Tagged: the Body

When You Ask Right After If I Am Happy

sometimes when I look in your eyes I am
measuring the distance between your eyes
to see if you can be swallowed

I am enticing your outline to stuff its way
through my body. your head first, then
your shoulders making a wingspan of ribs

your middle and hips go easier – a struggling
crane becomes the air inside it, the water
inside a person

you are both obviously there, and not there
in a way that seems to suit me. do I suit you?
I am all around you, yet I move so little

the animal comes closest to enjoying its life
in these moments, after it is fed, when
it does not have to think about eating

Health Class

in health class we were taught
the respectful way
to sit in a room full of
desks that face each other. still,
the boys would race
to the front row to see
which of the girls wasn’t
wearing any panties, which
hadn’t folded their legs,
which had hemmed
their jean shorts

are we chasing girls?
or chasing the first boy?

that year
a man in a flowered shirt came
he put a condom on a carrot
the carrot was sharp, but it
did not break the condom
i remember thinking
it could not have been
his first choice vegetable


the dog with large, obvious
balls is out again. his balls
don’t drag on the ground or
anything, but he supports them
gingerly, bow-legged, as if
he were smuggling a bell
i watch him move between
want and want – other dogs, the
roasted corn smell of houses
being built, exercisers –
he is in my neighbor’s yard
when a Code Compliance truck
comes rolling by
someone has called in outrage
about the dog
his balls are so obvious.
they fear he will rape their animals
attack their children
i turn to my own dog
he is no longer sleeping
something like a distant bell
has woken him
he stands in the hallway
quietly, staring at the door


If you were like this all the time
I could stay,
she said. I had just thrown
her body across the kitchen island
proceeded to kiss her everywhere
through her clothes
through her self

There is a thin layer of self
over everything. Plastic sheeting
covers whole neighborhoods. Hordes
of caution-taped men, marauding
Our skin the banks of a river

I remember going days
without drinking. I crawled out
to the river’s island, where the water
was clear and fast-moving, and I
let the water pour into my open mouth
My partner, who had gone

the same number of days
took out his knife and cut a stalk
of bamboo from the bank
He filled it up and stabbed
a hole in the bottom, to drink
from the steady drip

He did not trust what his body
wanted, which is everything,
which is to already have done
what is needed to do

Rubbing Two Sticks Together

I see those kids again
Her pink hair. His hands
attached to her
butt pockets. Walking down

Walking down the trail
overlooking the Fire Academy’s
training center. It is more
of a wading

than a walking, the way
they synchronize
their leg movements. They
move as if through

cool ooze, the morass
of skipping classes,
the way a day passes
when you are young

I lose them behind
the Fire Academy stairwell
A fire truck ladder
lands on an open window
Recruits scramble up

And the sun sits. It seems
to think the same long thought
it’s been thinking
since we were born

The Race

A pickup truck, its doors open
The arms open
of a full-breasted man singing
Box-spring octaves
and accordion squeezing
Tejano music easing
around houses
like juice swirled in a cup
I am not inside my head
At all?
A boy with long red shorts comes running past
His shorts are like the summers here
His ankles are like the winter
in that they turn back over
when they are rolled
The boy trips, is ran past by others
They are running to the truck
where girls have started dancing in the bed
The truck is heaving
One of the racers is not leaving
He turns his head to look
at the fallen boy. But his body hasn’t stopped
He keeps running, looking back
He sees me. I see him. In a way
we see everyone, sometimes, for
a second. The way our heads
are placed askew
onto already moving bodies
The look of surprise
genuine surprise
at not being able to stop

This Whole Port City is a Boat…

… and the moon is looking
for stowaways. I hear
the white noise of water
the roaring of men’s stomachs
and blood that are lost to our ears
until found again, somewhere new
a captain listens to land
after months on the sea
the taverns creak on top
the gulls divide up
merchant ships and a careful
propeller of lighthouse light
swings, gaining speed. If light
were to leave our Earth somehow
it would do so like this; in a
slingshot before separating
at the sharp edge of space
my fingers have also separated
in the hair of pretty girls
at the edge they dissipate
it is all I can do to remember
their faces – two eyes, a nose
a mouth. I have forgotten
their sounds. I have nearly forgotten
the wine I stole and slipped
into my jacket sleeve. I walk
along the vessels, gargling
unable to christen them all
I find it familiar that boats
are made for water, but
built on top of the land