happy 2015
January 1, 2015

‘Twas the night before New Year’s, when all through the house

Not a creature was sober, not even a mouse;

The streamers were hung from the ceiling with care,

In preparation for guests who soon would be there;

The champagne was nestled all snug on its ice;

While countdowns and make-outs began to seem nice;

And bae in her bow tie, and I in my vest,

Had just begun pregaming the long winter’s fest,

When out on the street there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the couch to see what was the matter.

Away to the side door I drunkenly tripped,

Stepped out in the snow and tried not to slip.

The moon on the trash heaps and gutters of slush

Made me pause, the wind whipping, my face growing flush,

When what to my wondering eyes did appear,

But a huge group of queermos all carrying beer,

With a swaggering leader, her style all the rage,

I knew in a moment she must be Ellen Page.

Flyer than eagles  her wingwomen they came,

And she whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:

“Hey, Kristen! now, Portia! now Ellen and Vixen!

On, Laverne! on, Riese! on, Samira and Blitzen!

To the top of the porch! to the end of the hall!

Now drink away! sing away! dance away all!”

So up to the porch the roller girls they flew

With bags full of whiskey, and rainbow cake too—

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Into the house Ellen Page came with a bound.

In her best Tomboy snapback, her cheeks all aglow,

her clothes were all dusted with glitter and snow;

She flipped up the collar of her frayed denim vest,

And her Canadian flannel out-gayed all the rest.

Her eyes—how they smoldered! her smirk was so dreamy!

The holes in her jeans made us all a bit steamy!

Her eyeliner game was as always mad strong,

And her skinny tie proved that she could do no wrong;

With effortless cool, she opened a beer with her teeth

when I noticed the mistletoe she was dancing beneath;

I sidled up towards her, with no ounce of stealth,

And I blushed when she smiled, in spite of myself;

A wink of her eye and a touch of her hand

were all that it took; I could barely stand;

She spoke not a word, but started dancing with me,

Robyn playing in the background, as gay as could be.

And laying her hand on the side of my face,

she kissed me, then turned with queerest of grace;

She slipped on her blazer, gave her posse a call,

And away they all ran to Times Square and the ball.

And I heard her exclaim, as she danced out of sight—

“Happy New Year to all, and to all a gay night!”

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prey
September 8, 2014

Track my path, unfurling

distance.

Pocket knives with
their sick slick sheen
open
blood-rusty and hot.

Fists clench on cue.

I am the life let loose,

rabbit evading the snare.

afterlife
August 11, 2014

I study indifference,

pause the expansion of the universe,

desire curled as a bud in the flesh,

burrowing down in the gut.


Now, my soul is

weightless.

I float between the twinned stillnesses

of hunger and fear,

drawing breaths never to be exhaled.

 

 
So light

the wind on sunny days

is my fate,

my body drifts,

unexpectant,

ethereal,

limned.

six word stories
July 21, 2014

It is Ernest Hemingway’s 115th birthday, and there is no better way to celebrate than to hastily write six word flash fiction. (That’s a blatant lie. There is surely a better way, and it would most likely involve alcohol, sexism, and shooting wildlife.) Hemingway supposedly won a $10 bet when he managed to write this story in just six words:

“For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.”

 

Despite my lack of a $1.66 per word incentive, here are a few of my own attempts:

The match fell, still lit. Oops.

“Me or the dog?” “The dog.”

I left without telling him why.

Was it bad for you, too?

Apples and humans: both gravity-prone. 

Quit job. Smelled roses. Ignored debt.

“Happy Birthday, Ernie!” “Where’s my absinthe?”

And lastly, although it was written in the context of her full-length novel, The Passion, I quote Jeanette Winterson:

“I’m telling you stories. Trust me.”

 

glutton
June 20, 2014

I am binging to fill up the empty parts of me.
Oil and grain and sugar and salt
all packed in until I am solid stone.
I will sink to the bottom of the pool
and no one will look for me there.

I am building muscle, all density and heat
until I am a molten mass
hurtling through space, reckless.
I am a loose cannon, iron, wrought.
My flesh will bash through your flesh.

Was it good for you, too?
Good is a loaded word for loaded bodies.
My eyes are brimmed up with glances,
my wrists are weighted: blood and tendon and time.
Hear me out. My hands are wide enough for us both.

an origami trick
June 13, 2014

In a single omnipotent gesture, I would
fold the map of the earth onto itself,
connecting all disparate points,
the state borders lying on each other,
languishing,
all the geographic limbs –
peninsulas, archipelagos, valleys –
mingling their longitudinal longings,
latitudes drifting across
oceans, wave
by wave, from parallel to
indelible proximity,
evergreens twining roots
with palms, dawn and dusk
loosing themselves into risings,
fallings, winds
collapsing into their opposites, until
in stillness all the world
faces itself and sleeps
as a single speck,
all closeness closed,
hands clasped,
a brilliant winking spot of
singularity,
and outside of us,
nothing.

This poem is in part inspired by Sharon Olds’ “Topography,” which includes the brilliant lines, “my Kansas / burning against your Kansas your Kansas / burning against my Kansas.”  If you aren’t familiar with her work, I’d suggest starting with her 1987 collection, The Gold Cell

the serious taxonomist
March 23, 2014

(A poem presented without comment on my long blogging silence because really I have no excuse. Not even writer’s block. I know, I’m terrible. I’m sorry. Please don’t hate this thing I wrote. It has been a long winter.)

