Sharks do not sleep as mammals do. Many shark species must keep moving in slumber, bodies restless even if minds are calm, to push oxygenated water past their gills. They are drifters. They, too, are restless at night.
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“Two had been attacked/and had metal plates/in their foreheads./One thought he was dying,/but it was just the DT’s.”
“She’d wash, clip plastic bags and Ziplocs to clotheslines. I’d unclip them,...”
“Sparrows tumbled from my throat, which is to say/the surgery was a success”
“if her allergens would keep to themselves./God forbid you have to be mindful/of dairy or cross contamination./...God forbid you ever worry/about the size and symbols/of a bathroom stall.”
“Slender girl with thick black plaits hides her teeth/from me when she smiles. her friendship is bravery./my body is violence.”
“4. “Drink a daily glass of kombucha instead of sweet tea, blue algae, or cola.”/5. “Is kombucha similar to zero-calorie water or rambutan agua fresca?”/6. “You look so young. Do you drink a lot of kombucha or is it the melanin?”’
“Dear dying moon/Dear blooming cherry/Dear barn window//Please grant permission”
“7. Pop one’s clogs/8. Struck down/9. Food for worms/10. Join the great majority”
“she say she a witch now. can’t nobody break what’s broken & i’m all ivory.”
“When cis men say they worry/about dying in the floodwaters of a former/sheet of ice, I think it must be nice, the privilege/that allows a cis man to worry about drowning…”
“//whachu want/from me?//whachu/got that won’t get//me killed?/i ask this//of every//land/i’ve planted”
Okay, so maybe it’s not from Finian’s Rainbow, but it’s always some obscure gem from the glory days of Broadway musicals and if not that, then the opposite – The Beatles or maybe even Mick in the Rolling Stones.
My mother had spent summer bent over her miniature vegetable garden. She planted tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and beans. There was always a bowl of tomatoes on the dining room table; the rabbits ate everything else.
“Let me give her a kiss then,” my mother said. My heart sank; they don’t miss me, I thought. She lowered the blanket, caressed my hair, and hugged me gently. The sweet scent of forsythia from her hair filled my head. I yearned to clasp my arms around her, but she hadn’t insisted on taking me home because their ‘friends’ mattered more.
“Type drugs,/delete drugs. Type illness,/delete illness. I’m blurry/& depleted…”
“funny how death isn’t much on the mind isn’t much a real thing isn’t much a/ concern until your body is a galactic crucible is a pillar of creation for the death-makers”
“Yesterday, I spent hours stroking the glean off my phone/until it erased every dead thing, until the dead were entwined/into its body.”
“god under my chin//hung together by a rusted artery/a copper clasp, poking”
“i once cracked open the earth. pleaded clay & rock to bare/children.”
“Turn me into a mirror, a space/for you to trap light, arms/rising up to make/the illusion of a head”
“The saying goes that revenge is a chilled soup. So, start with 2 whole Spanish yellow onions.”
“I never liked his mother/because she never liked me. Afraid of the damage//when the damage leans over.”
“Once an not now I/parachuted from a daring little plane.//As if a shipwreck survivor I crawled onto shore.”
I just re-remembered: Mama told me and Mark not to say “cancer” in this house, everyone was keeping it secret from Baba Galya that she was going to die. Deda Vitya says, “Lina told me, after Galya died, that Galya told her she went to the doctor on her own and asked him how much time she had. Galya put cards under her clothes, and later I found them: ‘These are for Lina, these are for…’ So Galya knew, and kept it a secret from all of us…”
Over the course of my eighth-grade year, my exceptional hearing paid off, earning me a couple of eavesdropping sessions between mom and dad. They argued with low voices in the morning, careful not to wake me.
It felt good though. I’d chill and fuck with Maurice on weekends. During the week, I could walk up and down the hall in school with Tyrell’s arm around my waist. He and I fooled around after school, before my mom came home from work. I had to make sure I was keeping him satisfied so he wouldn’t get suspicious or start asking questions.
And here—she’s just caught her husband putting on Rogaine. So, she thinks, she will not have to say it after all. She’s staring at him in the mirror, imagining the future of his baldness like a sunrise.She sees herself there also, her own hair, as it ages, becoming hopefully silver but probably gray.
I chose Madeleine as a tribute to the city that I’ve called home for the past four years. Yes, as in the orphan pelirrojita in the old house covered with vines. And yes, as in one of those little French cakes that kind of look like duckbills.
Steve was the type of guy who had a nice voice and assumed that made it OK to burst out in song and make the world a better place.
My dad lives in London, where he works for a TV company. He manages all of their reality shows. Big Brother Norway, Survivor Sweden, Amazing Race Belgium, you get it.
I find the white-eyed bird with the red beak halfway up a column of rock, and although he is dazed by the gathering heat of the day, I manage to coax him into the cage without difficulty. He is around a metre in height. He has grown since we last met and takes up most of the cage. I would like to feed him but I haven’t seen any mice for a while.
