national poetry writing month, week 3

april 18, prompt: for the lovers

i remember being young and on fire

knowing how important it was

that i do everything i can

but now its so loud

how the world is falling apart

(who can i scream at today)

but always being dreamt

and being seeded

(what can i grow towards)

being destroyed yes but always and

right now someone

is making love


(but where are we supposed to make love

our spirits flying everywhere

following droplets of our own blood

into the soil we love most: home)

but do you know the magic

of blood into beloved land

do you know the magic

of righteous blood ill spilt

do you know the eternal binding

of this spell

that claims this earth

for the lovers


for the lovers


april 19, prompt: occupy power


i sleep standing long like a whale

breath held

a micro-unihemispheric earth


screened on closed eyes

that never fully rest

i dream without resolution


for months on end now, i live afloat

between the crises of before

and the portal just ahead


the loss on my hands form waves

pulled forth as an eclipse with no moon



i open my heart wider:

this singular grief, but everyone you know

onslaught where there should be apology


“we” believe some of us expendable

when they say unimaginable numbers

it no longer stops the world


we know the whole dance

ignore us, we awaken

punish us, we plead


pull the ground out from beneath us

we occupy our power

that is how we fly heavy over the sea


we crash spectacular, a wave of blessings

a mountain, a holy penetration

piercing the past with a new day


april 20, prompt: reminder


this is your reminder

nothing celestial happens alone

all we really are is

webbing for more


solitude is still with breath

ghosts fill every hall of death


in your drowning ponder

sit with each iteration of your heart

pray for one small blessing

the weight of shore


tongue this petal warily

pending your apology


remember how life tastes

an inhale is worth all of your questions

to keep a self untamed

home a front line


at every point of choice

swim up, slowly

but swim up



april 21, prompt: abortion 


i was always

insufficient mother material

there is no manna for new mouths

no one to hold up her head

i was broken open earth

planted with invasive seed

i don’t know how to make it right

deep inside me

i can’t do this, not in this world

i made a mistake




just this once in all of time

i have this one body

and inside this singular skin

i have to learn everything

about life, god, sacrifice, loss

and survival? and longing?

the no lets me trust the yes

the no makes the yes enough

the no is as mine as the yes

the no is mine


april 22, prompt: defund hate


don’t let them buy your heart


every day they will come

searching for your hunger

hungry for your fear

terrified of your power


don’t let them buy your heart


at every threshold

ask something already growing

to give you the next instruction

root, spread, reach, soften


but don’t let them buy your heart


they can’t afford you baby

they’ll never keep you safe

they cannot give you joy

they don’t know how to play


don’t let them near your heart


april 23, prompt: stretching


i was done before this crisis

coming to tell you goodbye for real

but thru the closed door even i can tell

someone’s in there bleeding —

open yourself up again darling?


at this point, no telling if the skin thin,

the need thick, or the story just so long

you feel owed mountains more than you got

and i been stretching my heart

making a new world for your old wound


between deaths i catch a cooling breath

and offer half of it to you, tomorrow’s kiss

will the rest of the years be such loss

stretching less and less between us

grinning, in pain, exhausted, here


between breaths there comes another death

i turn my heart around, looking for space

to write one more ghost or stranger’s name

i lash out, my grief a heavyweight

and then i remember, you stretched too


april 24, prompt: ode to the caregivers


we think love is crawling

clacking our ribs against the floor

taking anything

giving everything

really its giving care


we think the future is

a landscape of our terror

constant strangers

casting pointless fingers


but mostly its giving care

in conditions of abundance

or wormholes of scarcity


you think you have to be brave

become a frontline warrior

risk reputation

betray your owner’s nation

but the request is just to care

enough to act

enough to change


so — direct action is the collective cry

of the caregiver

and the miraculous is the realm

of the caregivers

and we each survive in the palms

of the caregivers

and we have to stagger the work

of being caregivers


we think love is sacrifice

shaping ourselves for consumption

dazzling moments

strung between dreary years


but the goddess is in the care

the romance is in the care

the beginning and end is in the care

the good life is in the care


and even the ancestors care

sometimes i dance

in ways i can’t anymore

because he holds me

just above the earth


april 25, prompt: this is the way


(as i read this poem, if you are able

please place your hands together

behind your back

as if bound)


death knows a way of slipping the soul from the noose of the body

gentle, before the snap of last breath


death longs to leave it all behind

humans made of the body

a killing weight


(if you are uncomfortable

imagine me screaming shut up

adding my weight to your bones)


no one is meant to die caught

no one is meant to die scared

not even the villains


we are supposed to be held

by more hands than we can name

clearing our wreckage with soft words

as we’re sung into the next life


(now imagine too

you are freezing cold, and hungry)


honey, for we were blessings

laughter, for we were monsters

forgiveness, for we were whole


knowing this is the way

we wail first when the dying

finally reaches us


(do you still hear words

or is your world in your burning shoulders

your pulsing wrists?)


we wail down the cornerless world

as a first response, standing next to the grievers, documenting everything

we collapse under the unbearable truth

tsunami the pain along until everyone is felled by this deathwork of lost souls


(and if the words can’t reach

through the pain

through the crisis

i become merely one who binds)


we need a new name for this crime

killing a people, one at a time

bound, buried, breath, bullet


beloveds, just recognizable

bomb sniper vaporize starve

every day, for a global audience

escalating ruthlessness


(breathe —

as long as you can breathe

there is a way)






and every day, a global movement

escalating solidarity

beloveds i see my people

love shine humanize nourish


we need a new name for this time

the shedding, the phoenix years

the reunification, the mycelial turning

masks era — the age of decolonization


(so how would you get free

but how would you get free?

but how will you get free?

this is the way)/this is the way