Snake Eyes

Where does romance come from?

I’m specifically interested in the feeling of romance, but my curiosity has led me to take a quick look at the etymology of the word. To break it down, as an adjective, romance describes any language coming from Rome, i.e. the romance languages that derive from Latin. And from that point onward, those who told stories in the vernacular where known to romance. Often those stories involved knights, heroes, lovers, and adventure, hence the meaning we generally associate with it today.

I sense there is some patriarchal dismantling to be had given its formation during the days of chivalry, but I’ll save that for another time when my thoughts have delved more deeply into its origins and connotations.


For now, let it suffice on the surface, the feeling of romance arose from a walk through the city, a section known as Kensington.

The night air remained chilly, but not terribly freezing. Nice enough for a walk under the El with the train rattling overhead. The floodlights along the avenue showcased storefronts, most closed up for the night. The metal shutters rolled down to the ground with a clang covering up the glass windows and doors. Barbershops stayed lit up with lights and music and customers into the later hours.

I was on my way to grab a steaming bowl of noodles.

I passed an AA and NA recovery building. People hung outside. Chatting lively. A fenced-in yard stood next to it. Wonky, wooden crosses dug into the ground erected on slanted angles. Across the street a Franciscan soup kitchen loomed humble and unnoticeable save the people always around. When the weather is warm, people hang there for hours on end. Even tonight, a person slept curled up tightly with blanket, snuggled into a nook between the steps and a wall to stay protected from the wind. How tired must one be to fall asleep in the cold?

I served food there once or twice. I remember talking with a monk brother about meditation and psychedelia. In his deepest trances, he saw images of Christ meditating before him, emanating blue white and golden light. I didn’t doubt his experience. He called it visceral despite it being a visual hallucination. I just looked at him like, “You’re tripping.” He traveled with a number of other monks from Wisconsin to Philadelphia stopping at other soup kitchens and churches along the way.

I find I’m often in similar places.

A few years back I attended a Quaker church hosting Buddhist monks. They wore robes like the Franciscan monks except different colors. The Buddhist monks traveled around touring cities and sacred spaces meditating through the creation of sand mandalas.

I found it fascinating.

On one night in particular they planned to play music. I arrived early with a friend, her kids, and their friends. Right away, they ran off to explore the church. I sat with the sand mandala on my own and stared into the patterns and colors, the infinitesimally small mounds arranged so delicately, appreciating the elusive magnitude of it all.

Not soon after, a grandfather and granddaughter walked in.
“Make sure you don’t stare them in the eyes!” He warned. He carried a balloon in one hand and her hand in the other.
“How come, Pop?”
“They’ll hypnotize you!”
“Oh!” The little girl looked surprised yet enchanted, filled with a million lovable questions. She couldn’t control her excitement and interest, so all those millions of questions condensed and funneled into a simple exclamation, “But how?”
“They have snakes in their eyes!”
“Oh!” She hollered again and pointed at me from across the room, “Is he one of the snake monks?”
I smiled at the question. Her grandfather looked at me and nodded his head, “Look at his eyes. He’s got snakes!” I didn’t know what to think about that response, but it amused me. They walked over to a nearby pew.

People slowly filed in. Everyone quiet and whispering. Even the kids kept their cool for the most part.

The monks ushered us over to a different area for the music. We sat in pews and they faced us. I don’t know what I expected, maybe something relaxing or soft. Which it wasn’t. These instruments, which I couldn’t name other than brass, a shaker, a scraper, a drum, probably another horn, in addition, an interspersal of throat singing, made so much clanging and discordant nonsensical sound, it jolted me awake. It crashed into my peripheral understanding of meditation and smashed it up, dancing all over it like a danse macabre. The kids kept trying to stifle their laughter, the parents kept trying to shush them, but the laughs just bubbled up and out like a creek unimpeded and joyful. It was great. The playing. The jolting. The meditation. The laughter. It felt like seeing an abundantly playful noise band.

In all my explorations of meditation, juxtaposed to what we expect, I find the nature of violence to be a consistent theme. One full moon many moons ago, I attended a chanting meditation of the Rinpoche lineage. So much of the language described how dastardly corrupt the world is, and how strong and prevailing in spirit we must be to walk through it.


