stop praying for what you want

the birds’ choir
is a mockery outside my window, eight different species on the sill — eight — for gods’ sake!

these days when the
Sun’s arc is long
and the soil is warming for the season and permanently

i am in my bed with lead bones
annoyed that i woke up again, and guilty with ungratefulness about it

my steady lament is sung out loud — but still unheard
i counted my mistakes like sheep, to sleep again
they didn’t wander away though
they stay close to their shepherd, always

they say Death comes in threes and that’s true
but it still hasn’t chosen me
instead, conscripting two complacent men, known to me, thirty-six, fifty three, in one week’s time — why???
while i’m out here volunteering for the cause
it cruelly searches elsewhere to complete their trio

of course i’m still fucking here
the gods won’t give you what you pray for

courage, love, fidelity, life, death

they’re full of motherfuckery
they know exactly what i — and what you, want most — of all

so they sent these birds here to taunt me

so they keep me here to taunt you

Continue reading “stop praying for what you want”

soul mate

sit with me, straddle me
don’t say a word
hear my heart with your heart
let mine hear yours

look at me, into me
like a Magic Eye
until the real me comes into your focus
our definitions no longer concealed

listen to me, read me
my words are my knowable mind
come, know what i know
and be known by me

lay on top of me
our mouths open
breathe me in slowly and deeply
let my pneuma impregnate you

i want to make you the father of my art

Continue reading “soul mate”

Dream Gerund: being

Arte Digitora derived from the poems: “On Doing” & “Dream Gerund”

a poem by a self-described juggernaut

On Doing

I have a compulsion to do.

But sometimes/often just want recline.

And the softness [and] of being. Pulled tight into a cocoon & the doing hushed out of me and filled with prairie definitions.

My untold untyped Great/lake fantasies.

Fallen grass tufts and waterproof boot slosh and plant names and hours of dendrochronology with fantas/tical idealized notions of rubbing and human collision, of being.

July nothingness would be a dream come true I close my eyes to it and do and do and do.

~ juggernaut

On July 19, 2022, upon noting the correspondence between the words “doing”, “being” and “dream” in the above poem and the published poem “Dream Gerund” both written by the same poet — I created a digital derivative work – works which I now refer to by the neologism that I conceived:

Arte Digitora.

a digital derivative work (Arte Digitora) created on July 19, 2022 from shared media of the poem “On Doing” and photoshopped with printed text from two poems by the same author published in memotoallemployees, 1995)

I derived the new piece from digital media of the poem “On Doing” shared with me via Instagram direct messaging on July 10, 2022 — and photoshopped it with photos of printed text excerpted from the poems “Dream Gerund” (p. 23) and “Revere The Police, Disdain The Citizens” (p.35) published in the poetry collection book memotoallemployees (1995), which was gifted to me by the author-publisher.


They were the O’Kneels

1 ain’t dumb
+ 1 ain’t dumb
= 0 authentic lives

“seeking intellectual stimulation and companionship in Chicago” 

- a profile headline for a dating app, August 2008

and they’ve never pretended harder,
to be happier,
in their marriage,

than they are right now

“she ain’t dumb.” said the Mr.

“he ain’t dumb.” said the Mrs.

silently, renewing those practical vows


2 “ain’t dumbs” will never add up to

1 authentic life

what their calculus hath joined together,

let no verdant, regent 𝕮𝖗𝖔𝖓𝖊 put asunder,

let us now re-pronounce them:

the O’Kneels

and may the gods

continue to keep and protect all 𝕮𝖗𝖔𝖓𝖊𝖘 from the harm of men, harm of the discontent, harm of the covetous and envious, harm of the shallows and shallow, harm of the fruitless and the fallow

from harm of self, and from self-harm

amen, amen, amen

proof of life :

she taught me to not like

especially, my image
— in photographs and in the moments themselves

ingraining a self-consciousness in me

in the candidness of my real life



pose, poise, posture, profile, perfect,


and because perfection

is unattainable,

in the eye of the beholder and in the eye of the beheld

she was absent from the photos of our lives, and so also was i,

becoming onlooker, background, instead of subject

and, i learned to make myself invisible

to become invisible

to accept invisibility

there are so many ways to be a thief

self-portrait, proof of life,
Kahlo, an ideal of self-possession

proof of life | 𝕮𝖗𝖔𝖓𝖊 consciousness

a perfect girl for one brief moment


i subsist on this right now

red, purple, black
and gold

early, brave dandelions, low-key wonders

muscari, moss, catkins, i study in real-time-lapse — like it’s my last Spring / is it?

