2010s · Anchors (Poetry with Music) · Poetry · Recordings · The Unnamed Algorithm

Love Letter No.1: To My Pit-Bull Self

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,
abandoned apartments
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
for more

2-3-14
Originally published in Silver Birch Press, Self-Portrait Series.
Also listen on Soundcloud.

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2010s · All the Tiny Anchors · Anchors (Poetry with Music) · Poetry

Honey

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.

2010s · All the Tiny Anchors · Anchors (Poetry with Music) · Poetry · Recordings

5:38

I keep smiling while I read them. All three texts. Sitting at a Greek place with coworkers at a long table for fifteen. Middle aged women and their husbands are asking about you. They all want to meet the man who put stars under my skin. I just told them about the place we found with 30 minute lines down the block, where they create gourmet pizza to order. All of them want to try it. Three texts at once isn’t like you. The waiter sets the cheese on fire and everyone is opening their mouths at the flames. I’m still burning on fumes from last Sunday when you’d kissed me full enough for days. I had felt lucky all week, lucky enough for months. I read them now. I keep smiling, but I am losing the ability to hear. My head goes underwater as our table splits like an aquarium wall, everyone else on the outside. All at once I am wishing there was a magic portal to stop time, an alarm clock for waking up, cameras to be revealed as a cruel joke played. Someone must have stolen your phone, is holding you hostage, making you text those things in English I cannot translate. I have to leave immediately. I leave my coat. I leave my purse. Leave my untouched food on the plate. I try to climb into the circuits of my phone, step through satellites, make you look me in the eyes. Make you face me when you fire that gun.

 

First published in Carnival Lit Mag, also in All the Tiny Anchors.
Listen on SoundCloud.

2010s · Anchors (Poetry with Music) · Poetry · Recordings · The Unnamed Algorithm

If I Ever Have Children

If I ever have children
they will never know me in my thirties
the woman checking it off
all the things-to-do
like a master’s degree
and home buying
like falling in love completely
and writing a book of how it ends
finding new community
and loving her whole body flawed
flinging open all the doors
and surrendering to the unknown next

If I ever have children
they will never know me in my twenties
the woman fighting against it
to save her own soul
find her own belief in God
and lose her given self
venture out from community
live alone, love alone
sort through the old baggage
give them names and abandon them
find focus for talents and energies
and heal the damage at all costs

If I ever have children
they will never know me in my teens
young girl trying masks
on and off each year
like too many friends
and partying far too young
like black dyed-hair and boots
sinking down through the cracks
sharp turn into a Christian life
and a radical-faced community
stepping through the windows
where she’d press her face to the glass

If I ever have children
they will never know me as a child
a broken girl holding
a green Picasso heart
running with one parent from the other
always leaving school early
memories in paper bags stashed
in the trunk of a broken-down car
with walk-in closets for the skeletons
and attics for hiding and running free
words swallowed in torn pieces
forcing her destiny as a poet

 

Originally published in The Mayo Review, also included in The Unnamed Algorithm.
Listen to the poem on SoundCloud, from Anchors CD.

Anchors (Poetry with Music) · Recordings · The Unnamed Algorithm

Skin As Thick As Walruses

 

img047“Skin As Thick As Walruses”, along with “White Sandals”, is included in the anthology Disorder: Mental Illness and Its Affects published by Red Dashboard now available. I feel extremely honored to be a part of this anthology since this issue is very near to my heart.

Before you buy your very own copy, you can listen to a recording done with BobKat. Bobby Cuff selected music they had prerecorded and without any planning or previewing, we recorded this track in one take. The timing was magical. I hope you will enjoy.

Listen here.

2010s · All the Tiny Anchors · Anchors (Poetry with Music) · Poetry · Recordings · Unanchored

Summer Drunk

Another track from my recording, Anchors, available on Soundcloud.

Summer Drunk

It’s the heat, it reeks of his smell
reminds me of the place under his collar
and edges of his long sleeves.

How the air was too thick for sleeping
how I was constantly intoxicated
with the hum of his voice.

I lay in the green sun reading
his books, breathing his fingerprints
heart beats between text replies

The blue sky kissed my shoulders
and thighs, grass ceilings always
bracing my body from ascension.

How I existed in the space
before you with me and without was
sleepwalking and summer drunk.

The heat hung like a red cloud
on my back and on my heels.
Here, the earth comes back

to this place around the sun
to break my sobriety
again and again.

Originally published in Lummox II: Place Anthology

2010s · All the Tiny Anchors · Anchors (Poetry with Music) · Poetry · Recordings

Sunken

Click here to listen to live recording with music!

You were always in need of sleep
always closing your eyes
lying against me
I built myself around you
a place of safe-rest

Let those deep gut-long sighs
out into our warm space
rubbed your dark-circled eyes
when I bathed you
in my wide comfort

I pressed for your surrender
my hands on your jaw
I know your eyelids
better than your eyes
You said it was me, not it

You said it serious
so I’d believe you
but sleep is not surrender
and job-tired was your cover

Your heart-tired sunk me
under, down, below
There isn’t a long enough bed
I’d never be enough rest

First published on Cadence Collective

2010s · All the Tiny Anchors · Anchors (Poetry with Music) · Poetry · Recordings

How to Lose 25 Pounds Without Dieting, Pills, or Exercise

I am incredibly excited to share this recording from, Anchors, a 12 track spoken word album that I will have available very soon. Lovingly produced in collaboration with Blacksheep Music (Karlee A. Tittle Cuff on violin, Bobby Cuff production).

(Click link to listen) How to Lose 25 Pounds Without Dieting, Pills, or Exercise

1. Open a Christmas card from a long lost love who found you on the internet, not on Facebook, especially if that long lost love broke your heart when you were young enough to idealize the heartache and especially if that card was also an apology.

2. Obsess about the million of possible reasons he sent that card the old fashioned way with stamp and pen after fourteen years of not-speaking-to-you-again, especially if there is no phone number or email included, just a return address.

3. Let him back into your well-worn heart without real answers, let him apologize again and again, but let him be unexplained and so much kinder and so much softer in the eyes.

4. Lose a lot of sleep buzzing constant with the weight you attach to his every syllable, every familiar gesture laced to his new grown-man charm, especially lose sleep waiting weeks in between the excuses you both invent to relive your lost connection.

5. Dive in very deep the moment he kisses you, do not look up, do not hold on to anything from the surface, keep pushing forward and down, let the pressure crush you, let him have every last ounce of oxygen.

6. Remain only in the present, minute to minute, live like you must love him for the lifetime you’ve lost, and never try to add up those years in between or account for his lack of details, live for the now reality of your skin and sweat and breath.

7. Surrender all your doubts and lay them unquestioning at his feet, do not see it coming, do not brace yourself, do not know you should have known, do not have any assurance but his hands through your hair, and do not ever regret it.

Text version published in the Heartbreak Anthology, edited by Karineh Mahdessian

The Heartbreak Anthology
The Heartbreak Anthology