in which nothing i wear is put back in the closet

As for me,
I wear my pretty like a 5th season.

Shoulders sticking out from under the lace straps,
I wear my body like planting flowers in snow.

When I wear my body in public,
I wear it like apology.

And when I’m home, looking at my body in the mirror
is like trying to plant daisies in minefields.

I wear my body like a day-job.

I wear it like last season’s harvest
and I wish I was careful what I wished for
when I begged for rain.

I wear my body like a box in the attic.

Most if it is photographs,
most of which I cringe,
and I find it beautiful.

To be able to see your body,
without seeing yourself in it.

I’m still afraid of death but somehow
it comforts me to know that,

even as a ghost,
I lived so fiercely.

This is not my body.
But I wear it like a battleground.

And when dysphoria seizes me-
when I hear gunfire erupt from under my skin,

I dress my body like a minefield
and I wear it like a graveyard.

I wear my ghost like today.
And my body like tomorrow.

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2017 looks a lot like history

It fucks me up to think that
we only measure time
from when we decided
to start counting it.

That if we started counting from the exact time of Earth’s creation,
this saturday might technically
be a thursday.

February might have already passed.

That picture I took of the moon earlier
has a date written on it
that might not belong to that night.

And isn’t that
fucked up?

That we started counting
without knowing what the start was?

That when Jesus was born,
we called that time “zero”.
Called it year zero and
every year after that had a number?
How every second after that
was a second away
from the time this man’s existence
was a first?

And I laugh to myself.

How in 2017, I still see articles with titles like:
“first black woman to ever…”
“first transgender woman to ever…”
“first muslim woman to ever…”
“first woman to ever…”

How we call the time before these “firsts”:
zero,
even though history clearly shows there was plenty before them.

History clearly uses BC,
as in,
Before Christ,
as in,
before zero.

History clearly calls BS,
as in,
bullshit
on your prejudice.

But apparently,
history
doesn’t
count.

on why i stopped yelling back

snowballs, spitballs,
& speculations about your sexuality:
slurs on the street can never guess.

if you do respond, you’ll never prove them wrong.
you’re not you to them.
you’re green jacket and long hair.
you’re earbuds and quick step.
you’re easy target.

say nothing & they fill in the gap of
your personality with what they’re
already convinced of.

say something, give them a droplet of
the ocean that you are, & they’ll try to drown
you with a different kind of depth.

so if they’ll only remember you by your
quickened pace & call you anything but
your name,

know that almost 100 % of the stars that
we see at night are just optical illusions.
the actual star lies a little bit to the left.

or a few light years to the right.

steel framed heart

1.

When you first stepped
into my love,
your welcome party
had a warning sign.

Was an
“Are you sure?”
Was an
“I’m force meant to fly
& I’m stuck climbing.”

And when you said yes.
That you’ll take it,
you’ll come with me,
where-ever it is I’m going,
no matter how scrawny my legs,
how tired my wings.
No matter how little we see of the sky,
you’ll be there.

Mid-fall, we clutched to cliff-side rocks
and called it home.
Survival became our home.
I became your home.

Not like home-home,
but like shelter-home.
spending-all-our-daylight-in-city-square-home
& I-need-to-get-away-from-this-house-home.

2.

I asked you to stay.
You said yes.
Then I confessed,
there’s a reason this came to happen
so quickly.

I’ve been waiting.

I’m not hung up on my past,
it’s just that I’ve made my ceiling a doormat
& my heart is three walls.

I don’t know if three walls is welcoming,
or if three walls is a trap.

My throat
is a stairwell.

People have mistaken it
for an open door.

Make sure you don’t trek mud
but when you climb up,
you’ll see the attic.

It is full of boxes of who I used to be.

This storm once broke all my windows
so wind keeps blowing in.

And it’s not like I’m hung up on my past or anything,
it’s just that dust never seems to settle.

I still feel guilty about it,
but I asked you
to help me clean up.

You said yes.

Then, I became an apology.

But we called that counterproductive so
I never warned you again.

3.

You get home.
I’ve made muffins.

They have chocolate because you’re cute and I love you.

They’re vegan because animals are cute and I love them.

I sent a pic of it to my mom because she’s cute and I love her.

I posted it on instagram
&
it’s not that I have the weight of the world on my shoulders like this,
it’s just that sometimes I need to carry its approval.

And I’ll cheat out on my warning-sign rule the same way my mom sometimes adds butter to things without telling me,

darling. You should know that

4.

sometimes,

not matter how beautiful you write me in your words,
how masterpiece your hands carve – caress my skin,

no matter how often I am convinced,

still,

nothing makes me feel prettier than an empty stomach.

And no matter how many times we say yes,
all it takes is one no to bring this whole house down.

But for now,
I think we are still too busy building.

Please,
let’s not worry with the details
of the descriptions of our jobs.

I don’t want
either of us
to carry warning signs
in our throats.

Falling rock is
inevitable in this wind
& yes,
some of it we placed on the top
hoping for better weather.
I know you didn’t mean for it to shift.

Darling,
just help me build.

a happy poem.

This is my happy poem.

This isn’t my
sex and gender aren’t the same fucking thing
poem.

This isn’t my
I can’t believe I’m still fucking protesting this shit
poem.

This isn’t my
I’m scared of people
poem.

This isn’t my
I hate everyone
poem.

This is my happy poem.

This isn’t my
I found out I was queer at the age of 9
poem.

This isn’t my
I begged god to kill me at the age of 10
poem

This isn’t my
I tried to kill myself at the age of 11
poem.

