Sometimes I dissect the
meaning of things; forget
the blushing cheeks of the
letter S, that charming sing-
song voice of C.

I do not think you know
what you are talking about.

Can’t count the distance be-
tween two charging thoughts
like high school football players
running towards each other
with a vague sense of
RESPONSIBILITY and
without reason.

evolution //
revolution //
the constitution //

We tie words together
SIDE-BY-SIDE in a string of
handsome lullabies.

I do not think you know
what you are talking about.

Only the nuance of dancing
syllables
and referenced equality –
better that than anything else

though discrimination sounds
mighty pleasant to the ears
wish it meant something
entirely different.

I don’t think I know
what I’m talking about.

Only write so that my fingers
dance, not much to say only want
to feel muscles move, hear the
sweet tune of crushing ailments
cursing what-ifs.

That terrific acting performance
done by each insecurity slipping
off of the tongue, down to my long
thin fingers with a bouquet of flowers
at the end.

I do not know what this poem
is about.

Only know what I meant to say //
but got carried away //
in the poetry play. //

Not a complaint, oh surely
this is a nod to the dreamers
who wish on the brightest star
scream nothing much into a
blank sheet of paper just to
send it off in a red dress —

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The Snake Charmer

November 6, 2013

This is a short essay inspired by Sylvia Plath’s essays and based on truth.

I danced for him. My naked body slithered like a snake with small nipples, stubbly legs and a face, which stared or moaned or both. Around men, naivety befalls me. Often I act as though I am an art piece of black and white swirls, one that hypnotizes. I cry to discover that I am not art and our dance was not an exhibition.

This particular man was ten years my senior. During a more desperate time in my 20’s I attended NA meetings almost every day, upon leaving a redundant day job in Chelsea. All over Manhattan I traveled via subway or foot to a large gathering of men and women, usually in a cafeteria or conference room, to discuss our nasty drug habits. The man ten years my senior spoke well at one of these meetings and I danced up to him in the way that I do, telling him I liked his speech, as aggressive and rather abruptly as I normally do. After a minute of introductions he tried explaining where the meetings in the LES were, but seemed to be a jumbled mess, and he could not spit out the words I suspected he wanted to tell me. His confusion made me smile (I enjoy messes – I was in NA after all). We exchanged numbers.

Before decreasing my drug use, and trying to stop for good, Sunday was my favorite day of the week. I had off from work with all the time in the world to do absolutely nothing — and easily copped by walking down the street. Nowadays, Sundays destroyed me. It was hard to keep myself busy and I often fell into a pit of depression and despair, a furious ball of angst excited to explode. I tried to aid my chi. I took long hot showers, attended AA meetings nearby, and went food shopping with my father. Four days after meeting him there was only one thing that would make me feel better, I was sure, and it was hanging out with the man from those Manhattan meetings. I confided in him my troubles and he asked me to come to his neighborhood, that we would walk around, talking, and that I would feel better once I came.

I danced with him in bed that night and my head played a pungi, which was only heard by me. He told me I am beautiful. “You’re sexy,” I reply. I never know what to say to a man in bed besides the usual dirty words. 

So it was done, the dance was here and then gone and that make-believe hypnosis only lasted a day or two afterwards, or perhaps was never really there. For weeks afterward I gave the friendship my all. Sending him flirty words, kissing smiley faces, a book or music recommendation. He always answered though not often right away, and never initiating conversations. My sense of importance took a plunge into the depths of my guts, my heart moved farther and farther down my torso, and the little voice in my head told me (again) to stop basing my worth on the actions of a man. Oh how I loathed the housewife inside of me, when my exterior tried so hard to scream FEMINISM!

I’d like to say I learned my lesson, but a lesson is never really learned. Like my own principles and values they surface long enough to write a poem or a story, and then they are carried away with wind, and I am left with my feet planted to dirt, wishing to be nothing but a water lilly. The men come and go and I dance forward, charming if for only a night, and always with a pungi in my head.

Hell, unearthed
will destroy
your lovely village.

Burn down your children’s schools.
Set fire to your churches.

Surgically remove your skin.
Sew it back with needles.

Hide inside your organs.
Blow you kisses of
illness.

You will assume a diagnosis
And live by that diagnosis
And you will be schizophrenic
And manic depressive
And you will have attention deficit hyperactive disorder
And bulimia.

The bulimia
is left over
from the churches.

Tie your arms to strings
let yourself dance
under fingertips.

Please remember to bring your rape whistle
when you go out to the garden.
Please do not jump
down the rabbit hole.

Please do not fall
and ruin that pretty face.
It might get you a job one day or a man
with a job that pays well.

Please take this pill
but don’t take four.
Only take what you’re
prescribed by the man with the
white coat.

Go to sleep now.
Time for bed and your alarm
will ring in six hours and you will need to
shower before work and don’t forget
to take your pills.

In the morning
please take the children to the ashes
Of their Sunday school.