kiev is imploding under the tongue of the world’s attention
and my coffee is too bitter today, not quite as nutty as i like it
and i have too much reading to finish, about the modern middle
east’s history, how colonialism turned my motherland into dehydrated
leather, how every explosion is a zit popping into infinity into the end of
time into the crux of the universe stored in my spice cabinet, i ran out
of cinnamon and now my chicken won’t be just So, just the way i like it
it won’t be That so i add it to the list on the fridge in my head, stored between the nodes that ache sometimes, they’re just waiting to hatch into the Self, the one i store the blueprints for in my wishbone - imagine if self actualization worked that way if actualization worked both ways, if it could leak through time, lacquer our previousness like we are beads on a string, a mountain range rising and falling like green lines on a black screen, do you see the ceiling fan reflected there? it reminds us that pulse can jump out of wrists to slap us in the corneas when we forget we have it for a reason. poetry always ends before it tells me this reason, but the sentiment lingers in the tone that hangs over the room, we snap at it because we know we should but we still don’t know the reason. there’s always a reason (look, i’m doing the thing,
the slam poetry thing, the thing where i stop
before i’m supposed to start) i think there is too much
happening everywhere always and my family lives in my wrist where the pulse is they are the pulse, i pulse with everything they helped me become they are everything i still want to become, i wonder what it’s like to become, what they had for dinner last night, how they’re coping with the weather, what’s the weather like in my wrist? and sometimes i forget they’re
there but i always know they’re there, does that make sense? they are the blue that might not really be blue, they kick like incisors, like baby sharks with basketballs for sneakers, i always know when i should call but i don’t always call because it’s easier to tuck everything under the tongue, to write to write to write to write for you always, i write for you always, you are the reason. you are one person and you are every person and i love you so much it hurts and i love all of the yous so much it hurts and this coffee is so bitter, so not as actual as i like, so not as infinity as what rushes blue inside me is used to but you should still try the egg sandwich at brueggers
kiev is imploding under the tongue of the world’s attention
- you have jawbreaker eyes. they’re nice. so are clouds. and the mist that sprays over vegetables at the supermarket, and blueberry scones.
- your eyes are the right shade of blueberry scone
- a blueberry scone but instead of blueberries, your eyeballs multiply and litter the pastry like pimples
- orange rinds curling up in your tea but instead of orange rinds it’s really your skin
- you throw panic like zest
- i don’t know how to write about you like you’re a person anymore.
- i think of you when bagpipes
Sometimes i forget how big my thighs really are. my thighs could kill a man. they could snatch the lightning like a cigarette from between zeus’ fingers. they high five. they’re always high fiving. they’re always stoked about something. they meet each other like a prayer. they’re always praying for something even when i’m not. this is why my strides are so long even when i have no destination. i’ve got rosary beads where bikes would have chains. they’re dusty, they’re always rattling like ghost of christian past. i’m not afraid of naming it “past” anymore, but i still like the way its scars ooze hymnals. i hear it when middle eastern air filters through the anise seeds in my body.
it’s muffled, but when i walk i know my great grandmother’s prayers travel like sap through my tendons. the bullet that went through her head is nestled between two lives i don’t remember. they’re each an arm that cradles it like her son’s arms cradled her. my thighs probably have rings on the inside: who i was before i even Was
is trapped in my center of gravity.
my thighs are probably older than i am. they probably belonged to my great grandmother. i bet every body part i have belonged to a dead relative. the way they curve or jut closer to the space around my body is to reach closer to the family i can still hug.
the cosmic will hanging in the soundwaves leave us with moles and hairs to inherit. they connect kind of like constellations but more like something less precious, something with the capacity to kill with the roots it stores in the nucleus of you: that planet that centers all the rings. it hangs like a doorknocker behind your bellybutton. When you’re born, the portal between you and mother is broken but so much has traveled between you before your body sealed itself. This is why it hurts to stick your finger in your middle, to knock at your navel — something ancient is carving you from the inside out, you’re not supposed to know it’s there.
You’re not supposed to know why there’s a cellar in your stomach because that’s where the lizards live — these dehydrated past versions of all the Selves you’ve ever been. They wait to expand when they sense other halves of themselves behind other bellybuttons you orbit. This is why when I meet certain people, I feel a tug at my navel, I feel my breath want to collapse into the cellar of myself. I can’t breathe, I see stars turning into fleas, chewing my vision purple. This is why I like purple so much. Why I collect it under my eyes. This is why I trust my stride even when I can’t see where I’m going.
When I can’t breathe, I keep walking. They call me Thunder Thighs.
if you’ve got any of that that explores or makes reference to your heritage, culture, region, hometown, neighborhood, community, etc etc etc. any type of art or writing welcome.
deadline february 15!
