am missing too many pieces
my pieces are broken
my pieces do not match

I am pulling pieces from my mouth
wet and teeth-bent
my pieces fit nothing

I am turning over the edges
over and over and over
my pieces are dizzy
drunk-stained and torn

I am scraping off layers
of Disney-glossed pictures
my pieces are spit gray
my pieces fall behind
tables and wall benches

I am pieces glued on
I am pieces shoved in
I am pieces forced together
pieces and pieces and pieces

all Picasso and bent blue

First published in Ekphrasitc California.

2010s · Poetry

Bows

for DM

I want bows. I want them tied on the tips
of my fingers. I want the end wrapped up
like a gift ungiven left at the party we
never had. I want to open it before Christmas
before families who keep expecting life
to be a painting, a 1950s Norman Rockwell
digging his claws in my neck. I want to repeat
the refrain again and again so I can memorize
it. So I can feel the comfort of the familiar.
I want to make a circle around my head, my paper,
my rectangular room, to return to, to come
back again, to summarize the dust on my fingertips
covered in bows.

First published in Spectrum Anthology.

2010s · All the Tiny Anchors · Poetry

Car Accident, 14 Months Going

Everything with you was
like a car accident,
the kind someone expects

months before, but when
the point of impact arrives,
no one is ever prepared.

Seatbelts and airbags don’t
stop the severity of its
suddenness or the metal

frame collapsing and crushing
through skin and bone. I can
brace my elbows to my chest

stop the outside coming in,
but the forces stay in motion
and you crush my heart

in love. You leap out just
at the edge of the overpass
leaving me descending forward

in suspension. I chose
to keep my door locked
and feel the fall, feel

the collision. I still won’t take
one single moment back.

First published in Poet’s Haven.

2010s · Conversations with Gravel · Poetry

Record Scratch

How many times do we
replay the broken record
How many times do we
get up and jump the needle

Do we hold on for nostalgia’s sake
Do those crackle-rich and cotton-
thick grooves sing better songs

How many repeats and repeats
until it’s time to retire or never
Just resign ourselves to unrest
get up again and again

Records don’t learn new songs
They don’t unscratch or smooth out
Should we pack it up and
store it in our memories

Move on to modern times
where everything and everyone
is easily replaceable

First published in Poet’s Haven.

Conversations with Gravel

Conversations with Gravel Review Four

Kind words about my upcoming full-length book from Donny Jackson. Preorders  for Conversations with Gravel are available though October 5th at the SadieGirlPress.com bookstore. You can pay $3 for shipping or select Pick Up if you are local when you first open your Cart. Pay only $9 with promo code: PresaleCWG at the Checkout stage.

2010s · All the Tiny Anchors · Poetry

The Atmosphere I Miss

At this point, it’s not him
I miss, not his back of
red-brown constellations,

but my own atmosphere
I knew naked in front
of his flat screen TV.

It’s not his goose-neck car
orange and black enormity,
but the happy surrender

of the passenger seat,
not driving, not road-thinking.
Clear-minded, I miss not

making plans on Saturdays
and on Sunday mornings.
It’s not his tongue,

or its softness, but
the fullness of my mouth
at its opening.

First published in Poet’s Haven.

Conversations with Gravel

Conversations with Gravel Review Three

Kind words about my upcoming full-length book from Donna Hilbert. Preorders  for Conversations with Gravel are available though October 5th at the SadieGirlPress.com bookstore. You can pay $3 for shipping or select Pick Up if you are local when you first open your Cart. Pay only $9 with promo code: PresaleCWG at the Checkout stage.