Oct 21
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The West

here, the graves 
are worn away 
by the rain. here, 
the city is clean.
it tingles. glass 
and demolished 
cathedrals are 
ghosts, carrying 
bells they only 
ring in summer.
here, you let 
an epitaph hover
between your 
throat and lips
because the only 
sacred thing
is what you still 
haven’t said. 

Oct 09
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celestial bodies 
are the antagonists 
of my inner tides. 
the moon pulls 
and the sun boils 
until all I’m left with 
is the tang of salt.

Aug 31
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The church was locked. I rattled the handle, trying to force my way through the smoked glass door. It was noon and hot. I just wanted God or Love or Shade or perhaps to drink the Holy Water. I cursed the pope, slammed my fist against the cherry wood frame, then turned back towards the street.  

I stood in the middle of the road, my fingers splayed, the sun pouring over my head, in through my hands. Slowly, I walked back towards my house, retracing the path I had etched down the hill.  

This is what four years have come to: a school in the distance, an empty church on a hillside, a road, a home.  

Should I pray? Right here on the concrete, between steps? 

Or should I wait till next week?  


here is the church 
and here is the steeple,  
and here are the doors  
and here are the people.  

I feel only my bones, 
curved into trusses  
Aug 05
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No Helen

You’ll never understand Sappho, 
because you don’t read Ancient Greek 
or the hidden pages of history 
where we scrawled our passion,
with sequestered longing, desperate and dear, 
like a message in a bottle, left to the sea,
to the shape of our shapeless love.

You'lll never understand how reading Sappho
is like finding myself, in a boat, in a body, 
how the map of love finally has texture. 
I know you don’t want to read another love poem 
to a faceless woman, but I have not yet found her face, 
but she is no Helen. She has no men 
on which to triangulate desire.  

Jul 26
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New Pollen, Old Soil

Growing up, I didn’t realize there was such a thing as a conservative intellectual tradition, or, to be honest, even a moderate one. I assumed (in a similar vein to people on the far right) that all real thinking was being done outside the mainstream. In the bubble I was raised in, people read Noam Chomsky and Charles Eisenstein like the bible, attended conferences on Ecoterrorism and how to build your own permaculture communities, embraced the idea of defunding the police before it was an Instagram slogan. The New York Times was a fine place to get basic news, but if you wanted a real perspective you had to go to The New Republic or Mother Jones. Anarcho-Communism was not a radical ideology, rather a natural and necessary next step for human civilization. 
Jul 23
poem challenge: Freedom
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Above the Dirt

I’ve left the round earth behind. 
Above her curved back, I wait 

to feel my feet again,  

to be more than a giant who holds
the sun in his cracked palms. 

to be more than a subversive symphony
of fists and unborn moths, 

fighting gravity’s flame. 

Jul 22
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To Lorca's Missing Grave, To Franco, To Those Who've Left the American Flag a Bloodless/Bloody Blue and Black

Okay, so I am a bit embarrassed because this is like the fifth ode to Lorca I have posted on here. But sometimes you need obsessions. They are something through which you can channel your passion. 

True patriots always die because it is dangerous to love something so easily set on fire.

(Love is something easily set on fire.)  

Oh, Lorca, you loved your country, but your country gored you on the horns of its bulls, 
of its sacred beasts of cruel geometry, who knew nothing of the ritual that created them.    

Can’t you love yourself and love your country and love the country that exists inside yourself? 
Can’t you love the dirt and love the water and love the wind that leaves new pollen in the streets? 
Can’t you love a man and love the church and love the candles that turn into burning pillars? 

Passion is more than its fiery culmination. Lorca’s Spain was more than its murder.
Jul 22
poem challenge: Freedom
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There are boulders under my feet, songs with so much shape they can only be felt like they are the curved backs of our galaxy's multitude of suns. 

The sun is inside the earth, the earth is inside my stomach. But the mountains, they break the horizon, shattering it like a flock of birds shatters our notion of what is whole. 

I rise to my feet, to the window beside my bed, to the ocean beside my street, to the sky beside my ground, and I sing because the globe is too big for me to see.