We often have this idea that peace of mind is accomplished high up in the mountains far away from society, and that’s true, it can be glimpsed at and cultivated there. But what happens when the practitioner returns to the poverty of the city? It’s a whole different world. The subtle and overt violence is striking. The gentle mask is ripped away. The air is dirty and the water’s poisoned. Are we trying to expel the darkness of life or understand it? We often have this idea that we must always be standing in the light to be healed, to acquire knowledge and wisdom, to live righteously. I think there is merit in that, but I believe wholeheartedly in living with the darkness, in continued confrontation with our demons, treading the shadowed waters. We have to be honest with ourselves. The day falls dark. The moon disappears once a month. The stars shine thousands of lightyears away. How many of them have already exploded into death?

My last semester at school, I volunteered at a soup kitchen in downtown Boston. I went once a week just about every week for a few months. We prepped food, served those who were living there and a few others who came in off the streets. It was a halfway house, so a lot of the folks were either addicts or coming out of jail or both. After serving, we ate with everyone and conversed. It seemed just about everyone wanted to talk about god. They spoke intensely and wild-eyed about their journeys discovering the divine. It pummeled them with inspiration to talk and read until their heads cracked like lightning. I was there for it. No doubt.

When we got to talking, everyone assumed I was there for a class requirement, so they acted surprised when I told them I was volunteering simply because I felt compelled. Good for you, they said. It’s not really volunteering if you’re required to do it anyhow. During that time I found myself buddying up with all kinds of people considered degenerates, drunkards, addicts, criminals etc etc more or less the demimonde, the underworld, the subterranean of castaways and outcastes. 

One day I remember slicing my thumb open terribly bad. We were cutting bagels. Blood dripped onto the table like little ink blots. The pain sat me down for a long moment. I got woozy. The blood rushed from my head. Everything flashed white.

A woman stared at me smiling, “It makes you feel alive, doesn’t it?” I looked at her bug-eyed and she smiled wider. I felt like I was going to pass out or throw up. I felt sick. But her suggestion took my mind a different route. I recovered the ground under my feet and got back to helping out.

That weekend, I drove to White Plains, New York with a friend, hopped a train to NYC and a bus to Philly. My thumb throbbed and yelled at me the whole time. I tried to practice my breathing while repeating the mantra, “Pain is an illusion. Pain is an illusion.” But that worked only vaguely. The pain faded in and out slowly, without warning, and when the pain returned, the intensity didn’t subside.

That night I arrived home, I stayed up staring at the gash, wondering about the healing process. I wanted to watch the mending occur. The coagulation. The scabbing. The slowly closing up of skin like a flower opening and closing in tune with the sun. I didn’t have the patience to stare at it that long.

At one point, my cat walked into the room. I must have been in such a daze. She appeared to motion me to follow. So I did. She sat down next to an aloe plant and looked at me in that peculiar way cats do, aloof yet expecting something. I held my hands out like, “What?” So she licked my thumb and it all made sense. Of course. Aloe. I broke off a tiny piece, spoke with it, and asked it to heal my thumb. I slept with aloe that night and the following night, and in three days time, to my amazement, the cut healed like magic. I still have a little indentation on my thumb from that.

Since that time, I’ve never experienced such quick healing with aloe specifically. I continue to use it when it’s around, but tend towards other woundworts like St. John’s.


Only one other instance have I personally experienced rapid healing of that nature: I was pounding rebar stakes into the ground with a metal mallet hammer and it slipped down the side of the rebar and smashed my instep. Everyone knows how sensitive that area is. I yelled fuck! and took long, deep breaths. I went back to work, and afterwards, took a trip to the garden to pick a couple comfrey leaves. By the time I got home, my foot turned red and was beginning to swell. I didn’t even crush the leaves up into a poultice. I just wrapped my foot with the clean, intact comfrey leaf, securing it with an ace bandage. Before going to sleep, I brushed up on my study of it and stared into the other leaf I harvested. If you’ve never stared into a comfrey leaf, especially when you’re under the spell of pain, I recommend doing it. It is a deep leaf. It penetrates. It’s also called knit-bone. When I woke up the next morning, I had no pain in my foot and no evidence of swelling or bruising. I could walk on it with ease, but it was still sensitive to a heavy touch. It healed within a week.

I’m not saying plants work like this all the time, but it does happen.

When my friend broke her hand, I wrapped it with a comfrey poultice. Before doing so, it looked like a baseball mitt. She could barely move her fingers. Within an hour of applying the poultice, the swelling completely subsided and she could gently and slightly close her hand. When she showed it to her aunt and mom, they looked at me like I was some kind of witch.

