We dance under the belly of the elephant
Not the dance-floor dance, but the slow move
around the words we won’t say
Move in and out of her shadow
Her dark cast allows our mouths to press our breath
around it, around the letters lost in open windows
I want you to press me full against elephant legs until
deep grooves of skin catch light
Her skin is your skin and the skin of your children
heavy with memory, pachyderm heavy
She shifts her weight and I wait for you to name her
call her out of decades, twenty-two years
You push off one finger to the other hand but
there it is in simple gold elephant eyes
Will you step out from under her
I cannot lean crouched here
swaying to your resonate voice
to the arch of your teeth
to the groove of your sleeve soft
underneath my fingertips
sliding down corduroy red
First published in velvet-tail.
We keep gnawing at roots
sopping in alcohol.
I am full. You still starve.
You want me bath-soaked,
I need you tree hollow.
So I tear at your bark skin
until you bleed spoiled sugar.
Open my fingers and peel sunset
leaves from my palms.
Spit the pulp from my tongue,
lay it flat into perfect white rectangles,
press out every last drop of rain.
Let sunlight inhale what’s left.
Even your teeth hate
how little I want to kiss you.
As you wither, I fold you in half,
crease your edges. Nose you forward.
Refuse to watch what happens next.
First published in Paper Plane Pilots.
Here I am reading a few poems for the event I did a couple months back, Long Beach Underground. It’s less than ten minutes to play. Really, you can listen without watching too. Thanks to Sanjin Obi Malesevic for putting it together!
A poem I wrote for my niece to welcome her into womanhood.
Recorded at Fox Coffeehouse on January 30th, 2016. Thanks to Maurice Cooper for capturing the set!
On May 17th, I had the honor of once again reading with Dave Williams & MBT at CALB at the Shore. I shared my time with four other female power poets, JL Martindale, Raundi Moore-Kondo, Elmast Kozloyan, and MsT Musze. We were all dazzled by the incredible improvisational talents of Dave’s jazz crew, Magic Bullet Theory. Even though traveling back in time is not an option if you missed it, you can actually hear all the performances on Bandcamp. If that wasn’t enough, you can download them in two volumes for FREE.
Listen or download at mbtmusic.bandcamp.com/album/prose-rhythm-and-noise-muliebrity-vol-1 and mbtmusic.bandcamp.com/album/prose-rhythm-and-noise-muliebrity-vol-2.
I love the teeth of your love
how you pit-bull deep
into the flesh of loving
How you make shrines
in the empty spaces,
Shrines to former residents
of borrowed books and toiletries
envelopes full of photographs
and letters in pen
How you never fill
the same space with new
but keep building out
expand the frames and floors
How you know when to change the locks
and when to nail it shut
I love how you calculate
estimate the risk
How you trust
the unnamed algorithm
the intuitive push, flashing “Yes,
love this one, let that one in!”
How soft your wrought-iron grip
holds every name tight
each face, its own story
each moment, a glass in your pane
How you refuse to argue
about the wrong
or right way to love
I love how so much of it matters
how you will forgive
as many times
as they will call
and ask for it
How you defend this weakness
with the expense of wasted time
Your time-to-give being
your love currency
not words, not gifts,
not your doing-for-me
But your minutes and hours
your speak to me, eat with me
your listen and watch with me
sit in this space of air
I breathe with me is love
I love how love-greedy you get
How you collect time
and stuff it in bags and boxes
shove it on shelves, in closets
covering walls, blocking doorways
in empty apartments
You guard-dog this house
an unapologetic hoarder
How you refuse to purge it
refuse to loosen your grip
Set shrines in windowsills
light blood candles
There is always room
Originally published in Silver Birch Press, Self-Portrait Series.
Also listen on Soundcloud.
The first time you kissed me
I should have seen it coming
You were animal-starved
pawing hungry at my hips
You were hurricane-tongued
bracing me against your mouth
I pulled up fierce to match you
claw for claw around your neck
I could not hear us breathing
deafened by your torrent eyes
I did not recognize the beast
devouring my skin like victory
I wasn’t your prey or your prize
bound to be death-squandered
I had waited beyond time for you
to lay yourself down at my feet
I had hoped for honey sweet
and slow to drench my lips
with tenderness. But I—
I should have known
First published in Pyrokinection, also included in All the Tiny Anchors
Listen on SoundCloud.