Friday, December 30, 2016

Microculture: Knot

Comb your fingers
Through the threads
Of your history
Pull the fibers apart
Of every knot within
Look inside
The stitches of memory:

Recall every moment when
Instead of being a heart-shaped box
You chose to be a garden tool

Recall every moment when
Instead of being loved
You chose to be useful

Trying to gain unconditional love
With conditional behavior

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Microculture: Dysphoria

1. What comes first?

A. The right place?
B.The right time?
C. The right body?

2. How many times can you keep lifting weights until the weight of feeling like your body is too heavy to lift subsides?

A. 3 months ago?
B. By New Years?
C. In another lifetime?

3. If, by your choice, you could create a t-shirt of encouraging phrases friends and family offer you -- what would it say?

A. Keep up the good work!
B. You seem like you have a lot more energy lately!
C. 3 months ago, you were the smallest you've ever been.

To be a body is to be:

A. A mirror
B. A marble
C. Both
D. Everything, all at once.

Microculture: Ritual

Once again
You in bed
Covered in sheets as
Pale as the face of the moon
Choked in cold light
Arms wrapped so tight around your chest
That your hands can almost hold each other
Behind your back
Like a snake coiled so tight
With its own tail in its mouth
To form a seal rich with magic
For this nightly ritual

What are you holding in?
Who are you keeping out?

Monday, December 26, 2016

Microculture: Washing Dishes

How can you not
Enjoy the thought
Of something once dirty
Being made clean
And put in its right place
Again and again


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Microculture: Bald

I remember scrolling through
Old profile pictures of me
With you
Before I knew you
Before my hair was long

Upon seeing me with a bald, shaved head

You said
"I think I prefer your hair grown out"

So I kept it that way
It seemed like a small price to pay for love

When you left

I kept growing my hair out for another 9 months
Thinking I could entwine some strand of time
From the timeline in which you preferred me
Locked in the coils of my hair

So imagine my scalp's breath of fresh air
When I shaved it all off
Watched those tendrils of black drop like clouds of ash onto the kitchen floor
Like a timeline crumbling away to the honesty of a razor
And I looked in the mirror


For the first time in a long time
Felt as if I could be beautiful
Without your approval

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Microculture: Run

The best part
About going for a run
Is that moment when you finish
And you walk so you can cooldown
And you're listening to Mogwai, or Television, or Patti Smith
And you can see the pinkness of the sky
Bruise into purple before going black
Like the closing of a cosmic eye
And no one is fucking with you
And you think about what
You are going to eat when you get home
After you get out of the shower
And you think about six months ago
When he left you
To go cradle someone else
In his arms
And you think about how then
That was all you needed
But then you snap back to reality
And realize that everything you needed
Is cradled in the vault of the sky
Cradled in the arc of your headphones
Cradles in your slowing stride
As you walk to a place
You know you belong

Saturday, July 23, 2016

This Black Body Pt. 3

"For this is your home, my friend, do not be driven from it; great men have done great things here, and will again, and we can make America what America must become.  It will be hard, James, but you come from sturdy, peasant stock, men who picked cotton and dammed rivers and built railroads, and in the teeth of the most terrifying odds, achieved and unassailable and monumental dignity.  You come from a long line of poets, some of the greatest poets since Homer.  One of them said, The very time I thought I was lost, My dungeon shook and my chains fell off." -- James Baldwin, My Dungeon Shook

There are times when this body feels like a curse
Like a funeral shroud draped in shadow
Over bones bleached with the fear of being laid to rest too soon.
A doom inherited and passed down from generation to generation.
Gifted to us from a colonial dream.
As migrant ships cut black bodies off from the blood of their tribes.
No Yoruba, Kikuyu, or Ashanti to sustain them.
No Ogun, Mulungu, or Asase to shape their dreams with myth or origin.
Cut off from the source, love amputated from their veins
Chained by the weight of a history frozen in time
A static block sticking them in the back someone else's words
Sticking them so far in the back of someone else's history
Giving way to a tradition of men unable to love their sons
Taught not to love their sons
Lessons learned on trading ships and auction blocks
A cycle of diaspora passed down to a son by his father

