a pretty face won't pass for a mouth and being an asshole isn't cool anymore
you don't have to eat breakfast food for breakfast and
ignoring your parents isn't hot
today/ there is semen all over my tracksuit and
my favorite bodies spooning in my bed and
there is ice-cream in my belly and
i am dancing
inside of everyone there is a child who did something brave today
it seems that there is nothing here. you can’t puncture through; it just keeps slipping by. he said if i hide it won’t hurt. you said there was a lot of lightning. you know that when you wash a beard off you will see a little boy looking up at his mother. and you may look like a woman by your nakedness when a stranger wears his superman boxers for you. but you are still a little girl. looking up at your father.
we try so hard to act like adults. ripping off all our fingernails. leaving them everywhere. hoping no one notices. hoping to find a note underneath our pillows:
goodnight sleepyhead i love you.
i think about you on my scooter
i can shower naked with a hopeful friend
i can eye fuck a dozen strangers
i can stick my fingers in an 18 year old's mouth
for a moment/ feel powerful again
i pop wheelies on my scooter
i dip myself in sugar and glaze
i hug everyone in the room
and still want to be in your arms
sometimes there a room full of people and sometimes there isn’t
i'll admit it. i am getting sick of squash. overall the feeling of rolling into a small ball in the corner of a whole foods is incredible. making eye contact with the fruit man, using the restroom without needing to ask for a restroom code, etc. the majority of the day in front of me is seated in a chair with a comfortable back. only occasionally reaching for apple cider vinegar, celery juice, fake cheese. my hand is on my breast; the boring commonality of a single heart beating in a chest. perhaps i am not aggressive enough when i cross the street. i look nice, a body in retail. you could pick me up and spin me around until my shoes fall off my feet. alone in a room with a mini fridge, a secret drawer, a copy of caramel. the boring commonality of a single heart beating in a chest.
crack an egg on your head let the yolk run down
your pains got nothing to do with me. after a while i stop changing the expression on my face. your sweat begins to smell exhausting and a turtle neck covers all your scratches. it’s the fear i feel when someone comes running into the bathroom stall beside me. a coming into the house to eat the soup that is not ready. an underwhelming sensation of the tongue. a moving around inside of the mouth. the rubbing on the sidewalk and the wiping with the sock. the teeth biting without the toothpaste and the van in the dark. an eggy taste i didn’t mean to lick out of the stranger at the chapel. you figured it out. if you see me, say hello.
a crush without butterflies is just something to do
when i am sitting alone in a coffee shop i have this fantasy where you come running in and admit that all of the love songs you post on the internet are all about me and everyone in the coffee shop is crying and tilting their heads to one side and holding their hands over their hearts. someone next to me is looking at me and repeating the words i have a big fat crush on you! i have a big fat crush on you! i have a big fat crush on you!
people want the people thinking about them to keep thinking about them when they aren’t thinking about them back
right here in this tiny jar beside my bed is a big boy in a fetal position talking to
my hormones who are saying: look how strong we are! look how much energy we exalt! (rarely they have these conversations)
a lot of people are replaying this moment in their head and staring at the wall. i am looking to break a jar and regret the action of breaking it. i am looking for something
to do with my mouth. i don't exactly know what i mean by that but i mean it.