I know it’s hard to believe, but plants really do work wonders with our bodies.


White Rabbit Composite

“I got this voodoo. Yeah. You should see it. I went to the voodoo shop. Uh huh. And late last night, like 2 3 4 in the morning. Yeah. You should see their doors now.”

I had no idea what he was talking about, other than voodoo, or who he was talking to, but it piqued my interest. I only caught snippets of the conversation as he rode his bike by. I didn’t catch a face to gauge his expressions. I only guessed he was talking on the phone. It brought so many questions to mind. Like, what voodoo shop? What magic supplies did you buy? Who are you? Can you tell me about your goddesses and gods? To be honest, it sounded like he was proud of a hex. Can’t be sure though, like I said, I only caught part of his story.

Communication is like that sometimes. Like dreams. Like memories. We fill in the gaps with our own imaginations, delusions, and ramblings.

I stood on a ladder, painting the side of a row home. My thoughts generally caught in the wires, sometimes traveling with the clouds. It’s odd. These days, for extended periods throughout the day, I feel like I am a composite of people. Like, I’m in there somewhere, but others are in there too talking their talk and sharing their memories. It comes with living in the city I suppose. And probably the collectivity of the internet too. The rapidity of messaging. Memes. Pictures and captions. The viral ripple of snapshots and hot takes. I often wonder how we get anything across at all. It’s a deluge.

When I get a moment, I like to sit and see how long it takes to reach a place of silence, and then, of course, I start hearing neighbors talking through the walls.

I had a dream last night that I went to the psychiatric ward of a hospital. I went there of my own volition. I sat for a while, writing down conversations. No one bothered me or asked me why I was there. It felt inspiring, like I was exploring the collective unconscious. Taking important notes. Studying the undercurrents. My mind started blending with the minds of patients and doctors, which triggered a different dream sequence:

I was at the house I lived in for 4 years. In a large park. The sun was setting so I laid down in the tall grass and watched the stars come out. Very suddenly, snow blew over head. I thought it rather beautiful. The snow intermingling with the twinkling of the stars at dusk. It had this As Above, So Below quality of experience to it. I wanted a photo, and tried to capture it, but the moment lasted so briefly. I sat up, and when I did, I saw the house had burned down and the shed was on fire. I went into a panic thinking I had caused the property to go up in flames. “I’m not even supposed to be here. I don’t even live here anymore. They’re going to think I came by and set the place on fire out of revenge. What have I done?” I flashed back to the psychiatric ward where I was now talking with someone. “The house is still there,” they said. “You just had a schizophrenic episode. It’s okay. You’re okay.” I flashed back to the house. It hadn’t burned down after all. A wave of relief washed over me.

I wonder about memory. How true to life our memories are. How colored in they can be by all sorts of various outside and inside stimuli. By dreams. How people can influence one another. How propaganda affects the reconstruction of our memories into misleading myths about the way things are. How rapidly the internet slings thousands of stories and narratives. It often feels like the general consciousness is falling apart. It’s on overload and bursting at the seams. Like everything we once believed is collapsing and people are picking at phrases and empty rhetoric to keep themselves afloat. Like people take to social media to be reaffirmed that their construction of language, their semblance of memories, is real and valid. And it’s true, you exist. All of you in your wondrous unfolding. All of the thoughts and images that arise into your expansive consciousness. But deep down, there is still that panging truth. It’s a losing battle. The ego can’t survive as it once did. The foundations of our story-telling, the way we understand society and how we belong in the world, are being swept up and drastically shifted. This, we know.

And yet, there’s always absurdity; I still sit here and write longhand.

Before the word apocalypse came to mean judgment day, it described the uncovering of a vision. A hallucination, rich with meaning, brought to light. The fault lines cracking and the spirits of the earth arising within our minds bearing prophecies.

It’s not like that anymore. Apocalypse connotes catastrophe.

There’s this other phrase. Folie a deux. It literally means madness of two. More generally, it means a shared psychosis. I think about that a lot in our given culture.

“You think the paint will dry before the rain comes?” A woman hollered from across the street. I didn’t turn around but caught a glimpse of her from the corner of my eye. She pushed one of those fold-up laundry carts, the klinky metal ones.
“That’s the hope.” I responded.
“Supposed to be what, 6 7 8 when the rain comes?”
“I’ve got my eye on the sky.”
“It looks nice.”
“Thank you.”
“The clouds are coming,” she said.