Who inherited it from his father
Who inherited it from his father
Who inherited it from his father
Who inherited it from a colonist
Who inherited it from an auctioneer
Who inherited it from a ship captain
Who inherited it from a king

That constructed an economy
To mint my bones into currency
And weave my skin into a curse
This is how the black body is commodified
Itemized and systemized
To become a machine of labor
Designed to build a country and bear its history

But I am no machine
I am a black body that lives and breathes
Sparked by a flame that resides in my soul
To thaw myself out of this frozen history
And dispel the curse that has stuck me in time

Here I stand
With my two black hands
Raised up in personal rebellion
To swear an oath
To deconstruct my past
And shape my own future

Monday, May 30, 2016


When he told me he was leaving me for her
I became a puddle on the floor
I cried for weeks
Didn't eat for longer
Abstained from drugs and sex.

When I could eat again
I made sure it was only food that I could pull out of the ground
With my own two hands
As if trying to uproot a path
Back to The Source.

Life became a trickle
I inched forward, sluggish in time
Fluid, slow, dripping, and liquid
Like cough syrup
I wasn't sure where I was going
I just know that I wanted to be well.


There is a version of this story I like better.

In this version
I saw all the signs without being told
I just didn't say anything because
When you love someone
You want to give them the chance
To tell the truth
And when he told me
I packed my bags
Shed no tears
Wished him a good, good life
Wished for her to keep her eyes wide, and her mouth open
Because the love he gives moves in circles of convenience.

But this is version not my story.

In my story.

I don't buy chorizo at the supermarket because it brings up too many memories of cooking dinner for him.
In this story, I keep three questions up my sleeve for future lovers:

1. Will you place the bomb of your sex inside of me?
2. Will you be too scared to touch me after?
3. Will you convince me that it is my fault?

In this version I am a chemist trying to cook up a cure for betrayal.
I wonder what it will taste like?

Coming home?
Or closing a door?

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Wednesday, April 6, 2016


Dear God,

I come to you a humble queer
Who doesn't visit your house too often
I come to you as Lilith's blood and Adam's clay
Holding a prayer for protection
Between my folded hands
I come to you afraid

I am scared because
There are people who know you well
Liberated by your love
That want to bind people like me in law
They imprison my skin in paper
They pollute my blood with ink

They speak in two tongues
Shifting their words in doublespeak
We are (not) here to punish you
We are here to protect our beliefs
But when it comes time to pay the price
They never offer up their own tithes
They gather their money
From the pockets of our lives

What does their protection look like for me?
How does their protection play out in my community?

I still fall in love with men who are scared to touch me
With men who replace romance with repentance
I am not blood and body when they look at me
I am sermon and hellfire
I am the cold condemnation of a pew on Wednesday night and Sunday morning
I am goat and serpent
I am an empty vessel hollowed out for vicarious atonement

They demonize me for fucking
When honestly
Most of the time
I'm just working up the nerve
To hold a lover's hand
In front of a public
Who celebrates me
When I feel sad and gay enough
To write a poem about it

They don't treat me like a person
They treat me like a lesson
And they pay for their tuition
From the pockets of my life

Dear God,
I didn't bring you offering
I didn't bring you tithes
I come to you angry as hell
With a question tucked within my clenched fists.
Who needs protection from who?
Who needs protection from who?


Monday, March 7, 2016


We are before and after
On the mirror edge
Of time and space
Of gene and code
And chromosome

We a closed loop
A dragon swallowing
His own tail
A story told
Over and oral
Inside of time
Outside of control

A glitch in the message
Forms a bubble of half-truths
To burst from our vague belief

I am not the son or daughter you wanted
But I am the son or daughter you got
Bred into a lesson to be learned
Raised into a mistake not to be repeated
As I watched you love
So I learned the lesson
As I watched you break
So I learned to piece myself together again

The first time a man broke my heart you told me:

“Your capacity to forgive is far stronger
Than any harm a man could cause you.”

