When I was fifteen I tried to kill myself
by swallowing pills and gin.
At the mental hospital they stabbed
my arms
every morning
five am,
with thick needles, not really caring
if they hit the vein first try, just digging.
Pretty quick the crook of both arms
bruised over and scabbed.
The milk in the lunchroom came in bags
meant to be punctured by straws
and tasted like hormones and glue.
I was there over Fourth of July.
My roommate was a girl named Charlie,
the best cutter I ever met,
scars on her thighs thick as ropes.
She said it went so deep she nearly bled
to death but that she never intended
to die.
Tiny windows in our room scratched-up
Shatterproof glass. Through them
we watched the fireworks from Sea World.
The circumference of her labia is that
of a fisted pile of white benzo pills
ready to be ingested.

I am now a blue rider traveling the side effects
not clearly making a distinction between
bird and apparatus.

Between love and love.

Dark ribbons of
Sistine blood sounded in crescendo
hammering my limp body to wake

in a fitful roost.

An image hung above the bed.
A shadow born to the bowled soil.
My face.
My reflection was there.
For the bitch in ruins
and the breathing girl.
Wet wars
draw me into the flux
smelling sweet of crushed knuckles
and severed nerve endings.

Long lascivious daggers,
as if once fingers
touching those sacred places,
came to lay
where the stars fell weeping
and horses unraveled their gallop
out through the open ends
of violent forests.

Ink marked bone.
A body to nest in.
A home for ghosts
and the man that follows.
It is me, my king. I came in from the rain. We have been shuttered in, we listen to hail. Age is coming and you can see it in the distance. Water laces in beneath the glass quickly. Is it a poison or is it a dream? In the morning there is a blue wind. I have invoked it. I am the carrier of things and the things carry me. Oh, in this fortress I am not grieving. I am made of the things that I have chosen, and I have chosen the sea and things golden. I have chosen walls. It may seem painful, my king. It may seem as though I am standing out toward the light and praying for leave, but I am still and stillness is neither ache nor awe. I am in the midst of this place and it is the midst of me. It may seem daunting to be bled, to be in a place that cannot be contained, as though we have some right to contain things. It may seem God's revolt that we die, and cannot stand on balconies forever. It may seem cruel, but nature is sent to us to teach the story of terror and serenity. I have been the bloodlet and I have been the organ. I have understood the horses. I have died in the night. I have resurrected, my king. I would not rather be the cherub facing east. I am a new sort of gilded thing. I am the stillness of the grotesque, and a whole fortress of body and precipice. It can be neither desecrated nor worshipped. There is nothing here but nature tonight.
There’s a myth that Neptune brings the madness, that it squashes every ounce of sanity left in a person’s mind and turns them on to every neurosis and mental inhibition that lurks within the constructs of their imagination. Knowing this, the young girl walked outside, naked and dancing underneath the stars, screaming for the planet to take her and give her the sight of schizophrenia, to instill in her the depths of depression. She wanted sadness, craved instability, and when the rain fell from the sky, she opened her mouth and drank the tears of the night. It moved within her. Ate her from the inside out. The girl screamed as insanity roamed down her throat, as it filled her lungs, and swept her organs to the side. What sweet music it made beneath her skin as it devoured the reality she knew and replaced it with a new world, a new way of seeing; one that bled the wounds of clairvoyance, that twisted and melted matter into a surrealist orgy. Everything changed, and with it, so did the girl. Her body moved with a sixth sense, a sixth feeling that she couldn’t unsee, couldn’t undo, and when she walked back into the house, when she put her clothes back on, there was a twinkle in her eyes. A straitjacket around her heart.
At a baseball game in Santa Fe, the prairie told me a secret.  It was full, like lungs swelling with dirt, roots. I grabbed at it and ran into a vision of my father, the moon, uncurling a rope for me; I run up into his light, and he's telling me All girls grow, all girls grow, and the air is soft—like Prairie’s hands, like my breathing—and it is then I understand why dogs walk on all fours, why our legs are important, why I said yes when she crawled inside of my mouth, scared and hiding like a sheep, wanting me to rescue her, lovingly, like Mary did; but I am not Mary I say, and my father, he is still there, large and glowing moon, and my body—my body is heavy stone sinking water, food for sheep, clay apple, and I believe Prairie when she touches me, her fingers sliding deep into my body, a wish for me to become, become. I believe Prairie when she says, Shhh, girl, and when she says, No one knows how beautiful the sky is here. No one. But we know. I touch Prairie’s cheek, she hums, her throat as worn as a dog’s. My legs are sore. I look up and see purple, red—falling onto the moon, falling onto her hands—and the rope my father uncurled, it’s loose now, swinging; and my body, it’s growing, and I don’t stop it. I run far, far away from this sky no one but we three have seen. I am heavy with water, with roots. My feet are big as satellites. I will not tell a thing. Not a thing.
The wolf kisses the side of the lamb, and its head bends like the side of a paper cup. The wolf is hungry, wants the lamb in her belly. Never let lamb go, never let it go.