these black birds — red-winged, grackles, and starlings, their obsidian gloss and iridescence, who could look away

sandhill cranes, five years familiar, but i am still arrested with awe every single time

deer roam in forage for hours for tender emergent greens among last year’s corn stover/

chorus frogs and woodcocks at twilight, i heard them into the night, this had to be the first white noise for human beings

i watch for owls til there’s no more light, straining my eyes / willing them to feast on the moles that i can’t bear to kill /

no one’s here to call me in / no street lights/ and i forget to eat til i am

ravenous or ravishing/ my favorite and unforgettable malaprop

i am warmed, buoyed, sated with vernal sensuality

but the mud, my heart – and hips

remind me
that i am also

moored, cold and heavy with an aching longing

dear human, woman,

if you are acquainted with nearly every star in Orion and Canis Major in the Southern Night Sky from the Northern Hemisphere;

& Castor and Pollux have glimpsed you both in and out of your blue pyjamas;

& the Moon spotlights your face like you’re the star of the show, while asleep in bed, insisting you wake up and be both worshipped and worshiper

through your bedroom windows, overlooking a wet meadow, a dirt road and then some trees,

from a ramshackle, old green house that effortlessly called you in, to hold you, and to hold you down

on this good Earth,

for a short while/

then, dear human, woman,

you are doing fine,
you are fine,
it’s all fine

nothing gold can stay
except your own treasure of a heart

you, above all, know this

so, all you need do,
is keep

keep, keep, keep

lying in bed, 4:59 AM EST, March 15, 2023
Continue reading “dear human, woman,”

poem for poet: Warsan Shire


her voice, delicious, spiced rum
her intellect, clear, Russian vodka
her truth, painful, white lightning
her beauty, full, Mourvèdre
her medicine, holy, mezcal

intoxicated and wrecked

you will drown willingly
soberly denouncing air,
pulled into the depths of her luminous current

and for women, womxn, womyn, womqn – who are difficult to love, click & hear


have mercy, also hear Warsan Shire here, and here.

Continue reading “poem for poet: Warsan Shire”

he swept

swish, swish, knock
swish, swish, knock
a rhythm, a metronome
once a week,
usually Sunday

you felt very near today, also a Sunday, me weeping while sweeping, or vice versa

my movement conjured you, conjured the once-me and the eternally you/
me, looking down from the landing
you, nearing the top of the 2-flat stairs
in your white t-shirt
looking up over your glasses at me, with your big eyes
with your snaggle-toothed smirk, mustached/
broom in hands / pure lank, elegance

had i snapped a photo of you on them stairs
with that look/
and, what if i had!
could you ever become a once-person, an image
in a box, on a hard drive,
in or on a cloud, to me
and not a living moment on a Sunday,
pulled in from the ether, so present, me sweeping while weeping, or vice versa
in this quiet, rural place so unrecognizable from
our once-home

i never even bothered to count them stairs /all them chances


here am i

my eyes stigmata
overflowing saltwater
heartache of this life, heartbreak of this world,

this cross of water, women carry

here i am

fresh watersheds
from my headwaters/
my tears runoff into wrinkle streams/
flowing tributaries converge into
rivers desalinated in sediment of flesh/
creases of time and depth
weather my face/
carved canyons carry
rapids down my cheeks/
raging confluence pours into
the lake of my mouth, onto bed of my tongue/
spilling waterfall
down my throat
into ocean of my heart/

torrents cascading over my lips, chin, breasts,

in monsoon

flooding the desert at my feet/

take, drink,

and bloom

james, thank you.

a man who knew my father befriended me
he caused me to question the nature of my reality,
my history, its validity,
my possibly-false memories
all viewed through the lens
of a person
who had vested interest in
indoctrinating me
who preferred my naïveté
under guise of protectivity

the last time i saw my father, Christmas break, age 6, Waukegan, Illinois

parents can write stories on the folds of the cerebrum,
their pens go unchallenged
until they’re challenged /
their ink is like cord blood,
except it can re/generate — or damage

it only takes one person
to crack the sky,
then we astronomers spend
our lives asking the zealots
a non-answerable “why?”

