can’t contain me!

teehee. giggles.


Time: strings pulsating, their gut cores seeping warmth and resonance. Running vibrations, bronze and golden, looping in a circular, helical melody. We travel with it along the notes and the passing tones and when we reach the cadence, we do not stop. Fingers linger above sound obscured by mortal existence: a wedge, a sliver between illimitable darkness.


my hands are slightly sticky
from newly torn grass.
it smells warm–
pleasant even.
then hot tar hits,
extracting air from my lungs
like pulled silk.
throw me in a pool,
neon paint


spin me around until night comes,
illuminate me by black-
make me quiver, excite.
mark, and flood the streets.
it’s summer,
others can bathe in color too.

boys get better things

Last night past midnight, I was still in front of my computer, earphones in, slightly brain-dead, forcing myself to try to write something. Earlier, I had gone for a run-turned-sprint workout. Body sent into a brief paradise after stepping inside the air-conditioned apartment, I had some (by some, I mean much) noms, then I lay across two dining room chairs, eyes closed, music playing. I stayed like that until we had to leave for the outdoor screening of Toy Story 3– it was only slightly humid out, though I was still eaten alive by insects (I must have tasty blood, because this always happens). After everyone had gone to bed, I was still at the dining room table staring at my computer screen, body wanting to enter some kind of tired-coma. It didn’t help my focus to have only one light on, but it seemed to relax my brain a bit.

So, past midnight, still in front of my computer, earphones in, slightly brain-dead, forcing myself to try to write something, a strange train of thoughts occurred:

I need to shower.
I want to go sniff some men’s deodorant.

The last time I did this was with my sister on the way home from Bar 13 near Union Square. We stopped by CVS because it was too cold to walk home, and she found me wandering the scented aisle. Men’s deodorant smells better I told her. She agreed. And so we found ourselves edging each stick of men’s deodorant under slidy plastic things (why make things so difficult?), opening each cap, and sharing particularly nice-smelling scents. From axe to old spice, we breathed in artificial musk. Then compared it to the flower-bathroom-vomit that was women’s deodorant. Then we reveled in the fact that vegans typically don’t smell, so it doesn’t matter. But boys get better things. Better deodorant, better razors, better pants (with pockets!).

Anyway, I think strange thoughts when it’s too late for my brain.


Running for the pain, to escape the pain, to free the pain. For the sweat, for the burn, for the after-burn. For the mindlessness that leads to noticing– thighs are becoming tan as limbs become mechanical, feet graze the asphalt– it is hot. For the rhythm of steps, for the rhythm of pace, for the rhythm of being. In circles we run to our own music, and to others’ music we choose to let in.

As I ease to a stop I think– whatever happened to running just for the hell of it?

Beautiful Storm

Sometimes, there is such beauty in things that should be frightening, like lightning that flickers across the sky, drenching the night in flashes of color that wavers between lavender and white. The rain wraps the windows in wet, and it’s almost calming– as I sit by the window watching the storm reflect off neighboring windowpanes, I think of being soaked through, clothes clinging to skin like it belongs, body drinking in air of dissipating humidity. There is comfort in belonging, whether it is to the carpeted floor, the rain, or warm arms. Or to water, as it ebbs down the street, meandering and unbound.


uprooted from last year

He came home in a cardboard rocket on a bed of shredded paper. For the first few months all he did was sleep, even when I collected him in my arms. He watched other dogs to learn how to pee while lifting his leg. Often he would lose balance, or his leg would windmill over and land in a puddle of golden dog rain. We tried to potty train him: we put him on the newspaper in our bathroom. I remember the uneven grout under my feet from my constant trips to check on him. I remember weeks later he peed on the homework I left on the floor, and he was proud because he peed on paper.

My sister named him Capri. I argued that it was too prissy for a male dog, even if he happened to be a cream-colored bundle of fur. A pretty name suited for a pretty dog, she argued. I relented.