I want to hold you in my mouth, says the wolf.
I want you to hold me in your mouth, says the lamb.

They stare at each other. It doesn’t matter who talks first.

Wolf rubs lamb’s head, rubs her snout, cool-wet on the wool.

I want to eat you like a metaphor, says the wolf.
I want you to eat me, says the lamb.

They stare at the moon, at the end of the farm, just the wolf and the lamb. Their teeth, sharp for each other.

                         My lover & I need
            to cross a bridge.                                 
                                                It is chained closed
            for the night.                                                                           

                        My lover
                                               climbs over                                    
leaves me

                                                    to hunt antelope          
            distinguish poison
                                                            from sustenance          

            X marks the X.

                        I take a piece
                                    of charcoal & draw
until my body              

                                                            is covered



            Found dead                             my lover
                        is stolen                      hooked
            up to machines—
                                             his tongue pickled
            in salt                                    extracting                                     
                                  new blessings.                          
                                                                        It says do not



                                                            My lover still
                        —us unfound                                       his                   
                                                particles move             
            in mephitic air.

                        My lover is                  
                                                a hypernova.                                                                                 I cut    
                                             apple skins                              
                                                                                  2% milk into   
                                    a jug―any size―keep
pouring until
it sucks my vulva outside

                         until he screams on the other side

                                                                        of the house,
                               the hummingbirds are gone.
we met on on ok cupid
i didn’t know your
type of living
i was 25
& absent-minded
in truth,
you bored me
then, i heard
you made space
for the dead
i knew, i had to
for prosperity
for thrashing
for screaming
into grey moon light
because liking slayer
& ripped tee shirts at 19
wasn’t enough
sorry, darling
i need street cred
my lips went ghostly
overripe & purple veined
in my dreams that night,
i pulled pulpy petals
out of my teeth
the next day,
i had to wear dark lipstick
to hide teeth marks
in little bloated shapes
girls at the office
asked if i got restalyne
i din’t say no.
There's a dead city in my heart where crying children paint skeletons on the pavement all day long. The smell of new coffins. Falling angels. Angry brujas. The unblinking eye of hatred. Tearing and pulling. Saliva. That cat just lost his eyes in a fight and is now under you window, making his pain a sound that haunts your being. Every book is a forbidden tome if you read it right. There's no such thing as a useless knife. Rust. Scratch my back and I'll scratch your corneas. Bleeding nipples. Trash. Empty streets echoing nothing. Desiring an end that will forever be too far away. Put some salt and lime on those self-inflicted cuts and live a little, will you? I love you like you wish your mom did. Don't trust me because I'm the only one you have.
She very carefully plucks

The dying blossoms 

From the potted flower

Collecting them in her palm

Leaving the sparse few

Their color tawdry

And fragile.

Without meeting my eyes

She places them in my palm

Their stems damp and

Chill, and gestures toward

The rubbish bin.

I walk to it

A few feet from the hallowed ground

Which swaddles the bones

Of her son and now

His father.

I watch in reverent awe

As she reaches 

Into a plastic tote

And withdraws a soft rag

And a spray bottle

Of blue cleaning fluid.

I watch in reverent awe

As she cleanses the polished stone

With the same patient, methodical care

I have seen her sponge the surfaces

Of her kitchen

After a meal.

I watch in reverent awe

As she collects a broom

From its customary spot under a willow

And sweeps the gravel

Surrounding the stone

Erasing our footprints.

She steps back and appraises

Her work.

Satisfied, she turns to me

And meets my eyes.

I give her a very slight nod.

She smiles, seeing that I understand

And approve.

This tender thing.

Returns the rag and the Windex

Into the bag.

I take her in my arms

And only then does she falter.

Her tears dampen my coat.

I kiss the top of her head,

This woman

This mother

This wife

This tender thing.
The ruthless burning orb dips

below the ragged ass-crack of


In the Jacuzzi, dog-league

Rappers giggle

The theme from Jaws

As they stalk the tattered Ginger



I tip back a double

Single malt; neat. Hmm.

Something nefarious

happening below the bubbles,

Ginger cranes her neck,

the back of her skull kissing

the deck; an opiate eyeroll,

baby-lips part

in a guttural moan. Our gazes


lock. In that moment,

she shows me her terror

qand I acknowledge it with a

sage nod;

a silent good-luck-with-that.


It is the most I can reasonably offer. She knows this. But still,

She despises me.
Blue honey pours out of her heart.

She sees it all.

Her eyes are orange. Her pupils,

Like flies frozen in amber.


She hid behind the wall of madness—

The honeycomb.

She was something delicate and transparent—

At first.


It was a creeping feeling—

My sense of her

Hovering behind all things.

I ignored her.


But she does not like to be ignored.

She taunted me with visions.

She pricked my feet with pins in my sleep.


If you will not be my slave

You will be my Voodoo doll,

She whispered to me

Through the honeycomb.


What strange flowers are these?

They only open when pricked,

And they scream—

With their little pink mouths full of teeth.


She watches me in the garden.

I am her puppet.