poem for poet: Joy Harjo

The First Time I Saw Joy Harjo /Chicago 2017

long, midnight, blue-black hair,
unmistakably hers,
melding into her pitch black jacket
an uninterrupted flowing velvet river
she, a radiant silhouette, like the haloed total solar eclipse that would occur later that year

her regal face is unseen, sustaining the mystery

then she rises like a sun to speak and i am in orbit

her first words: “i feel The Lake so very present in me.” / her voice weighted by the very earth in her throat

my glisteny eyes meet her glisteny eyes,
i memorize her face / and her hands tattooed in black ink/ she is dignity embodied/

she inscribes a protocol for me
in my book of hers, made of trees, and i think why am i, who am i, here

I give her a necklace
suspending glass vials of seed
watermelon, corn, clover and milkweed made by my hands on these forced-treaty lands

my symbolic reciprocity / for her poems that seeded me, collaterally

her poems are a well that
still water my thoughts and words

although i am not sure i am deserving of the drink/

god, i never want to be just another culture thief

from How We Became Human
New & Selected Poems 1975-2001
Joy Harjo

Continue reading “poem for poet: Joy Harjo”

dream[t] poetry: “dynamic rib”

this poem is inspired and directly derived from a dream i woke up from/with

on February 15, 2023

and is an experiment of raw dreaming dialogue and internal dreaming monologue to express the dreamt experience in poetic format using minimal metaphoric phrasing and language

a familiar woman sitting on the couch
in your house asks me
how many hours do you have to yourself
i am perplexed: “all of them”
they’re all my hours

the roof begins leaking
the one you fixed last year
the one i was reading under while she asked me about my hours
i noticed when the book
suddenly became smattered with rain drops
water drops or raindrops, what’s the difference

it was a Rugrats coloring book
i don’t know what page i was on
but Angelica was waiting to be colored-in and one of the boys was saying “mommy” in a speech bubble
it must’ve been a thought bubble because the Rugrats, except for Angelica, are not verbal

Continue reading “dream[t] poetry: “dynamic rib””


somebody, quick!

pinch me,
call me,
talk to me,
see me,
kiss me,
curse me,
feed me,
bathe me,
fuck me,
flip me off,
for god’s sake

I can’t tell
if I survived
that last


i thought we were making a left turn

you made a u-turn instead

you turned, you turned, you turned

i was a passenger / but not riding shotgun

no restraint / then suddenly ejected

/am i a ghost/


am i behind the wheel,

am i under them

am i disembodied

am i looking down from above

or gazing in from the periphery

49 days, what the fuck?!

poem for poet: Nayyirah Waheed, Salt

[ The Lethal Salinity of The Truth ]

Her words are not for me
not about me
Her words are not for me
not about me

am i allowed
To float Her words aloud
To sink them in my mind
To lap them from the page

i accidentally swallow,
then gulp down Her Salt words/
like when the surf breaks
and surprises an exhilarated, Great Lakes girl
with a mouthful of seawater
during her first swim in the Ocean

Her words were not meant for me
Her words were not meant for me


they quenched then drowned me anyway

Continue reading “poem for poet: Nayyirah Waheed, Salt”

Her Light, her light

it’s mid evening
east of The Lake
and the night is dawning
like a second morning

the Full Moon’s light
in a clearer sky
gleams through the generous panes
of this blessed, old green house

Moon’s rise / Her Light

February’s Snow Moon is glowing
in a familiar dance with her beloved Earth/
Sun, their invisible chaperone, is voyeur to their touchless, perfect tango

a family of four deer
mother and children, i think/
are gleaners here tonight
while i consume their Moon play

silent and sitting in the dark, i admire:
coat, tallow, hooves and hot, flow of blood
is all that’s between them
and this howling wind and frozen ground

let me mimic their resilience, integrity
i’ve been so weak, so broken this winter
a fractioned shadow, i am disintegrating, disappearing / my light given or grifted away

Continue reading “Her Light, her light”