I saw the mailperson down below. I didn’t see his face, but it looked like he was smiling.

It was a pleasant day. The calm before the storm.

As we sat down for lunch, an old guy drove by with his window down. Leaning out the truck, he hollered, “It’s not going to finish itself!” He cracked a boyish smile that reminded me of my grandfather. He laughed at his own joke.

The radio kicked in every once in awhile, interspersing the sound waves. “When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead. And the white knight is talking backwards and the red queen’s off with her head. Remember! What the dormouse saidddd! Feeeed your headdd! Feed your hhheadddd!”


How often am I with women who cry, but rarely, if ever, am I with men who genuinely let go and cry it out. How often am I alone when I shed my own tears?


“I wish I had more freedom.”
“Me too.”
“Then we could fuck on this couch… or something.”
“AND something. Fuck on the couch and more.”

We talked over drinks. At one point, she shed tears. She apologized for crying, but it turned me on. It’s not always an emotion that arouses; there are times it weighs me down, or lifts me up, or catches me off guard and I don’t know how to respond. But this time, I saw a welling up of her livelihood expressed through sadness and tears. Emotions flushed her face. I wanted to hold her arm, touch her hand. I wanted to kiss her lips. I told her this, and she laughed.

“I can’t believe I’m crying.”
“What’s wrong with crying?”
“My whole life I’ve been told it’s no good. Whenever I cried as a girl, someone always asked, ‘What’s wrong with you? Pull yourself together.’ How am I supposed to think otherwise?”
“Tears are good. Your whole face is filled out. Like a shadow lifted. More of you is shining through.”
“I’m a mess.”
“You’re incredibly pretty.”
“I’m crying in public.”
“Remember that time I came over and you were crying in your tub?”
“What? I can’t believe you remember that. I must have been disgusting.”
“What? Of course I remember. It was beautiful. I wanted to take a picture.”
“Oh my god. That would have been something. That big, claw-footed tub.”
“I imagined there were petals floating all around you. Like you were dying. And you said, ‘We have a really strange friendship.’ And I responded, ‘What’s so strange about this?’ And you said pretty simply, ‘I’m naked & hysterical in a tub and you’re just sitting here acting like everything’s perfectly normal.’”


How far into our own darkness do we dive before coming out on the other side?


She heaves and shakes. Another panic attack. “I don’t want to cry anymore! I’m so sick of feeling like this!” The words meek out like tears and spit and snot. Everyday. Every other day. Once a week. It varies. It can be a news article about upstanding families forced out of the country. Another black or trans person gunned down on video. White domestic terrorism mowing down the lives of many. It can be the reminder of personal trauma. Or, on the other end of the spectrum, the reminder of joy and the subsequent desire for things to always be, or at the very least, more often be, easier, loose, and liberating. It varies, but the tears are all around, creating whirlpools and eddies. Moments spent heaving, shaking, questioning.

Why do we ask what’s wrong with people? Why are we not asking what’s wrong with the societal conditions we exist in?


Darkness surrounded her. A black moon swallowed the night sky. A sole light came from the flicker of a large fire. The flames so colorful and all consuming, the adorning night disappeared imperceptibly. A reverberation of drums pulsed lightly at first, and then more deeply, touching the core of her body.

An elder sat stoically, as if in trance, beating a drum in his lap bap bap tap tap bam tap bam beat. The ghosts of ancestors sat in the ceremony too, populating another dimension present and called forth through the medicine of song. Although only one drummer, the boom boom echoed an entire village: people danced, characters, archetypes, warriors, animals, lovers made shapes in the night. Arms outstretched, legs prancing, necks craned, enacting stories & myths made all the more vivid by those nonliving beings who, under sacred circumstances, are still very much all alive.

The rhythm of the drums sunk into her soft skin, into her organs, into her bones. At first, it tickled, and then more deeply, throbbed. The inner flower of her being awoken & seduced into petaling, opened with mandala zeal. A wellspring of eroticism exists therein – that storehouse of infantile energy slowly maturing through our experiences. Like an acorn bearing & sprouting the bark, the leaves, the branches of a 100 foot oak tree.

