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How to Sleep Standing Up:


First give all the things in your stomach a name.

If your stomach is a rolling snake, head

Peering above cavernous echo of your mouth,

Call it so-

Say “the snake” when people ask what’s swallowing

The air in the room,

Leaving everyone dizzy and spinning and 

Lightheaded, like you.

Once all the air is in your stomach,

Call it acid

Because it is. 

Call it bleach as it peels the wallpaper

With each exhale,

Then call the walls pillows once you’ve

Turned them down.


Next, when you hear talking,

Shove your tongue in your ears

From the inside out. 

Muscle through the long hallways of skull,

Tasting jaw and brain and bone.

When others offer to do it for you,

Say they won’t like how it tastes

Once they worm through the skin,

Say it’s been in the back too long-

Say it has freezer burn,

Say “sorry, I can’t hear anymore.”


Then, when no one will turn out the lights

And the world is still pink behind your lids,

Put your eyes in your pockets.

Wrap them up in a paper towel first,

Blot them carefully.

If someone wants to see them,

Say “sorry, who’s there?” 

Or if your tongue is still busy,

Pretend what’s in your ears is music-

But don’t dance, because you 

Can’t see. Call this



Then, stand very still. Pretend

The sun is that flickering fluorescent light

And you are the sweat on someones 

Upper lip, evaporating. 

Say “excuse me” to people you

Bump and “goodnight” to those who

Try to hold your ankles. And when your

Mouth has evaporated, too,

Say nothing

Because you can’t. Let their 

Mouths say something like


New Soul

I know myself to be a

new soul.

And feel every event with the keen

ache of a first hurt.

Tender-skinned and child like,


I age yet still I ache.


Ensconced in the purple bruising of

newness, I wait

for the next life where, perhaps,

the world feels softer

on older skin. 

Like many other retched things, 

I want to be so adored

I drown.

Abundance of an insidious sort

to lay in the squalor of my exaltation,

fingers running along the lines of my own arms,

my legs, beyond bloomed and bloated in thick 

summer air-

I want to be so loved I leak. 

To burst over-ripened fruit meat as I 

Stumble through the hall, to seep

Honeyed spit in my wake,

To be so adored I slow in the syrup of

My own making

And sleep there.

To battle my eyes in the morning to open

against its adhesion,

to gasp against its sugared veil.

Is this so wrong?

Should I accept this with no persuasion,

To let myself be drenched and drink the 

Droplets from my fingertips,

if this is what we know,

how can it not be predestined? 

In the spaces between these reflections

(self and self),

My throat is a clinging cavern of premonition,

and I already forget to breathe.

Instead of collapsing under too heavy a hand,

I wilt in its absence-

An emptiness not vast enough to swallow

any devotion down whole. 


                                                                                -Perhaps this is how the world

                                                                                  rids itself of retched things





You learn to label the things in your room as uncaring;

The vanity mirror a perpetual “o,”

Unblinking and static and still.

Still, you wonder if these things miss you when you


If the vanity blinks, if the blank closet door shivers,

If the glossy photos of a younger you, eyes bovine

And vacant, climb into your cavern of a bed and

Braid your fallen hair together.

You wonder if they peek through their

Slick boxes, fog up the frame,

Chest pressed against the heaving plastic

To steal a glance at what they’ve

Grown into.

You learn the blankets still rise and fall when you

Hold your breath,

An ebbing and swelling independent of your own lungs,

You learn this room no longer needs you. 

The bed is forever creased in the curvature of your spine,

The sheets endlessly twisted from your fists-

And you learn

How to both be a ghost and not-

How to be your own ghost; how to lay

Just so in the same dip in the mattress, still and

Awake throughout the night as not to wrinkle a new crease-

You learn how to shut the door softer 

And softer each time

You leave

So as not to disturb what’s left of you behind.

   Corruption in the Clouds 


the clouds,

fat bellied and bloated

loosened their neck ties with fumbling fingers,

pulled at straining shirt buttons;

Business Men 

corpulent in their conversations,

sucked moisture from the air onto their upper lips

            -everyones’ throat felt dry,

              no one said a thing-

gazed down from the sky

like uninterested lovers,

opened their coat jackets wide,

flapping in the wind clumsily

like wooly black wings,

emptied swollen bellies onto the streets below;

             -trees shook crackling leaves,

              pretended it wasn't acidic-

then buttoned up their swaying skin

for the next storm. 

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