Poetry

Armor

The last time that she hit me
finally broke the exoskeleton of my heart
I  had built it up slowly
Adding small bits of chitin
A crazy-quilt of polysaccharidic protection
There were often barrages
of rocket-propelled words,
canisters of diminshment-gas
shaming IED’s,
but years of accretion
had hardened my inner being,
I did not feel her attacks any more,
an achievement made possible
by not feeling anything.
Then at the final blow
all I had squirreled away
all the anger, self-loathing,
somatic anguish, began to flow
leaking out of the crack slowly at first,
gathering momentum as the dam eroded
until the torrent was beyond bearing.
I became afraid to cry
for fear I would never stop.
Eventually  the storm passed, the waters leveled
and though the valley of where I had been was flooded
I found myself standing on solid ground
surveying the detritus of half my life
determined to salvage nothing
of the dreams and vows floating in the muck;
From this outcropping, my footing increasingly secure,
cool breezes of love, acceptance, flourishing,
flow all around me.
In front of me
lies a road I could never have imagined,
freedom to become myself,
populated with one’s smile as she sees me approach,
another’s kiss through scratchy beard,
a third’s head on my shoulder, her hair soft in my face.

Body Heat

She gave me a sodalite heart on Valentine’s.
I had been sloughing off grief;
God knows, there’s enough to go around.
But then I held her, cool blue, in my palm.
The thing about stone is that,
imperceptibly slowly,
your body heat warms it.

Things said to me in bed over the past 4 years and 7 months

It’s bigger than I expected
It’s smaller than I expected
That’s snack size
Size doesn’t matter
I”m a size queen
I don’t know if I’ll even feel that
I hope it doesn’t hurt, that’s way bigger than my ex-husband
You look slimmer with clothes on
You look heavier with clothes on
Your hair is so cute like that
Why don’t you take better care of your appearance?
You’re so handsome
I wouldn’t mind being flogged
are you ever going to touch my pussy?
I hate pain
Are those ropes hanging in the corner?
You make me laugh so much
I wish you would (fill in the blank with what their last boyfriend did)
I am falling more and more in love with you
Now we’re not just fluid-bonded, we’re fart-bonded
I think you missed a spot

Old Fashioned Makeout

My ad read, remember how exciting
old-fashioned make-outs were in high school?
We kissed, standing. Her date went to sleep on the other bed.
Lying facing each other, no one had ever touched me
exactly like that, barely grazing skin. I was fully inside myself.
The sky began lightening. She rushed out,
her dog had been in all night.
She agreed to see me again. And again.
I dropped her off with a kiss
4 1/2 years later,
last night.

First Date

She sits in my kitchen chair, I stand at the counter.
Safety requires my watching the knife;
we talk without having to hold eye gaze.
At least for now, I speak more truth this way.

Preachers

They stand in front of the parking lot
of an ethnic grocery, on the sidewalk,
screaming through a portable amp
about how Muslims and fags will burn
for millions of years unless, unless
they let Jesus into their life.
I love their arrogance, their presumption
that their homophobic, xenophobic Jesus
could save anyone, least of all me,
who, as I walk into the store, they single out,
perhaps because of my sparkle,
presuming incorrectly that I am gay,
I can’t imagine they even know what pansexual is,
and, what’s even more humorous about this
is that the store is owned by Lebanese Christians
and half the people going  in are Christians
from other countries, and sure,
there are women in hajib and headscarves there also,
all of us, Americans and immigrants, coexisting,
our common interest our taste buds,
I have been gifted great cooking advice here,
how to use a particular spice I am looking at
or how to prepare an unfamiliar vegetable,
salvation in the form of civility between strangers.
As I leave they ask me if I have found Jesus,
and I remembered a cartoon and said,
what, did you lose him again?

Always

Returning from a long day begun early
I had left her asleep in my bed
She left me a note on my keyboard
written by hand on blue paper
[now tear-stained]
signed, love you always.
The ways she makes me cry
are the best ever.

Tattoos

there are white lines
on the skin of my forearms
the involuntary tattoos
of her fingernails and once
a chef’s knife
 
those days where my mind
wants to trick me
into thinking it wasn’t so bad
I look at them
 
Someday I will sit
and have ink pierced into my skin
an easily visible design
that is about joy and not anguish
 
and I will never
have a tattoo placed as cover
over the ones I dare not forget
the reminders I survived

Things that make me go mmmm

dripping ripe slabs of watermelon
finding the solution to a design problem
the feel of cool breeze on sweat
warm, but not hot, beach sand under my toes
peeling a mandarin orange
the way impossibly thin shavings curl from the cabinet scraper blade
the taste of your pussy

Place

Is there any relationship
between the idea of a place
and the actual place?
Sunflowers bend in the breeze
in the small bit of dirt
they inhabit at your curb.
Standing, on my way away,
seeing them for the first time again
inexplicable minute variations in each.
A bee lands on one, unconfused,
it’s place and idea
inseparably congruent.

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