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March 5, 2015

Let’s start small

like a breath, a bomb of exhale.

Steal air from the space around

and make sound. Make it last.


It might be the last gasp

ever heard, so let’s push

out from the ground below,

a soft bellow, a curse –

the reverse of your silence,

like children

not seen but undeterred

a penchant for hurt

‘cause what are we

but bodies unlearned,

harms unheard,

a tongue cut?


Let’s tell a story,

the one where every bone

is a needle, and if you

want to dress the sex you feel,

it’s enough to get

you beaten, and if you

want to bed the same sex,

it’s illegal, and if you

want to get some respect,

you bleach yourself,

because a Twitter conversation

about a dress is the closest

we get to a conversation

about color.

Let’s make some noise

your voice

takes power from them.

Let’s make a deal.

Let’s make more noise,please.

Let’s fuck louder.

We can suck cock

so even cannibals

get jealous.

Let’s cry louder

since tears tears

are just waves

without wind,

and what we can

do together

will drown

all of them.

Let’s make out

in unforgiveable


Let’s be the alarm

when we’re

all on fire.

Let’s be the


that we







Let’s make some noise

your voice

takes power from them.


Let’s make some noise

your voice

takes power from them.


Let’s make some noise

your voice

takes power from them.


So, let’s start small

with a voice

like a breath

as a bomb

of exhale.



February 5, 2015

—for Alaska
Here, I sound out
my capable names:
mountains cresting over ice,
watersheds staggering
like Nana’s veined capillaries
trafficking wild weeds
with loose bone husks
left from a century’s kill.

I would have accepted any
of it: the complicated uqautchit
from tribal-tongued elders—
stag-stew full, nursing mittens
from scavenged fur—
or even the simple, clumsy cadence
of American cartographers
with rough-toothed ardor
as if Sir Edmund Hillary
were stupid uqabnibluktuq:
a dunce with a mission.

Name me anything that
is not rootless: tacit howls
or slipping rock, blueberry patches,
windstrewn dirt like down
wrapping up the tundra,
But I cannot claw earth.
I stay small, unhidden,
exposed to the sloppy trudge
of evolution, the banal
erosions, the arctic swells
and evaporations:

I am almost always
a word already gone.

“Months Later”

April 21, 2013

You would hear my body undevelop
at the first mention of him from a stranger,

a collection of images that once fixed
to the fridge, disordered at the office to prompt questions

of what love it is that sends you flowers –
all of this dried up by air, bleached in the absence

of our dark rooms and brought to light
by a couple words, a bit of information, a poison

in the well-being of what should be at rest,
but now sits out in the light as if it could breathe,

grow sternum and once again, walk away
while my arms fall slack, break femur to thumb,

ribs curl in like an angry man’s knuckle,
thrust to the hip, the thigh and at last, dig into the earth.

“Unintended Hookup #1”

February 5, 2012

I cannot go on
without that sock.
Lost somewhere riddled
among a bed’s looseness,
the wreck of us fucking.
Threadworn, it complains
of alacrity as a mercy

sucking dust
with the bunnies –
hidden in a mutt’s dander
and educing desperation
as if it were stink.
It will have a hole
left now from saying
‘I want to come home.

If you hear this
and are interested,
let me know
what I was wearing
(or what wore me),’
and if the taste of ass
coupled with hibachi
returns my calls.


January 24, 2012

‘But I am all bones’,
I tell the urgency
which is now shaped like a doctor
and smells of celluloid,
salt, long stale coffee.

We sit and get cordial
with talk of vacations
and how suitcases can take us
all the way away,
someplace, room one over

that is this room,
only bigger and fractured
as if three dark spots
inverted, decorated,
made beds while playing house.

I swear immovable:
the lung, a collection of bags
and blood lumped and expanding
to expose vanity, storm window,
interior door

and a single breath,
the crispness a bone sounds
when it exposes within
ragged jags, membrane,
trapped air.


August 1, 2011

From here, my hands make empty tools,
a clumsy bone and nail architecture
holding on to little of what surounds me.
Here’s a pen. I drop it. Here’s a ticket. I drop it.
A dunce choreography just to produce a cut finger,
a bruised palm, a tiny scratch difference
between now and the now that once was now,
but now it isn’t. I have lost that already.

This now I cannot find is an attempt
to make the body’s cartography from space
where all things look amorphous,
but perhaps you can make sense of me,
of all these crazy terrains.
Form infographs for the stray hairs
and a key to what remains of casual sex.
Starting at the brain, draw highways
past the heart to my childhood,
bypass the formative years.
Create signs in Seattle, Italy
wherever the congestion goes gangster
and cells pop like pistols
in Baltimore’s Cherry Hill.
Abandon the throat to poor construction.
Instead trace fault lines to spine,
spreading as a river centipede
feeding liver, appendix, ocean –
slicing across the salmon belly
dropping blood-colored eggs,
the shape of a man becoming,
the seed rollable on the tongue.

