Word Thief

To Julian
(can I call you Julian?
Mx. Brolaski?
“????? Brolaski?”
In good faith I will call you Julian,
I hope that is ok)

i heard you are lonely
thought i was reading theory
disguised as
with the density
of a baked corn cake
like a kernal about to pop
on the fire

i took
a fine toothed comb thru
yr words and thought
i could crack them like eggs
i put my ear to the paper
and the words hissed at

in yr loneliness
i noticed
wanting to be wanted
and not not wanting to be wanted
as not not not a person

you said
you are not interested
in waiting
to be seen by me
but the nature of
is that it orrsteps
and so you steal what
you are afraid
is not
already yours
the same way that i move

you are word hungry
conjure many magical beasts
gods and goddesses
genders and ungenders
you want to be and are
of a mongrelitude
a self-constitution that
resists assimilation
but is maybe still bitter
or ambivalent
about it

you use older words
so many words
too many words
i have to write a
poem by poem translation
fueled by yr
wandering circumlocution
some dictionaries have already lost
words exploded by
the flame of observation

a nod to Hildegard
prosecuted for
brilliance and
i know you have many mouths
many hands
many feet
in different corners
spread like a tanned skin
who shrivels itself
to spite the hunter

you said
all of our
psychological problems
manifest in writing
but also ask
what if what there was
to record in you
was suthing in you
and i think about
a greeting
a meeting
here where i read
my guts like tea leaves
and write them
from the inkwells
in my eyes
and hope that someone
might find some kinship
or for a moment
see yourself as
you want to be seen

what if i said
this place we meet
on paper
is exactly where we
were meant to*


purposefully dispossessed thoughts
poured into thin conifer needle capsules, pungent and bright
plucked from the ether to make a nesting crown
to bring it home
to make a home
shrinking diadem to
earth down repurposed
a room sized roost
a big enough bed to lay in
but not to escape the noise
slow to expand
sped up to contract
when left in remiss
daggers at the temples
a speed
a vigilance
a history chasing a moment or memory
stop spacing out
trust the process
pluck the needles from the ether to
forge a fragile knife
that cuts but breaks
where is my agency
where is i am
where am i
a bleeding temple
drawing purpose
lying in my own bed
what do i want of these words
what good do they do in my head
what do i tell you about them
without removing myself
an assembly of needles is only a bed
if you see the body sleeping in it
a knife is only a weapon
if you see the wielder strike
an image
a conjuring
a needle
how do i change the meaning
or the picture
or the process
how do i leave the room without knowing
what i’ll come back to

trying to summon a waking dream
is not the same as sleeping in one
how do i picture a body in the future
a new place


i’m trying to come back
from the place i have displaced language
the map was lost in a fire tornado
and anyway there are too many new roads
and empty buildings
nests without raptors
beds without rest

i just wanted quiet
i wandered a little too far

i tried to use the stars but wound up cursing
their indifference
the trees were too terse
i was too tense
buoyed out of my body by grief
and a rupture
and a rupture
and a rupture

loss everywhere
and a body losing itself
you can’t slip skin off
but you can mute it
frances 5 and loud
frances 15 and unspeaking
left alone too long
in a messy room
in a thirsty city

a place that can never be touched twice
a world contained by chaos
a quiet that sets in after
the fire tornado
digs a your house a grave

what does it mean to rebuild
once the shock stops calling lightning

Journal #10


not to be confused with solidarity
is understood as
conceptually tied
to domination.

to the extent that
we learn to
perceive others arrogantly

or come to see them
only as products of arrogant perception
and continue to perceive them that way,
we fail to identify with them,
fail to love them.

the failure of identification
is the manifestation
of the “relation”
loving leads to
double perception
playful foolishness
that lends itself to travel.

do not be self-important
do not take norms as sacred
come here and sit with us
on a dirty bench
littered with a chorus.

cosmic tear

i. tear the cosmos
in the dark
at your desk.
let the seminal twilight in,
breathe it through pores.
let it devour
sticky skin
from the inside out.

ii. tear the cosmos
in the dark
on your feet.
let the seminal twilight out,
find the canopy line
in the absence of stars
and let your shadow
devour time
from the outside

iii. i invoke thunder
and cast out lightning.
i see
without the long leashes of fire:
a false consciousness,
a muted transparency,
an object permanence.
they would burn down the whole
just to get a good look.

iv. i tear the cosmos,
put my hand
through the cut of the threshold
where tiny fish
nibble my fingertips
and remove dead skin.
i am the fish
and the tear
and the universe
because i can see
where neither ends
but we are all consumed.
i am in the ritual,
i am of the ritual,
and i am the ritual:
an endless dark night
who constitutes a self
as much as an us.

early march

wooden veins
and i am grateful
shaky hands
and i’ve seen mercy

when the sun comes in through my window
i give myself permission to hold
little resentments
they grow in the daylight
and i temper them with
bald palms

people say they want to write more political poems
like the letterss they use to construct their
words aren’t boiled out from bone
aren’t food to eat
don’t come from the day that sits around your neck
tightly wound and suffocating
but our feet are not neutral and
our words are not just dreams

one foot cuts through tepid water
and one foot strikes through green soft grass
both have carried me to open caskets
both have dropped me on dirty bathroom floors
they have seen me sweat and build muscle
rigid in movement
and soft in sleep

i want to write poems
that make art ashamed of its masters
that bring you and i face to face

that bend the blinds and leave us

in stunning sunlight

poems that obscure and illuminate
the things we don’t want to see
the things we are reluctant to show
the places shame can’t hide
in shadow

we are never going to win

our atomized poetry

wont burn buildings
and we can be honest about that
that there are still a few tiny ways
to truly see each other
and forgive the platitudes of places we are failures
revolutions are fairy tales
we use as blankets
to keep ourselves warm
and that is ok
but it is not enough

i will not be held hostage by myth
there is no outside
there is just us
we will tear down and rebuild
and get caught in the confusion of
and self-preservation

i want to know how to cut
the humiliation of living
out of my hair
maybe i don’t know what i’m looking for
other than pleasure
and how to gracefully hold discomfort
when i see a truth that makes me twinge
and that is ok
even if it is not enough

i am here for shaky hands
for uncomfortable silence
i am here for the place
our hearts palpitate in fear
but still move and oscillate

between determination and hopelessness
i am here for the pulse of
the contracted eye
i am here for the hand that still
pulls the chord
and lets the daylight in