Nov 28


does it anger you, i wonder, 
when i do not write of prejudice? 

I think perhaps you love devouring my words, 
but only when they are about you, 

what is american culture but masochism, 
after all, we are rife with pain. 

does it please you, when you see your aging portrait 
hanging in the back of my poems? 

this is not a reenactment of dorian gray, 
or at least i hope it isn't, i hope you won't turn around 

and stab me when your portrait gets too ugly 
for even your own love of ugliness, 

you sins to monstrous for even 
the most devoted of lovers. 

but the knife is already buried, and at this point, 
you just enjoy watching us scrabble at it, 

so true, you nod, while we scream about the pain of it.
so heartwrenching, you say, while we're curled up on the floor. 

does it bore you, i wonder, 
Nov 19

to all the mothers that came before me

Mother,    your heart is a tragedy, 
& your family tree a well of pain. 
I think all daughters inherit their wounds 
From their mothers before them.
Gaping gashes are our inheritance,
The currency of our survival. 

Mother,         i am picking
At the bruises and scabs on my skin
They are the very same patterns that 
I traced on your body when i was a child, 
They say beauty is pain, but they neglected to mention
That only poetry can make pain beautiful,
And my pen has run dry. 

Mother,           we are something so ugly
Turned so, so good. We are the warmth 
Of an open fire and the welts it leaves on your skin, 
We are the brilliance of a sudden spark
And the darkness that is left after it, mother, 
Albert Camus said that beauty drives us to despair,
& you are living with no hope in your eyes.  

Mother,    i am a language that you can’t read, 
Oct 17

icarus falling

There are so many poems about icarus. i
suppose we all imagine we know what it feels like to burn, 
the first time i read that story i simply flipped to the next page,
if i wanted to hear of another pretend man who fell to hubris
& lay prostrate at our feet i would have turned on the tv.
nobody views the tale of icarus as a warning anymore,
he is our hero now, in all of his melted-wax glory,
our beautiful brave boy.
we are encouraged to fly close to the sun 
they tell us that at least when our wings leave red hot rash burns on our skin,
we will finally be beautiful,
finally be someone who they would consider fishing out of the ocean.
be a matchstick for our nights. 
there is a princess you left behind in the maze, icarus, 
there is a girl who you fed to the ocean long before you fell yourself,
there is always a dozen broken bodies behind any man (boy) courageous (arrogant) 
Sep 22

an ode to an aching space

I hold my mangled tongue
Inside of my mouth 
My teeth were always daggers
Waiting to fall out
I spit blood in the sink
And my reflection stares back
Like she knows what i’ve done 
I keep waiting for a monster to craw 
Out of my throat
    To vacate that aching space
That has begun to mean home
My body is a polite acquaintance
& i view it with amusement,
Counting my own ribs 
    Instead of sheep
       He is always looking for converts &
I stare at my bloodstained hands 
Before i leave a mark on his heart where his 
    God used to be &
My desert is full of empty bodies & broken altars,
I remember my mother's voice telling me that 
We bow to no man 
            So when he tells me to get on my knees
I spit instead & hear my own voice 
On repeat & repeat & repeat,
Ghulhu allah & ghulhu allah 
Aug 19

Unfolding (early)

To have your pages open 
in a third grade classroom was 
what I wished for every birthday.

While they filled me with percentages 
of a heritage, 
my history tasted like the fourth page 
of a Google search 

I emptied a silence back 
as if to say 
I don't know what I have lost, 
but I am not certain it isn't myself, 

for them to trace back to a hospital 
while looking at my body, 
             my birthright
like it is uncharted waters,

tell me, is there a lot of sand 
where you come from? 

but I imagine those arid mountains around me 
& their peaks tell me 
I do not belong,
         you do not belong 
is what I hear when that monster
of a question leaps off of their tongues, 
I trap it and 
play cat & mouse, guessing games, 
Jun 01
poem challenge: George Floyd

please (i can't breathe)

please, (I can't breathe) 

i don't know if any of us 
have been able to grieve in a while, 
i sit in my room and watch the country
go up in flames, as it turns out, 
the revolution is televised. 

