Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Remember This

The radiator clicks on
And I ask about the weekend.
you say, 
We are sticking to the point.
Can you let go for today?
On the train
no, I couldn’t.

Images of mountains 
The way the 
sun spread 
across those 
tall trees.
Why not 
let go
like that?

You tell me 
I will remember this.
Like a shitty tuna sandwich.
How are you to know 
what a good one tastes like 
unless you’ve had it
wrapped in cellophane 
at the airport
for $3.95?

I stand 
at the window
My reflection 
stands back,
a ghost.
As I plie
to the back 
of Brooklyn
You say,
We will remember this.

I think of Venice
Hot, yellow sun.
A boat.
A piece of rope
winding around 
a cleat.
And I know you’re right.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


I first think about smashing something. I want to put my fist through a bigass piece of glass. Watch the whole thing shatter, like a spider web. Like a symphony. 
“Do you have good veins?” the nurse asked today. I am so much more than a long arm with a good vein. I am a fist. Two long legs with boots that click and go THWACK when I kick. I am strong and hard. Tall. When art students paint my portrait, I look mad. One woman painted me all distorted. 
“The hard thing about painting pretty girls,” the teacher said, “is you make one mistake, and they look like monsters.” 
I have learned how to sit in a subway car, tightly packed next to two strangers, our arms touching, and weep without them noticing. Fold your arms. Don’t let the sound come out. 
What made me cry most? One thought, again and again.
I want my mommy. I want my mommy. I want my mommy.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

We Must Be Crazy

When he was angry
he'd throw his arm back
like a softball pitch
and wind-through-POW
hit his hand
fist against hand
again. again. until we stopped him.

That's what I'd like now
to take a wall out
or a window
throw my fist into something solid
until it shatters.

Is this what it means to be an artist?
We must be crazy
no diagnosis necessary.
What if
he didn't talk
because he knew
we wouldn't listen?

Monday, October 22, 2012

the interior walls of houses

The day that the wall punching happened, you got out of bed and stood,
looking eye level, 
at the softly collapsed piece of plaster. 
A perfect circle. 
You sighed, 
and without looking at me, 
walked to the bathroom to shower. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Before the proverbial apple, Adam and Eve had no understanding of death. I imagine them naked in the garden, biting the fruit. Knowledge comes like a wave. Oh shit. Death? What is death! They shout.
           I have taken bites. 
           Have digested knowledge. 
           I am in over my head. 
           Love? What is love!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


You and school,
and me: jealous, jealous, jealous.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Staff Pricks. I mean picks! (Part II)

The Cows
Lydia Davis

It's about cows.

Lost In Yonkers
Neil Simon

Read this out loud in front of your ol' Zenith shortwave radio with a cup of mustard soup. And use a New Yawk accent, see?

 Ugly Duckling Press
Any Issue

Smart and fresh, like most Brooklyn-based products. I like that their corners are "cut by volunteers." 

 White Heat
Brenda Wineapple

Maybe Emily Dickinson never left the house, but her sex appeal did.

Monday, July 30, 2012


I think the people across the street
Have a matching sheep.
Except their hangs on the wall.
And mine stand up,

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Staff Pricks. I mean Picks!

I wrote some picks for McNally Jackson yesterday. It may take days, weeks, for these to make their way up to the shelf. I Am A Bunny just sells so goddamn well.

Swimming Studies
Leanne Shapton

Shapton writes about being good at swimming but wanting to be great at it,
which transfers to being an artist or a writer, or frankly, a human being.
If you are in love with the person you want to be, but aren't there yet,
this book is for you.

Not Me
Eileen Myles

When someone recently asked me who Eileen Myles was, I said: Poet.
Bostonian. Lesbian. Glorious godsend of a voice that cannot be replicated.
I may or may not be stalking her.

Lorrie Moore

Moore is a master of craft. Any one of these nine stories will leave you
insatiably grasping for more —for MOORE! Oh God!

Norwegian Wood
Haruki Murakami

Coming of age in Japan apparently means lots of sex with older women, and
troubled women, and women in general.

The Witches
Roald Dahl

Customer:  But do you think it's a good idea to have children reading
scary things?
Me:  Oh, I think it's a great idea.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


The cover of this month’s Kinfolk, a magazine dedicated to “gatherings” and food, is a sickeningly gorgeous photo of a couple, their legs entwined, sitting on a log. I decide they are beautiful, and I hate them. I am at work, and I pick up an extra copy from behind the cash wrap, hold it up to my co-worker, and say, “They are so fucking in love, and it makes me sick.” Later, in the bathroom, I laugh weakly at my reflection when I remember a customer’s expression: surprise, but also pity. For me.