(but send it anyway if you still have something after that)
more info here: http://mapsforteeth.wordpress.com/submit/
and then send it here: email@example.com
if you know anyone that might be interested, please pass this on. thank you!
i wear the port around my neck like a talisman
they think they have me speared, hook through
the eye, nestled between a rib and another rib
like a bobby pin, they pin me. they think
my family has members to spare, we don’t
everyone begins this way, thinking the game is about
escape. the game isn’t about escape. it’s about survival.
the first rule of survival is playing for the short term
or playing the short term. you can’t let them know
you remember the whites of their fingernails,
that you’ve digested the one speck at the corner
of their thumbnail before it found them. you turned
it souvenir with your biology. when they riddle you
fourth gill, it’s okay to smirk. the smile
releases the seawater, the last laugh rushing out of your body.
the second rule of survival is knowing you won’t survive
there’s no such thing
Hey thanks! I just scan and crop them straight from my sketchbooks. If the notebook lines are overwhelming I just play with the contrast a little.
the giant squid is probably a planet
when you think you see it
you’re really seeing its reflection
god is probably actually really just a planet
the giant squid kind
the giant squid is probably actually really God
which is why it has so many arms
the better to hold us with, my dears
we are all held by something all the time
even if we’re all alone
call it gravity or galaxy or metaphor or
a giant fucking squid playing god
but also playing bocce with the zodiac,
calling other planets Astrology in order to stuff its cheeks with them
like gum balls
luckily the astrologies have all tasted like disgruntled marbles so far
but they’re growing soft.
they like being held, too
even molars start to feel like hugs
if you don’t bite too hard
or if you bite hard enough
the end of the world will look like the
biggest bubblegum bubble you have
and then the
the pimple on the cosmos’ nose
so full of space phlegm, the stuff
fine art coughs onto the canvas when it clears its
palette. looks like an air bubble but acrylic goes
plastic enough to hold tangles of the universe’s throat floss.
it’s all ready to burst between god’s thumbs
meteoriting the ocean like it’s
the galaxy’s mirror
luckily god doesn’t have thumbs,
just tentacles, and an affinity
the giant squid peers
into the ocean to kiss the earth goodnight
we stab ripples into its face
in an attempt to call it our own
like we aren’t just a floating marble
melting into gumball ready to expand
the giant squid is definitely another planet
the end of the world will look like so many
arms holding us out of existence
but for now we exist, as long as this
tentacle god planet
thinks we are only its reflection kissing it back
as long as it thinks we are as nice as we aren’t.
stop stabbing at things
He tells me
"I’m the tongue that comes out of the deflated bubble at your heel, you will never break those boots in. I’ll always be licking the ground in your wake."
He turns me slug and I’m finding that moving forward without knowing what comfort is means that I will be here when the pavement becomes more salt than pavement. I’ll become just bones for feet where just bones and flesh used to be. But at least this way, I’ll be cracking lightning’s taunts in my wake’s ear. It’ll know the shudder skin makes when it’s not quite ready to fall off.
he tells me nothing else
just smiles -
this will be a long winter
long enough to think of better things to call it.
- what if when you cried, flowers grew under your eyes into your sad sleepless skin baggies
- what if when you cried, little oceans pooled in there instead and whales came out of your eyes too and they lapped up the water and then blew right back into your face because that’s what whales do
- what if when you cried, it’s really just all the raindrops your eyes have ever silently betted to victory down windshields and passenger side windows
- what if we’re all chamomile
- what if scary lumps were actually just balloons inside your body
- what if biology is just a party in your body
- what if my professor is a hologram and that’s why she canceled class today
- what if providence ate my professor and that’s why she cancelled class today
- what if my professor is made of the light from inside lightbulbs and going out in the snow would freeze her into the incarnate of the pop from a camera flashbulb that also looks like the explosion inside of an icecube when you don’t distill the water it is made of
- what if the scary lump balloons were filled with knives
- what if my parents’ old home is a swollen node in the middle east’s armpit
- what if it’s trying to pop itself before others get to do it and claim the confetti for themselves
- what if it doesn’t know the confetti is actually knives
- that knives are actually the explosion inside balloons inside your body when you try to distill the aquarium you are made of
- what if this country is trying to fool itself into thinking pain is a party and martyrs are dispensable like compostable spoons and fig wrappings and phosphenes
- what if lebanon pushes its kids to be scientists because it’s got fucked up biology
- i wonder if it knows this is not its fault
- but sometimes it is
- i wonder if it knows to do well in biology you have to pay attention in history
- what if my parents’ old home is flashbulb pop trying not to set itself on fire
- i wonder if it knows it didn’t start the fire
- what if when the cedars cried, splinters grew out of our fingers
- would that make our fingers martyrs?
- would our fingers be dispensable?
- what if we cried chamomile cried oregano cried anise cried olives cried oil cried wood chip cried whales wanting to escape on the air from our tongues but they settled for the eye pockets because this is supposed to be normal, we don’t cry
- we spit
- and then we cry
Hope is a poem in the throat, hacked up with last night’s sushi. Do you see it, glittering in the sink there? Bile to frost the pipes on the way down, that there is what brains are made of
When we talk about our brains, we hold them at an arms length like we are any different from the cephalopod that calls our skull its cave
Every scent you pass is just another tentacle caught like a sweater
You have worn this vanilla before
We have burnt this aubergine
We have suctioned its dread to our aorta
We have called it home, thought it hope
This is what hope smells like when you let it cook too shriveled: an eggplant left too long on a gas stove, that there is what we are afraid of