100

why do we use 100

as the biggest number

like I could write 100 poems about

losing you

and I’d still of lost you.

Like it’s just a number

Lots of people live longer than 100 now.

100 years doesn’t seem like a long time

But 26 months without you is longer than 100 years.

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Fear and Love.

Things that I am afraid of:

Romantic love.

Silverfish.

My dad.

Eating duck eggs.

The point on Finlayson Mountain when the rock is exposed and there are no trees.

Getting pregnant; engaging in unprotected heterosexual sex.

The word “free” from the mouths of White Nationalists.

Creating equality at the expense of loving difference.

Unexamined power– where does it come from and what is it doing and at the expense of what?

Things I love:

Forests

Rocks

Oceans

Best friends

Sisters and Mom and Kiddos

Books

Space

Books about space

Astrophysics

Listening to people’s stories, passions and dreams

Animals, except silverfish

(But maybe even silverfish?)

(Snail and Spider by Caleb Kotcherofski, age 2.)

Unfeeling memories

I dance with Santogold’s music

But I am not cool like Santogold

(my arms move chaotic, out of time).

The cops arrested my dad three nights ago

They ask me why, what for?

Because he’s a bad man.

Because I can’t say what for,

What for—does it matter?

Santogold’s music is playing in the background

As I write this poem

Trying to write out his eyes and his blood and his facial hair

And his glasses that shield everything bad

I remember standing in Costco waiting for his new lenses

Costco

It’s the cheapest place for prescriptions, too, he said.

Disinterested

I mistake your disinterest

As someone who will never use your words and body to take up all my space

As someone who will give me distance and time away

I mistake your disinterest

As love because you meet all my needs,

Which are all about being free

I mistake your disinterest

As safe

As I keep myself and you strange.

I cannot get far enough away from you to love myself more;

 

Maya Angelou wrote of the free bird and the caged bird,

And so I learned to see those with keys hidden beneath their nails

Holding onto my body at night to keep me;

To keep me kept–

I can see these keys glitter and glint, slip to reveal a hope that I might fit inside

Inside whatever breed of cage

they’ve constructed for someone just like me,

As if I should feel freed and seen and heard when I learn that I walk right into the cut-out copy human woman you yearn for; unlike anyone else before.

 

I choose your disinterest every time.

This is how you feel.

This is how you feel:

You sit, lay, stand– still.

You cross your arms over your chest and squeeze your shoulders.

You say, what happened to you was wrong.

What happened to him was wrong.

You breathe in as much love as you possibly can.

You breathe out everything you are afraid of.

Then you scan your body for pain.

And you send oxygen to that pain until you release it through breath and tears.

Trust that when you breathe into your pain, and release, you are moving through it– trust that everything that hurts you so much right now will hurt you less with tears and time.

Trust that you deserve to feel this, and move through it, and live better because of it; one day at a time, until one week at a time, until one month at a time, until one year at a time (L).

 

By KMB.

We walk into the ellipsis of a dream. He’s stationed across from me, on the stairs, and he’s wearing an adult diaper and a pair of angel wings. I want him to notice me, and I point to the wings on my back and then to his and claim, “Look, we’re cousins.” He looks at me disdainfully, yeah, hey. I don’t like him. He shook my hand five minutes ago when I came in. Hi, I’m Derek, this is my house. I’m the white guy who lays claim to everything and then stakes my flag that states “FOR THE GREATER GOOD (AND BY EXTENSION, YOURS TOO)” into the ground. I know who he is, but he doesn’t know that because he doesn’t know me and he doesn’t realize he was in love with my best friend for years but stopped talking to her when he married his wife. She says he’s a really good guy but her judgement, especially when it relates to guys who are in love with her, is suspect. She’s usually great at divining character but it really throws off her radar when you’re romantically in love with her. She has trouble seeing through the fog. And why not? love is vibrant, alive, electric – exactly the sort of thing that fucks with sensitive instruments of measurement.

I walk away from Derek, due north, my compass still functioning, immune to the Bermuda Triangle of his indifference. Snap judgements like a jet pilot, like someone, like anyone who has little time and a lot at stake.

Coils of string lights wrap the fence line, bohemian barbed wire to keep the revellers in line. They lead packs of costumed twenty-and-thirty-somethings down to a fire in the lower field. Consuming alcohol, doing drugs, gathering for the greater good. Patting ourselves on the costumed back for our affluent generosity, ten bucks at the door to save a pipeline, or something. This is the activism we can support, legions of white suburban kids with guilt around our necks like mardi gras beads. We want absolution by pleasing ourselves in a way we can be proud of. I glance at the green glow in the glass house, tents lined up between the tomato plants. People who fight the real fight, standing in the mud in front of logging trucks (this is how I picture every protest that takes place on the coast, grandmothers staring down giant machinery, destroying their progress with grandmother-power, unstoppable). I step in to the glass house, keeping my eyes away from the real people who speak softly and with intent, discussing the next step, strategizing. I let my fingers rub the sticking tar off the tomato plants, repeatedly touching and releasing my thumb and middle finger. I walk the outside row of plants, touching, pausing to smell my fingers. I can feel someone, large and male and indifferent, behind me.

I turn around and there’s no reason for him being there but me, and I touch him with my sticking fingers in the place of words, and I pull his uninterested hands to more interesting parts of me. Sticky fingers, sticky fingers.

When our moment has passed, he tells me I’m a slut. I tell him people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, finding myself clever but not precious. I plan to tell Danielle tomorrow that it was a good thing she didn’t love him back, that he’s an asshole who cheats on his wife and is mean to guests in his home. I tell him he’s full of shit, that his adult diaper is probably full of giant turds that reek of self-satisfaction. I smile widely, baring my canines, and punch one of the glass panes. He backs away, stumbling back to the crutch of his activist role, eyes wide and unsure. I stay standing and smiling, with blood running between my knuckles.

For S, J, E & C.

That hollow part in your chest will one day make you so strong that fleets of white men armed with things far worse than guns and grenades will be stopped—

You will yell, be still like Max from where the wild thing are and no one will hurt you like they hurt us.