This Is My Mountain [Keep Your Tiny Hands Off]

This is my mountain. I know its changing. Its mornings are my surprises and its storms are mine.
No one asked you to come here. You are not worth even the midday clear. Go back to your sunny
city and flat glass ocean window. Your leather shoes are not dew-crumpled, are not rain-stained.
Sir, you have not seen the river, and it does not miss you. It might find you, but it will not know you.
This is my mountain. Its fists are my fists and I’ll tell you they hurt. You don’t want my tumbling
bruises. Stand there and glance at false peaks but stay off my hidden ridges because summer
streams run empty. Throw your words to golden eagles—they will let them fall. These valleys are too full
to echo. Know your place in the quiet and the comfort. Do not travel. This is rock not clay.
This is chalk not sand. This is hard rock that isn’t asking. This is my mountain.


I did not know her
my friends they mourn her
I too mourn her
but I did not know her

They said I walked by her on sidewalks
even talked to her perhaps
but I did not see her
and I did not hear her

Supposedly she lived where I lived
and also not
Watched the same movies,
sipped the same coffee shops but
I was living

And she was living apart.

I tried to mourn her on a Wednesday
but had no words to eulogize
I tried to fear what comes again
but had no recollection of that time

I did not know her
and I do not know her still
but I mourn the thing I thought she was
and mourn the thing she is.

Women’s March, Washington D.C. Photo: Robiny Jamerson

Red Light

It was there for almost a second
The green light on the horizon,
Perhaps imagined, but I swear I saw it.
I swear I saw it.

I saw you leaning forward,
Asking questions, smiling
In my direction. You were

And God it burned me sent my
Head spinning around the
Dreams I never told you about.

And I talked.
And you talked.
And I talked.
And you talked.
And I talked wrong.
And you slipped out of the dark bar booth
And you slipped out to the night

And I was drunk on my imaginings,
Staggering down the cold damn sidewalk
Beckoning, begging.

And you opened your car door
And I tried to open mine
And I tried to open yours
And I tried to remember what they did in the movies
But the wheels pulled away
And into the street

And there was just enough street light
To watch your face wrinkle and cry
At the red light on Mass Ave and Shepard.

I Mounted A Donkey

I mounted a donkey
And asked him to show me the valley.
He smiled and showed me the hill.
The hill was nice, so I rode him still.

I mounted a donkey
And together we walked for a while.
He stopped for a drink and asked for a pat.
The donkey was nice, so I didn’t mind that.

I mounted a donkey
And hummed to his rock and his rhythms.
He spun. Threw the load off his back.
In sweet disbelief, I was bucked by the ass.

A moment’s suspension that quickened my heart
A tumbleweed landing and I was repulsed

I mounted a donkey
And asked him to show me the valley.
The obstinate ass showed me the hill.
I thought about flying, and I rode him still.

Someone Asked Me

Someone asked me if I was an artist once.
I sort of stammered and squinted my eyes.
Artists’ apples don’t look like oranges,
But I’ve got faces peeping at me from margins.

In the space, I draw shapes.
I draw flowers. I draw his face.

Solve me the story of the chicken and egg.
Of the face I practiced until perfect
And the perfect face I drew to the dregs.
Even when I’m looking at yellow lilies,
My important pages still fill with
Surprised eyebrows and tidal hair.
Damn lips.

And I know he’s not mine anymore
But damn it; he’s stuck in my pen,
Blended into this purple ink,
Bending over this paper over again, and over,
Staining the sheets that won’t hold someone else.
That won’t taste the face of someone less bitter.

So I keep my head filled and hands empty
Don’t stop me; I’m marching up, onward
I’m widening the words I write lately
‘Cause I’m scared of you filling my margins.


Even now, I know that nobody’s reading this. Perhaps that’s why I haven’t written in a while. Because my life wasn’t quite trivial enough to brush off in the French mysticism that surrounded this blog’s birth. I figured I’d write things that would be easily shrouded by the voices in my head; I couldn’t scream about the big things from the rooftops of an abandoned city. I mean, that, and that the people that I write about read this. Bold language favors carpet stains and finicky WiFi routers, not stuff that hurts people.

I’m here though. And I’ll have wanted to know what I felt tonight. And I’ll have wanted it to be buried in raw archives. Maybe artists just use art to hide their feelings from the passerby and show it to the thinker. Wonder, then, reader. What here is purely aesthetic?

Sucker-punched, guard down,
I’m hit after everything’s done
After I’ve told everyone I’m fine
After I’ve kept the right distances
And he’s picking up his pieces

And so comes the avalanche
In silent, secret, abstraction
A blinding cloud of white
Cut hair wet, tired body undressed,
Assassinated in a pocket of breath

Four years ago, I felt this before
When I held a pitchfork in the morning
And a Colorado summer’s floor fell through
A stiff breeze whispered me a name
Until I wilted and wept there in the shade

Fucking idiocy, this stuttering surrender
You got to hate me and hold me
In bruises from the fault lines.
I let good terms overturn me
And rolled away while the fire kept burning.

What if we were laughing?

The cut on my right thumb
Is teaching me that I never
Hit the spacebar with my left thumb

It rests right there
Ready to space space
But habit keeps hurting
And at each damn blank spot
My right thumb sends aches right up and in
And my left is left limp

I just wanted you to know what I’m thinking about
‘Cause I was just here sitting on my couch
Thinking about how maybe you’d be here now
Or maybe we’d be talking on the phone
And maybe we’d be getting along
Maybe we’d be laughing
What if we were laughing?

Space  space  space  space

And now my eyes feel red and
My throat feels broken
And I’m
What if we were laughing?
It wouldn’t have taken too much to fix us.

I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t happy.
But damn. What if we were laughing?

Space     space       space                 space