expensive funerals

Now I know why I’m a poet,
sickness always leaves the mouth

last

sickness as in—a condition to expel
nausea that doesn’t want a home in me

it wants the world to see
it for what it’s hidden/

hidden as in-kept secret

a sickness of secrets
a coughing
a sloughing
a trophy

for courage to spill it
regardless who tastes it/

courage as in a backbone
as in valor
a valuable

as in worthy,
an heirloom//

pain leaves the body
fizzes out
drinks of itself
delivers itself

to another host
who might possess
the strength to
drink of this sickness

as in,

a condition to expel/

death part

this is a manifest,

in its primal definition 

manifest (adj.)

late 14c., “clearly revealed to the eye or the understanding, open to view or comprehension,” from Old French manifest “evident, palpable,” (12c.), or directly from Latin manifestus “plainly apprehensible, clear, apparent, evident;” of offenses, “proved by direct evidence;” of offenders, “caught in the act,” probably from manus “hand.”

yes,

not a manifesto, 

but a manifest

to the cadaver of my abuser,

because like they once lived 

they also died, 

and I got to see it in my lifetime,

a big blur happened when my father announced it under his breath,

I often believe he killed him 

fantasized the how,

but no, 

my father is a good Mormon, 

recovering alcoholic, 

a man who rarely wore shoes in his youth,

his feet are twisted like tree roots, 

he moves and sways like trees do too,

a dancer, 

he taught me to pretend I could fly, 

reminded that the ground beneath me sweltered

that life was meant to be danced the whole way,

but,

the coldness always seeped through him, 

and the warmness never stayed,

so I relied on warmth from other hands,

regardless of where they landed/

this is a manifest,

in its antiquated definition,

manifest (adj.)

late 14c., “to spread” (one’s fame), “to show plainly,” (adj.) or else from Latin manifestare “to discover, disclose, betray.” Meaning “to display by actions.”

yes,

not a manifesto, 

but a manifest

to the men I should’ve never fucked,

to the men I should’ve never stayed with and the women that I pushed away

it’s always hard to see mistakes as they are happening, 

it’s always hard to do the right thing because you could always say it was part of the process

I still often danced around commitment, 

because usually, 

it came with absence

and dancing always helped keep one foot in, 

and one foot out,

now, 

I’m 

     a 

          l 

         i  

n                

                 g

mourning Jupiter

massive King

girth of 11 Earths

a mass of 317/

you are all numbers

67 moons/

thunderous mother

patron father/

in our 24 hours/ 

you have made 3 transits

had the sun rise and the moon set

thrice,

while we slept/

copper scrutiny/

you peek from your sequenced cage,

your constant storm is a hum of relief,

easing into melancholy/

you are 12,000 degrees Celsius,

you are a million California fires and just one look from my mother/

I chew your bitter in my mouth

expulse the mediocre/

instead incorporate

a spice impenetrable

gunpowder moon of sparse religions

you create a God of everything that can’t be touched

I will miss the softness of my equilibrium/

the softness of my restlessness

a strange growth has appeared behind my ears

I’ve sprouted wings

I’ve changed but yet tomorrow

is Sunday,

and then the week begins again,

over and over and over

yet everything inside me/

rearranged

a silent migration,

idle in its potency/

Watercolor portrait by John Collins
http://www.johnfromgrayslake.com

Halloween 2019 —an excess

I dreamt of you and me eating

You choking

Vomiting

You starting a fight

With a woman

Who began

Yelling at me

For being with you

& how she knows your type

How you like them ugly

To stay safe

She knows your type

I loosen my grip

She knows your kind

She reminds me

How ugly I am

And that you’re with me

To feel safe

To remind yourself you’re kind too

I wake up

Then we’re walking home

But you run into the ocean

Yelling

“ I love the ocean too—“

I see you through clouds

I run too

But stop halfway

I open my eyes,

Again, we’re eating

You turn around and tell me

“That woman is attractive.”

I wonder why you’d hurt me this way

You turn again,

Say it again—

“Why?”

I ask

“But didn’t emphasize the question

You say

“Because she looks faithful and you don’t.

I want to be like your poetry.”

I eat my food

Chewing it till it turned to liquid.

Medicine

I am not the year I came to this country, or the chocolates I ate cold from the fridge.

I am not the brown skin that faded, when my lack of language made me a recluse.

I am not the bicycle who took away my virginity for the second time.

Or my father’s favorite work belt he’d use to spank me when I’d act up out of rage.

I am not my rage.

I am the aftermath, the origin of all the flogging/

I am the riot in your mouth, because I’ll say it if you don’t/

I am the remorse, the apology/

I am my mother’s face/

I am my mother’s commitment to an end/

I am the spit gathered, collected and swallowed/

I am war descending into a carcass/

brittle

frail

delicate.

Yet,

We are cowardice in the form of social media/

We are revolutions crippled at the heart and bending at the knees/

We pray instead of unfolding/

We are cowardice in the form of social media/

We use hate to incinerate what should be left to ash/

We resort to cannibalism and wonder why we taste of blood/

We hide behind a keyboard and hope others will take on the work of war/

We are not rooted, we are stapled/

crumpled

puckered

wrinkled

We’ve forgotten our weaponry,

our nature to unwind and recoil and explode/

Our malleable has become rigid, 

we break at the thought of upheaval

everything is self:

self-love

self-care

self-identifying as

self-this

self-that

and in a world of 7 billion

we lost our selves 

in trying to remember/

Queen of Spades

we owned a t.v. 

but mostly 

it was for soccer,

no cartoons,

unless it was Heidi 

and her grandfather 

in the Swiss Alps/

translated into Spanish—

In the tropics, snow is a beautiful illusion

& poverty comes in all climates, 

so does war, 

love and loss/

no amount of supplies 

or batteries 

stops the hail from beating against my cheeks/

I open my mouth, 

a statue, 

open for Heavenly nourishment,

cloud candy/

I am allergic to  things that exist in nature and others 

that should’ve never been manufactured to be consumed:

dander

pollen

gluten

dairy

men

women

my little girl tantrums

I am guilty of all the things that have happened to me after the age of 30—

I knew exactly what I was doing, because 30 means adult and 90 means corpse/

I am at a halfway point, almost—and I am in constant worry about what part of my body will fail first?/

my heart has been the weakest, 

but most resilient/

my ankles are stilts, 

and I am the clown in charge of smiles 

I have watched plants bloom under my care and die under my neglect,

this is true of everything and everyone that reaches deep into my roots/

contact

with the 

apple of my tree

leaves many punctured

 and 

too many become tolerant/

TEMPTED IN EVERY RESPECT

Here—let me romanticize this life for you

WARNING: IMPURITIES IN THE WATER ARE NORMAL IN LOS ANGELES

Makes us resilient—robust

gives us wings

that’s how you can tell us apart

if you’re real 

we’re spread eagled

floating in our weather worn existence

No amount of sirens 

help drown out the helicopters

I am jealous of the foods you eat and I cannot

BREAKING NEWS: Ebola death toll climbs above 2,000

Meanwhile, I complain about the allergies caused by my air-conditioning unit

WARNING: OUTBREAK OF SEVERE LUNG DISEASE FROM E-CIGARETTES

243 days ago 

my hands and feet went numb

nightmares of smoking 3 packs a day

made my teeth fall out

I grew a third breast, 

my tongue evaporated

There’s evidence of the heavy exodus,

somewhere on my iPhone 7