Saturday, June 30, 2012


For Nan Sea Drew

I came of age
in this place
a coming of age
to come.

A hand at my back
leads me there
A clip
A ship
across the water
A banging drum.

I won't regret
sitting in this sun
eating this croissant.
But I will reject
Too many voices
Go. Feel. See.

When a car almost
hit you in the legs
is that how it went?
I had just told you
about Ephron
getting struck by a bus
and regretting
not eating
her last doughnut.

It wasn't the bus that got her.

I wouldn't mind
if it was the sea
who in the end
got me.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Workshop Marginalia

Just reread one of my comments on a friend's workshop piece. You've really got to love writing workshops. Taken out of context, my quote goes:

"I also like how you continue to build up the Biblical references and the thoughts/anxieties/curiosities about the Holy Spirit. Whom we find out is Pooh Bear! What a cute Heavenly Spirit. God wouldn’t that be nice. But seriously, there’s a building tension throughout the piece. Incredible that you could do that with an old man with  dementia and a teddy bear. Bravo."

Thursday, June 21, 2012

you can throw a piece

Golden goblets
the cupboards
held possessions
hung with care 
This is the coolest thing
no, indescribable
there are no words
so don’t say it.
When melancholia hit
there was nothing to do
but sit 
on the edge and cry.
What am I saying
you could throw yourself
off the side
and you did
you almost died.
We spent the night
nursing you
I don’t speak of it much,
do you?
In the morning, 
rode on the back of a motorcycle
to lay in the sun
on a “pay by towel” basis.
Had my picture taken
thank god for glasses
my eyes were shaken.
Threw your hat
into the wake
said goodbye
Take this man
And then alone
just beast and being
was it You who sent
such a prehistoric go-between?
to shake him 
from his reverie
Keep in mind,
guilt and fear
flow from love.
dark and deep
you can throw a piece
but sink the whole ship
if peace is what you seek.
The day my bracelet
snapped off on the stern
I knew something like this 
would happen.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

it haunts

the lights are white
making the clouds passing by
look like smoked ellipses.
In a garden
on Elizabeth Street
at twilight
I thought of Copenhagen
and warehouses
and yellow painted chairs
a note scrawled on the gate
I remember you from the future.
There’s a little bar I know
on the sixth floor
you can get as drunk on you want
bum cigarettes
you’ll say
whoever you are
at two
I didn’t know
the lights turned off
and then you’ll kiss me.
Asking for my bed
telling me
it’s been so long
I believe you.
from a dream
we’re in the car
was it danishes in Los Feliz that day
or croissants?
I can’t shake the thought
it haunts 
I shouldn’t be here.

(Photo from cdixon tumblr) 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

clunk like rocks

no helmet, no lights or socks
suggest destructiveness 
i sat
and talked
and felt good for a while
until i didn’t
i can’t make eye contact
there is a moment
the lingered stare
when feelings pass 
like electric shocks
like rocks
at the bottom
loss of air
makes the emotion come out
i hopped on 
and plodded
pushed the dirt and sweat and grit
this town has a piece of my foot
and you have a piece of my 
look away
or it starts again

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I Can See You Down the Road

My grandfather lived in a mobile home
the kind that sit on the ground and have no wheels.
I used to stand in the driveway
and look through the wooden slats,
the open space,
it was like the place floated.

He moved a lot, but I didn't know him then.
I knew home and permanence
with the option of mobility.
I imagined the house
curving down the 101,
precarious on a large truck bed,
"Wide Load" flapping in the wind.

He did the cooking, bathed me, 
scratched my back in the mornings when I
came into his room and nestled up.
After a few minutes he'd sigh and say,
My arm's tired,
and stop.
When changing, I'd ask him to take his glasses off.
Can you see me?
I wanted him to prove it.
I can't see a thing.

The smell of sheets was a comfort I can still recall.
The sound of the Sixty Minutes clock ticking on the screen, 
however, was not.
His chair leg popped up with a loud creak.
His glasses were thick and smudgy.
In the mornings we walked to the bakery
and ate crunchy, flat pastries.
At the gas station it was Pepsi and lottery tickets.
At the park it was the best climbing tree I've known,
and the friend down the street
who taught me to vandalize.
Her older brothers rode bikes 
and made me think about boyfriends.