CITRUS IS MY ONLY HOME To bite into an orange is not the same as to cut into an orange is not the same as to pick the orange [...]
I search for a good sleeping posture as night edges closer to business hours. I lay on my side, then on my stomach. I hang an arm off the bed. I flip the pillow to the cool side and back. I think about Adrienne, how soft the blankets on her bed are. I try and try, but I can’t get comfortable.
“I want a life where I feel strange and intimate/with the border between the real and unreal//and still get to eat.”
“if Rome had fallen here, this desert/would have made it look like the most miraculous/& inviting smoke.” “if Rome had fallen here, this desert/would have made it look like the most miraculous/& inviting smoke.”
“Often, when my mother leafs through large, cluster stacks of paper and/prepares them for the shredder, I imagine skin.”
“I say hello/to a small face peeking/round the corner of someone’s house:/a cat in my mind/until it stands upright…”
“He grabs and grabs your hand and you keep going, daring and bargaining and begging for grace, trapped in all the muck and fluidity of the in between space.”
“My vagina is mostly scales; it belongs/in the water, filtered and innocent.”
“my dolls have hands not much smaller than mine/I rip the arms off my plastic baby doll/my mother pops them back in the sockets”
"Well, that shut me right up. He had told me before that I sounded crazy, that I was acting crazy. This time was different. I was crazy, plain and simple. I excused myself to use the bathroom and turned on both the sink faucet and the shower head. I was not going to let him hear me cry."
When I was boy, you were a planet. Then you weren’t. You disappeared from the solar system, relegated to “other,” to “dwarf.” But I remember you, distant one. You are part of a family of the forsaken. In the end, you revolved around the sun like the rest of us.
"I don’t want to go out drinking with anyone. I want to drink, and for everyone to go bother Anna, instead. As the Phoenix desert glides by outside my window, I realize I haven’t seen Hermes or my home state in nearly ten years. His laugh is annoying as hell, but it also reminds me of a past life, I feel weirdly relaxed."
"All of a sudden I jumped in fright. My five-year-old cousin, Nina, was walking through the hallway like a resurrected corpse—the kind that search for brains in those low-budget movies we weren’t allowed to watch—and she crashed into me as I stood before the doorway of my father’s room."
"I could pretend that I’d like to make some sly comment about the tone of her legs or the nervous but somehow sexy pout on her face as she entered my closet-sized office– it seems appropriate somehow– but the truth is I find the idea nauseating. Call me new-fashioned, but I don’t care about your legs– I just want your credits. But I digress."
"I was writing a movie script. I was taking calls about plotlines and character development in between shifts at the restaurant and singing hymns at Bible study. I was all in, as they say. I was all caught up, as it were. He wanted me to have a good time. When we walked into the lobby, a girl gave us waters with orange peels."
"Grace backed into a corner near the door to keep practicing while the rest of us paired up. Two-person juggling, otherwise known as passing, is one of the things we do best at SOPWETT. Arms up, and down, and: one, two, three, four, pass, two, three, four, pass, two, three, four, pass, two, three, four…" "
“And yes,/I still see spirits by the fireplace. A whole orgy/of voluptuous ghosts eating honey roasted peanuts.”
“wheel chair/accessible/*back entrances”
“You have/a sans-serif face; I wanna check out/your cerebrospinal fluid.”
“People bloom and divide like kaleidoscope beads around her blond yellow bead head.”
“in the cobbler I baked a part of me/was not sure you would have a piece/because I could have been//alone.”
“I’ve seen a boy go missing inside himself, so I searched for him/in cracked church bells & shot-out light bulbs.”
“She knows/how to mouth no, the shape/of her lips an opening pit…”
“& I’m tuned into/the cicadas,/wanting to join/but what part/of the body/makes a sound/so primordial”
“Who wants a body that/wants this much to be alive?”
As a child in Ohio, I only heard so much about this war. I knew that there had been suffering. I knew that Ammah was affected by it—seeing her home after almost twenty years, her birthplace, broken apart in many ways. I understood that war meant irreversible change.
When your dentist pulls the wrong tooth, you will hold your own body at a distance. When your dentist lies about it, you will question what you know to be true—you will question your own sanity. When your dentist pulls the wrong tooth, you will sob for weeks about the pattern in your life of men taking something from you and insisting that they didn’t.
Ricky brought two forty-ounce beers to the counter. Jonathan was tracing the hair of his chin strap. One day Ricky would grow facial hair like that too. He’d go even further, he’d grow a full beard and twist it into a point. He’d go wherever he liked and no one would dare kick him out.
I remember when the macro eraser was itself contested for function. That was when the poets were still employed, and they were writing poems about justice. But then poetry was erased, so they started painting about justice.