But too often, especially in the cultural milieu we find ourselves in, there are long moments, eras even, when eros gets arrested and stagnates; out of fear, pain, hurt, trauma, and, of course, the push for progress is wrapped up in there. Play becomes toil. Dreams become nightmares. The mind & body stand aloof, very minimally participating in the urge toward life. When we are cut off from the depths, our lives become convoluted & perverted versions of the subconscious. Evil lurks. Ego rides out. And the shadows, especially of figureheads, manifest in monstrous ways. When handled ignorantly, eros arises & subsumes waking life in very violent & destructive ways.


She sat close. She kissed me on the lips. Goodnight, she said, goodnight, and smiled. I kissed her back. Is there much anything kinder than the softness of reciprocating lips?


I want to believe we can change the world by going into our own psyches and doing the hard work of self-reflection. To look at ourselves honestly and make the necessary adjustments to our behaviors and speech. To crystallize like a diamond compounded. It is scary, no doubt, to go inwards. If it was easy, everyone would be sitting in meditation for hours everyday.

But I don’t think individual struggle suffices.

There are oppressive systems in place, and people working daily to keep those chains tied down & restrictive. They don’t give a shit about your peace of mind. They don’t give a shit about you. Especially if you are are queer or trans or gay or immigrant or native or black or poor or woman. The suppression of diverse existences is rampant.

Surely, an individual can meditate herself out of a box and find liberation, but sections of society don’t have the availability of time & resources to make freedom a daily reality. And it’s not that people are stupid or less-than by any means. People don’t need saving. It’s the fact that we live in a capitalist society that is predicated on extraction – extraction of time, energy, whatever can be turned into money. And those at the bottom suffer most. Why? With each decade and era, technology becomes more efficient, and yet people are still working just as much or even more.

There needs to be active political struggle on multiple, collected levels.

Resist. What does it mean? It’s in everyone’s mouth, on the tip of everyone’s tongue, but it’s becoming a trumped up idea. There are people choking on its reactionary emptiness.


I smashed my face into her back, kissing her with my nose, my forehead, my lips, my tongue. My whole face mashed into a kiss. Cheekbones pressing. A contorting seizure of pleasure. Body twisting, borderline violently, thrown into ecstatic convulsion. Groaning like the minotaurs of Picasso’s sketches. Beast and woman, monster and man, a painting of legs and breasts, lips and hair and armpits collaging into sensuous disambiguation. Fears arising. Uncertainty. The thrust of ego. Burning in the flaming thralls of passion.


She wanted to collect her tears in jars. But every time she started crying, she forgot wholeheartedly to take out a little glass bottle. What would she do with them? Simply hold them to share with others? Send them out to sea? Display them like a work of art? Add droplets to potions to transmute her despair and sufferings? Would she separate the tears out, and label them to denote different moments of crying?

She pointed to a shelf lined with bottles. “This is when my cat was killed by dogs. This is when the family dog died; we collected everyone’s tears for this one. This is when I had my first child. This is when my mother passed. This is when I was physically abused.”


She cried. Are people listening?


Psychological warfare distorts reality. How often do we close ourselves off from the feelings of others to protect our already fragile beings?


“I can’t believe I’m that person who cries after sex. Like, I’m really that person.”
“I don’t think you’re alone in that. I don’t mind. I like it. There’s so much emotional upheaval during sex. A lot wells up. It makes sense people cry afterwards. It’s probably healing.”
“I know but, oh my god, I’m crying!”


What is sadness if there is no shoulder to cry on? What happens when no one is there to catch your tears?

I often cry alone. I feel comfortable, as though there is more space to express myself. To just wallop and heave. The tears often turn to laughter. Sometimes sleep. It is always a letting go.

Interludes of a Winter Blues

I carry a lot of tension in my gut. My whole life this has been the case. So much so, the majority of times I’ve visited an urgent care, a hospital, or doctor, it has been related to the gut. Thankfully these visits have been far and few between, and none have been terribly life altering.

I sit and meditate. I like to listen to that part of my body. I enjoy hearing and feeling my intestines talk. They make wild noises, like wolves snarling, frothing at the mouth with digestive salivas.

There’s a lot going on in there.

If the heart is the ocean (the veins rivers, creeks, and waterways) and the brain is the cosmos packed in with galaxies and neurons, then the gut is the deep caverns running pathways through the earth filled with nutrients and shit. The gut is like the soil, interlaced with mycelium and nerve endings.

