I smoke my ecig underwater
I smoke my ecig and I read a book
Not underwater
I am in the bathroom
I am thinking about taking a bath
I smoke my ecig and watch the strip of light shining under the door to see if you walk by
I smoke my ecig and put my book down on the bathroom counter
I am underwater
There are coral reefs I want to explore
I check the light under the door
I mark my place in my book with my ecig
I dive underwater and become aware immediately that I am no different than a shark
I sit in one place with my legs crossed at the bottom of the ocean
I see the shadow of a boat row overhead and it is you walking to the kitchen
I scrunch my toes in the sand that is sharp and rocky
I think ‘home. i’m home’
I am a shark and if I swim to the surface you’ll see my fin
You’ll see my fin and be afraid
You’ll tell everyone to get out of the water
And I’ll be alone, underwater.
I start to swim to the surface
I see the shadow of a boat row overhead and it is you asking if I’m almost done in the bathroom
I turn around and swim back to the bottom.

We went out to Chinese food

and I kept imagining someone walking up and shooting us

and CCR played on the radio low

and a computer monitor from ‘98 and a phone book were on the floor

and the floor was some kind of pattern like feathery flowers

and there were cracks in the ceiling 

and you pointed at them and said they were spelling out directions to hell

and the gentle round woman came to take our order

and drops of condensation fell off my water glass onto my bare thigh as I took a drink

and the sun hit my eyes through the cloudy window pane and made my vision red and blue

and my face was shinny and pocked

and when the food arrived we ate it all in less than five minutes

and you asked me why I looked like I was going to cry

and I said I didn’t feel like crying

and you told me this is the year of the horse

and I searched out each last grain of rice on my plate

and said next year will be my year.

Goddamn I suppose
Even though I drank
Two glasses already
Living well, feeling squint.

I’ll become complex and you’ll shout.
I’ll feed the jokes everyday until they grow tall.

There are Camels and peanut shells on the kitchen counter in the middle of sweaty October. Clambering October. Did you mean to touch my leg like that October.

Of all the things a whale swallows in a day, why can’t one be me.

DONT WANNA TALK ABOUT IT

KATHY LEEVMEALONE

Man’s gashed hundred sided tantrum
Puckering his dirty face in a CVS parking lot
She can hardly stand him, can hardly look away
Two instances of possibility left to rot
Black eggs under an over-used bed
She doesn’t mind the flies around
Each form, she sees, a location
And she dances stranded on the ripped couch cushions
On his shoulders
Or sleeps until four
Man’s twenty two and sitting broken on her heaping tedium
She drops a tv out the window
But her dissension isn’t sexy anymore
Man says “we saved a bulging dawn.”
She cries “I’ll let my tongue creep out when I’m ready.”
The moon is a mirror they are only ever seeing their butter swollen glowers in
Several hours a night while they clasp at each other’s sad eyes
The bed doesn’t squeak anymore
Too fat with the echoes of their hungry voices whispering all of the untruths they can believe.

The dream is wet and white
Things come together and break apart warm mouth with the salts of lusting for chocolate eyes under most ideal diminutive state to feel my tongue glib on your neck I break through to forgotten ground overrun by a vined past reclaiming the smooth lights of the irredecent fire dance along your arm and torso throwing dramatic altercation scenarios and spaghetti western explosion mud face perfect American past peered at through a shoestring hole or an empty lock on an abandoned door.

She was so many angles doing

something in the kitchen

trying not to breathe the comet

gunk stayed on her thrumming features

skin going gluey

voice cracked and brain caked

I could see her shaking the room like a ceiling fan

when she shook out my laundry deeper down in my sleep rooms

she pours her coffee that is

more milk than brew down the drain

when I am younger

Men and women would fizzle in my teeth and hope for

new direction

Mangy kids, nostrils clogged,

would be in the playground

When I am scared of them she splits her honey toast with me

When I am scared for them she has me help her clean the tub

and listens to me sing

Our stomachs were a certain group of inches apart

Hers hung out like a soft bulb for me to plant my face in

when I was baby blue and puffy moon

The world sprawled out above me

I was waist high to most around me

Blinking machine holding gravity pulled

my made up stories off my tongue

and tried to trip me

and I’d get the teeth grits

that meant I was pressed balloon or groggy spurt

or I’d had my fingers bent back in a game of mercy

And I was bright pink

There she’d warm me long

take me out to the tree arms

roll me up and kiss even my running crud

Some nights I walked beside her to the woods

other nights I slept in laundromats or

ocean

Always safe to green my knees and

hang from her blonde loops

eating crackers or getting my knots combed.