i don't know because i've been a good girl
i don't know if i should pierce my right hand sharp into the air
dive deep into my pants
because I've been a good girl
if i should summer salt myself against a butt,
tap a shoulder,
whisper to an ear,
because i've been a good girl
there are things which are meant for talking about
there are other things you should keep to yourself
i am so little. but i am so much
when i am crying in your mouth i am thinking of spitting up
all of this sand
renting a yellow van smelling of fresh sweat and french fries
and driving to a brothel
even if i wanted this i wouldn’t
because of all your eyelashes in my bed
we're squeezing too hard trying to use up the last lick of toothpaste when we should just throw it out
i've been walking around all day with dry toothpaste crust around my lips and no one told me
the noise machine is on but all i can think about is how i want to sleep but how i also want your head between my legs
four months i am the core of a russian doll
i live here, out of reach
i can't see it but i can feel it
we slinky inside of ourselves because we don't know how we're supposed to love what hurts us
I Need To Throw Out This Tangerine and Then I’ll Join You On The Dance Floor
At night, there is a rocking in my stomach. Like I drank a carton of milk. She tells me I don’t owe her anything. But I do owe her something. I owe everyone everything. I exhale all of my breath into every deflated rubbery balloon I see dangling from tangerine trees. I am the fifty something year old poet. I am the ear piercer. I am the ear piercee. I am the three young boys with British rock star haircuts. I am the red headed boy with spongebob pajamas. I am the autistic liberal minded girl. I am the man with the broken heart. I am the woman who made my bed for ten years. I am saba. I am the silky olive woman. I am the the professor. I am my brother. I am you. I am crying in a Prius. I am trying not to hurt the whole world.
I’m Glad I Fell Down It Was A Great Present
Every year once a year she cracks the shell and scoops the orange out of my hard boiled eggs. She feeds me lumpy green stew with sour squishy Persian lemons and says chamotse lechem while my brother and I lock eyes from across the table. Saba is here, but his head is buried in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. On Yom Kippur she walks to synagogue and is hit by a car
rolls down the concrete until a silky olive body lay in the darkness of the intersection. She cries and says thank you God. She only bleeds honey. Three angels in expensive wigs covered in cloth from head to toe pull her into their arms. When it is all over she says she just wants me to say hello. I know god is listening on the other line I tell her. She locks her doors and hides under a floral duvet cover with a flashlight and her father’s siddur. I can hear her muffled whispering through the telephone. Malcut Shlema, He is my king and He is controlling me.
if you hurt someone you are hurting the whole world
if your brother says you're weird he's probably right
isn't it a mini heart break each time your own blood stares blankly
at your way of being at your way of making
you can’t speak if he speaks for you
isn't it a kind of loss when you learn your parents are people
sleep walking through this scary day just like you
isn't it a form of death watching yourself crawl slowly away from you
your feet floating just above your own body
before you can be misunderstood
i really hope he falls in love before June 18th
in the eyes of the people around you
body in a pool of faces
i’m a body in a pool of faces
and i’m a body in a stranger’s bed
and i’m a body
round and tired and small
and hurting and breathing and
i want you to say only my body
not all bodies
i think of all the bodies
the hands the lips the parts
if i’m a body in a pool of faces
how should i know
i am loved?
i can't believe
i can’t believe. we were all born in the same room. then slipped into an edamame pod. when you go outside. don’t be surprised.
by the discomfort. you spent twenty years learning. to live inside
a crowded staircase. were told. to avoid them. were taught. the less you let the language spill. the juicier your lips were. were taught.
to wrap your body in cocoon. tearing. your body bursting through. in all the right spots. were taught. the discomfort. was not allowed here.
the day he collapses he doesn’t die
my brother says, whatever he doesn’t stop. i'm done i'm out.
by wednesday he has performed in seven circuses, three rodeo shows, and one bull fight. by friday his hands have become soggy bread and his head a balloon. the audience loves this. they pass him around
the picnic table asking for favors. at the end of the week when i finally get him he is lying on his side in smoke grey boxer briefs his face away from mine. this is all that's left of you? i ask. he looks to me and
when i’m sitting in a room full of strange bodies with different parts than me and it is my turn to open my mouth i fall into a pool of cold noodley water. my arms have gone my legs have gone and i’m too heavy to float. all of the bodies and all of their foreign parts are swimming in synchronicity around my torso. i’m starting to go under now, as they watch, my mouth opens and out screams a cloud of air
what i told you in the basement
i trace my palms and leave their print on your table. you hold your palm to mine and become an antelope. the antelope means you’re not listening. but i am listening, you say. your ears are now mossy green. you are swimming through olive water and open your eyes. you look for me. i am floating above your head, with my eyes closed shut. you call out my name. but i swallowed too much olive water and have seaweed in my lungs. you swim to me and pull the seaweed out like a clown pulling strings of cloth from his throat at the cirque de sole when amy came to visit and safta and saba were still in love. when her left hand still glittered silver under the light of the sun.