You could make sense of these wilderlands.
Crater and empire, knolls and sluice –
a war between disparate fluids
and fast materials like the kidney, the lung,
the birthday I lost my virginity
to a woman with the same name as my brother.
Piled together, balled up, then flattened
until the end-to-end itself becomes lost,
an agent of my scant abilities
to discern which now it is we are now in,
an what year it is I was supposed to have children
or bought a house or graduated as a doctor
or made that classic album or scripted a play
or seen the Greek Isles or been the one in the room
that everyone wanted to talk to, but didn’t.
Instead, I can’t recall the boyfriend from Cherry Hill
or the face belonging to my first pair of exposed breasts,
or the feeling of having a father I didn’t think of
as incompetent.

You can make sense of these scars
at my ankle and the sloping of my forehead.
You could assemble the melee
into named deserts, national borders,
and give a key to the mongrel thrushes
in my head, the angry elk in my stomach
and my cock’s insatiable predation.
Then, I could locate muscles that swell
around a pen or a ticket or the death
of my last lover’s affection. I could grasp
each year instead of sorrow.
Become decipherable, visible, new.

“The Interview”

May 6, 2011

Pick me.

Pick me because I brought donuts to this interview, and it is clear you like donuts. Pick me because I can obviously read people well and understand when not to mention weight gain.

Pick me because I am able to demonstrate an acute understanding of important sounding words like interdisciplinary, capitalize, monetize, product deployment, and parse observational model without knowing what they mean.

Pick me because I will not only deliver on the promises I make, but I will deliver on the promises I make that you take credit for.

Pick me because I have served fries with that.

Pick me because innovation matters, and you can see that in the way I used my roommate’s urine instead of my own in this cup.

Pick me because I know how to cut corners.

Pick me because I have no children, no family, no friends and could spend my weekend excited about what I will do when I get to work on Monday.

Pick me because dignity is negotiable, like as in exchange for unlimited coffee provision.

Pick me because the others didn’t give you a three-page resume and single space it tightly as knots on needles with information like how my old boss would come to me to buy his weed. Pick me because I can buy you weed.

Pick me because other candidates won’t understand you which is to say that I get you, I have been where you are and where you are going. You don’t want to be pandered to. You worked hard to get to become Assistant Managerto the Vice-President of the Shipping Department, and it shows. So, maybe other candidates might try to sleep with you or buy you dinner or perhaps offer up expensive gifts to secure their position. You are above such disingenuous behavior, unless you aren’t. In which case, pick me because I will sleep with you and buy you dinner.

Pick me because your voice completes me.

Pick me because I would love to hear from you. Over lunch, during breaks, on vacation, at two in the morning when you suddenly have an idea that sounds like my idea from two weeks before but only now becomes relevant.

Pick me because I am fluent in the language of Apologetic. Restraint. Cheerful resentment.

Pick me because I will be the silent partner on assignments you don’t understand, you don’t know how to do, you can’t even explain to your bosses and so CC: me on the email to make a powerpoint. Pick me, and I will use that cool transition between presentation pages.

Pick me because dignity is not something I have gotten used to. Pick me because I have worked since I was 14 and still barely accumulate enough money to buy a used car. Pick me because every check I cash costs me money, because every minute I am late is reason to dock my pay. Pick me because English may not be my first language, but greed is international.

Pick me because my aspirations end here.

Pick me.

“Excuse You”

May 6, 2011

You’re sorry. A drink in one hand. The other strokes
a coward’s cock. You’re sorry. This apology laryngetic,
vacuous, a whisper of space. Every conversation with you
bends the same spoon as if it were knees
before you suck.

What you take from me,
what indulgence can be made in excuses
where you are a cursed set of chromosomes
confused as to why your nights disappear
into the wild of a man’s ass or how stares
from the right men force you to cave,
what of me will accept that of all this desire,
you could not choose, it is not yours.
Born this way: an acceptable mantra
of defeat, of disgust.

Yes, you’re sorry. You can’t help the moments
when you want to give in to the hardon.
Pushed by nature, you spread asscheeks and
accept tongue. Selected by Jesus, it is God
who informs you to let another man crawl
inside your mouth and cum.

You’re sorry because had it been up to you,
you would have mimicked your parents sexless estrangement
or replicated the carbon copied neighborhood
manufacturing children in place of conversation.
You’re sorry. Had you the choice,
you would have welcomed the invisibility
of a life like any other, but you make it clear.
You could not choose, this is not yours.

Yes, you’re sorry. Wear it like a cross, mythic and metaphorical
across your chest as if it were red-lettered scar,
a missing leg, a blind eye, a sloppy left brain.
You would think nature had dropped you on your head,
and the result was a bruised affection.

You’re sorry. I will not forgive you
for crediting nature with my desire to engage
my lips at the end of the night on a man
who was smart enough to send me flowers
and talk about Foucault. God did not
explain to me the methods of doublefisting
or deliver the hardon that comes from a tightened rope.
These belong to me as I have chosen them,
and I have made them mine. I am not sorry
for spooning semi-bruised after a night wrestling,
feeling fur against the small of my back,
or writing love notes in the margins
of my shopping lists to men I should never have loved.
But I am not sorry. You explain you are born this way
as if I would not have chosen each of them,
as if they were not mine.