I carry a discomforting hurt: The pain the earth goes through. There are tsunamis in my heart. There are earthquakes in my gut.

I sit and navel gaze. I release the spots where hardness builds up. My guts are soft, strong, and wild. I make sure I ingest non-domesticated foods as often as feasible so digestion is not made lazy by sugars and highly processed foodstuffs.

The complex absorption and expelling of earthly being daily.

Is there meaning in the fact that Artemisias such as wormwood and mugwort both tonify the digestive tract & strengthen dream recall? There is certainly a lot being worked out in the gut we are not totally aware of. Likewise in dreams, we are digesting emotions & experiences via the internal actions of the subconscious.

I carry a lot of shame and guilt in my gut. It tenses up like rocks and impedes the creative rivers of will.

Real ease.

I dreamt of a city. Walking through, the atmosphere was relaxed yet festive. Carnivalesque. I walked through a park and found so many colorful feathers. Several feathers sized four feet long. “These must be my new wings scattered all about.”

I made love with a woman I just met. Boundaries dissolving like fish wrestling in the ocean. Amorphous like the vortex storms of Jupiter. Volatile and pleasingly beautiful. Folding in on one another like spirals of the starry night. We made love.

I woke up naked and attended a street action. It hardens my body. To feel the lick of fire and rage, a constant in the underbelly, trembling like fault lines.

Some days I’m free from worry. Some days my brow is furrowed.

Praise be the shit. For that is an example of the body speaking, “This, I do not need.” I’m thankful for my guts. Discerning nutrients and nourishment everyday.

sobering heartache

subconscious bandits, marketing perverts,
advertisement imperialists, exploiting deep listening
to rob us the ability to think below the surface
to see the emergence of wildness
blow thru the omnipotent bits of news
the fabricated apocalypse so tightly constructed
a chokehold on third eye esophagus

how many people are suffocating in unknown depression?
downward spiraling, shallow breaths
hearts bursting uncontrollable
the frantic tick of moments
unable to make sense of the passage of time
the lightning speed of language
the thoughts rolling in disaster after murder after police acquittal
the state playing joker, executioner
the political players swimming in blood money
unfeeling, unrepenting the call of nature
stuck accumulating greed
needing to consume and devour the poor

ignoring the righteous path
to share material visions
the caress of eros
lovemaking in forests
the moon shifting in slivers, tugging at bodies
the post-scarcity abundance, the socialist project
feeding the hungry
taking care of the elderly
housing, health,
no more war

the sky isn’t the sky anymore
it’s held up by wires and telephone poles
invisible currents, thought bubble webworks
the earth rocked over by concrete and brick
hidden like a fantasy

empathic insight obscured

puppets confounded, blind to the sacred
it’s not goddess, it’s science
strip away the mystery, no fucks given
we’re not human, we’re disposable cogs meaningless as stardust
tools to increase profits
fools that peel away the flesh
replaced by xenolinguistics, computer ballistics
the touch screens, you know what button to push
to touch, to rile up the people, to divide common sense
to subdue passion, wily, untamed,
angry, seething, desiring openly the destruction of systems
invisible yet clear as day
downpressing majority minorities

attempting to pray oneself out of misery

coming together to eat, to hug
to remind, to remember, to reconnect
to organize as anarchy, the unruly love
ripping out hair, lungs bursting screams
we deserve primal touch
the basics, necessities
time to be, space to create
to grow wilderness, health, gardens
to fuck in the middle of the day
to celebrate and mourn at leisure
no more toil, i want meaningful work & play

to fully express the entangled wondrous breath that gives life
that speaks truth in shadow when we are most vulnerable
like the thump in the chest, the pulse, boundaries unrolling
ripples that once deceived make sense
the silken threads of webs that glisten in rays after rain
the grin on a baby’s face

how much does it take to know the shit

have a drink, a good night’s rest
free from the sleepless phantasms
when the struggle feels weightless
when gratitude infuses
when it’s easy to awake for the sunrise
the colors, a hallucinogenic palette
absorbing, growing, breathing water
less of the ephemeral rhetoric

the intertwining ineffable grotesquerie of desire & death

( )

i’ve been coming out as non-monogamous my whole adulthood
slowly hitting bumps & shadows
fucking up because i get stuck in infatuation
i get stuck in the binary of two
always wanting elsewhere
breaking her heart, my heart, their hearts
because my fragile male ego couldn’t take responsibility
for inflicting hurt
for the inability to reveal
for the lack of communication
the festering
the convoluted decisions
hiding, repressing emotions & connections
becoming a monster full of rage at myself
lashing out
taking it out on others
for which i regret being stubborn &
full of self-righteous supposed knowing
there are not sufficient words to dispel scared immaturity

( )

you can’t erase memories.
you can forget them,
but the moments still happened.

