I Swallow the Seeds

I swallow the seeds in every bite; juice
floats down my chin. I run naked, screaming
toward a nest of honey bees. I relish—
the barbs embed my stomach, my arms,
my face and legs. The venom blitzes
through my blood, screeching in
my arteries. The bees, slower, flutter
around my rage and hope until they
drop—from the air—dead. I make
desperate angels in the corpses
begging every God I can invent
the names of. As the twitching stills
into silence, the Queen shuffles from
her home and, bearing a grief so profound
curls herself gently, her soft and fragile,
into the psalm of my hand. With great
effort, she unsheathes her weapon and
offers it to me with quiet dignity.
Understanding, I accept the blade and
hover it above her wrinkled fur. I wait
for a moment, for last words—
of which I know she has none; still
we breathe out in unison, and I
plunge this through her tensed body
and into mine. She writhes, wraiths—
no complaint, contempt, or spite
Tears and tears on my skin, I cry.
I swallow the seeds in every bite.

Threnody four: the morning

God died today. (By God, I mean
Myself, and by today I mean now)
that sun and plant and bed arenot.

God died in a fire today. (By fire
I mean a real fire, big with prickly
fingers) God died today. He really

did and he meant it. God died in
a Fire today. (By fire I mean God
and by fire I mean myself I mean
I mean the fire and by God and
by fire I mean myself and by—no
By God, I mean fire by fire-God
—                                      it’s not
I mean by myself I fire the God
—wait. God good Good god by
Fire I mean wait for me to come
Home I mean by Fire the God is
a Gun and—no, think. The order
Is all wrong I think the Order is
First myself then fingers, the fin-
gers, then fire, then fire, then fire,
then gun, then God, (Oh god.)

A Bathroom-Shaped Closet

I was called a faggot today.
Then I was called a tranny—twice
actually, once by a stranger and once
by myself, alone, not lonely
in the bathroom I am locked in.

My eyes in the mirror are brown.
They have always looked that way.
My pupils are dilated, which means
I either hate myself or love myself.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell them apart.

My hands are large and my shoulders
are broad. My eyes sit deep in my skull.
My brow is hinged and sharp. My hair-
line is crooked. My voice sits in my chest.
My Adam’s apple makes the skin on my neck
look like a topographical map of Gibraltar.

It’s not love.

I want to be proud. So I say that I am, and
I try to say it often. I don’t feel proud.

People mostly say that I’m brave,
when they don’t know what else to say.
People don’t know what to say a lot.
I think they’re too afraid of saying the wrong thing,
so they don’t say anything at all.

I tried to use the public bathroom, earlier.
I first went into the women’s, but a woman
washing her hands at the sink scowled at me
and pointed to the door. Then I tried to go
into the men’s. There was a group of boys,
a couple years older than me; one of them
swatted the back of my head, a second kicked
my legs from under me. The third of them soaked
some paper towels in the sink and threw them
at my face. As they were leaving they called me
a fucking faggot and a fucking tranny.

I’ve never felt more like one.

Death makes the World soft

I died today.
It didn’t look like much. There was no life
flashing in my eyes or bright tunnels
to head towards.
It looked like nothing—it was quiet.
It was quiet, and I couldn’t feel anything
not in my fingers or anywhere
temperature, no pressure. There was a smell
though, and it smelled dusty, and not saw-
dusty either. It was just dirt-dust.
If there was a taste, it would’ve been metallic, not blood-
iron metallic, just metallic. But
there was no taste.

I’m a ghost now, which is neat.
I get to visit the people I loved
but it’s hard to watch them mourn, unable to offer comfort.
And it feels lonely, sometimes,
being just inches from them
while knowing that they are still
away from me.
It seemed like common sense before
that two objects are always the same distance apart
from one to the other
as other to the one
but it’s not true anymore.
I’m so much closer to people than people are to me.

I feel bad for saying it, but really
I want them all to die.
I guess it’s ironic that in life we would die
so that the people we loved could live, and in death
we would murder those same people
just to hold and be held by them again.

I’ll be able to watch my funeral. The veterans here say it can be hard
to see yourself just disappear like that
or buried.
I don’t really believe them, though.
I don’t think I’m really gone, not yet at least.
I just changed shape.
Even in their world, I can see myself.
In their eyes and gaits,
their stutters and shakes,
I’ve become the people I left behind.

When you are raped

When you are raped, you will think thoughts like “I do not
remember what the sun looked like today.” You will not
remember what the sun looked like that day, but you will,
years later, find yourself wondering what the sun looked like
on the day that you were raped.

When his nails are sunk through your skin, and his hammer
through your flesh, you will think “my life is no longer mine.”
You will believe this for a long time, and even when you will
say that you have moved beyond that belief, you will still,
secretly, think it sometimes.

When you see his face contort itself to display a perfect
reflection of who you were, you will realize that you can
also feel your own face contort into a perfect reflection
of who he was. Do not worry—this is normal. His face
will show yours until he rapes another.

(Although, every time afterwards in which you look in
a mirror, you will see what used to be his face—it is
vitally important that you understand that you have not
become him. This is very important, and you must do
everything in your power to not forget.)

(You will forget this, though, and so when you feel
that burning hatred for yourself—you will feel a
burning hatred for yourself—at least remember that
it is not actually yourself that you hate, it is only the
imprint of him on yourself that you hate.)