I resented that he would bite only me. My sister says it’s because I dropped him too much when I was little. I say I couldn’t help it—I was just six. I don’t understand why or how I could’ve dropped him either. He was like a stuffed animal—he wouldn’t squirm, and he was just two pounds. I could still outrun and outwrestle the boys, but I couldn’t keep a two-pound fuzzball contained in my hands?

My other dog is also a Pomeranian. He’s a vibrant orange and like a lion, except for his tongue too long for his mouth and a tail curled too thick. We practically adopted him—his parents were restaurant owners who left him in a kennel for three years and named him Bank for good fortune. Because of their accented English we thought they had named him Ben. I thought it was an ugly name for a dog, so my sister and I renamed him Benito. On our first outing, we discovered that he masturbates in public. He bites everyone but me. And like me, he’s a little rough around the edges.

My mother used to hit them with wire hangers. I implored her not to, my blue cotton dress scrunched as I curled into a ball, enveloping my dogs in my puny body. She knew I only really cared if she went for the dogs, so that’s what she did. Her mane of black hair framing her face, overcast with passion and fury, I tried to match her roar with my childish screams. My dogs quivered by me, extracting every ounce of protection a bereft child could offer. When she would finally leave, I would shut the door with only the whisper of air sweeping under, light from the hallway slinking away as I lay on the bed wondering what was wrong with me. At times like these, Capri wouldn’t bite me and would let me hold him close. My mind tired from the hours of delirium, it succumbed to the sickening drops of a near-shut water spigot.

I would come home to a mother tired of it all—the whole child thing, her cheating husband, life. With her hair freshly permed and a few swipes of red on mechanical lips, she would walk around chanting, “I’m not your mother.”

I resented that he would bite only me. Maybe I used to hit him to let out the pent up frustration because I refused to let anyone know that I was having a hell of a time trying to sort things out. And I once cracked and told her, “You don’t understand mom, you told me not to tell anyone so I didn’t,” thinking I would get some kind of empathy. But I was right, she didn’t understand.

When she started going after me, not the dogs, I would find Capri by my side, shaking but trying to comfort me in the chaos that was my household. We would take strolls to the Plaza, following the concrete strip surrounded by fenced grass. Vaguely disconsolate, I watched the scenes of parents toting away their children with their calls of, “dinner!” “come home” “look it’s mommy!” in the waning hours of sunshine. Capri and I would stay for hours—hours past the first shadows that glanced the trees, hours past their total envelopment in darkness. He put up with it as my glazed eyes attempted to uncurtain the night and find reality. When we would finally leave, the echoes of children still rang in my ears.

A few years ago I finally had the guts to counter all her illogical arguments and her comparisons of me to other children—I can cook my own food, do my own dishes, do my own laundry. She shut up. She tried to slump against the couch but her body failed to—her spine was rigid against the stitched leather. Eyes reeling because Vivian never snaps.

And it felt so damn good. I could not allow myself to become prisoner to this petrified void of life, meaningless and hardened. Solidarity shaped me, but I no longer let it define me. Like Benito’s tail gradually uncurled, I relaxed. And even if I don’t know why Capri bites me—even if he doesn’t remember why—I’m grateful that he’s still here. Even if his biting me is irrational, because we are all imperfect.

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you can’t change the way things are. The strip of concrete leading to the Plaza is still framed by grass, but the rusty wire fences are gone. And Benito is home with his parents for that one week of the year. Today, Capri and I went for a walk, and he chased the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who he thought was his friend Dakota, but who in reality is Cody—a replacement for the deceased. And I suppose it’s okay that my dog doesn’t understand, because there’s a comfort in knowing that this is our neighborhood, whether it’s a strip of rubber or simply paws padding the gray pavement. It’s comforting to know people, even if you only know their dog’s name. And I’m fine with not being able to go back to fix things or figure out why my dog bites only me—I am happy that he grew up and I can still watch him hop through the streets, and all the memories I have with him aren’t worth giving up—the holding him tight in my puny arms, his fur tickling my face.