In Response…

Funny how you
brush over lines, cool
you have been waiting to let me know
in time past
something that contradicts
time present
which you tell me
you’re not sure exists.
Yes I think I understand
this is a wonderful fluidity
these are beautiful drippings
concentrated, eyed in light
bared like your ecstasy
you can really suck on each edict
you can taste the seeds sprouting, sure
Below the flesh
the grace declines
the white motion of bone sounding static
dragged across the vacant hall of my mind
(the floors are carpeted, they snag, also,
absorb sound and make you doubt the endlessness of me)
My partial horror is not your judgement
not even
a little
tiny
bit.

What is called for is the security
to lean into my heels
and maybe further back than that
land in sometime different
not such a polka dotted, ramen noodled life
(but there was ramen, oh we had ramen)
not so burnt orange
instead, the big yellow smiley face painted on a t-shirt
wadded in a corner over brown shag, a section
secretly cut out
and three half dollars stowed beneath
fattening the floor
wallpaper undulating near the ceiling
above the top bunk
before the war when
everyone still smiled
when I
walked around the neighborhood
with my yellow Walkman and
Sherlock Holmes magnifying glass
In a place of affection
Was there even darkness?
How did the sun curve
itself around me that many times
and is that
where
hysteria
comes from?

Sometimes I want to end the poem with a
cairn of shrieking voices
grab you by the waist and
your excitement will make you too weak
to fight back
when I
scoop you just high enough out of the water
so that when I let go you are
caught in the un-being
of the thin line dividing laughter and breathlessness and asphyxiation
but it is hard to figure out what these words
Will do to any body
I am
Much better off to leave them fermenting
Until my whispers are ripe cherry tomatoes
That burst when bitten
And stain your lips for good.

He pares out the dirt under the finger nails of one hand with those of his other

He adjusts his wrists on the table back, so arms hang

The inevitability that her eyes would crawl out of socket like fungi, in curl, she knew

The poignancy of the air on her tongue from too little food, a drink

He tells her about his callouses on his hands

How thick they’ve gotten

How he comes home from work and his skin has cracked in places

He tells her that he’s not voting this year, he hiccups

It is hard to hold still, she uncrosses her legs under the table

Thighs like two white loaves on candy red vinyl, tacky with summer spell

He is not looking her in the eyes

She bites through the corner of her pita bread, rubs her teeth on top of it, her jaw clicks

He leans forward and draws her attention to the woman behind the counter, pointing

One fat finger like a role of quarters

He is always pointing at people

She is always swallowing gravel

Pride trickles out of his small gaps, destitution pitting around stubbled cheeks, pulled up, unbarred toothy shuffle of the always pallor bright side

She has acquired scholarship in choking quietly, knows how to fix her stare so that the proptosis is charming

He tells her he can’t sleep, the augury of his last doctor visit

His words have changed but his voice is the same as it was when it told her how to arrange the kindling

carefully in loam

before piling on the logs

She has always listened closely

She has callouses too

Each second Sunday stop in

Like stepping on the bristles of a  door mat, course, fraying

Welcoming her home. 

Live relive relive

here in this apparition a blessed ticket

back back back

of heels to the sand

a free fall

back

without patience a mellifluous night

hard leaving the red blue red green flash

rows of grape vines

unheard between us

glean from the ground from a grin

the dinging

singing

swing

a tall tower memory

acrylic dance under a yellow mystery

my mind follows deep tones

a merciless happy that begs my heart and sells me back

berry bloods

thorny and whole, a catacomb

like a gem growing under the cliff

relive relive

birthing and insistent

beautiful morning beautiful girls

don’t bother for bothering, just breathing and

reaping and clutching limbs manically

when the fences are jests

and we’ll drop over the sides

without caring for much

how can we?

we’re catching the rain

reliving

how endearing, the curdling insides of drunk and lightless domes.

I’ll get on the train too early
Find something smooth to run my fingers over
I won’t stop
No boundary speaking the what-to-do-now’s
the hot peach light of a fresh sun sticky on my skin
its everything I want
You see, I’m not so paper thin and permeable.

Two women read each other’s horoscopes beside me, one says
Jupiter looks into my eyes when
she thinks a secret is there
I don’t feel like any kind of a body celestial
or otherwise
In fact I’m mostly looking forward now
To when I reach into your head
and pull out long black ribbons, slick
A film to watch in hopes of finding the string that holds
the pearls around your mouth.