Jul 16
poem challenge: Freedom
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Nothing but Blue

Is it strange that Mary Oliver reminds me of Hafiz, 

especially in the irresponsible dawn hours when I feel 

like I could swallow God even before I swallow

my dreams, when the ghosts of swallows still dance

in the light of an echoing sunset, when there is 

nothing but blue inside, between these white pages?

Jul 15
poem challenge: Freedom
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Open Veins

I sit cross-legged in the raucous silence of the moment, 
contorted into a preschool nightmare of tangled thoughts and tangled feet.  

There is no freedom in meditation. It’s just a window you can't fit through. 

When I was little, I was told to watch for broken glass as I ran barefoot along the beach. 
No one warns me to be careful now, because It would be a grace 
to cut myself on the sharp edges of the world, to open my lungs and scream.  

I’m scared, you know?

I’m scared I’m going to sit in this bed forever until I run out of words, 
until I run out of air, until my blood grows tired of the same old racetrack. 
my belly is full of things I have filled it with, not God, as I like to pretend. 

It’s full of stale springs and half-heard hymns and the vestiges of virginity. 
It’s full of artichokes and quesadillas and black rice pudding and pasta. 
Jul 13
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People Who Read Too Much Have Opinions on Henry Kissinger

people who read too much have opinions on Henry Kissenger

my friends tease me for my long rants on Ceaușescu and Communism and how if it wasn’t for Climate Change Norway’s management of its oil reserves would be Close to Commendable.

I pretend to know right from wrong and the xy shape of history.  

but people who read enough/ and enough is often way more than too much/ don’t have opinions on Henry Kissinger/ because the more numbers you know the harder math gets/ and Henry Kissinger is just a math problem/ an undefined ratio/ with genocide on the top/ and the Cold War on the bottom/ but is there really any way to know what American bombs destroyed in Cambodia/ or whether a theoretical armageddon helped to deter an actual one?
Jun 29
poem, essay challenge: Heat
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The Earth and the Sun

I fall asleep reading about duende, reading, radiating duende. That’s what Lorca’s poetry does: it causes my grandmother’s pitched voice to tremble with a terrible softness, like the moon liquified and stored in a jar. God, I’ve used the word duende, the second most sacred name, so many times lately. I’ve used it to explain everything that can’t be explained. I hope I haven't cheapened it with desire.

The begonias are burning, I’m imagining them burning. They are pinker than my sun singed skin, so pink they are almost red. For a moment I trick myself into believing that the Spanish street names are more than an echo, that the baked brown hills of Santa Barbara are the Andalusian mountains Lorca rhapsodies over. As I trot down to the dust strangled creek, I feel a piercing, euphoric scream rising in my chest: Seville to wound! Cordoba to die in! 
Jun 26
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Soft Clay

she wakes like soft clay, 
a notion pressed onto her face 

the morning is as blue 
as a low-timbered evening. 

low enough to sway to, 
vibrations etched into cracked lips 

but a sip of water 
would cause collapse.

Jun 18
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Before you jump

Last night, I went down to the water just before it got dark. I sat on the seawall with my knees close to my chest and smelled the salt. The water was grey, but it reflected the burnished purple of the sky. How many times have I skinned my knees on those rocks? How many times have I broken myself open and gotten sand in my wounds? I feel rugged and ripe. I suppose that is what comes from living in a beautiful town situated on a crumbling cliffside.

I bruised the seagrass until it smelled alive.
Jun 02
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In the Morning

In the Morning, I listened to Classical Music. 

I was a Child, the piano an escalator. we danced, the stairs and I, shackled to heaven’s baroque architecture, to the Music’s swollen joints. our Knees creaked, lamenting: we’re as old as Mozart, and he only lasted a couple of decades before he expired into History.  

I was Scared of being a Child. 

the Sun hurt my eyes. the dew took too long to evaporate. I hated the fact that I had never tasted coffee. I told my mother that I wanted granola instead of Peanut Butter Puffin Puffs. 

the Day was a Cathedral. 

us Children built a society, a city in the Rose bushes. we bent the brambles into arches that could support the weight of our Symmetry. we made our world into something delicate. and our Bones were stretched, de-calcified. 

In the evening, I read High Fantasy.