Weaving through the dark fibers of the night, I’m no longer tipping to one side with no wall next to me. I have a simply comforting handful of dog.

High Society

Nature unrestrained, a lattice
of vibrations so cruel,
leaving me coiled around your finger,
then discarded on a grand piano to listen
ivory keys pounding
to my heart fingernails click.

Longing for the sound that soothes
the oscillating soul
a luscious, divine desire
little bottles of pink alcohol
clink together like
Florida, where I first became intoxicated at age three.

I left in my father’s arms
clutching a white cloth napkin that accompanied
what should have been a virgin
strawberry margarita, colors fade
like five-dollar tie-dye kits
washed away in spinning laundry.

A tangle of jewels
rust, copper, or red
pock marks stain the inner
coils like discordant notes dizzy
in my blood,
searching for the misplaced home.

Soundwave Transmission

Sometimes I wish the violin were pitch perfect like the piano. In my head I hold the pitch, but the acoustics of my room make my fingers uncertain.

     purple bow hair fights
     against stiff metallic strings
     screeches like a child.

It reminds me of my mother.

            she opens her mouth
            and a symphony     bursts out
            angry blasts of sound.

My uncle used to say that she was born with menopause.
When I was a small child, fingers chubby with fat, I managed to slink away to the dark corners of my classroom. I was the girl with the silky, soft hair, huddled in the shadows with a stack of books.
Now, more than a quarter of my day is spent in

                   room six-fifteen A,
                   desks wooden, an arranged square
                   here you cannot hide.

There are always people not born to hide, like my friend who easily ascends looming walls.
She is three times my age and she demands attention.

            her hair is rainbow
            dreadlocks cascade down her back
            muscular and lean.

Cannot hide I know I cannot
     Run away, run, run.
            In the lobby,

     the track team grathers
     shirts  off sweat clinging to skin
     shoelaces tugged tight.

Recede, recede. Can you read me?
You read me wrong– I am ready to conquer. I am present: the hideous screeching of my violin.

About Nokia

They all had their songs. Capri’s was Mozart’s Sonata in F-major. Benito’s was the wailing fire trucks, his howl low and guttural. Nokia’s was Chopin’s Nocturne in E-Flat. Nokia was a vivid green, and she lived for the sun that overlooks the rich shade. The pet store told us that parakeets could live up to 15 years. At that time, I was reading Tuck Everlasting, and I was thinking about how great it would be to live forever.

But living is simply the absence of death. I remember the frantic call to the emergency vet hotline because her neck was rolling back and forth, the ruffled ridges in her neck showing pink underneath. The woman on the other end of the line was saying to just calm down, there’s no doctor in at this point. My sister was frantic. I was frantic too, and the woman on the phone probably didn’t give a fuck that our bird was dying because Nokia was only a parakeet, but I had to stay strong for my sister, because she was prone to breaking down. In my head, it was Nokia, don’t die, no you can’t die.

The day after Nokia died, my sister had to perform her song– her Chopin Nocturne. Ivory keys colored like bones, I wonder how strange they must have felt under her fingers that night as she froze all emotions for those ten minutes onstage. Maybe she didn’t feel the keys at all. She didn’t make one mistake. I remember when she got home she broke down in her room. I was the one that crawled in under the blanket next to her saying, “It’s okay, everything dies, it’s okay. Birds go up.” What did a kid like me know about death?

All I knew was how to lie on my back. But that night, I was on the bed where I spent a night on my stomach because my hives came up, and my whole back was on fire, and my family was piling ice packs on my back to numb the itch. This is where I came to realize that everything is the same string of vibrations, just intertwined and twisted in different ways. But my memory of Nokia is still her green speckled with yellow, white, and black. Her remarkable tail feathers. And I imagine her, an ordinary parakeet, elegant in flight as she faces the wind of a settling dusk.

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