the cops don't show up to out protest
because we're a small town, but I do see
an elderly man flip off a ten year old 
holding a sign, 

nobody wants to hurt anymore, 
i look at my hand and i am scared 
that a crumpled 20 dollar bill could be there 
instead of a pen, 

i watched a cop kill somebody
and still they're saying it wasn't a murder, 
it's never a murder if the murderer is white, 
you can't realise what power is until 
you kill someone and the world says it's ok
he had underlying conditions, 
it's just one mistake. 

please ( i can't breathe) 

sometimes i wish we could build 
Apr 22
poem challenge: CJP-COVID19

a collection of things in my room

i have always liked pretty things, 
so i painted over my body in acrylics.

i have always wanted a corner bed so i moved it, 
there are fairy lights around me 
pretending to be a halo like i was every good enough, 

there's a chain of little purple pillows with bells attached to them 
hanging from my window that was given to me by someone i don't care about anymore, 
but i used to, 

i have a heart shaped pillow that i got because it's lopsided and
i was afraid no one would love it. 

there's a little bench on the end of a trail near my house 
and i like to sit there and pretend i am like the flowers, 

i sit inside my room and i try not to cry

i like wearing skirts but i don't want to be called a slut 
so i lock them up in my closet until i am free 

i think that i think too much when i turn off all of my lights 
i want things to go back to normal. 
Apr 19
poem challenge: CJP-COVID19


I was never any good with writing beautiful things,
so I have to resort to painting tragedies.
I was never any good with watercolors. 

My hair is growing long, 
and I wonder if this is the end of the world. 
The tall pine trees growing outside of my house beg to differ. 
They have seen the end of the world many times and 0 out of those times has it actually ended. 
I thank them and go on my way. 

Writing is so hard, sometimes. 
I sit and think and think and yet not a single beautiful thing can pass from my pen.
Perhaps they were taken up by the flowers outside. 

Maybe poetry is what nature needs to grow and 
they've been taking all they need from my body as I lie in the midday sun.
I would have been happy to share. 

I am not sad. I am simply resigned. I've been inside for five weeks,
but it does not feel like a lifetime, in fact, it feels like a terrifyingly short moment. 
Apr 18


i hold honey in my tea and hope. hope is strangely like honey these days it never rots no matter how long we keep it in a dusty cupboard. i look outside and sparrows are singing and i think to myself if the world is wonderful then maybe we shouldn't be part of it. I think and think maybe that is my problem maybe I should be loving or doing instead of thinking but there is not much to do inside of a small house there is so much to love inside of this small house. I stare out the window and i pretend to scream, to release. I used to think it would be wonderful to be able to fly, so far from people, but now i think i have had enough of being lonely for a lifetime. saving the world is not how i pictured it, there are more small moments and long silences no exploding cars i guess if this is how the world ends then at least we were quiet at least we breathed in and out together, at least there are fish in Venice again, i hold honey in my teacup and i hope.
Jan 11

Amreekai means American

the story of my people 
is a tragedy, will drip with sadness
like a poets pen,

how could a land of poetry 
be anything but a tragedy, where the 
sky opens up and pours like a wound
like tears from a mothers face 
onto an unmarked grave. 

Amrika, the three syllables of their 
misfortunes, it tastes like the bitterness of 
dark chocolate when the sweet has faded, 
sticking to the back of teeth, 

i did not know that a string of countries could hold
so much pain, pain that sits in the souls
of every one of us, a gaping hole where hope used to lay, 

i watch the news and yet again,
our bleeding hearts are being help up to to the world
like prizes, and i want to tell you, 

begone, amreekai, you were never wanted here,
if only white hands could keep to themselves, 

but we still find your fingerprints inside the