A bubbling half-truth


You forgot to tell me that I didn't need to go around
trying to prove that to myself.

But I think you forgot to tell yourself the same thing.

I have never had a man
Stand over me with a knife
In his hand yelling about
How he won't be played
Like a small child
While he throws
A temper tantrum
Like a small child
How you told me
At the core
Of every small child
Is someone who needs to be held

You were never around to hold me
Like Madonna held her child
You just checked in on me
Every now and again
To give me advice

Even as I try to move further from your way of life
I am pulled back closer to you
Like Eve to Adam's rib
We are bound
By genetic purpose
To achieve the same fate
Spiraling into control.

But I am hoping
Through glitch and half-truth
To break the system
Undo our programming

Because further along in the origin
Someone convinced us
That the only thing worth living for in this life
Was the struggle of being loved

I am tired of struggling.
Break my rib. Cough up blood. Gasp for air.
You gave birth to me.
But I will teach you how
To be born

Sunday, February 28, 2016


When love became a war
Our beds became a battleground
What landmines will I find
In the folds of your sheet
Under cover of my endless
Lavender night
I turn my face away
From the pale moonlight
So my face can't betray
My intelligence
While we negotiate
Our treaties
Under cover of bad faith

We construct our contracts
In a language
Inspired not
By the Spirit
Of consolidation
But out of fear
Of being deserted
By our allies

When love became a war
There was no communication
Just espionage
There was strategic truth-telling
Strategic omissions of crucial
Neglecting to tell
Each other what we know
Of our tactical formations
What general assumptions we
Had laid out based on the
Kernels of information
Our scouts had gathered
Under cover of a lavender night
Now the ghosts of our allies
Whisper the truths
We neglected to tell
Like the smell of lavender
Burning softly in the night

When love became a war
We rationed our affections
Treated love like
An exhaustible resource
When we really we
Were the only ones
Who were exhausted
When we took a sip
Of the love we knew
It did not taste
Like water in our mouths
It tasted like wondering
Where we could find
The next oasis
Wandering aimlessly
In the desert ruins
Of a civilization
That a spoke a language
That we used to know

When love became a war
There was no healing
There was just triage
Tying tourniquets
Around old and open wounds
No resolution
Just a sense of urgency
When we needed
Open heart surgery
To show us how
To beat inside
A rib cage softly
Our priority system
was red, yellow, green

Alleviate this urgency.
Please don't fail me

Take your time
Come back to me
When you have some to spare

I have to move on
There is nothing here
All patients can't be

Monday, February 22, 2016

Microculture: Arrival

Finally home
My best friend
Picks me up from the terminal
And drops me off at home
I open the door
And I'm greeted by someone I love
Someone that I want to love
Someone that I am trying to love

He is looking at me
Through my mirror
And is eyes say
Welcome home.

Microculture: Bus Ride

Sitting on the bus
Watching people
Unpack their baggage
And unload their stories
Onto their seats
Into the ears
Of the people who listen
Or want to listen
Or are trying to listen.

Microculture: Bus Stop

I'm waiting for my bus
On a cloudy day in Atlanta
Raindrops ripple into puddles on the curb
Cars ride along the highway
Like abacus beads being pulled
Along their thread
Counting down the time
Before they return home
To someone they love
Or someone they want to love
Or someone they are trying to love.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Sun Also Answers

In those small intimate hours
When night drips into day
I cloak myself in the cold death
Of a star
To tread in the light and shadow
Of an intimate truth

When the personal becomes
The becomes universal
We all must walk through
Our dark nights of the soul
I cling to this cliché
Like a lantern to brighten
The path ahead

I come upon
A pool of water
As still and calm
As an arcane mirror
The moon is reflected
Of its surface
It is as full
As a blood vessel
Threatening to break
To succumb to stress
And spill its light
Upon my frame

Its cratered face
Presses against my cheek
To whisper in my ear
Its breath smells like
The death and decay
Of every creature
That did not survive
The first impact

And it asks of me
What I am afraid to give:

First Impact
First Whisper
Look Within
Pale moonlight drapes itself across my knee

Please don't make me.
I don't think I'm ready yet.