( )

growing up in Christian Catholic Puritanical America
surrounded by guilt and shame
finally breaking through the status quo denial
to more fully act upon & trust my desires
to live openly, sharing romance
and intimate visions of loving one another

yet new struggles emerge
with every transcendence into collective selfhood

( )

if eros is pleasure and the urge toward life
then thanatos is the urge toward pleasure and death

( )

the wrenching loneliness
riddled poison
panging through blood
the shit-ass wasting away in bed, sagging like
the whiteness of hospitals
trapped and aching
aging, dying, in a room alone
the fucking sadness, riddled
this is where we go to die
like a bullet in a body
like a catheter
a machine
wires dangling
external veins
a heartbeat simulation on a screen
beeps and valleys
beeps and peaks
the white noise static
the whir
the beat in the chest

instead of dissociating into embodied fervor & collective madness
we dissociate into digital fantasy
so often ((far)) away from others

( )

crushed by propaganda, entertainment,
apartheid, stricken to believe
the singsong narrative of explosions
beholden to comment on the going rhetoric
wrapped up in another’s tongue
imposed dramas
rampant disorder
excruciating awareness of the tears, heaving
body shaking, repeating the same words
over and over
“what is this mental institution?”
the way the spit dribbles, baffled
scattered in dementia
memories fleeting like tiny rivers

( )

what of the song of grandmothers chanting
the stomp of feet on earth, the ancestors stirring
what of the echo in ribs like mountain winds
calmed yet stirred by the beat of drums

“isn’t there something better?”

( )

the fucking tear through life
the bullets ripping
the mayhem
the pandemonium
pandora’s box unleashing
fire, murder, flooding
the scorching realization of apocalypse
the absolute state of terror
the gut gripping,
America, brutality

“isn’t there something better?”

( )

forlorn ecstasy

( )

celebrating in dionysian fields of forgetfulness
the intoxicated fear
trumped up like the trumpets of death

( )

the squabble of lovers disappears
the desire to kiss and kill
cascading bodies atop bodies
consumed by chemistry
the flesh dripping sweat
like flowers after rain
petals falling from the sky upon climax
to cuddle & whisper
impulse to closeness, closer
peripheries mushing
abruptness of intimacy conflicting
drawing on tensions
the sting and flush of skin
swimming in spit
the sumptuous feast of little deaths

“what is this mayhem?”
“where is my breath?”

( )

the cry of the dying rings across the land.
the empathic flame of people,
blowing prayers in the air with the smoke of a cigarette

“isn’t there something better?”

flash bang thirteen


a collective dream with porous edges fading into the surrounding city.
when we see it snuggled within the multifaceted dimensions of reality,
there is so much more at stake
simply down the street.


especially on new years. what a random day. what’s it connected to? well intentioned partying. people need that. rhythmical celebration. resolution. it can take on the form of community when it is not all dressed up and soaked through. it seems empty, but it’s not quite like that. not quite vapid. it won’t entirely disappear. i believe it has a lot to offer people and society. but its transformational ability seems quite like the ouroboros. the snake biting its own tail. round and round it goes, reinventing itself yet still maintaining the same form.

the snake who peels through layers is still a snake.


“where’s the after party?”
“which one? there’s so many!”
“the party is in the elevator. right now!”
*small chatter*
*sensuous hugs*
“it’s 4am.”
“i want to go home & feed my cat first.”
*sensuous hugs*
“the sun will be up in 3 hours.”
“honey, i love you.”


she appeared at the beginning of the party.
no one saw her. but they felt her presence.
she swept through the crowd
a hard, shadowed edge
bright as the sun. & warm like ambrosia.

it wasn’t the sun’s glow that lit her up.
she was not the moon.

she appeared dripping with what the witches call profanity:
full of sustenance, ravenous, & yet
she possessed a particular stillness that draws out the depths of sound.
like a mountain,
outside the temple,
the whisper of leaves,
the cackle of coyotes,
the wind upon precipices,
visible & meaningful, fresh.

