Nightstands Sing

on the nightstand are three empty shot glasses

she reaches across a squeaky mattress

to pour herself another

and another

until the levees break

such a cliché she thinks

slamming down a few more drinks

kicking the animal twisting in her covers

can you get out now

i prefer to sleep alone

he rolls onto his back, grabs his sneaks to leave

she tries to cuddle up with her sheets

but they smell of him

Throwing on some clothes

she stumbles onto the streets

as the clock reads 4am

the flood gates open

singing, voice booming with lightening

so loud

she doesn’t even realize she’s screaming

the city deaf blind and dumb to her pain

wandering, lusting for connection

spiraling into a migraine

she falls into a tricky building

enraged she kisses her forehead to the bricks

They call her gorgeous

They call her brown eyes and silk for how she feels

in that moment she might’ve wanted to die

but she stopped short of an concussion

banging her head like percussion

shook a few screws loose

nameless she couldn’t

remember her address

just this lingering scent of a boy’s shirt


she searched for him long gone

passed out on a park lawn

caked in her own juices

found by the  day

bathed in sunlight

knowing she was alone now

more than ever

They call her sugar and grit

They call her baby and Ms. Independent

And she’s got children somewhere

that should call her mother


I was born woman.

They say my eyes were very bright

and they called me Lucia,

the one who gives light.

The fisherman leave early in the morning,

on fragile boats.

The women wave their hands from the pier.

They don’t know when the men will return.

Every night,

when the moon and the stars

are the only lights,

all the women of town gather on the pier again

and sing to the asters,

invoke them to guide their men home.

My father was proud of me.

Two hours after the birth

he threw a bottle of anisette

on the door of the house

to wash the newborn with sweetness and good luck.

She was a princess,

her eyes the most beautiful of the island,

the kingdom of her father the richest.

When the armed men broke into the walls of the city

she was found brushing her hair

by the window on the water.

He loved her at once

and offered her the life of her father

and the kingdom.

She refused.

He took her eyes,

her hair,

burned down the city and left the island again.

Bats are blind.

They travel through night without candles.

I was born woman,

they call me Lucia,

but the journey is a long one

and the lighthouse still far.

–Lucia Casalinuovo, Italy

The Last Hope

She doesn’t give a fuck

having stuck

so closely to depression

that she can feel him up against her back sweating

rode in the haul of death’s ship

stopped in hell’s kitchen and licked the pot clean

she’s been pimped, sold

and let the memories jangle around her ankles

She’s your Mother

Sister Friend Neighbor

Girlfriend Grandmother Teacher

She’s so open from centuries of exploitation

that still goes on to this day

Someone grab her, she just got on the A train

Headin downtown with some guy

The embodiment of hope

The last key

If only she cared enough to open the door

Burnt Brown Sugar

I wondered if it tastes like brown sugarimages (14) the way you’d kiss my skin hungry You never told me that your lips like plump pockets knives were devised to devour my sanity These were visceral screams of pitiful self-esteem etched and bound into the seams of this epidermis because of the way you looked at it This is for the boy who paralyzed my sense of touch and any loving hands would just feel like his claws again I remember hickies on my breasts hating that you had bitten into my chest in an effort to get to my heart straight through my rib cage playful pokes of lust as you joked you’d choke the life out of me if I told I am tired from over exhausting battle but I remain a soldier forging on to inevitable victory, keep fighting until you get sick of me as fear fucks me alone in the dark            tears stream as he thrusts harder and harder                                I scream but there is no sound                                     now I lay me down to sleep                                                                I pray thee lord my soul to keep I pray, with my face buried in the sorrow filled pillow will he still be there tomorrow? I toss off covers and stumble through my black blanket looking for comfort the storm has blurred their vision and they can’t see that I have cried those raindrops look closely at my cheek, you can trace the salty path everyone’s distracted by the lightening’s wrath as it whips and cracks light across her back she lies on her back                                        cracks her legs and submits to him again and again wondering when the storm will end She reaches out wanting to touch her ancestors feel the drums as they play in the background of sweltering heat as the sunrises off the coast of New Guinea bucking the land and tonguing the plains with fire She reaches out to the water pooled on the ceiling splashes her mouth and thighs inside is a river as deep and wide as the Mississippi She reaches out but can only feel fear sweating next to her Measured my worth by my hipsIMG_94542 so I changed my walk, trying to not exist in a place that reflected a face you were so eager to kiss This is for the boys who need to learn to touch without breaking