Second Impact
Second Whisper
Look Within
Pale moonlight presses itself against my belly

Please stop.
I can't do this yet.

Third Impact
Third Whisper
Look Within
Pale moonlight pushes into my eyelids.

There are no words.
There are some things we share
by not talking about them.

In that final whisper
I feel the moon drowned out
By the rising sun
Ushering in a new day.

I thank him for what he's done.
He responds from atop his skyline throne
There is nothing to thank me for
I am only doing what I know to do.
And he continues his path
Along the bruised sky.

“I am only doing what I know to do”
I think I may have learned something.
I think I might have found my truth.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Microdream: Coruscant Rising (Moment of Peace)

I don't feel guilty about the past
The anger trembling
In my gut
Has calmed

Songs I thought
Would make me cry
Have me smiling like an idiot
As I walk down the street

I fall in love with strangers now
In the swift moment that our eyes meet
And we briefly bond
Over the joys and pains
We have experienced
But will never speak of
Wrapped up in the world of their eyes
A silent, fleeting bond
Irrevocable nonetheless

I forgive myself
For failing myself
For asking from you
What you were not equipped to give
No anger at you
Just compassion for your struggle

I let go of burdens
And am relieved from hate
Tears turns to laughter
Heartbreak becomes
Not a wound
But a rebuilding
My heart returns to gold
And I fly coruscant
Along the winter sky
Into the familiar arms
Of growth and healing

Monday, January 25, 2016



Go to class
Talk about philosophy
Your professor tells you that philosophy
Is the love of knowledge
Google philosophy of a breakup on your computer
Find 0 search results
Wonder what the hell philosophy is even for
Remember something about stumbling out of a cave
And seeing the light

Go to your first day of work
Fucking crush it in the meeting
Blush when everyone tells you how insightful you are
Try not to vomit because of the irony
That if you're so insightful
Why do you only realize things in hindsight
When they comment on how pale you look
Tell them it's because you drank coffee on an empty stomach
Remember how he always told you never to do that
Because he was worried about your health
And that he wants to be friends
Try not to vomit because of the irony

Prepare to vote in the upcoming political election
Think about how insincere it is for you to care about
Any issues like government spending
Because the only issue you care about
Is how efficiently and gracefully you can
Recover the emotional resources you invested
Think about how dumb it is for that to be political

See or hear about him with his new partner
Think whether or not his decision to be with them
Was a political statement or a personal insult
Realize that it's one or the other
The question burning inside is which
Remember what your supervisor said
Earlier at work today
“Everything is political”

Finally get home
Remember everything you've done in this house together
Turn out the light and crawl into the cave of your bed
Think about he could never spend the night
Because he was allergic to something in your house
Think about whether or not that was a warning

Sunday, January 24, 2016


I stand among fading columns
And a crumbling amphitheater
Spectator to the specters of
A time gone by so quickly
It feels like lifetimes ago
Passerbys with inquiring minds
Stop by and wonder

What was this for?
What did they do here?
Who built this monument?
It's such shoddy craftmanship.
How could they think this would ever
stand the test of time?

I am the only one left
With the answers to their questions
With the knowledge to unlock
ancient secrets.
With clenched fist
And heavy heart
I tell them:

This is where we fucked!
This is where we bathed together!
This is where we made promise, after promise,
after promise, after promise, on the premise
that we could love each other in the ways that we needed.

This is where our love fell down!
Where it crumbled to the floor.
Because it was built on the lie
that you could love me the way I needed
And that I could trust you to do so.

Now the history of our civilization
Sits squarely on my shoulders
Gestates in the squirming chasm
Of my gut
And for the first time
I wish I didn't have
The heart of a poet
The heart of someone who can
Spin beauty from horror
There is no beauty in this
I would rather the heart
Of an archaeologist
Or an historian
Someone who can look upon the past
And not be sad that it's over
But glad that it happened.