Hour 12: Both/And Body

Em(   )ment


The body is a temple / old house / balloon

visions of self/future/health always getting stuck in the attic / helium / throat 

And the spirits / cobwebs / voices won’t let them sink down any lower


The body never arrives / dies /  lives because it is already here / dead / invisible  

With toes / talons / notions  gripping the present / past / future 

While your lightheaded skull  is still stuck in yesterday / age 13 / age 16 / age 2

When you first found out about death / love /sex  and that it leaves bodies behind 

And were terrified / curious / surprised enough to call the front desk

And request early / late check out


Decapitation and dissociation are the same

If you never know a body, you will never have to miss it / feel it / name it 


But you can still spend a whole afternoon thinking about the backs of your knees /appendix/ tonsils / spare parts

You can think of them without ever knowing them 

Thinking and  Knowing are not the same  


A body can be reclaimed / reborn / renamed 

You can crawl into your own / someone else’s skin 

Feel your fingers / hands / palms spread cool gel across your  / their shins

Placing arnica / ice / kisses over the resulting bruises 

The skin 

That is just one continuous organ / map / chamber folding over to meet its own parts

Hour 11: Water the Wilting

I am watering moms plants

With a dark blue watering can
The water level is a guess until it empties
And the growth it gives is a wait and see
This is what knowing you has been like
The fullest I’ve ever been
Until your presence barely rippled me
But new leaves apparent
You showed me I can still catch my own sun
My chemical bath picks a new soul to hyperfixate on
And my soul learns numbness prevents abandon
So the countdown begins
I’ve never been in love more than 547 days at a time
I think my soulmate does not lie in longevity
But instead is a catch and release
A relearning
And re-recognition
I used to ask my lovers to know me
Now I know once they do it is the ending
I am nothing if not temporary residue
Sending updates over smoke signals
Try to keep up
Until your lungs get squeezed
Until you realize finish lines are fiction
Until you want to stop learning this flesh
Until you need to just stop
Your throat’s dry
And you need to drink someone new

Hour 10: Daring Definitions


         After Andrea Gibson 

Beet (noun.)An organ found in the body of an Earth responsible for circulatory functions in the fingers. 

Tremor (verb.) 1:To warn of an incoming tragedy. 2:To create a change to a system in a lasting way.

Bayou (verb.)A common ceremonial practice in which participants commune with souls after consuming a boiled mixture of decomposed plants and spices. 

Cinnamon (adj.) To be optimistic and highly active in a way that may be disconcerting to others. 

Bucket (verb.) 1: To hold tightly in an effort to bring security to another person. 2: To listen for a long period of time actively and quietly to a sad or ridiculous speaker. Often used as an antonym for to vent or to dump.

Hour 9: POV Villanelle

Based on the Characters of Killing Eve: 

Does your heart race from love or obsession?
Can hands hold without grip
I wish to know a love that is not possession

I have used violence in every confession
Drawn blood from every kissed lip
Does your heart race from love or obsession?

I have felt the piercing of Cupid’s aggression
The arrow made when tree for love of sun made its own roots rip

I wish to know a love without possession

You are the only one who has ever read my expression
Did not flinch when my palm found your hip
Does your heart race from love or obsession?

I know we fear weakness in such a concession
And still I would let my guard slip
I wish to know a love that is not possession

I ask you only to answer this question
Before the ties between us rip
Does your heart race from love or obsession?
I wish to know a love that is not possession

Hour 8: Roadkill Rescues

An Elegy for the Roadkill: 


Has anyone ever thanked the carcasses 

For letting us be the ones to survive the wreck 

for becoming rigor mortis sculptures 

to decorate the guardrails 

keeping the crosses company 

and feeding the flowers with their decomposition  

so we can all see the reminders 

and slow down 


There was a girl in high school once-  

and a deer took the hit  

got to be the excuse we all clinged to 

instead of the truth 

which is that sometimes we just want to drive away from ourselves 

and finally meet the horizon 



I slammed the brakes so a turkey could cross 

and he took his damn time too 

I’d just gotten back up to speed 

When 2 cop cars passed me 

so fast that I barely heard the next 2 coming 

so fast that I had already parked on the shoulder 

had already thanked god for no ticket 

had already felt the guilt that always follows that relief 

because they are on their way to a different kind of victim 


10 miles later 

there was a motorbike on a flatbed 

with no rider 


That night, I learned what the asphalt of your driveway tastes like 

cause I kissed the ground when I got there

that night 

we gave all our thanks 

to a turkey 

Who had made the world slow

so I could stay in it. 


Hour 7: Mortality and Moonlight

What I Know for Sure About Mortality 


Is that there is no age limit on backyard games because will all become ground, tree, or grass and it is always kind to get to know your neighbors 


That nothing hits the soul quite like moonlight on water because it is to witness a great force as seen by the one it pulls upon 


That we have already discovered time travel because knowing the past is as close as we will ever get to seeing the future


That there is a big difference between starting a call with I love you and ending a phone call with I love you but that both hold the same fear for a dial tone 


And if you watch a full plane in turbulence it looks just like the swaying crowd of a concert pit because in both hold the same freedom from anything else that matters 


That Mary was not told her son would die because women have never been trusted with knowledge, but have always been trusted to hold others’ pain 


And finally, that a grand final act can be a sip of orange juice or a smile because the small pleasures are all we get 


Because the small pleasures are all we ever need. 