I wonder if we say we love each each other for ourselves or for the people we’re saying it to. Or if we do it because we know we’re running out of time, like we must share it for fear of never sharing it. Or if it’s just another way to say I see you. Another way to be seen.
Her name was Florida though she had never been there. Her mother really liked the name, the state too, the oranges and sunrays it conjured. One day you’re gonna visit for me and you’re gonna love it, her mother would say.
“No. I drank the oldest lake because it was either drink that or the drink the oldest sea and I’d already drank the oldest sea a few months ago…"
Early in my relationship with Justin, back when we would cut whole days of ninth grade and spend them burrowing into each other underneath bedsheets of whichever friend’s parents weren’t home that day, he’d told me that Hector had taught him how to masturbate in the fifth grade.
“She’s doing better off without us,” his father said. “It’s this guy right here that has to pick up his shovel and dig for the family.”
Did you know you can hear it? It’s the simplest thing. Adjust an old radio or analog TV; listen for the static between channels. There, nestled in the white noise between the country music station and talk radio, are the echoes of creation.
“Les escargots, s’il vous plait,” I said confidently to the waiter. “Such a tourist,” said my dinner companion once the waiter left with our orders. “Better tourist than exile,” I replied. “Better exile than stupid,” he said. You’re paying,” I said. (We ended up splitting the bill.)
Of all human experiences, loss has the most intense redness. When a hope is expelled from our bodies, grief expands within us: to us observers, everything appears to be the colour of blood.
So banished to your room, curled up against the cold metal headboard you tried re-reading an old Nancy Drew. Instead you stared at the neighbour's dog as she ran up and down the red steps at the back of their house. She was the closest thing you had to a pet.
Back in your bedroom there was still a snoutless rat and a dishwasher filled with styrofoam plates.
When my sister finds her eulogy, she’s really not impressed. And she should have been quite happy, I think, considering I managed to come up with so many nice things to say about her.
On his way to Alfie’s, Luisito stopped by the corner mart to pick up some Mickey’s. Forties on a noche like this, where the sol stays slaying skies until 8, there was nothing better.
I wait for my drink and slip into a fever dream
My memory is made consumable by your hand.
your couscous still lingering, icebound, in the freezer
The moon was so dry it turned into a dandelion.
Our state flower is wild and we are western honey bee and sunflower until sundown.
alphabet soup what were / you trying to say before
like blank eyes and forced smiles in response to microaggressions
I could crumple into you like a piece of paper folded .......into invisible hands or magnolias in late snow.
Judy had a bad habit of leaving finished drinking receptacles in her own car
“Mohammed Rasulu Allah,” (Mohammed is the messenger of God) she enunciated, giggling.
Dangle from a hook and shape-shift between noun and adjective
Tabs open on your screen right now: Instagram, iTunes (WuTang Clan, 36 Chambers of Death), FB, Twitter, Weather, Alarm, YouTube, etc. If you had to brag about yourself: My [...]
i am the face of asian american racial justice, a mockery composed of: displacement and internal insistence on hegemonic modes of dominance, negation, and death familiar to the geopolitical histories of asia proper.
The news is full of apocalypse. The girls are full to the brim with confidence, lightening, fear. Facebook sends me into spirals of anger and anxiety.
Sunil gazed at Buku as they lay on a small cot that looked like a hospital gurney. A thick, sturdy mattress held their light weight, resilient and resistant to their shape, never bending to the sentient beings that occupied it.
He didn’t take and the lady looked at me like time being of the essence was a foreign concept to me. I was carrying everything I owned, of course time is of the essence. If it’s not for me, it’s not for anyone.
He returns every evening at 6 p.m. and asks if she's found a job yet. She has a part-time job, but it isn’t enough. Her husband expects her to work in a respectable office and wear high heels every day. He has a fantasy of them meeting at a pub for happy hour, both of them exhausted and full of work drama. Their twin martinis escape valves, sour tonics.
Our fear, then, was that all the swag came with an expectation of high quality. We couldn’t rely on improvisation forever. So on that fourth day, Sanders cupped his hands around his mouth and yelled out to the crowd, “Does anyone have any screenwriting experience?”
I had seen Arthur around for a while, at this particular station. Whenever I was coming back from work, at night, he stood there, smoking, and whistling through his trimmed moustache.
I know these rivers that flow through me / I’ve gazed out from their hearts and still you do not see me
They were no less fragile than us, these creatures, / but they seemed better used to staring down a fast / coming death.
It’s Sugar features a giant / blond plump lips parted, sucking a lollipop
I said to my partner yesterday, I want to die. / He said do you want to go to the hospital.
Then I wait, a woman / alone, hoping / to have touched the heart / of the widower.
maybe it is time for me to write poems for You. The Somebody Else. / i need to find a way to eat what comes out of me. The Wonder
CREW: (From the grid) It’s sweet that you think you / can break the fourth wall.
The horse stood trembling, had caught his leg in a toothed snare intended for the fox, / and she limped