if you came to ask after me


I’ve sat in hungry war machine all rainy day, damp dark outside. All voices clamor networks and
layers, clogging up dreamlife which you’d already barricaded long ago. Who can haunt you now,
with your barred sleep, your carotid morning? No reports are good reports, no news a silent slate.
I wasn’t looking and it crashed. I wasn’t looking and a body appeared. Stacked upon stacked
upon stacked. No matter how I twist and turn, I can’t turn off any gear, can’t blockade any metal.
Just grind my lucky teeth and search for any last father gone missing.

Back to see parents grown a bit older. Building I don’t remember erecting itself. So much
unwanted growth here. Elsewhere, I am waiting for bad news to stop. Elsewhere, I am losing a
friend to disappointment. Our mouth aren’t aligned, our ears fallen silent. Who will I ask then,
who will miss this selfish me concerned with filament of connection when seismic when seizure
when lethal rain when fatigue. My eyes drag down but when I was child, I blanked out my
dreams. A barrier wall against vivid night. Even if I don’t want to see, even if I don’t.


With a hole in my heart, I can’t see the night.

With a hole in my heart, I count the dead.

With a hole in my heart, I turn and turn in my sleep.

With a hole in my heart, I wish my enemies well and release.

With a hole in my heart, I break up a fight.

With a hole in my heart, I shut off all devices.

With a hole in my heart, I can walk into green.

I can listen to stream.

I can electric and connect.

With hole in heart, I run out of words.

I dreamed stranger took stranger
residence residing on other
outside rodeo side of door waiting
pushed me out door
I couldn’t return to return a rubble
no key would city passed from screen
turn no crust to screen a breath
would bake no rice pushed flailing
would rise I yelled scarred and scared
lung a strain

and woke in panic waiting to pulse – this
couldn’t surface any morning she said terrible
memory she startled dreams circled back
awake – I’ve again – again

never heard you

scream like
that before –

what lessons we hold handwarmers each highway surround by wild
fence and wind currents coming our cloth bodies what
unfurling we disrupt highway onramp car brigade stalls for hours more elders I don’t
recognize jumping up and down induction energy and a mournful song alternating voices
keeping up pulse a line of flashing stare-down cars we wait and wait and listen
what this could open up how we could free 100 chants and still still
dispersed back up fenceline an old memory of markered arms
yellow-vested watchers stay behind a long lens focused on falling paper no more
bananas today

if we’re lucky, we sleep we scare ourselves avoid
on less scarred heavy sore blanket
bed with few stone questions tightstrung shouldering

I’m still slow bear
operating old one-channel static
you ask me to pull back
memory from early fall
days hard to unspool hours
watching faraway dry trees
wonder how they will

thirst through a hundred years of fire
not knowing shortly
that I could not count
how many parades
to disrupt how many celebrations
how much luck
I would not
want to drink
and still not sure what good words do to unfurl
electric current to lessen bind

I have not yet laid down barrier
stone protection not yet bundled up burden for road

chanting with soft breath I am worth protecting
my body worth soft care my tongue worth a home
by the sea
my fear worth a seat for rest my heart now a buried animal

I watch your barbed teeth stone eyes crushing hands

I have closed each purple door asked for fresh page littered
with no names

even so I keep them in my mouth chanting each one an easy road to bear
chanting each one safe

Note: title is from Malkia Devich-Cyril’s “There Will Be Living After All.” This poem was made
from Hundreds (writing 100 words a day) written while in a group of six other writers where we
each chose one day of the week and sent in our 100s by the end of that day with the only thread
connecting our pieces being that our 100s had to be sparked by the one written the day before.
This form was introduced to our group by Oliver Baez Bendorf, who organized our group
(Oliver Baez Bendorf, Lucas de Lima, Andrea Lawlor, Maya Marshall, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-
Samarasinha, Margaret Rhee and me).

To fold confession:

“when yr immigrant alters / a body / we did not make or exit”
Trans Issue 2015