rachelleneveu: ("Some days the body count will)
Traveler -- Heather Sommer

Your first time out of the country
of your own skin, I didn't bring a map.

You always hated that I'd been lucky
enough to pick my way through streets

I couldn't pronounce to find cathedrals,
graveyards. If you were a city, you said,

I'd only like to know your suburbs.

If you were a city, I said, I'd like to know
your poor neighborhoods, you inner parts.

Read your graffiti. Drink your tap water.
Feel your smog and dirt stick to my sweat.

Hear your orchestra of sirens and gunshots.
I'd know which of your streets to walk.

If you were a city, I'd expect to be robbed.

10 Honest Thoughts On Being Loved By A Skinny Boy -- Rachel Wiley

I say, 'I am fat.'
He says 'No, you are beautiful.'
I wonder why I cannot be both.
He kisses me

My college theater professor once told me
that despite my talent,
I would never be cast as a romantic lead.
We do plays that involve singing animals
and children with the ability to fly,
but apparently no one
has enough willing suspension of disbelief
to go with anyone loving a fat girl.
I daydream regularly
about fucking my boyfriend vigorously on his front lawn.

On the mornings I do not feel pretty,
while he is still asleep,
I sit on the floor and check the pockets of his skinny jeans for motive,
for a punchline,
for other girls' phone numbers.

When we hold hands in public,
I wonder if he notices the looks --
like he is handling a parade balloon on a crowded sidewalk;
if he notices that my hands are now made of rope.

Dear Cosmo: Fuck you.
I will not take sex tips from you
on how to please a man you think I do not deserve.

He tells me he loves me with the lights on.

I can cup his hip bone in my hand,
feel his ribs without pressing very hard at all.
He does not believe me when I tell him he is beautiful.
Sometimes I fear the day he does will be the day he leaves.

The cute hipster girl at the coffee shop
assumes we are just friends
and flirts over the counter.
I spend the next two weeks
mentally replacing myself with her
in all of our photographs.
When I admit this to him
we spend the evening taking new photos together.
He will not let me delete a single one of them.

The phrase "Big girls need love too" can die in a fire.
Fucking me does not require an asterisk.
Loving me is not a fetish.
Finding me beautiful is not a novelty.
I am not a fucking novelty.

I say, 'I am fat.'
He says, 'No. You are so much more,'
and kisses me

I the Woman -- Sandra Cisneros

the Thursday
the poor
I am she
I'm dark
in the veins
I'm hip
and good skin
and sharp tooth
the air
I'm lightbeam
no stopping me

I am
your temporary
your own
I am
a live
one earring
in the car
a finger-
on skin
the black smoke
in your
and in

Here's What Our Parents Never Taught Us -- Shinji Moon

Here's what our parents never taught us:

You will stay up on your rooftop until sunlight peels away the husk of the moon,
chainsmoking cigarettes and reading Baudelaire, and
you will learn that you only ever want to fall in love with someone
who will stay up to watch the sun rise with you.

You will fall in love with train rides, and sooner or later you will
realize that nowhere seems like home anymore.

A woman will kiss you and you'll think her lips are two petals
rubbing against your mouth.

You will not tell anyone that you liked it.
It's okay.
It is beautiful to love humans in a world where love is a metaphor for lust.

You can leave if you want, with only your skin as a carry-on.

All you need is a twenty in your pocket and a bus ticket.
All you need is someone on the other end of the map, thinking about the supple
curves of your body, to guide you to a home that stretches out for miles
and miles on end.

You will lie to everyone you love.
They will love you anyways.

One day you'll wake up and realize that you are too big for your own skin.

Don't be afraid.

Your body is a house where the shutters blow in and out
against the windowpane.

You are a hurricane-prone area.
The glass will break through often.

But it's okay. I promise.

a stranger once told you that the breeze
here is something worth writing poems about.
rachelleneveu: ("Some days the body count will)
fuck off.

realize that time machines
were built
for richstraightwhite men who have
never feared walking down
the street at night.

smoke cigarettes with the luxury
of knowing that
they'll kill you someday.

throw away your record players
and smash your vinyls into bits
and recognize
that the jagged edges are
nowhere near as rough as the past

(also, just fucking download spotify already).

get dressed how you want
and eat what you want
and marry who you want
and learn what you want
just because you can.

that whalebone corset looks
prettier tucked away
in the glass case of a museum
than it would wrapped around
your middle
squeezing the breath from your lungs
and the roses blooming in your cheeks.

swallow pills instead of
biting your tongue.
you won't be left in the gutter
or locked away in a tower,
I promise.

money was always
hard to come by.

if you're unhappy with where
you are,

we can fly, these days.

rachelleneveu: (book love)
Oh you men who say that I am malevolent, stubborn
or misanthropic, how greatly do you wrong me. . . .

