I am Matthew
a tall vanilla latte from Jeff

Clicking the head of the lighter open and closed, Theo runs his mind around the two snakes entwined on her back just between her shoulder blades. A spiraling roller coaster of memory. Ending at the point where the serpents' mouths touch. Her kisses always filled with teeth. Hands. Pressure. Theo wants smoke. Burn it all down to the hinges.

Got any cigarettes?

'Til shakes her hands out of her pockets. Locks her grey eyes into his brain like wild animals find prey at night. She raises her arms above her head like a criminal. Rotates palms front to back.


Chucks her shoes off and across the room. One by one. Crawls across the room. Leaving clothes like footprints in butter. Presses her mouth against his left ear.

I know I've told you that story already. Scar-words sometimes stick, and I have to say them again. Try to transfer the mark left on me, then, into you.

after opening every word she wrote and then constructed,
that all she ever wanted to do
was to be the advent window he longed to open
for the rest of each
of his days.

She doesn't want to be that woman. Who plays mixed tapes from a decade before for her newly found boyfriend playing video games in her apartment. But she is. That one. Laughing like a just run over hyena at the in-joke that no one would get but her and him. About cheese. She's a nightmare hippy tease.

Their connection to the intent lags. Blows.

She dials the number. Dumbstuck at not being able to access the world at any unforgivable moment. As any numb moment as this. The ringing. And.

"Hello," he says.
"Yes," she says. "My connection seems to be out."
He pauses. Mumbles something about being the national help desk for the problem. She doesn't care. She wants her life back. Of clicking send and receive until she drives herself into an insomnia of ever-wake-ever-sleep that doesn't matter only that it's the slow drive pulse that keeps her from driving herself to the dark edge of the screaming crimson river. Not looking for anything in particular.
"I can't do anything for you," he says.
"Fuck," she says.
And she fumbles with the phone. Mostly frustrated by the fact that she can hear her new neighbors in their apartment screaming at one another in what can only be described as a kind of sex that she's only imagined.
"Nothing," she says. But he knows she doesn't mean it.
"Do you eat tofu?" She asks.
He says, "No."
They hang up the lines. And she takes a baking soda bath. To the tones of the red wine and the word sanctuary. She dreams about meeting him in Saint Louis and having heart-felt-conversations about the unreality of meaning and crossing the equator.
In the luke-warm bath she wishes she could call up maxwell's demon. Ask him if he would, could, possibly, make it all right with again.
She wishes, her slow eyes closing and opening again, that she could make this and everything become something much more closer. To real. As the moment her epidermis let itself out at the base of the tub with the cool bathwater.

Amemiko learned about India ink from Ala and Tenari when they were all just old enough to drive cars legally. During Seventh period they'd lean back against the windows perched on top of the dead radiators like mocking birds and stick themselves with stained pins until the thousands of tiny dots became something else. Moving pictures of crosses and tear drops and the heads of Chinese dragons breathing fire. That's what they said it felt like. Fire. She never wanted them to try. Even when they snuck up on her in the photography dark room and held her down. Made three small dots that can be traced into the shape of a triangle on the soft insides of her right thigh. While Ala whispered the names. Altair. Vega. Deneb. His on the shoulder. Tenari's on the calf. Amemiko didn't cry. In feverish dreams nights afterward, she made them write entire stories all over her body.

The dots, now, pass life posing as freckles.

She carries her empty canvas body through the soft puddling night winter streets. Walking her way to something gone but not forgotten. They've not seen one another in 9 months. A mistake she now needs to apologize for in 270 different ways. Benjamin's door is red lacquer like pornographic fingernail polish or the gaudy tourist shops on the edges of Chinatown. Her heart knocks the door. Down. She's going to write it all. When he opens the door to this apartment they used to share. She's choreographed the movements like childhood ballet. Her hand to his mouth. Her mouth to the soft spot on his neck just under the jaw. The slow delicate peel of clothes. Until only his clean canvas remains.