Hour 6: Junie B Jones Justified


I hated Junie B Jones 

The outspoken 

frazzle haired 

Loud speaking star

Of my childhood chapter books 

Running through pages with her shoes untied 


Still, I read every single word

Drank the letters like water

And wondered why they boiled within me 

Had not yet learned hate to actually be jealousy to actually be a guide 

For the parts of ourselves we have not yet liberated 


I hope my child’s first word is No. 

so they get lots of practice 

That their lips learn the shape of a one word sentence 

And their mind the difference between meanness 

And the unapologetic 


I hope they let their laces run free 

As well as their frizzed follicles 

I wish them deep inhales 

To fill their lungs 

To be selfish with the air 

So they can shout all the longer 

Shout their desires 

And the laws of their own land 


A little one 

Who takes up space 

And a universe who sees 

And gives it to them

Hour 5: Clue but it’s Capitalism

You tell me my aspiration is dead so I search for the murderer: 


It was the supervisor at the office Christmas party with the sixth whiskey glass   

It was the employee of the month on the commuter train with the third rail  

It was the CEO in the hospice center with the ringing cellphone  

It was the homeless woman at the shelter desk with the minimum wage   

It was the entrepreneur at the free pizza hour with the raise denial

It was the retiree in the job center with the student loan debt 

It was the doctor in the recovery room with the second chance


It was the labor organizer outside the corporate office with the megaphone

It was the artist at the bank with the check from the first painting 

It was the small business owner at the meeting table with the co-op agreement  

It was the neighbors in the community garden with the dinner harvest for 20  

It was the children at the full dinner table with the present parents   


It was the murderer in the courtroom with the gavel 

Cleared of all charges 

Because we need not wait til death 

to rest  

Hour 4: Wedding Vows in Waiting Rooms

There is something about the wrinkles fitting together so well even though they rest on different hands 

I see him raise a finger to her chin despite his arm being more stone and stiff than bone and bicep these days 

There is something about the reflex of it 

How many times does your mouth have to tell someone they are beautiful before they will believe the same from just your eyes? 


I cannot tell yet if she needs him

If she ever did 

And maybe that’s the wonder of it

The wanting so deeply of that which you never needed

Simply desired 

Simply asked to the dance

And kept wanting even after the needs became louder and more envious 

And maybe that’s the wonder of it 

That he wanted her back just as much

Enough to let his needs keep hers company 


I had been trying to decide if I was a lonely person 

to figure out if death was scary only because I had been told so 

To decide if I wish to find out how brave I could be 

with only my own bones to keep me company  

If I could ever discover love 

When for me, love is more like faith 

In that, I had never seen it with my own eyes 

Only read myths of its strengths  

Asked to trust the children it had raised as prophets 


Until today in the hospital waiting room,

And their security radiated across the carpet 

As she giggled at his words 

There is something about looking at someone and knowing

you have built a miracle together. 

Hour 3: Small Town Songs

The only catcall whistle is the squeaking of the local grocery store’s automatic door echoing into the almost empty parking lot when a few of us stragglers are making the almost-forgot milk run at 10pm 


And we all compare neighborhoods by how many traffic lights they have, how many drunks there are next door, how wide the shoulders are 


And the asphalt has memory here, more specifically the potholes, that we timed on the school bus like advanced physicists because if we got it just right, we could fly 

And the tax dollars take decades to trickle into road repairs letting our childhoods linger a while before they are paved over  


And the boredom is a tractor tempting our engines, it’s all gonna take as long as it takes, and what are we in such a rush for?

Small towns move slow but fear rest 

The clean unclobbered hands a sign of shame 


And the forests have needles of metal on their floors to accompany the beer bottles and the cigarettes. Nothing grows from this kind of compost it just sits and waits and waits 


And they were going to make ‘Born to Run’ our state song 

Springsteen had grown up in a small town like mine 

Wrote about his father becoming one with the local dive barstool 

About the teens who married first loves because there weren’t others to find  

In the final vote on TV, a Senator stood up and asked a question:  

Why would you choose for an anthem of your home 

One that sings only of running from it?  


And just like that, every radio dial dived in protest 

And the kids in the abandoned viaducts sprayed the chorus in graffiti notes 

And the older couple that owns the farmstand began to waltz 

And the cornfields became soundwaves from the river to the summer camp 

And the diner windows quivered in syrup 

As the old methodist church choir switched faiths a moment in praise of our small, our stuck, our one-road masses 


But the vote was lost anyway, so we shook our heads over bad coffee 

And spat one resounding, tobacco coated ‘Cityboy…’


He cannot know 

That running and arriving have no meaning 

If you do not know deeply the soil from which you started

That town which, despite you never choosing it back 

will still hold you close when you return.