- The Heiligenstadt Testament

Three miles from my adopted city
lies a village where I came to peace.
The world there was a calm place,
even the great Danube no more
than a pale ribbon tossed onto the landscape
by a girl's careless hand. Into this stillness

I had been ordered to recover.
The hills were gold with late summer;
my rooms were two, plus a small kitchen,
situated upstairs in the back of a cottage
at the end of the Herrengasse.
From my window I could see onto the courtyard
where a linden tree twined skyward ---
leafy umbilicus canted toward light,
warped in the very act of yearning ---
and I would feed on the sun as if that alone
would dismantle the silence around me.

At first I raged. Then music raged in me,
rising so swiftly I could not write quickly enough
to ease the roiling. I would stop
to light a lamp, and whatever I missed ---
larks flying to nest, church bells, the shepherd's
home-toward-evening song --- rushed in, and I
would rage again.

I am by nature a conflagration;
I would rather leap
than sit and be looked at.
So when my proud city spread
her gypsy skirts, I reentered,
burning towards her greater, constant light.

Call me rough, ill-tempered, slovenly --- I tell you,
every tenderness I have ever known
has been nothing
but thwarted violence, an ache
so permanent and deep, the lightest touch
awakens it. . . . It is impossible

to care enough. I have returned
with a second Symphony
and 15 Piano Variations
which I've named Prometheus,
after the rogue Titan, the half-a-god
who knew the worst sin is to take
what cannot be given back.

I smile and bow, and the world is loud.
And though I dare not lean in to shout
Can't you see that I'm deaf? ---
I also cannot stop listening.

rachelleneveu: (love love love)
Part of Eve's Discussion  -- Marie Howe

It was like the moment when a bird decides not to eat from your hand
and flies, just before it flies, the moment the rivers seem to still
and stop because a storm is coming, but there is no storm, as when
a hundred starlings lift and bank together before they wheel and drop,
very much like the moment, driving on bad ice, when it occurs to you
your car could spin, just before it slowly begins to spin, like
the moment just before you forgot what it was you were about to say,
it was like that, and after that, it was still like that, only
all the time.

Notes for My Future Biographer -- Courtney Queeney

The dark things I did started young, stayed.

Then I heard a cello and thought,
Oh. That's how you say it.

I could spell and count to a hundred
in several languages, but never learned the words
to help anyone to a church.

There were X number of men;
I couldn't solve for X.

With the chameleon as my model
I greened and glowed outside,
or rippled underwater.
Alone, I was translucent, I was

. . .

barely, but survived myself
those early years,

which prepared me
for the later ones,
when I felt like furniture

and never told the truth.

rachelleneveu: (not your year)

Shout Out – Sekou Sundiata

Here’s to three hour dinners and long conversations

To the philosophical ramifications of a beautiful day

To the twelve-steppers at the thirteenth step,

May they never forget, the first step.

To the increase, to the decrease

To the do, to the do, to the did, to the did

To the do, to the did, to the done done

To the lonely, to the brokenhearted.

To the new, blue haiku.

Here’s to all or nothing at all.

Here’s to the sick, and the shut-in.

To the was you been to the is you in,

To what’s deep and deep to what’s down and down

To the lost, and the blind, and the almost found.

Here’s to the crazy, the lazy

The bored, the ignored

The beginners, the sinners, the losers, the winners.

To the smooth & the cool

And even to the fool.

Here’s to your ex-best-friend.to the rule-benders and the repeat offenders.

To the lovers and the troublers, the engaging, the enraging

To the healers and the feelers & the fixers and the tricksters

To a star falling through a dream.

To a dream, when you know what it means.

To the bottom, to the root

To the base, uh boom, to the drum

To the was you been to the is you in

To what’s deep and deep to what’s down and down

To the lost, and the blind, and the almost found.

Here’s to somebody within the sound of your voice this morning.

Here’s to somebody who can’t be within the sound of your voice tonight.

To a low-cholesterol pig sandwich smothered in swine without the pork.

To a light buzz in your head & a soundtrack in your mind

Going on and on and on and on and on like a good time.

Here’s to promises that break by themselves

Here’s to the breaks with great promise.

Here’s to people who don’t wait in the car when you tell them to wait in the car.

Here’s to what you forgot and who you forgot.

Here’s to the unforgettable.

To the was you been to the is you in

To what’s deep and deep to what’s down and down

To the lost, and the blind, and the almost found.

Here’s to the hip-hoppers, the don’t stoppers

Heads nodding in the digital glow of their beloved studios.

To the incredible indelible impressions made by the gaze as you gaze in the faces of strangers.

To yourself you ask: Could this be God? Straight up! Or is it a mask?

Here’s to the tribe of the hyper-cyber

Trippin at the virtual-most outpost at the edge on the tip

Believin that what they hear is the mothership, drawing near.

To the was you been, to the is you in

To what’s deep and deep, to what’s down and down

To the lost, and the blind, and the almost found.

rachelleneveu: (not your year)

From Mary Karr’s memoir, Cherry, pages 113-117:


You don't earn it. It's given. )


rachelleneveu: ("Some days the body count will)


To a Sad Daughter -- Michael Ondaatje


All night long the hockey pictures
gaze down at you
sleeping in your tracksuit.
Belligerent goalies are your ideal.
Threats of being traded
cuts and wounds
--all this pleases you.
O my god! you say at breakfast
reading the sports page over the Alpen
as another player breaks his ankle
or assaults the coach.