When you are raped, you will be very, very afraid, and
you will feel confused and you will feel lonely and you
will feel dread and you will feel pain and you will feel
so many things, but you will feel like you feel nothing
because you have no words to describe a terror so pure.

(Neither do I)

After you are raped, when you are alone, you will
want nothing more than to feel the soft and warm
of an other person, and when you are surrounded
by others, you will want nothing more than to be
as alone as you were when you were raped.

When you are raped, it will already be over, even
though it never actually ends. When you are raped,
it will be so quiet. When you are raped, you will both
cry and not cry, sometimes at the same time. But mostly,
when you are raped, you will just feel so, so raped.

The Death of Leaves

I saw myself watching the yellow-red leaves
when they fell from the trees. It was so beautiful
with the neony sun-glow passing through its
membranes as it flickered and fell through the
windy licks of the air’s idling turbulence.

Then I became a leaf, and I saw genocide.
It was frantic and murder in the chilling air
and I saw a fleshy monster grinning an awful
terrible grin and I felt a hate of such unbound
potency that I was stripped away myself.

I blinked back into my own head as my body
hit the ground. I had wanted this—I had
anticipated it with eagerness and thick saliva
breeding behind my teeth. I wanted
so desperately to go home.


I always hated the water. When I was young, I would run along the beach, stepping as close as I could to the breaking waves without letting them catch my toes. Something about the fear, I found enticing, exciting. When the sea-foam got so close, it almost felt like a hand would reach out and grab you. Snatch you into the blue, letting the rip currents do the rest.

When I was ten years old, we moved away from the sea, inland, where the waves would never touch me, nor I the waves. We lived in a rural area, mostly farmland, aside from the small town over the railroads, where the schoolhouse was. I would walk to school (it was only twenty minutes or so, and I enjoyed the privacy). I enjoyed running my fingers along the edges of the corn fields, letting the stalks brush by, shaking off the dust that had settled on them. Each year, when the harvest came, the plants would all seem so naked, and I too felt exposed. It was as if, without the walls of crop, my thoughts were open for anyone to see.

The nakedness would leave me feeling restless and despondent, and, in those days, I would wait by the train tracks after school until a train came, and I would run alongside it as fast as I could, trying to pull ahead. Unlike the waves though, the trains always won, and it would leave me feeling still restless, but now too tired to do anything about that restlessness.

By the time I was twelve, I had made a few close friends, who joined me by the tracks when the season came. Some days, we would just sit and let the wind of the trains buffet against us like it did the bare fields. Other days though, the eerie hum of the galloping train over the tracks inspired in us some mischief. We would conspire against one of our friends to all jump across the tracks at the last moment, leaving the other alone on the other side of the train. On the days when it was my turn to be left, I would be reminded of the waves, stealing the shells that would wash up, leaving me dancing around its skirted edges.

One day, like so many others, we poked along the rails in the mid-November chill. We were going to trick the little brother of one of my friends, who had come with us that day. Hearing the familiar hum of the tracks, we looked at one another, making sure we were all ready. Then, when we sensed the train coming near, we darted across to the other side.

The train was passing now, and we laughed, thinking how confused he must be, on the other side. After the few minutes it took for the train to pass, we stood looking at a vacant field. His older brother, suddenly worried, shouted his name to no response. Instructing us to split up and search for him, I headed further down the tracks. It wasn’t long before I found his size-two, mangled, left sneaker. Looking up from the shoe, silent, I saw that fated pile of cloth and body, torn and strangled, two-hundred feet further down the tracks.

He did not know the rails like we did, and he had tried to follow us. Stepping across, his foot caught in the old, splintered wood, and he fell. By the time we had turned around, the train was passing, and he was passed. The train had carried him several hundred feet down the tracks, before spitting him out.

That was ten years ago. Now, I’m sitting in the sand, by my old home. The water runs through my toes.

Skeleton Key

I found a skeleton key underneath some papers
in an attic-dusted trunk. The papers were yellowed
and creased, and the key held the image of a dove in
its bow. I thought of a magician, draped in a long
coat, producing doves at the fingertips. I breathed
a breathy laugh at the thought, that this peace symbol
is so easily manipulated; then looking back into
his eyes, I saw a knowing sadness and realized
with a weight that this was no coincidence at all.


I saw driftwood wash on the beach.
Sitting for twenty minutes, I thought
deeply, trying to figure its significance.
And twenty minutes went by, and all
I could see was this wooden wood.

It was dripping with water, which
looked like water. I began to feel
very sad, for surely everything must
mean something to someone, but
this wood just looked like wet wood.

Thirty minutes had passed now,
with this rumbly anxiousness in my
wooden skull, when the waves swept
in and stole this wood from me. Now
I felt very angry, sat in it all. I wanted

to throw a stone at the water, out of
spite, I wanted to yell at the mean water,
who stole my driftwood like my heart.
Then, I sat for minutes more, thinking
instead of myself, who had just claimed

this dirty wood log as my own body.
But this driftwood was not my heart,
nor was my heart made of driftwood.
My heart is soft and pink and fleshy
and full of blood, like the ocean.

Milk and Honey

Bleeding and aching,
coiled in bed,
you counted my freckles
like tiles on the ceiling.
Lit wicks of a candle
dripping hot wax
into your fresh, open hands.
I followed my jealousy
to the door of your closet
and sheltered myself from the rain.
Take love with sugar, or
Take love with salt.
If there’s anything to learn,
love’s not your fault.