escape from jersey city

peppermint chamomile dreamin’

half-tea fuzzy sleepwalking to

where logic and yogic converge

climbing up the palisades

spiked hands on abstracts

tourniquet in fever-sheets

strands of hair caught in knots

like bark splitting gums from teeth

killing metropolis, called the cops

off the grid, no river too wide to cross—

you know where you’re going,

but do you know where you’ve been?

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about us (all)

I realize we have south-facing windows
when the light in the kitchen
lands just right
flattering shadows cast on
disoriented tapestries
jars of soft honey
chotchkees from undefined isles
jade teapots from treacherous mines
and most of all
revealing the specks of coal in your mocha-porter eyes

I always thought your irises a continuation
of your black pupils,
oversaturated from seeing too much
or burnt from so much effort exerted in being unseen
but you are much simpler
life is much simpler and therefore
much harder than I imagined

one must separate dreams from walks on solid ground
show little pride in small triumphs
and never believe to be more than you are
(or even equal to)
accept oneself as a glass half-full
always filling nonetheless
and in spite of overflowing, evaporating,
or tipping over

but, about us:

we have two modest incomes
we wear second-hand clothes
we always make our rent (though late, most times)
I’m in debt from writing too many papers on Wordsworth and Jane Eyre
and no more well-read or spoken because of it,
but I could never file for bankruptcy

we will never starve
we buy stale beer from the dollar bin
(I think it’s meant for the homeless)
and overripe bananas
(discounted, unwanted, age-spotted like disease)
we never go out for dinner
because I learned to cook better
(trial and error)
and I hate wearing heels
you don’t own anything but jeans and black tees anyways

I’ve always wished for a balcony from which to sip the sun,
but I’ll settle for the view of colonial rooftops
the smell of curry that seems to fog the stairway
and the drunks who crowd our front stoop
or occupy our favorite bench
who never hesitate to hold the door
but have given up on asking for a favor

and about us, now:
is it we’re lucky or are we just living
is it we’re privileged or are we just getting by?

when you are young and chasing life in the city
you get used to walking on crooked floors
(eventually)
and the circuits breaking every time you use the microwave
you find charm in your mismatched furniture
and a companion in the hissing radiator

it feels good enough to sit in your kitchen
— to call it your own —
to be a part of the heat trapped in the steel, glass, and brick
to hear the voices of others and to know
you’re not the only ones living like this
thinking how some day, you will become much more

late bloomer (you don’t know me)

some called me a heretic,
some called me a late bloomer

well, what can I say for myself
that hasn’t already been said
or pasted in a diary
or held between the webs of hands,
read like a mantra cresting the wave
of one’s cerebellum
or beat into a child’s sore hopes

here I am,
take me as I come,
judge me as I seem,
but you will be wrong every time

you aren’t the hindu lady painting on my wall
you aren’t a stuffed animal on my bed
you aren’t lint in my pocket
you aren’t a ghost, a telepathic, a vibration

here I am,
say as you will,
we are equal parts of the world,
I don’t know anything
neither do you

we’ve all been there, and
most failures are hard to admit

but I wasn’t a late bloomer
I decided my own fate
and it took a little longer than your sensical progression

sailor lore

clear skies tonight with clueless stars to pull at your lifestrings

it’s enough to make you faint on your front lawn in the snow

the stargazer lilies smell so immortal, you forget where you left your
coffee mug

the constellations captivate and capture you,
all at once you’re something else

aren’t you?

human to the bone

pens fit in your hand, keys molded to your tips,
and technology begs you to do something

you do not sunbathe in the yard
or spend your sundays and everyday hiding your nuts

your dreams,
you will forget about them anyways
and nobody wants to hear what you dreamt about unless you dreamt
about them

clear skies tonight
red at night
sailors delight

but I bet the world will freeze over by morning
and it will be all blue fire and flames

honeymooning

everyone seems to be out on
honeymoons
and I can’t quite get the point
of people celebrating
every damn thing
for a moment
and once the feeling is gone,
pasting photos in the books,
stepping on,
making funeral preparations,
slipping on their death clothes,
and all along
through the whole damned thing,
all along and
all at once
they forget about the affairs
they once had with their dreams…

can you believe it?
people fall asleep forever and
then forget about their dreams.

my nightmares consist

my nightmares consist of

spinning ferris wheels
that won’t stop to let me off,
blinking ice cream trucks
on the highway at 1am
and the driver hands out
white cones soft of poison,
the advertisements blink and scold
and morph into whatever it is I want
in that flash of thought

and everyone has their windows up
but me
and it feels
like I didn’t get invited.

the same dark face peaks
through my blinds while
my slumber turns like seizures,
he waits outside my doorstep
and he tailgates at my step
when I’m running, not away from,
but toward something

and I’m not sure if it’s a bright light,
but I want to swallow it
as soon as I see it
but it’s always gone before I do.

my nightmares look like

a soldier in the trenches
crawling for the west coast
or wherever there is water,
he’s not parched or malnourished
but he needs a sight of calmness
to fill his belly,
to make him full.

he has no family to return to,
no happy canine or shuttered home,
but an expanse of grass
that he projects his dreamings upon,
imagining himself sprawled out
in every corner of the field,
on every inch whether green or mossy,
muddy or speckled with weeds

and there’s no one anywhere
but him
and he’s kind and content
not knowing there is more to breathing
than sun-gazing

he’s alone, but doesn’t know better
and he can’t ever sleep
because the light’s too bright

while I suck up all the bad in the world,
my room is dark with
the dangers of driving
a fear of minefields
talking to strangers
and never arriving

while my doors are locked at night
while my bed is warm

my nightmares consist :