she spoke in a weird tongue. but not weird in the strange sense.
weird in the way her language licked movement into the future.

although some chanced to see her, many never had such fortune.


everyone danced, grooved, strutted, sexed up the atmosphere. wheeled around. costumes and fancy dress to the nines. glitter. tights. lights. the bass hit deep, knees bent animate, hips punched quick, the rhythm, the night, a swirl of psychedelic symposium. an upheaval of platitudinal seduction, gushing, not so much from a deep-seated wildness, but rather an urge to love the world into fantastic nonexistence.

it’s a fun scene, but it’s an exhausted scene. the burning healing aesthetic-expression-of-spirituality scene. it’s a necessary stepping stone for some, a home for others, i’m sure it has saved many lives. and yes, it’s true- it’s abundant with people who want to explore further, who want to know deeper, who want to love freely without abandon or shame. it’s a scene that is a vehicle for nonconventional ways of relating & being. it’s true, it’s a global phenomenon and has surely impacted millions, and it’s clear people will continue to cultivate it as one might see to family. but despite the penchant for flow arts, it is a scene that lacks movement. its pitfall is hedonism. it gets lost there, and it floats, almost too comfortably, in a paradisiacal bliss, a cuddle puddle dripping tenderness into the enchanted hours of the dark night.


mama matrix most mysterious,
the lust for idealism is potently choking.
ancestors honored & blessed.


“it’s a derivative of a derivative.”
“what about the offshoots?”
“what if everyone ate ecstasy and the doors were locked for six hours
and we had to get real with one another!”
“a social experiment?”
“and afterwards, everyone hopped on a bus and went to feed the homeless.”
“a socialist burn?”


she appears like a vision at the end of the evening. when everyone else is blasted and spilling a smashy smash of semblance, she is refined and elegant. she is kept together. she isn’t at the same party as everyone else. maybe she is staying at the hotel, sipping a hard drink at the bar before heading off to her room. or maybe she waltzed in with an irresistible charm, spontaneously called from afar. her chariot, the deep cold of the night, collectively arriving, carried lovely from the sea by a murder of ravens guided by moon and stars.


they woke up sweaty. a boutique hotel the dead of winter. they fell back asleep. adjusting. cuddling. two husbands and a wife. she in the middle, turning one side to the other with the frequency of a full moon. sleepless, dreaming. the three lavishing the sunrise. each one, the other, a lover. resting.

a man like a hobbit asleep on the floor. he snores like a chimney.


have you ever gone to bed and awoken in another dream?


a woman sits at a diner’s table staring into the distances.

her eyes blank, gazing, she cries lonely without a tear. a thought flits across her face, seen in the catch of her eyes, her cheek muscles pulsing faintly. she is not alone. she snaps into her body and looks at her husband. she beckons with her lips, perched, cooing, purring moist like a cliff overrun with waterfall. enticing him with her eyelashes, batting at a distance, dancing gently in the air, wings light as feathers. love, love me. love you.

he’s engrossed in his phone.
he mumbles something to her without looking up.
she laughs without a sound.

she coolly recoils into her own blank stare, looking at the space ahead, nowhere, a fantasy too far away, it flickers & wisps like a cloudy dream, a morning fog, she almost grasps it, a reality so intricately webbed, so convincingly cradled, so fragilely lost.

the waitress sets a cup of coffee under her nose.
she smiles thank you. isn’t this happy, a tiny excitement.
she sips like a bird, the steam wafting hot.

a thought again flits across her face and she smiles, looks to her husband and beckons, lips pursed, so unforgivably supple, he feels a light pout, the fragrance of a kiss, and he moves closer, unconsciously, still glued to his phone.

she purrs, and snaps her neck quickly, any more sharply and it may have hurt. her eyes zip focus. another thought, her husband moves an inch closer.

they know this game well.
she stalks him like a wild animal.
why? she doesn’t need him.
she wants him.
her desire isn’t licentious.
it’s an indefatigable aspect of being human.

and the heat of her look touches him, but only nibbles the periphery of his being. as she massages with patience, he begins slowly to put down the device. he looks at her and she smiles, slowly drawing him closer like a mama spider wrapping up a bit of nourishment & death.


sometimes it’s fireworks. sometimes it’s guns.