I water the gladiolas

And slit the poppies.


Her honey comes from many places,

And her poppies are her pride.

They bloom red and fierce,

In the middle of July.


The white milk flows thick.


Glisten on the razor blade

That slices across their swollen throats.


Her honey soothes.

Her honey makes you sleep.

Madness is her curse.

Death is her relief.


It hurts now, I know,

She tells me.

I can make it stop—

Just one kiss, she says softly.


Her honey lips drip lies.

Her bosom heaves—

Bound up tight

In her honeycomb corset.


It is an enchantment—my body

Frozen at night.

I stare up at the sky,

Dumb as a baby.


My mouth is open

So that the bees can taste me.

They dust my tongue in pollen,

In hopes that one day my taste buds will bear fruit.


Dew fades,

And dawn breaks,

On my drooling mouth,

And swollen tongue.


She waves a slender finger.

I lower my aching arms

And close my bee-stung mouth

—my lips like two balloons.


Every day she offers me

Her honey.

It is the purest nectar—blue,

Just like her veins.


Every day I refuse.

I wait out the thirst

That strips my eyeballs

Of their moisture.


She is patient.

She knew I was hers

From the moment she saw

My junkie-lidded eyes.


She saw me wanting to die

When they stuck me full of needles.

She saw me fall in love with Alice,

And fall fall fall down the rabbit hole.


She saw me snort

Lines of heroin all night

As I watched The Twilight Zone—glad

That my junkie boyfriend was finally asleep.


Because I knew I hate him,

Because I knew I was leaving in the morning,

Because I knew I was never coming back,

Because he was a zombie Jesus with a tar black heart.


She knew I would crack one day.

She knew it was only a matter of time

Before I said yes—to her honey,

And yes, to her kiss.


It began as a faint buzzing—a

Negative space in my head

Roaring louder and louder—a

Swarm of black ops helicopters.


Fire melts honey.

Orgasm explodes pain.

Bam. Zap! You’re dead—for a second—

The best magic trick on earth.


But the pleasure never lasts.

I am empty and she is ready

To fill all my holes up with honey,

Till I drip drip drip for her.


The afterglow in fleeting,

And her promises thicken.

She tempts me with a permanence

That her powders cannot provide.


A blackberry bath bomb

Explodes and fizzes in my hand,

Turning the bathwater purple.

It swirls like ice cream and licks my legs.


I haven’t shaved all winter.

She smiles, because I remind her of a bee,

With my peach fuzz, my hungry eyes,

My restless mouth, my busy hands—


Reaching for heaven—entering


Amazed every time—

How it feels just like a mouth.


Sinking sinking down

Into the blackberry fizz—the

Soggy berry patch—engulfs

And quiets me at last.
Her eyes have no pupils.

She is at death’s gate but she will never cross.


Through me you cross,

She says as she spreads her legs.


Her flesh is snow-capped.

Bitter herbs grow in her valley.


Mugwort and wormwood—Deadly nightshade and ginger root.

Blue cheese and sour milk.


Drink the darkness of her breast.

Her lips are full and blue like frozen berries.


She is the pale sister of the madness of the mountains.

She wants babies to feed.


The crying women come to her

And suckle at her ageless breast.


In a half sleep she drifts,

Dreaming of babies forever feeding.


Cow-Goddess of milk and despair.

She is the ache that never fills.


The bitter river of life—twisted—tangled—jagged,

Rocky and slick with rotting bodies.


Her babies are blind and they feed forever.

They can never grow—lined up like baby pigs—Suckling at her endless teats.


Their little teeth make her writhe.

They pierce her scarred and bloody nipples.


They chew and suck hungrily

For every last drop of her honeymilk.
Love found me young,

and I found her…


 Or him.


But she is more than sex,

more than human;


I hold her heart

and soul in a box,

as we ride the train.


She saved my life,

and I keep her from the sun.


The light doesn’t


the love we have.


No one does.


But when I knock,

she knows it’s me.
My son’s beauty

Is the cloth

Wiping away Christ’s spilled blood.




The name of my favorite flower,

And the felonious virgin who spread her legs

For an undeserving God.


Such grace and charm,

Her husband lacks—

Though his soul is a worthy find.




From Eve to extras,

Have always been so eager to say… yes.


My son has my eyes.


They can see all of God’s mistakes.
Imagine you'd said too much

So much your mind collapsed

Anything involving conversation

to be avoided

No food orders

The walk to nowhere

Feels good to be quiet

Knowing nothing you say will be

used against you

Without words you'll tell no lies

Honesty your new name

Gone with window dressing

you'll look out the window

A beautiful sunset

One you never notice anymore

You wonder where have those

sunsets been for the past three


In your bones you feel it

The end of an era

Losing your voice

Gaining power by saying enough

By saying alone

People have told you your entire

life you can never satisfy

everybody and here you are

decades later finally getting what

that means
New Poetry, Every Week
Sign up to get a new poetry playlist in your inbox each week. You'll receive set of poems around a different theme, with a focus on contemporary poets.