But those kisses,
I chose it.
Each one,
it’s mine.
Each dick,
I chose it.
Sucked, held-
it’s mine.
Hours sleeping,
I chose it,
his arms-
they’re mine.
Online porn,
I chose it.
Chat rooms,
they’re mine.
gayday at disney
i chose it –
the bathroom sex,
it’s mine.
turning trade,
i chose it.
it’s mine.
fucking raw,
I chose it.
getting high,
it’s mine.
coming out,
I chose it.
fighting back,
it’s mine.
I chose it-
speaking out
it’s mine.
every fuck,
I chose it,
every time,
it’s mine,
in the streets,
I chose it,
in bed,
it’s mine.
in my mouth,
I chose it,
in my ass,
it’s mine,
in my heart,
I chose it,
in my mind,
it’s mine.
this life,
I chose it,
this life,
it’s mine.
this life,
I chose it,
this life,
it’s mine.

I chose it.
It’s mine.
I chose it.
It’s mine.

“Happy Birthday”

January 21, 2011

The idiot in my office expects me to sing,
and when I abstain, we all get a memo.
In it, I am referred to as nonparticipant
and there is a polite suggestion
that nonparticipants excuse themselves
instead of triggering the fire alarm.

“Letter in response to John Broughton’s critique of Pique”

January 21, 2011

The existence of God is a philosophical position. It makes sense that John Broughton of the group New York Philosophy writes a strongly-worded letter defending the bipartisan nature of non-believers, a term that might equally embrace all atheists, humanists and agnostics. The author of that letter wants to ensure equal play for the politically liberal instead of making such easy mark of the nation’s recent rash of conservative royalty, and I can’t help but agree. In approaching religion as an adopted cultural philosophy and dependent institutions as fundamentally corporate entities, there is little rationale for us to be unwilling to accept a bipartisan criticism of faith-based decision-making in American politics.

The challenge, however, is that the very dependence of modern conservatism on religious narrative (that includes its foundling Tea Party Movement) will always play lead anecdote to the minor indecencies of progressive politics. It seems cumbersome to trot out the Palins and O’Donnells or even cite a teary-eyed Glenn Beck as many of us are familiar with the popularized assault on intelligence inherent in their invocations of Jesus, insults to Islam, and so forth. What is worth exploring, on the other hand, is whether or not it is possible to separate church and the state of conservative values in America.

In defense of equal criticism, the schism of finance versus faith-fiction ought to open the door to straying bankers, managers, tycoons, those who envision a godless empires of limitless irresponsibility for the poor and infirm. It would seem like the perfect fit where a man (and it would be a man) would be able to exercise his already existing position of power with no bureaucratic or social control as if the world were one poorly maintained sweat shop and his castle, a shelter for Porsches.

Not only could this individual see through the facades of the church, but it might even be to his benefit to co-opt it, market it, begin to shift language and play up the part where believers’ understanding could elide with market values. They might buy books that subscribe to aspirational intentions that the market would never let them succeed (Osteen) or spend ample funds they make working menial jobs for the opportunity of a phone-in prayer (Warren). In fact, without the burden of a sensitivity and ethical obligation inspired by greater progressive thinking, a man could employ the masses in their belief systems as if sending workers into a mine with unregulated safety procedures.

By invoking the Tea Party as a “misunderstood” movement is to ignore that its “fiscal policy” is a misappropriation of the idea of financial accountability where the government is somehow evil practitioner and the market moves in (super?)natural harmony.

While it is fair to call into question the insular rants of Richard Dawkins and make light of the foibles frequently found by the liberal spokesfolk (Maddow, Maher, etc.), inherent in the principles embraced by the conservative movement is not only limited government participation but unlimited reliance of the market as the great social balancing sheet guided by a religion that long ago ignored the 100+ references invoked by the prophet Jesus about that giving away all the money thing and embracing the poor.

Progressives should also not get a pass for their insensitivities and errant ways. However, implicit in the acceptance of diversity, attention to working class concerns and commitment to government as a body of regulation established by the people (even if it wasn’t intended that way) is greater care in the ethical treatment of others. Progressives suffer fracturing, and for this, failure to isolate a single message is what undermines much of the success of such a vast and dynamic movement. It also makes hypocrisy complicated since even a progressive such as myself couldn’t give you a standard stump speech about how things should be. Instead, I want to do it by committee and vote and circulate opinions and hug a tree. We have problems, too.

All of this is to say again that discourse about religion is philosophical, and even as non-believers, there is value in it. Since these intellectual pursuits are bipartisan, it is paramount to call into question our own privileging of progressive leaders. As I have tried to illustrate, the inhibitor to establishing such an editorial balance is that the Capitalist romance fundamental to American conservatism yields greater opportunity to highlight the same structural issues that have dissuaded many from faith-based industry (i.e. the church) in the first place. Plus, the jokes about conservatives are just funnier.