2010s · All the Tiny Anchors · Poetry

Love Letter No. 2: To My Inner Light

There are no more demons in your closet.
We sent them home years ago.
Love burned out the last of your fears,
so you look for more to conquer.

Behind the ears of any man are his secrets.
The soft space of hair and skull and lobe.
You press your fingers to it,
it collapses under your strength.

You will fall into the space you have emptied.
But then, you must come back here.
Return from that he-space.
Breath in the she-space where
you deserve to live.

First published in Cadence Collective.

2010s · Poetry

All The Ways I Love You

I was excited to meet you.
You would be more like me.
All those years being yanked
from one place to the next,
being pulled out of school early
means I wasn’t coming back.
I can’t remember the names
of my teachers, but I can recite
cities like family members.

Then I met you, Long Beach,
the city of everything,
of Cambodia and Mexico,
of apartments spilling bodies
in the streets, spilling ranchero melodies
and clicking tongues full of Vietnam.
My color was a minority.
My clothes from donated boxes
did not flinch you—
you with your narrow alleyways
and grubby-cheeked children.

I was at home before I knew
how long I’d stay. I knew you
were like me, born of struggle
and sitting on windowsills staring
out at distant city lights.

Even when we got a new father
and lived among your riverside homes,
it was all wrong like me.
Concrete banks dressed in graffiti.

Wilderness trails where teenage boys
played war around stained mattresses
left by public refugees.

I became a woman in your sunlight.
I never had to deserve you.

You knew all my names,
even when I left you.
I tried to be the golden boardwalks
of Hermosa and Redondo
but they pushed me out
to the gum-stained sidewalks
of Lawndale, where train tracks
drew lines between me and him,
where girls like me paid their own way
through city college.

Then he left me for Westwood,
a place I could never see
my own stark reflection,
so I came home to you,
and the best skin of you.

I wore my new clothes here
on all your borders north
and south, and east and west.
All your contradictions sang
like love songs, even when for years
I was only your mistress.

Other cities have soccer moms
and radio-friendly punk rock,
winter tans and French manicures,

but I know, even they find a place
in your diagonals, your Wardlows
that cross both apartment projects
and gated communities.

I will grow old here, far from your shore.
Even though I bought a house
next to the tracks again, your tracks
comfort me—not division but connection,
a literal line of how close we are,
side-by-side, lying in the lap of you.

First published in Cadence Collective.

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

Mouth of Fireflies

What God there was in me saw
the God there was in him,
and it was beautiful.
-Amélie Frank

he speaks floating sparks of light
and lights a thousand eyes around him
he won’t follow their leaving paths
throws them out and lets them land
like seeds he’ll never see grow

I chase the fireflies of his mouth
the ones that miss their mark
I want to catch them in jars
drink them to kill my own night-growing
they sky-float beyond my reach
past the dim canopy of city light

I once drank him like a fountain
my wet lips glowed for days
my eyes shone too bright for sleeping
maybe I only dreamt him at my mouth
since the universe won’t return him
it steals his beauty for dreamers
and says, light your own fire

first you must crack your ribs
break them into brittle shards
cut your palms in your own grasp
next you must rub the sticks
of your rib bones fast
do this all on the inside
then sing out to the dark unknowing

your sparks aren’t made for eyes
your sparks are made to burn hunger
burn the ache in their bellies
throw them out like seeds
don’t wait for them to grow

First published in Cadence Collective.

17 Poems Not About a Lover · 2010s · Conversations with Gravel · Poetry

Black, the Consumption of Song

It’s still the music—
how is replaces the pulse in your veins
how it stops all the other voices,
your own cut-throat deafening.
You still swallow volume
guzzle it down like hard cider.
In that way, songs can sing from the inside out.
They balloon inside your heart
pressing up against limping muscle
until its ache rests in them.
You will always have it—
when love after love after love leaves
it still gets darker. Still you
wrap your skin in minor chords
mummy-tight until you can only move
in the way the rhythm sways.
You don’t fight that.
For a while you are carried by it.
You rest in black—
how it still comforts you.
Sometimes and eventually music moves you forward.
Slow beats for slow steps
when you are ready to hit the ground
on your own swollen feet.
For the rest of your days, you will—
as you always have—exhale melody.

First published in Cadence Collective.

2010s · Poetry

No Epilogue

the pages in this book
are coming to an end
they are thinning out
no epilogue to read
just an end
this chapter is closing
it was inevitable
our story is done
I want to put it down
to make it last
to keep it going
it was an unexpected sequel
you returned to me
there was suspense
and conflict
and romance
these characters changed
our plot turned
each chapter a revelation
but the final twist
it was brutal
no one saw it coming
least not our heroine
and it’s a tragedy
it’s not a happy ending
the mystery was revealed
the story is resolved
I keep turning pages
and it’s thinning out
this will not be a trilogy
I know your part is done
our story is done
I will have to finish
the final pages
and read your last words

First published in Cadence Collective.

2010s · Conversations with Gravel · 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.

2015 · All the Tiny Anchors · Publications

The Poet’s Haven

Just got word that two of my poems, “Car Accident, 14 Months Going” and “Death by Rust“, were accepted and published on The Poet’s Haven. Both of these poems were written in early 2013, which feels like a lifetime ago. “Car Accident…” is also in All the Tiny Anchors and “Death…” was included in Cadence Anthology: Year Two. It’s still wonderful to see they are getting some individual love out on the poetry universe. 2015-12-13 18.08.27-2

 

Events · Special Projects · Uncategorized

Long Beach Folk Festival

10352906_822705077751553_1108509089457140228_n On September 27th, 2014, The Long Beach Folk Revival Festival will be taking over the Rainbow Lagoon in downtown Long Beach. Our favorite indie bookstore, Gatsby Books, will have a booth across from the Mill Stage. My poetry partner in crime, Nancy Lynée Woo and I will be at the booth from 2-3 pm to represent all of our poetry projects: Cadence Collective, Sadie Girl Press, and Lucid Moose Lit. Come by and say hello!

2010s · 2014 · Poetry · Publications · The Unnamed Algorithm

January 1991

In the bathroom of that old theater
is where it started for us.
You stood by the sink
and we met eyes through the mirror.
I had cut my hair short,
dyed my blond hair black.
You were so heavy metal
with your endless platinum hair
and black suede boots with fringe
that made me resist you.
But I kept hearing rumors
that you liked my favorite bands
like The Cure and even Scattered Few.
You were my age
and the same height as me,
we were both on the threshold
of becoming women,
of defining our future selves.
Back in nineteen ninety-one
we’d come for the same reason
to hear the bands pour their hearts out
to bare their souls on the stage.
You must have understood it
the need to feel it raw
the bloody heart pulsing.
I looked through the mirror at you
in that bathroom in January,
the decade still fresh and undefined.
We talked about the band
the way we always would.
You smiled with uncertainty,
I smiled back in my arrogance.

Originally published on Cadence Collective

2010s · All the Tiny Anchors · Poetry

Plump Tomatoes

These are the kind of poems
they want us to write,
about black-red birds and the sky
and the plumpness of tomatoes
soft against your tongue,
how it relates to our humanity
and our connection to the eternal.

But I don’t relate to birds
and tomatoes (though I
will eat them endlessly)
do not keep me up at night.
When I am forced to flatten
the pages of my journal,
it’s the calluses on his fingers
how I want to scrape them
scratch his dead skin off
until he forgets me,
but he has already
forgotten me.

 

Originally published on Cadence Collective.