A honeysuckle plant climbed up the fence by the trash cans,
which grandpa would walk to every night after dinner.
The white bag of trash 
dangling from his fingers.
There was a weeping willow tree by the pool
where he swam laps on summer days
And the office where Chuck worked,
his English cowboy neighbor with 
two parakeets and a wife.

For such a wanderer, the man liked rituals.

I don't remember him drinking.
I don't know that he read.
He didn't talk much, 
but he smiled a lot
and tapped his fingers on his knee
and people liked him.

When grandpa recounts the years of moving
England to Canada to Spokane to California
he lists destinations.
Whole countries and oceans crossed,
point A to point B.
My dad remembers particulars
almost overheating the car on a mountain in Northern California,
and also, 
not having any friends.

A month before he died
we spoke on the phone.
He got lost
called me Sonia,
but he didn't correct himself.
The vision in his head was clear.
"I can see you down the road,"
he said,
"leaning against a wall."

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Way Out

Last night
I lay on that side of the wall
Which felt new and possibly exciting
But I remembered--
Imagined her imagining us
Lying there
On our side
And a rock fell
I was called an asshole today
Actually an idiot
But he was walking fast enough
I could tell
And then later
Another brush with legs and tires
It is the city
It is my long legs
It is my long legs in the city no way out
Where's the way
I want out

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


I moved to New York and rented an apartment in Park Slope. My room was as wide as I am long, and before I moved in any furniture, I lay out on the ground, my head touching one wall and my feet touching the other, and took a picture. The floors were fake wood and there was a bubble in the bathroom ceiling that one day popped, spraying water and plaster onto the floor. But the window in my room faced the back of a church and a cluster of tenement apartments. The way the sun rose over the low skyline, the light flooding in from the window, gave me peace. Everything—what little I had—was cast in that light. Later I would move to Manhattan and realize that the view had been very Brooklyn, the light beatifying the plain white walls, the tattered chair picked up off the street, the shelf with stacks and stacks of writing materials. 

My roommate was also from California, from the north, and one of our first weekends in Brooklyn we pedaled to a party in Williamsburg. We found a place to lock our bicycles. Twenty bikes or more were parked out front. A bunch of kids our age had converted an old warehouse into a living art space, and it was the kind of party where you got lost in all the rooms. We drank various shots of liquor, not being careful not to mix. It wasn’t that kind of party. When a band hooked up their equipment and started playing in one of the rooms, the dancing got so violent that a boy with curly brown hair cracked his forehead on a corner and started bleeding. He danced while he bled; a dark maroon splotch made its way onto my shirt.

We moved outside to stand by the fire. An asian boy who I’d befriended while dancing rolled a spliff, a mix of pot and tobacco. I turned to my roommate and lowered my voice, “People are smoking spliffs, spliffs.

“Yeah, dude,” she said, “we’re not in California anymore. The pot here sucks.”

I turned back towards the fire and took a short drag from the joint, coughing sharply on the exhale. 

Later, we tried not to be alarmed when we got back to our bikes and the handlebars had been meddled with, were facing the wrong direction. While a blond kid dressed in a hand-knit wool sweater, smoking a spliff, watched me snap my wheel back into place, he spat phlegm onto the pavement. We pedaled home, passing Hassidic neighborhoods as we rode. 
I just want.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Biek Snob

Don't you miss the days when a bicycle could terrify a team of horses?

(via Biek Snob NYC.)

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Plant Named Mary

Gave a friend a plant named Mary
At a party where the popcorn balls
Were laced with THC
Fell backwards off my chair
The Nicaraguan parents said,
"You're such a lady,
You've been everywhere."
Not to Nicaragua
I said

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Notes From My Notebook

“To go there, and to see these vaginas, is actually a puzzling experience.” -Suzannah Lessard
“Miss Hurn, would you rather receive a bouquet of roses, or would you rather receive a dictionary with the word ‘rose’ underlined?” -Professor Siegel
“I’m going to make wizard capes fashionable.” -Workshop Christina 
“Publishing people don’t take a risk like they used to. That’s a bygone culture that you couldn’t possibly imagine.” -Suzannah Lessard
“I thought the bag said, ‘Peanuts roasted in hell.’ But the ‘S’ was covered up.” -Mark Bibbins
“There is no there there.” -Gertrude Stein

(Gertrude Stein by Andy Warhol.)