On the porch, Amemiko reaches into her pocket, clicks the glass jars of black ink together with her fingertips, waiting.

tonight, i need to say good-bye to bill.


i've carried your annotated copy of black power,
the copy we read from in your office over the few years through which
you became the best friend you knew i needed
and which you gave to me when i left your side,
and the one i carry still and
show to my own students, now, who need to know you
and all of the valuable lessons you taught me
about being on the outside
about not living your life like a lie
and not letting anyone tell you that you have to
be anything you aren't.
thank you for every moment of your life
that has shown a light into me
that said
i believe in you
and all the moments afterward that catapulted me forward
that said to me
that i could belive in me
and a power like you.

i'll love and cherish you and the time we spent together as friends--

to bill b. and to a life filled with love and purpose.
(and a dedication to equal rights for all)
it's what he always wanted from and for me--
and i will never, ever, forget him.

all my love. and always. and may the rest of my life be filled with cherishing your honor and good will.

. . . I've even had sex with the Cynocephali. All the firm static parts of a man pressing the static flesh and bones, while the dog head barked its orgasmic rhythms too loudly in my ears. Like a struck bell struck straight against the drum. Suffocating. Our bare backs. Both baying to the moon. Rocking. Until the red color of his tongue becomes your sweater hunched deep down in the pocket of the bathroom. The shock of his tears collapses us both. We fold like paper umbrellas in the wind. Shook into shaking. Without the lights on, he can't hear what I'm saying. When I'm screaming his name into the dark red contours of his spine. He says he's cold. To me. I run hot water in the shower. Rub his naked body. Alive.

if you know me, then you know that i need entertainment at all possible moments. so, in the car on the way to the bar last night, i exclaimed: new game! new game! pair up the worst and/or most unlikely musical artists. go.

we played it in the car. our sides aching. then later into the pub. laughing until we had tears in our eyes. some of the few that i remember, now:

extreme and bjork
dolly parton and avril lavigne
frente and al jolson
black eyed peas and the partridge family
the breeders and william shatner

fold paper into thousands of tiny birds
and let them fly
each to each
quiet as their kept
like snowflakes
on this cold air
out the window
to the echoing sounds
of my childish laughter

oh. dear. yeeeaaarrrrrgh. Posted by Hello

World of Warcraft
i've decided to make 'tacos of the forsaken'
for dinner

Am I like . . .

that extra radio station you keep dialed in to your car? The one you only switch to when there are nothing but commercials all of the other channels to which you normally listen? Have you only included me in your group because I came in with less static or perhaps you ran across me first? And you don't mind that when you flip to me in a crunch -- every time I'm playing Rod Stewart. You always stay until something better comes along. I fill in the dead air -- the empty space -- so you don't feel guilty listening to me on occasion when you've nothing better to do.

It all started with that commercial sized jar of peanut butter she'd let him borrow. Carried it the fourteen blocks from her apartment to his and back again. Now. At home. She feels confused. Can still hear the dog barking out in his parking lot. And the way his kisses on the surfaces of her skin and face felt like cool acidic pleasure. How she'd wanted him to stop. And the dog kept barking. Then she bit him firmly on the shoulder. Hard enough to leave a mark under his shirt. She wanted to see. The ring her wet mouth made on the fabric of his clothes. As he backed away. Mouth open. She wanted him to knock her over. To make her breath come back. She wanted the skin holding in her insides to stop shrinking in response to the air the way thin sheets of plastic do under high heat. His saliva sparkling on her face and neck drying in stiff streaks. His hands again in her hair. His tongue on her voice-box. Still. Standing in front of the mirror holding a stainless steel butter knife. She goes to work. Starting at the hairline. Scratching for blood.

When I don't want to quit this room. This, meaning, the wide encompassing buzz of space that exists between your body and my body. It has less to do with the arrangement of your furniture. Or the coordinates to arrive at the place of unlocking the door where you live. And more to do with the tiny attic window you've left open for me. To crawl into. And the way the light of you shines from it into me. So that to leave or to return are options no longer.