every time i walk this path there’s a new boy with a black eye. in the elevator i asked the boy what was in his suitcase. three guns, he says. his friend with one crystal blue iris, one brown, smiles to me. i love people too much. i smile gap teeth back. are you coming? i ask. i'm gonna stay here. someone’s bringing coke and i know you don’t do that stuff. i’m going home. to my childhood bed to dance in my underwear.
they told me to write down how i felt. i lost my favorite hat a few nights ago, underwater. and when i put my hand in the water it didn’t even swim away. how did this happen? it’s… beautiful. i’ve never been here before. a cool place in hell, covered in fingerprints in a poorly lit room. some late migrators stopping over in gloomy providence. my neighbors were having a fire. an accident, but i like it. colors are all I have. blues and oranges feel so good as a fusion. a big bowl of pink. i've never been here before. i'm getting tired of this, ava. are there two of me? it feels like there are two of me.
no mouth no eyes no ears,
the more you poke the more non-human you are.
hollowing, iron spewing from palms,
coated in gray, mascarpone, sugar, salt.
a message to my body: rip my skin off.
impossibility of separation, my body is
a belief system.
i give up. my hands are covered in clay.
i become beautiful again.
crying in a prius
at some point they will vomit in your mouth
and expect you to swallow
this is good
ripping off a young scab
peeling a green banana
burning a tongue on hot soup
if you know your heart can fall into your stomach
are you supposed to sit with your eyes closed in the dark
walk backwards your whole life?
you cradle your knees in your chest with your back faced to your lover
in the back seat of a Prius
watching overweight owners walk their dogs past your window
there are some people you are too nice to
and because you have such monster lungs
you swallow more air
you hit a narcissist right in his weak spot
i hit a narcissist right in his weak spot. as you can imagine, he tried to kill me. but not in the hot way. he had no teeth, and because learning how to walk can be challenging, i licked my lips and said goodnight without taking a brush of weeds to my tongue.
tuesday happens over and over again
i like to hear what the host says
in between the poets. i still can’t remember his name.
but he always finds something nice to say once a poem
if you don’t make a sound there’s meaning there. if you do make a sound
there is meaning there.
so which do you choose?
i imagine he chooses not to make a sound.
he says sometimes his head is like a table.
i imagine his head is a space for mugs and ashtrays and
the heels of rubber soles.
the way the fifty something year old poet says aquatic
like he’s dragging the last few letters of the word
through thick, sticky mud sounds
sexy. i think about the first phone call.
sometimes when he says those things
i have to bite my fist or think of something sad.
i remember the red headed boy with spongebob pajamas who tightens up in initially civil debates and takes out his aggression on the autistic liberal minded girl
whose tooth was bleeding once and no one ever told her.
the three young boys with british rock star haircuts
sitting in a coffee shop having silent conversations
with only their iphones.
pulling up to palm trees and an empty driveway not knowing
whether or not she will bring her soft, olive face to the glass window,
and point towards the left, signaling me to come through the back door.
the year i see the angry man with the loud mouth and broken heart cry
for the first time in an elevator somewhere in egypt
i turn and lick the mango from my sticky fingers. too young to hold him like he needs.
i think of the woman who made my bed for ten years and drove me to my first date
to “watch” harry potter and the deathly hollows. i tell her
i miss her. thank you for not forget me, she says.
when the professor tells us he is recovering from an injury
and that is why he cannot switch the lights back on in the dark
i want to get out of my seat
walk toward his lanky, tired body hiding underneath a wool turtleneck and overtly cliché black beret cap,
reach around his round tummy, and wrap my arms around him.
all of the things that have led you to be so lonely as you are.