This isn’t my
I had to wear long sleeves for three summers in a row to hide my self-harm scars
poem.

This is my happy poem.

This isn’t me
standing here before you,
telling you,
bragging
about how much I’ve
bled.

Figuratively.
And literally.
And it’s funny, now.
And I laugh about it, now.

But it is mine
to joke about.

Your privileged life and
vacuum of empathy do not give you
right to crack jokes at my suffering.

I take the blood in my hands and I
make finger paintings
and poems
and strength
and draw pictures
of jokes and humor.

I draw
really inappropriate pictures
of dicks because

I find really inappropriate pictures
of dicks to be
really fucking funny

and I laugh at them,
but you.

You don’t get to make
rape jokes or
gay jokes or
trans jokes or
racist jokes or
sexist jokes or
suicide jokes.

You don’t get to paint shit
with other people’s blood.

Although I have been drained,
I’ve never been empty,
so no,
you don’t get to use me as a canvas.

Get your own fucking band-aid.

This is my parade
and right now, you
are in the sidelines.

You can take your
“just a joke” -s
and
“lol triggered”
and
“chill”
and
shove them up your

happy poem.

Because that’s what this is, right?

This isn’t just you being an asshole.

This isn’t just you being full of shit?

This is my happy poem.

smoke // closed curtains

You call me cold and distant
because I don’t play by your rules.

Your model citizen hand fits perfectly
in the molding air of a pointing finger,
of blame.

But what do I do with all this fire
that I do not start,
this flame?

The warning sign in my throat tells you to
never leave a burning candle unattended.

But we both know what will happen.

I will be in a dark room,
doors and windows locked,
burning up all the oxygen

until your childhood bedroom
smells like roasted chestnuts,
or vanilla beans,
or whatever bite-sized thing
you fucking want me to be.

And you will know what it’s like
to choke on your own memories.

They say
the bigger they are,
the harder they fall.

But my pulsing heartbeat of a flame
will fall gently and rest on your blankets

until you open the door and the fresh air
will have me erupt into a fiery dance.

I will
burn your
fucking
house down.

Darling,
I will
be the fire
in your loins.

I will
take your breath away.

I will
burn.

And you will
catch fire.

been writing this same poem for years

Since I have already been handed
one too many maps to my body.

We’ve established that it is buried.

At least, I know what’s it’s like to be
too tragedy
to be alive
and
too alive
to be forgotten.

Too alive
to be left alone.

Is this what equal rights,
i mean,
extra rights,
are?

To have your coffin
upgraded
to a lounging room.
To be able to walk around
the events,
maybe even be a little
productive
and bury yourself.

Somewhere between trampled and fighting back,
I am the vines around neon sighs
that do a better job that the lights
to get you to ask yourself if I’m
worth the hassle of entry.

Somewhere between tramped and fighting back,
I’m the flower that hates its body
for growing around the foot that stepped
on it. You call it survival, i
call these genes battle scars.

Somewhere between tramped and fighting back
withered under the weight of holding back.
I am spitting out dirt,
I am
digging
my way
out.

jetlag heart

Fingernails dirty from metro seats and old church door handles.

Hand twitching as yours pressed mine down those white hostel bed sheets.

The same all-day meals of kiosks and ginger-flavored water.

Wrapped around your body at night, sleep felt like a thief of time.

Once I got there, I itched to tear my two-way ticket in two.

But the week ended, and I am sleeping in my house again.

Not hearing my name from your lips for a while does things to me.

I slow into a book bound in skin, with white fleshy pages-

they’re blank and the ink of fingerprints can be washed by rain.

I tore out the only chapter I’ve ever written for you.

Got to the airport and stuffed it in my pocket for the flight.

The rainwater that I carry smudged it and got to my throat.

But you have got to understand the situation I’m in.

Imagine loving a person and being scared of people.

I write my anger, lick the pages, and count the calories.

I guess my happiness wound up somewhere in the lost and found.

I’ve started telling myself to not let people read my skin.

To not write my name onto their lips and have it be washed down.

And this world might have made me hate my ink, rip out my pages.

But, fuck. Listen to me say I want to write more stories with you.

 

purple patch

“I just want to read and write all day.”
sounds like something an artist would say.

“I despise the educational system
and I’ve just been feeling so
inspired to bleed lately”

which is to say

“I’m an emotional wreck right now
and I’m telling the world about it.”

I recently wondered about why I adore
sad, cruel, ugly poetry, but
never positive poems. I concluded that

I have ways to share my joy.
I have people to be happy with,

but I’m always alone when I’m sad.

I don’t need to relate to smiles and
letting go,

I need someone to tell me that they’re
fighting monsters, too.

I don’t want to hear about your good days,
that’s all anyone ever talks about.

Just tell me I’m not going crazy when
all I can think about are these tremors.

Don’t talk to me about reaching
when we’re both seeking shelter.

George Orwell writes about purple passages.
Unnecessary but beautiful paragraphs “in which
words were used partly for the sake of their sound.”

So, when I go out with friends on Friday nights,
grab lunch with my mom,
apply to college,
go hiking,
I wonder if I’m doing these things
just for the sake of their sound.

Even though people who read it
can’t fully understand,
they don’t care as long as it keeps the pages turning.

Maybe, I can’t find happiness in poetry
because it just isn’t there.

And perhaps, when I can manage
a nod in agreement
and participation,
these moments locked in time,
left to be remembered and
bettered by nostalgia,
will be a textbook case of
a purple passage in my life.
A purple passage in “a work
that is dull, commonplace, or
uninspired.”