"Maybe I'm lucky," she thinks to herself. As he presses his bloated stomach like one of those round recess balls that's been filled far beyond capacity against her ribs. She wonders if it would make that electric echoing sound if she slapped it. He purrs. Some gargantuan sexed up cat trying to press his hands between her thighs. She tries to empty her mind by inventorying the room. So much emptier when they'd moved in a year ago. Before the vinyl wood tiling mosaic on the far wall started letting pieces loose. And water started leaking. Everywhere. And they'd covered all the windows with aluminum foil. The reflective side. In. Always makes her think of the dinners one of her old boyfriends used to make for her. Delicious flavors mixed and then sealed inside tiny tin packages. Baked in the oven until perfect puffs of steam released the tops. She can't remember now how those days tasted. But this isn't about sealing in the flavors. He thinks the foil will cut down on the air and heating bills. He thinks it will interfere with the constant communication from the aliens.

"Suck me or fuck me," he says blankly. As if he'd just asked her to change the station on their television or to get him another cold beer from the stinking fridge in the garage that they share with his uncle's slaughtered beef parts.

When they first moved in, she used to tell the chunks of not-cow wrapped and stored in that refrigerator stories. But she got in trouble for letting the cold out. She imaged all of her imagined words now. Locked inside the door and chilled into inertia. The word dead creeps into her mouth with his tongue. She tries to wipe it away with her own. Tracing the shape of her teeth. She can't seem to distinguish the difference between him and the word. Another tile falls from the wall. He pulls her hair. And she wonders when he started smelling like hamster bedding.

She can't exactly remember now why she agreed to marry Travis. He'd promised that he would never hit her. And that they could have sex as often as she wanted. And maybe that felt like power. But just now, she couldn't be sure--Of anything--with the crash of another tile on the pile to the floor--except that she doesn't deserve this. She's sure she feels lucky.

I used to not believe in souls and mates and all that kind of nonsense. I guess I wanted things about love to be more definitive. More resolute and controllable than all that.

Love is a lot harder to sort out than making an organized grocery list.

I need to stop the spin. Of you.

So, I run. Set out in the rain and the perma-dusk of the day. Walking. Where the University hits V Street, I step up the pace. This driving rain. The power from the music wailing in my ears. The blind driving wind. I run. Turn. Try to loose myself in neighborhoods through which I've never been. Look for a place that might resemble something I recognize. Of home. At 22nd street, my right hip pops out of its socket. The sharp cracking noise audible over the drive of the headphones drives me insane. I'm not supposed to be here. This ligament disorder, and doctors, have told me so. But I have to move. Through this damned soaking rain. The entire right side of my body between the knee-cap and the shoulder engulfed in flames the color of napalmed forests on foreign soil. Turn my face up to the sky. Scream inside my head. Walk the rest of an hour under the increasingly darkening streets. My clothes soaked to the bone, already, an hour and a half before. But I can't stop. This madness. Moving. Catapulting me forward. Against the streetlights. I wonder what normal people do with their time. Match the beat of every footfall with the syllables pounding in my head of all words in every language I can recall for every part of you: collar bones, nose, eye brows, chin, lips, ears, hair, chest, shoulders, every last eye lash, wrists, wrist sockets, teeth, roof of the mouth, forehead, cheeks, tongue, temples, back-of-the-neck, palms, knuckles, finger nails, ribs, belly, back, hips and the hip joints, the ankles and each instep, the ball of the foot, the legs, the knees, the valves, the drum of the ears, the bones, the red and pink fleshy works and all the other untraceable unreachable places from hands and eyes--lips and tongues. Your clear bluest-grey eyes. The pain and the wind and the rain guide me somehow home. Peel off my wet clothes just inside the door. Stretch out. Take a hot shower. Make you some dinner without words. I can't stand to eat. Four or five drinks later. I'm too tired to think. Too stupid to stop the stupid pattering of thoughts pounding in my head like rain drops. My right leg, still, a raging flame of fire. Instead of stopping, I open a book and read. About how boys have been killed senselessly in war. And I know I won't sleep. The mutability of life and all the time I'm wasting away. The way this love is just like breathing, and now I don't know how to let it stop. To lie down under blankets and feel the steady drift into nothingness. If I could go out and drive the same pace again, just now, I would. My feet and hands ache. And I wish there were something forgiving to bite down on.


