2010s · Poetry

Paint

I am wet paint
shine on the edges
round with anticipation

I am smear
brush stroked
dragged up and across
the pores of daylight

I am gradient
my density spread
transient as lost family

I am blend
black father
blue mother
my purple sister
always yellow brother
red child unborn

I am gel thick
squeezed from tubes
swirled and diluted
still knowing my name

I am image
landscape and portrait
abstract or Dutch photographic

I am frame
wood carved and gilded
mat-less and bare skin
open to the elements
dust and finger oil
sunlight, loving sunlight
brings permanency

I am dab and dribble
splattered and flick
I am classic Nuevo
I am rainbow and cloud
I am brush desire

First published in In-Flight Literary Magazine.

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2010s · Poetry · The Unnamed Algorithm

Pulp-Plastered

I’ve changed my mind
I want the blood bath
the tar-stained fingernails
the gut-black stairwell

I’ve grown too good at defending
It’s too quiet and forgetting
I want to pull out eyelashes
lick the spiny hairs

I’ve already been smattered
pulp-plastered, rib-caged
I learned to breathe in smoke
find oxygen hung on particles

I want to sink my teeth in
crack the porcelain
kiss the blood from the edge
of his full dark mouth

First published in Camel Saloon.

2010s · Poetry

Drawing Maps for the Lost

I learned the names of all my family demons
gave them faces instead of shadowing ache
bottled them in jars of science
labeled, set in rows on the shelf
But the devil,

I sat down for dinnerfed him chicken soup for his soul
He drank for days and months
and now, we live like roommates
share the kitchen and household chores

I am not naive—
I know his claws are sharp
and his teeth still bleed
I sleep now
with only a pen at my bedside

But always leave a light on
in case he feeds       on the dark

First published in East Jasmine Review.

2010s · Poetry

Jelly Girls

In 1984, every girl
wore those jelly shoes.
Glitter plastic in pink
and blue and yellow
seemed so frivolous.

They hurt, they pinched,
gave no heel or arch support,
but still,
I wanted them.

Flimsy buckles and basket-
weave spilling toes out,
leaving sharp red grooves
like a map for hours.

I wanted to be that frivolous,
to squeeze the surface of
my nine year old feet, marking me
like every girl.

 

First published in Like a Girl: the Pre-Show!

2010s · How to Unexist · Poetry

Elephant

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.

2010s · Poetry

I don’t have room to write about it all

my clicking mouth
these tiny earthquakes
on the surface of my bones
shaking shaking shaking
it is hanging claws
deep on the mantel of my neck
razorblading into my spinal cord
until my gut swallows, shudders and gasps
all the futures in my belly ache
rope-miles of my insides lunge
like tiny airplanes
I have to write notes
to my lungs: expand and release
expand and releaserefuse to drown, already!refuse to be sunk

2010s · Poetry

Passing Sounds Fade

The heavy of his arm around
her shoulders, the lack of weight—
how it sits there like a machine fitting,
clock-watch piece.
The dust in his voice lies
thick under her chest.
She knows his closet is full
and the bodies are fresh
but she presses against
the door with him. Spring
cleaning is months away. It’s fall now,
so she presses her hands to his
warm coat, her hands against
his chest feel beat to breath—
beat to breath. Close her eyes
and pray to an unknown god,
pray the planes will pass,
pray he isn’t looking back.

 

First published on Cadence Collective.

Events · Special Projects

THE TABLE presents Creating, Nurturing, Sustaining :: a reading and conversation

On Sunday, January 21st, from 3-5 pm, I will be participating in an event hosted by Karineh Mahdessian & Jessica Ceballos y Campbell & co-hosted by Angelina Sáenz.

“Creating, Nurturing, Sustaining:: a reading and conversation” invites creators, producers, curators, hosts, and supporters of readings across the Los Ángeles literaryscape to read their work, as not only hosts/creators/supporters, but as artists who contribute to the landscape in more ways than one. The reading will be followed by a panel discussion on what it means to create (readings, lit events), and how we grow community around these events (equity in promotion, investing in community capital), and how we sustain that community (publishing, relationships, self-care).

Angelina Sáenz
Art Currim
Audrey Kuo
Brian Dunlap
Cynthia Alessandra Briano
Elmast Kozloyan
Eric Contreras
Jess Castillo
Jessica Wilson Cardenas
Kelly Grace Thomas
liz gonzález
Luis Antonio Pichardo
Mike Sonksen
Natalie Patterson
Sarah Thursday
Wyatt Underwood
•••
THE TABLE Reading Series is a collection of twelve reading events executive produced by Natashia Deón, and in partnership with The Hollywood Hotel, with a mission to engage the next generation of writers and readers and fans of the arts by giving them a seat at the table; to help them to be actively engaged in the writing community by training them, giving them a space to begin, help them to reach new or estranged writers in Los Angeles, and to provide fresh outlets for writers and fans to engage and contribute to the vibrancy of the Los Angeles literary community. More info can be found at www.tablelit.com

Hollywood Hotel

1160 North Vermont Avenue in the big ballroom located on the ground floor. 

Los Angeles, CA 90029

2010s · Poetry

Death by Rust

rust was the death of us
oxygen and iron
weather and time

hundreds of holes
have been patched
and painted over

restorations aren’t made
of well-meanings
but of follow-throughs
and time-committed

we were not
the timeless classic
we set out to be

admit it
we’ve both been driving
other cars for years

our weakened frame became
overgrown by weeds
and nesting birds
while rust spread
under the belly of us

First published in Cadence Collective.

2010s · How to Unexist · Poetry

Paper Airplane

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.