In the ether of dreams static noise superposed
on head highs & heightened to compromise in
a vial or is it vile to have slipped off one skin for old
blisters freshly picked at Railroad terminals reveal
micro-tears in tendons creaking bone to bone &
tears have carved valleys in my wrists paved by one-
way interstates that need toxins to reverse Drip
mélonges of meds make me an infant again Up
next Amy Winehouse unmuted over an intercom
off-white Phased out in checkboxes & numbers
from Not at all to Always Philadelphia owns this
piece of me ghost-facing on dorm roofs pulsing
Weezer through the dynamo of half-night seducing
strangers in the bowels of a city with its back to
tomorrow & I stand on the yellow strip a mile wide
below 30th street hoping not to be seen Neon bulbs
for every ICD code electrified by Nothing to track
now but the days since I siphoned every breath
into highs & lows measured out against a cork board
tacked up with strips of my flesh stitched back in
simulation but only while it lasts
In the future the Earth is slow-roasted in the bulging waist
of the Sun if not sooner (perhaps we count years in drone
strikes) Nat Geo program depicts an underworld under huge
swirling storm all red glowing (so maybe us sinners go to
Jupiter after we die) & I don’t believe so maybe I’m that part
of the sky stars avoid I think Every sentence an analogy: if I
am a planet the surface of me deep inside clouds of titanium
but when you peel back the crust another universe breeding
carbon dusk (to think that there are diamonds beneath
a hellfire) & something like it so close to a red giant like
a dachshund nuzzled up against the breast of a mother
so hot it hurts to touch (the mother being that drugged-
up sexed-up fantasy of fucked-up poet) but I’m more tweaked-
out than poet I believe a universe nested in each universe so
as to believe galactic emptiness is the way a diamond throws itself
into light to make more dimensions of light (where in one Sunday
morning is not reliving the night I surpassed the end of my body
& pretending to regret it) yesterday I tripped on acid & some guy
with Jesus hair told me where suffering becomes celestial
I can’t give you the satisfaction of ending
on a period Call it furlough instead A resolve
to resolve nothing more permanent than a feeling
That everything has an axis and it is spinning
off it for example This world out of an embrace
with space itself & you are caught somewhere
in the exchange of smoke for powder & one
cannot exist without the other in battle so
Open swallow release your finger from the dial
& listen to the static as it dies away Away from
your head spinning off its axis is Your neck is
the thing that supports your habit of being kissed
in all the wrong places Your body an antenna
satellites orbit and now you signal something
close to quiet
queer girl prays to god herself. queer girl in the front seat of a ’99 Chrysler, hair pulled back, eyes level with the steering wheel & learning to ride the joystick for the first time. queer girl on couch in front of therapist among half-assed corporate nods to queerness. queer girl exposes a mind in layover overlaid with overpassing trains full of bodies never sanctioned in the bedsheets that morning & any day now waiting for someone to depart for her, always apart from her so few of them she waits for one to become a part of her. queer girl’s joints creak bone to bone as she holds up a platform of bodies touching & disengages the one against her palm. a few wheels spin the right way & it is time to go. the light flicks to green & queer girl is caught in the exchange.
quiet. disentangle from the spine backing the book of all your yesterdays.
unlearn your hands to start: the base of your fingernail, the skin that binds
the nail meets the page meets the binding, & tear out the pages. ink your
name in your grandmother’s tongue when you remember the letters of an
alphabet you only learned through the stages of her depression, inherent
the names of addiction as the ones who held you when you held your knees
to keep from giving into one long spasm of sound, then quiet. then ringing
again, & an apology for something you can’t even name. maybe you’re sorry
for taking up too much space on the bed so they have to sit at the end of your
body, cradling your head. maybe you regret that there is an end to your body
& that you want to find it. tomorrow finds you stained on the sheets, condensed
sweat, a name traced the last time it rained in vapor clinging to the window,
waiting for someone to tell it to dissipate again, & maybe not come back.
the ashtray still on the night table. you promise to sweep away
the burnt ends when you go.
lately, night has seemed more like emptiness than a fabric of stars.
rejected daughter left home to repave her veins
with each new expatriate of her body.
baltimore has since become a vacuum,
soundless without the matter to cry into.
words can’t shield a bullet
but they can carry rivers.
perhaps the cosmos is already populated & we are late to realize
we are not alone. maybe they live among us. maybe no one
has to explain to them that gender can make a body queer,
or show them a rainbow where red is the first line in a paragraph
of oppression. maybe they’ve whispered the names forever
grounded in orlando, as if in purgatory, bodies craving wholeness
instead remembered by the hole between their eyes.
the current of america is immutable.
barrel of the gun always aimed downstream, capitalist trash
lodged in the rocks, caching minerals. man kisses man in gay bar
& the last thing to enter his body is a bullet. woman holds
woman’s hand in north texas & man spits slurs in her face.
man wears dress one day & blood the next. in america,
the night sky is a t-shirt punctured with bullet holes for stars.