*see Jess for really good attempts and the origin for the idea.

if i were going to make a t-shirt: Posted by Hello

this wide spreading middle-west blue sky
won't stop
flat unreasonable lines of miles expanding outward from every damn footfall forward
feels like i can go into it forever

at some point
i have to stop running

someday, one of us is going to be dead
and i want every moment of the rest of this life to stop feeling like the decades i already wasted
to be as alive--as crushing--as possible

[the way we laugh

On the cold dirty asphalt. The vast black expanse behind my flat where we park our cars. Beside the putrid trash bins. With chalk. I'm making an outline of your body. Your head. This heart. Those hands. Cover each curve a thousand times. Until the stick breaks into fine crumbly powder. Press so hard my fingers bleed. My eyes burn. Until the ground swells into dust. Covers us both. Like the aftermath of fireworks at night.

the memory of chocolate cake

1. 3:30 - 5: fuck
2. 5:30 - 6: get horrorshow buzzed at going away thing for person you don't like
3. 6:00 on: continue getting 'the drunk on' somewhere where those people aren't

in case of extreme drunkenness: eat

4. indeterminate: fuck

i smell of vomit and warm pennies

i wish there were more time to take another shower

i can't teach this way

i'm really sick of this

stop being so oppressive
no one likes
a fool

if i could
light up this room
indigo moon glow
of memory--
recite this favorite poem
into your sleeping eyelids
between sheets the color of
deep blue sanctuary
throat wrapping words
a language I don't speak
might resolve itself
become irrelevant
then we
in this or any room
together become
a silent conversation
of pressed valves
until dawn comes
covers this one soul

but right now
i'd love to get really stoned
sit around
and not think about anything


Somnolent memories of a fish
and murmuring with
foxes for throats

is that you don't really know you have it
locked up inside all the places the catch the hurt
until you ransack all the rooms of your own house
spill the contents of the results of your life
upon the floor
sit and stare at the mess you've made
too useless, even, to pick up the pieces

that even the weight of this envelope that i can't seem to open in my lap reminds me of the difficultly these hands have

tearing paper into the shape of hearts

You might have a certain elusive power over the media, but you don't control the critical and free analysis of faulty and inherently flawed rhetoric. Your hands heavy in this economy, but we control the consumption--the rampant capitalistic leanings learned from our parents. So fuck the national broadcasting companies. Fuck the soda manufacturers and the chips dealers slinging fat and unhealthy lifestyles into the fabric of our selves. Fuck the X-box and the playstation and all the digitally created worlds meant to dull us into this sliver tight minority. Just like you--just like we've almost but not forgotten--we've got the freedom of speech. We've got clear and constant access to the internet. To immediate and mass communication. And we need to start spreading our information. We're the generation who runs and controls this realm of cyber life that has slowly slid under the framework you are now only dangerously balancing upon. We don't need your guns. Your slippery logic and unfounded claims. We will not be subsumed by your evil. We've got the minds. We've got the numbers. We've got the motivation for peace. You might have offices and titles. But we've got the power to make this, from the inside, a world-wide revolution.

we debated over the best opening line of a novel and the movies we've watched that have left us feeling the most afraid--

got any?


what the bitch?, i exclaimed in the general direction of my monitor, slack-jawed, it's gone 8:20 and i haven't had any coffee.

If I could
grind you down
collect into a jar
fine powder of your form,
would that magic
contain the power to heal
internal bleeding?
Or stand useless
in the face of missing you
as cutting off my own arms?

i wouldn't have fingers
as useless as dead fish

no matter the consequence of time, country, circumstance, deliverance
in the fictions of that breadth of space
i am and always
fourteen blocks
from where you are

afternoon type projects Posted by Hello

one of my major professors died this morning