you can take the boy / but the heckie naw stays / announcing his nation
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white woman says that i would look so beautiful if only i took the time to straighten my hair
My priestess fries her perfect / eggs-in-a-nest: a seeping well, / saturating seams of crust.
At the duplicating center I work for, sometimes customers will leave behind important legal or personal documents
it was like in that moment, / the demon crawled out / of my chest to set a colorless fire / to my face and said believe her
If you had to brag about yourself: I make these chocolate cupcakes that are very good.
While spending too long thinking about what constitutes a lie to oneself, I burned the tahini honey yogurt cake I am baking. It may have improved it.
I’m eleven or twelve, the oldest grandchild. I’ve lingered with the grownups. My mother asks me to clear. I stack two or three plates at a time, walk them into the kitchen. Then butter dish, bread basket, serving dishes, silver.
I was nineteen when I first heard the artist Cat Power. A friend had put the song “Nude as the News” on a mix tape, and I listened to it over and over. Sometimes this meant I’d fast forward the tape until I found the song. Other times, I’d listen to the whole mix just to get there.
As a young girl, I did really well in school. But at every parent-teacher conference, the same thing was always said, every year, from every single teacher, to my mother: she’s a good student but she doesn’t talk enough. Sometimes, more specifically: she needs to ask more questions.
What’s your weirdest poop story? I ask K while we’re eating seven-layer dip, watching Lady Gaga swing from buildings at the Superbowl. When K was young she used to pick up every poop she made. She would study its consistency, roll the stool between her hands like clay, toss it back and flush.
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text] It Has Been 70 Years Since Eva Braun Was Incinerated Along with Her Underwear She takes the U-Bahn across town to visit him where he is cat-sitting for friends. [...]
I used my mom’s pink razor to shave my leg because I was too afraid to use Dad’s black one. I sat in the tub running warm water over my smooth calf. It was beautiful. That night, I rubbed my leg against my sheets until the pleasure of it was overwhelming.
I keep the postcard with me, and I let my grief travel.
It is February in Minneapolis, a month of frozen mud and sodden wings, except now oddly warm enough, it rains an iron rain. My wife, Christi drives. Her tires sluice. Exhausted windshield wipers perform accidental beauty; the patterns they leave fracture our light.
We walk past the old tenement where Anya’s great-aunt still lives, claiming the hole she tore in the world. Imagine if we all moved into Columbia Presbyterian! Someone probably has.
What does this say about me? Except for that I don’t mind pain, enduring pain, so long as it’s in view of others.
Jacob was trying to be alone with the alligator when his mother called him into the house for dinner. His mother didn’t know a thing about it; she didn’t even know the difference between an alligator and a crocodile.
In high school Marian said to me about my favorite author, George Eliot. “Isn’t that just an old British man?” smiling like her mouth was a knife.
Witches and wannabes, way too many drugs. Day three without sleep and you're psychotic for real. Then it’s like the song—we’re waiting for our man.
He was my husband, but I called him dog. When he returned from the woods each passing dawn, from wherever it is that wild things go, he would whimper and scratch at the door.
I’m fairly certain no one has been struck by lightning in the shower in the last fifty years, since water pipes
A house is an organism, Earth is an organism. These are more than just metaphors, I will think months later when I get the call from Kristen that Dad isn’t expected to survive the night.
I would like to be romantic and call my eight-month stay in Paris a personal exile from Trump, but I moved because I’m a coward.
Not all clouds is something I might add, as a postscript, not all clouds
ma said don’t touch don’t scratch don’t
you can return to masonry / be a gavel
At sixteen, she’s still new to this nation that un-names her daily.
trying to contain expansion means explosion
Our son will have solar flare / freckles splattered on his cheeks
I cannot take what isn’t a gift. Socket, Stiff dance, misdeed, a half intelligible embrace.
My mother always laughs / when she tells that story.
I call you Ella from your very beginning
the women did not flee Mosul because they became of wings
I told father and things came flowing out of our red front door
Ghosts are like our otherselves in the multiverses grown
In the ghost town, a way station until E.’s wedding, you keep your vow to a dry-tongued silence.
My spoiled teeth suck down brawny intrusions.
I wish I did not negotiate my body like a capitalist always fearing my scarcity
hammered into the wall of the coffin pit picked up by me as you wandered as far along the rails as needed.
Between my fingers is a veil through which I may glimpse the sun.
Nobody is surprised. Nobody even tries to leave.
His mother kept two cockatoos in her bedroom. They sometimes shat on her bed, nightstand, on framed pictures of Angelito’s grandfather.
When the rhino broke its way out of your body / it broke its horn off too
Married now and fully Amerikèn, I could enjoy the freedom of having weekends all to myself. I no longer ran errands for my parent’s siblings; I no longer braced South Florida traffic on weekend trips to my family members’ homes.
Last time you lied: I have children so like five minutes ago.
Last time you lied: A pair of friends came over around 9 am to drop off their keys so I could stop by and feed their cat while they were away. I was still in my pajamas.
Your rituals (writing or not): Too many cat-petting rituals to name. Suffice it to say, they make my life worth living.
Any place in the world: Impartial as long as it’s a cold, wintry beach where I get to be very in my feelings
What can I tell you about her home in Lahore? Only what she told me: We lost everything.
It’s a delicate process, but easy once you get the hang of it. If it’s done wrong, things curdle. If you do it just right, simultaneously whisking and adding warm to cold, it comes out smooth and resilient to hot temperatures.
i got the next round and after that she invited me back to her place. when we got there we were met at the door by 2 barking doggos. one was hers, a dark brown/reddish wiener dog mix who really doesn’t like guys.