When I thought of daughters
I wasn't expecting this
but I like this more.
I like all your faults
even your purple moods
when you retreat from everyone
to sit in bed under a quilt.
And when I say 'like'
I mean of course 'love'
but that embarrasses you.
You who feel superior to black and white movies
(coaxed for hours to see Casablanca)
though you were moved
by Creature from the Black Lagoon.

One day I'll come swimming
beside your ship or someone will
and if you hear the siren
listen to it. For if you close your ears
only nothing happens. You will never change.

I don't care if you risk
your life to angry goalies
creatures with webbed feet.
You can enter their caves and castles
their glass laboratories. Just
don't be fooled by anyone but yourself.

This is the first lecture I've given you.
You're 'sweet sixteen' you said.
I'd rather be your closest friend
than your father. I'm not good at advice
you know that, but ride
the ceremonies
until they grow dark.

Sometimes you are so busy
discovering your friends
I ache with loss
--but that is greed.
And sometimes I've gone
into my purple world
and lost you.

One afternoon I stepped
into your room. You were sitting
at the desk where I now write this.
Forsythia outside the window
and sun spilled over you
like a thick yellow miracle
as if another planet
was coaxing you out of the house
--all those possible worlds!--
and you, meanwhile, busy with mathematics.

I cannot look at forsythia now
without loss, or joy for you.
You step delicately
into the wild world
and your real prize will be
the frantic search.
Want everything. If you break
break going out not in.
How you live your life I don't care
but I'll sell my arms for you,
hold your secrets forever.

If I speak of death
which you fear now, greatly,
it is without answers.
except that each
one we know is
in our blood.
Don't recall graves.
Memory is permanent.
Remember the afternoon's
yellow suburban annunciation.
Your goalie
in his frightening mask
dreams perhaps
of gentleness.

rachelleneveu: (Default)

"Driving" -- Diana Ben-Lev


The summer our marriage failed
we picked sage to sweeten our hot dark car.

We sat in the yard with heavy glasses of iced tea,
talking about which seeds to sow

when the soil was cool. Praising our large, smooth spinach
leaves, free this year of Fusarium wilt,

downy mildew, blue mold. And then we spoke of flowers,
and there was a joke, you said, about old florists

who were forced to make other arrangements.
Delphiniums flared along the back fence.

All summer it hurt to look at you.


I heard a woman on the bus say, "He and I were going
in different directions." As if it had something to do

with a latitude or a pole. Trying to write down
how love empties itself from a house, how a view

changes, how the sign for infinity turns into a noose
for a couple. Trying to say that weather weighed

down all the streets we traveled on, that if gravel sinks,
it keeps sinking. How can I blame you who kneeled day

after day in wet soil, pulling slugs from the seedlings?
You who built a ten-foot arch for the beans, who hated

a bird feeder left unfilled. You who gave
carrots to a gang of girls on bicycles.


On our last trip we drove through rain
to a town lit with vacancies.

We'd come to watch whales. At the dock we met
five other couples—all of us fluorescent,

waterproof, ready for the pitch and frequency
of the motor that would lure these great mammals

near. The boat chugged forward—trailing a long,
creamy wake. The captain spoke from a loudspeaker:

In winter gray whales love Laguna Guerrero; it's warm
and calm, no killer whales gulp down their calves.

Today we'll see them on their way to Alaska. If we
get close enough, observe their eyes—they're bigger

than baseballs, but can only look down. Whales can
communicate at a distance of 300 miles—but it's

my guess they're all saying, Can you hear me?
His laughter crackled. When he told us Pink Floyd is slang

for a whale's two-foot penis, I stopped listening.
The boat rocked, and for two hours our eyes

were lost in the waves—but no whales surfaced, blowing
or breaching or expelling water through baleen plates.

Again and again you patiently wiped the spray
from your glasses. We smiled to each other, good

troopers used to disappointment. On the way back
you pointed at cormorants riding the waves—

you knew them by name: the Brants, the Pelagic,
the double-breasted. I only said, I'm sure

whales were swimming under us by the dozens.


Trying to write that I loved the work of an argument,
the exhaustion of forgiving, the next morning,

washing our handprints off the wineglasses. How I loved
sitting with our friends under the plum trees,

in the white wire chairs, at the glass table. How you
stood by the grill, delicately broiling the fish. How

the dill grew tall by the window. Trying to explain
how camellias spoil and bloom at the same time,

how their perfume makes lovers ache. Trying
to describe the ways sex darkens

and dies, how two bodies can lie
together, entwined, out of habit.

Finding themselves later, tired, by a fire,
on an old couch that no longer reassures.

The night we eloped we drove to the rainforest
and found ourselves in fog so thick

our lights were useless. There's no choice,
you said, we must have faith in our blindness.

How I believed you. Trying to imagine
the road beneath us, we inched forward,

honking, gently, again and again.


rachelleneveu: (Default)

December 2015

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