Friday, March 10, 2017

I Wouldn't Say

Dimwit. Such a terrible
word. I have always felt it in the gut
like meaningless malice,

a punch, not cut. The sort of thing
fools say to fool friends.
It’s the kind of name

one flings around. The kind of thing
I wouldn’t say
for fear of dirtying my mouth.

But I’ve been wrong about so many things,
I think—can’t help but think—
and you are not so bright.


I am alone with him again. You,
promising, powerful, elsewhere.
I am alone with him
in a room
with no doors. We sit.
The walls quiver

a little. When I put my hand
to the wood I can feel them,
as if the wall were skin and I: on the outside
of an inside-out womb,
and the world: getting ready to be born.
It makes me feel a little better
that there are things I cannot see.

What They Say About Vampires

It’s not true, what they say
about vampires. One jumped through my kitchen window
yesterday, started mincing garlic with a paring knife
like it was nothing. I stood in the doorway,
speechless. When he served the spaghetti, I sat.
When he asked for the salt, I passed it.
When he bit my neck, I let him.
It was noon and the daylight did nothing.

The Irrelevant

The fear that white men feel today
of Chinese-Mexican robots taking their jobs
I knew in the womb: born knowing
there was some mistake—my brain
and body weren’t designed for this
strange terrain
where ghosts and heroes move so fluidly
the world seems like a second skin to them.

I did not know the word privilege,
the name Karl Marx, identity politics
and the need to pray
that yours is chosen by the loudest voice.
But I knew, I knew, that there was some mistake.


When I was young I was the center of the world;
everyone else was equally peripheral.
Now I don't know.
There are so many words—
left, right, low, high,
upper, middle, lower, useless—

Forgive Me for My Temperature

My love, forgive me for my temperature.
For tucking ice feet between your thighs at night
and stealing your slippers in the morning.
How could you understand? In you,
memories boil and bubble over.
Strangers become bright embers in your chest.
Even your ideas are infant flames.
Why would you steal what isn't yours?
Believe me, please: it's not that I am cold. I just
can't regulate myself—heat too hot,
cool too cool and can't warm up.
There is a fire deep inside me I can't trust.
Maybe when I'm wiser—until then,
maybe you could let me use you still
for boiling in.