On TV, we watched a Showtime series called Shameless. I’m easily bored by TV, so instead I looked around his apartment. On a shelf sat a colorful, glass hookah. Seeing it, I asked, “You smoke?”
Biriyani jumped off the diving board and broke the surface of the swimming pool in a clean arc. Pale pink fluff rippled over the pool. Her legs kicked a trillion tiny dark blue jewels into the air that melted back into water.
Death and silence you decide after unzipping your pants. You put your hands on the top of the urinal and steady yourself.
I am failing to speak the language but I know now it is possible
Morcella is her name and we’re twelve in Miss Conway’s science class talking kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species of the kangaroo.
We should have known Eduardo would be the type to tattle. He was a hyperactive, annoying child with a tendency to boss us around, although at 8 he was younger than me by a year and had been held back in school.
The Jellyfish Yosa was doing all the usual things with his hands but I felt nothing. With the lack crept a doubt that anyone [...]
Her mom’s idea of good music was Kirk Franklin and Beyoncé. More than once Kenzi found her mother in the living room stumbling along as she tried to “get in formation” or convince Fat Dave to put a ring on it. She even had a shrine to the singer in her bedroom, photos taped along her dresser for “inspiration.”
But of course I cannot be every / body for you, you cannot be every / body for me; souls are slippery like minnows, they have no fleshy handles, there is nothing to hold to pull your soul deeper inside
& I’m not hearing All You Wanted by Michelle Branch or what about my skin or religion needs to be rescued
"folks care more about cars than they do bodies"
I am sure that my blonde hair is beautiful but the beauty of my other physical attributes I am much less sure of
Ugolino is a no-eyed man who jumps on his children
At the fading light bring to her the wolfish mouth of your need.
closed eyes to the watchers in the shadows angels formed in angles beneath the glittering opal
i awoke to the sound of a neighbor crying someone’s suffering is combing my hair
Sometimes when I enter a room, I pretend Zamunda from Coming to America is a real place.
But if I look at the etymology, I find the Greek, nemein, "give what is due" and that nemesis literally means "retribution". So why has it become intertwined in my memory with a forest of black mirrors?
If I could be seen as a force instead of an object instead of a hobby, if I could just do without having to be seen, or if it didn’t matter to me at all, I could be invincible.
black out the windows but the storm is in the house lightning in the bathtub rain over the carpet
Is it because always running is a cliché? And clichés are a rerun of something different? And since you were a boy, did they feed you questionable
Question you secretly want to be asked: What is the biography of shame in your life?
Best breakfast: Leftovers. There's nothing like warming up leftovers in a bowl and eating it in bed, a blanket around your shoulders. I pretty much eat everything out of a bowl, even pizza (the fold-technique helps).
Question you secretly want to be asked: Would you like a snack?
If you have a c-section, you might want to get yourself some high-waisted panties because the incision will be right where your usual panties sit and it hurts.
Tabs open on your screen right now: 2 email accounts, VIDA’s website, twitter, an article on theGrio about strippers in NYC going on strike to protest the ongoing racism [...]
i went to see the wizard & asked him for a cock he must have seen by the scuffs on my knees that i really needed one because he said ok
my small fingers curl around a cow’s teat. i point / it in the direction of the pail below. i don’t want to hurt
an animal on stilts reaches the virgin’s tears / and tenderly wipes them. / the virgin cries tres monjitas milk, without coffee.
Someplace else enrages the turtle why a turtle a turtle never did anything to me okay then an old white man with a sign.
Geoffrey, sometimes I think I wear my sadness like caul fat. / Like how a fetal pig never asks to be dressed
Despite everything, my parents raised me. / They even loved me. These things / should always be surprising.
When E is gone / and left / who will I be?
I watched a woman become gore under microscopes, / glowing skin a subterfuge of dust and memory.
In July, the spare room on the second floor of their rental fills with flies. They try getting the landlord to do something—anything—about the flies, but they’ve only been in France a month and can’t remember how to say please. They keep the door to the Fly Room shut tight.
Everyone was shouting this on the first day of the summer of 1993, so loudly it took us awhile to realize we were shouting it too.
The test began. The students worked diligently to fill the bubbles they deemed appropriate. Livia watched one young man methodically draw frowny faces within each bubble and then cover them over with a flurry of graphite.
His date had neon pink shellacked fingernails. Lance couldn’t stop staring at them. The glare off them from the overhead lights was almost blinding. It reminded him of headlight beams bouncing off a rain-slicked road.
My therapist says to remember that I’m young and only human. My mother in our last phone call said that I’m a narcissist. My father wants the money back from my wedding.
M takes it from him. It sits in her palm, a squat little thing that's very white at the top but bloody at the root. She tries to remember what the different kinds of teeth are and which one this is. Around them, the other kids are screaming and prancing but M and V are still, staring at the tooth.
The city is sinking and about to go underwater. You don’t understand that the city is sinking and about to go underwater. I can smell the trash outside getting wet with anticipation.
This Skank Woman has no choice but to surrender to the hospital ambiance; the noise and patronizing nurses with good intentions, most of the time. The TV is showing the treatment of rhinos in Africa.
all of the lights in the store have gone burnt / dim gaping shelves bent back like bones / breathing fruit rot and dust and no one
What is the problem what is it I ask myself day after day it does not change / I walk through the rooms of my house I open the windows though it is cold
The priest feels a softness washing the back of his neck. Maybe it is rain, he thinks, or sweat.
that curved through the lungs and pierced everything I feared losing –
Anxious Diva tells me I’ve lost what’s fun about me. She says I’m flatter than death. Diva, help me cut these onions, help me feel arrhythmia, tell me how alive I want to be.