Sunday, November 22, 2015

remember your body, its welds, its caverns, its armor. 
remember your body as it is with another's. remember its shakes, pick up a snow-globe and
recreate the way your legs would tremble 
like the last sip of a stiff drink or the rumble of a passing train. 

memorize the feeling of a precipice, the feeling of the doorknob leading to 
the edge. how the coldness of it shocked you halfway to reality, how the craving
burned deeper than the freeze. you are too young to be playing knife games in a bar, the blade speeding up like two fingers when she's close, remember your body 
when it's close.

let me tell you the story of the birds on her fire escape, how they witnessed our love and 
somewhere on the East Side probably still believe in it. 
it is the legend of the ghosts we left all over, don't worry, 
you are coming back from the dead, don't worry we can still hear you, don't breathe-
you'll scare the birds away.

some things will teach you how to be a weapon, remember them.
they will open their mouths and carve you sharp. remember how it is to grow, the shooting pains in your calves, 
the expanding in your chest, remember 
the way your forehead feels before 
it sleeps, 
your heart is learning 
like a good dog. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

she has our nose.

my brother cried the first time he saw her.
dropped to his knees, pressed his face to warm stomach, said
"i'm yours, 
i'm yours.

he straightens his tie in the morning, slides his arms into "Dad" like a winter coat, kisses the boy he 
found in the woods, says
"you are mine, 
you are mine."

my brother is becoming our father,
she has his nose.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

the mouth is awkward with the words like a 
first date shifting weight from foot to foot and suddenly aware of hands and
where to put them when they are not digging.
the mouth remembers as if it were wallpapered
in it's childhood bedroom, the mouth practices how to be a survivor 
in the mirror, over and over 
until it starts to feel strong, practices until the tongue grows numb.

talk about the rust-stained stained towels, how they were stiff, how gentle your mother
loaded them into the washing machine, 
how she was reverent
and silent, 
a priest holding a bible, like they were still attached to me.

talk about
the mechanics of destruction, how to snap the plastic back like cracking open a walnut. talk
about the things you have never said, the ones that make it true. 
a hospital room and disrobing arms like unveiling a painting, how the fabric
of sleeves haphazardly pressed had started to heal into you, how the mask had become the face.
tell the story until it feels like a stranger,
tell the story until it feels strong again. 
the mouth forgets it's lines.

the body shakes, 
i lived,
i lived.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

build a sandcastle, build
an armored bunker, 
peel the shell, dig moats, 
leave enough space to still be classified, statistically, 
as empty
on snow days or federal holidays.

an abandoned coat, someone else's
newspaper on the city bus, 
things you do not touch.
try to reach through my heart,
they will find nothing.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

i write you three poems and then
flagellate myself with them, tattoo them on my eyelids and sit myself
down in the interrogation room

"now, where were you on the night of the 25th?"

"certainly not falling back into the love, officer, 
but i can tell you one thing, you might as well
lock me up,
i have no restraint
when it comes to her arms, 
i'd do it again
and again."

Monday, November 2, 2015

response to email from college security using their words, re: recent shootings in East Harlem

remain aware of your surroundings 
Silberman School of
safe havens.
remain aware of our East Harlem campus,
remain aware of
our presence like ticks on a dog, like breaking into another's house and rearranging all the furniture, 
call it Public Safety, call it Public Health, call it Manifest Destiny

remain aware of our presence like 
we are King of Dogs.
hide inside our East Harlem campus,
our East,

As you may know, two shootings took place this week within a few blocks of
our East Harlem campus and
one long robbery,
Silberman School of safe havens.