When you imagine, as you do,
Vladimir Nabokov at his microscope,
poring over the genitalia of butterflies,
you wonder what makes writing good.
You suspect it involves will,
observation, and time,
not mere skill, but dedication
to crossing out phrases that don’t belong,
replacing them with ones that do.
Perhaps it is also a question
of plot, character, truthiness,
but what has that to do
with the bleary-eyed lepidopterist,
purblind from the strain of study?
He knows only how to preserve
the color of the spoken word
and the symmetry of two blue wings.

 

homecoming
June 30, 2013

Amazing how many different places a person can sleep in two months. I went from a small city in northern France to the banlieue of Paris to the wonderfully familiar bookshelves of Shakespeare & Co to the seemingly never-ending sprawl of LA to Autostraddle camp in the mountains of California to Minneapolis to Carleton College…it was only two weeks ago that I finally made it to Albany, where I will be spending the next year.

As you might expect, being a tumbleweed for a month at Shakespeare & Co was the highlight of my time in France (drinking champagne in front of the Paris city hall when gay marriage passed was a close second). My fellow tumbleweeds were a delight, as they always are. Nathan, last I heard, was headed to India, where I can only imagine he is eating like a king and writing the next great American novel. He and I first met three years ago during the shop’s literary festival, and through the strange machinations of the universe, we both ended up returning to the shop this spring. Tom – Scotsman, musician, and whiskey expert extraordinaire – is still at the shop and blogging up a storm. And Holly, the driving force behind the shop’s production of Much Ado About Nothing, continues to blissfully avoid returning to the US.

If I had not already paid for a transatlantic flight and a spot at Autostraddle camp, I would probably still be at the bookshop. It would seem that the only thing tempting enough to convince me to leave Paris is a campground full of queers (the fact that my French visa was about to expire mattered very little in this course of events, interestingly enough). Rather than try to recount all of camp for you – this would simply be me saying “everyone was so smart and attractive!” in as many ways as possible – I’ll just link you to the Autostraddle staff’s recaps.

After southern California, I flew to Minnesota, where I crashed on a variety of couches in the apartments of very welcoming friends. I discovered that Minneapolis is a wonderful city when it’s not buried under two feet of snow, that small Midwestern towns feel even smaller after living in Paris, and that after a year away, your alma mater will never feel like the home you remember it to be. Despite the onslaught of feelings that hit me upon seeing so many familiar haunts and faces, I made it out of Minneapolis without completely succumbing to nostalgia.

And so I’m back in Albany, my to-do list dominated by grad school applications and my ever-expanding reading list. The bane of my existence while traveling was my clashing inabilities to 1) avoid acquiring books and 2) fit more books in my luggage. Thankfully, media mailing rates exist and so all was resolved in the end.

Things I’ve read:

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald — I somehow got through high school without being forced to read it.
1Q84, Haruki Murakami — very long, very bizarre, very memorable
Antigonick, Anne Carson — a poetic and feminist translation/interpretation of Antigone. Wow, you need to read this.
Much Ado About Nothing, William Shakespeare — best if read with wine and friends
This Jealous Earth, Scott Carpenter — my critical theory professor’s latest collection of short stories
various poetry collections by Stephen Dunn — I will never not be obsessed with “Loves

Things I’m reading:

Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami — runaways and talking cats. just go with it.
Moby Dick, Herman Melville — surprisingly hilarious and beautifully written
Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex”, Judith Butler — Problematize all the norms!

Last but not least, I’m still writing down my feelings, adding creative enjambment and punctuation, and calling it poetry. Post to follow.

spam poetry
May 28, 2012

Surprisingly, spam emails are a great source of found poetry…

Original email (thanks to Anna for passing this along):

hi dear
I am miss BRASILIA by name,really is my pleasure write to you
how are you today,
shall we be friends?please i wish you will have the desire with me so
that we can get to know each other better and see what the future will
hold for us, i will like us to base our friendship on honesty,
trustfulness, love, above all, open minded,
may be later i will write more about me,with my photos
hoping to hear from you soonest
Peace!

 

 

Brasilia

It is my pleasure to write
to you (truly) –
you, how are you?
Shall we be friends, for
I wish that you would have desire
(with me)
and that we would get to know each other better.
See: the future will hold (what?)
for us,
within us.
I will like nothing
more than to base this on an honesty,
a trust(fullness) and love, above
all else.
Open minds and all, and it may
be that I will keep writing
(with words and photos and
spaces left       ).
Hope:
this is some soonest thing,
coming to life,
peaceful, full, done.

a sestina of sixes
March 12, 2012

A few unbearable and failed wonders

Brought out in the light, words
have silent ways about them – I
have seen hushed vowels who just
wait for the consonants they need
quietly, like so many children, six
years old, proving they are good.

But nighttime’s hushed space is good
for hearing truths, for sounding words
and slow wonderments, the reality I
know after every eye-closing, just
after every dreaming rest, a need
in the winter’s dawn at 6:00.

Of the soft syllables, there are six
in my room.  They taste good
leaving my tongue, the words
with their rounded edges, and I
look them in the mouths, just
waiting for them to speak.  Need

is the coldest loneliness, this need
for voices in the night – six
pregnant silences waiting to do good,
waiting to prove themselves.  My words
fall to the carpet.  Here I
am, lips parted.  I am just

a magician fumbling in moonlight, just
a mumbling midwife with a need
for strengths I can’t conjure: six
lyrical, brilliant tributes to the good.
I have sacrificed all my words,
all the others.  But still, I —

I
just
need
six
good
words.