This is the only category? => Yo Check This Out => Topic started by: Tenda on September 20, 2012, 04:30:39 PM

Title: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on September 20, 2012, 04:30:39 PM
I'm standing motionless on the doorstep of the death
Of everything that's wild; every market crashed into the sea,
Every ambition devoured by a white whale --
I'm mixed into the detritus, meal for the sour mushrooms
That'll come after and remake our world into naivety.

This life is calculated; it's not only my illness that's sacrosanct
But the geometry of the whole plane,
Unit circles projected onto unit circles
That silently spell out our allotments.
No one will ever hang the usurer;
No one will account for the misbegotten,
Hush the unfair and bring down the weight of the
Jabberwocky roaming on the hard edges
Of the certain world. We'll cry misery,
Sue for judgment and lecture the hungry
From the throne of the hungering
Without ever being delivered dues;

We'll quake defined, grind at the borders and tear
At the seams that won't ever change.
I'm standing motionless on the doorstep of the death
Of everything conjured, wishes sent over
The horizon in an era the New World
Still held promise of eclipsing the old;
The Pacific will fade into the Atlantic,
We'll remember it's only one world ocean
That will swallow us at the last
We foresaw in the beginning:

I'm never going to get better,
I'll never know the life I wasn't destined to lead,
And the world will burn to ashes before any leaden hand
Remakes it

Into what the pretentious and arrogant legislature
Deemed would be better.
I'll still vote, though -- dream and riot
Hand-in-hand, elbow-to-elbow with you
And the rest of our sorry, condemned lot;
Orbit an uncaring, fading star
While we succumb to the pale surety
Of our short and unimportant lives,

Buckled at the waist
By the weight of the hopes
We so unwisely hung around our necks
When it still seemed possible
Fates could change for the better.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: total body workout on September 20, 2012, 05:40:29 PM
let us weep into our kool aid. we wallow in baleful lamentations on this auspicious night, the eve of our final victory :swoon:

Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on September 21, 2012, 03:07:08 PM
Wink out with me, then —
Put out the fires cruelly dotting
The end of every waking man’s tunnel,
Come to bed -- go cold —
Sing one last slow, sad song.
Let the lingering promises go ungainsaid,
Recompense and comeuppance
Withered and forfeit
With a wreath on every altar;
We fought well, but landscapes remain
Consistently spiteful in the face
Of landscapers. Go quietly --
I won’t forget you —
But the time for sleep is now.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on September 25, 2012, 01:17:58 PM
I'm the onion hearted pilgrim,
Sulfur blood orphan
On the altar pleading


Come take me home

Away from the beestings and the dungarees,
The loud-mouth block knockers and
Sandpit queens with wormy teeth

That terrorized and peeled away my flaking layers
To reveal beneath

The vibrant wort I can't stand to let the world see --
I'm so fragile underneath the skin,
King of effigies running at a snail's pace --

Come take me home, mom, before these
Sun-splotched scars sprout; I won't take root,
Grow up, weather the weather
Whether you want me to or not:
Just wilt short-handed, crinkle-wrapped
Could-have-beens dignified by mercy murder
Driven through the chest of the child
Who choked to dream and sputter

Come take me home again
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on October 01, 2012, 03:19:34 PM
This moment is antecedent to more of itself,
What's to come the unsatisfying rejoinder
To what's happened already --

The slope of my line has evened out,
Plateau at a young age. What aches
Won't change, and I'm hopeless as a
Savior; these fingers are worked to
Worthlessness, grimaced projections
At the tip of a failed body. I knew,
From the get-go, I was a doomed
Creature -- worth my weight in
Carbon and nothing more, greasy
Hardened fuel for the ongoing fire

While the people around me emerge
From cocoons as firefighters or starters,
Agents of change in a world
They seem capable of contorting in a way
The world has only ever contorted me
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on October 02, 2012, 12:03:14 AM
Boiling this out,
My life goal is to piss out of a vulva
When prior
I was content to squat,
And pee piss out of a penis.

The entire establishment is selfish.
Everything I do to achieve what I describe as a goal is
Self-absorption; I'm guilty of everything,

Nothing ever washes out and

I'm only a simulacrum --
Haughty and demanding,
A representation "thereof"
The barricade will perceive as churlishness and
Affront towards perfect woman woman,
God's bookend casting long twilight shadows
I'll retreat into in imitation, pawing at the heel
Of mother, mother I saw emblazoned
Onto the small, soft spots of your back.

My time comes and I'll burn myself to
Better melt myself, to inject myself,
Into this charade:

I'm wearing the woman suit now and
Mother never touched it. Motherless,
I stepped into this world wearing a new body and
Strode all the great rivers,

Which we assembled in a line

To demonstrate the
Water beyond borders.

Afterwards I'm rushing forward,
The engine driving the froth that collides

With you

And when I press my fake breasts against you, I want you to think
In terms of Pacific and Atlantic and decide the following:

From whence it came,
Does it really even matter?
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on October 06, 2012, 09:23:09 PM
I want the sandsea queen to sing me to sleep,
Laid down in the wadi beside

All the other things waiting for this bastard rain

That will come on high and wash away the unkempt edges --
Turn the desert to glass
Then tumble, turn the glass over and shoot it again.
Refill the tumbler with a spirit of your choice and blow it into the wind,

Let loose your new age bullshit that will resonate with,
If nothing else,
Your quaking ownership and paternity;

Let loose the line from the wall,
Skedaddle like pop fizz and crack,
Brick serpent tongue twister
Mister listener for the wide-eye, wide-eye
Injunction into hope.

Pray not the needle! Beseech the queen and lay sacrifice,
Burn meats,
Stack high these olives!
Tonight we will all be wicker people
And weave our lives together, in the fashion we already have
But now literally:

Physically, I implore you to

Thread through the needle
And disseminate this gift to the naked ministry, inglorious
Though they be they are yet your brothers and sisters,
Fathers and daughters,
And must receive the windstorm communion
If the desert's to survive.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on October 06, 2012, 09:31:57 PM
it needs a conclusion but I can't see the conclusion through the veil maybe when I am more lucid I will revisit that one
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on October 19, 2012, 07:26:32 PM
I want to bring the art of the sword to myelin,
Resurrect limbs with the providence
We're indoctrinated to

Put faith into

And quell every autoimmune illness
With something soothing,
A song you'd sing me,

But on my worst days the blood boils,
Congeals and those same spiteful snakes
That stole away divinity
Fill my veins and arteries with their whispers:

On my worst days the blood boils,
I dream of killing and dismemberment in a way
That's not forgivable, that's no more right
Than what wrong was levied,

The lien we pay,
Tall prices exacted
Whether we sinned
Or sinned against;

Oh Jeremy, on my worst days I dream
I could crush your genitals into jam


That I could cast you into a whorl
Like the one you thrust me into
From which I just can't make my way out --

Sing a song of unattachment,
Lord, make me a molecule
With a skeleton key and free reign
To put people back together
And on my worst days take them apart.

Lord, make me a molecule
With a skeleton key and free reign
To coax proteins, unfold the dying
And give second lease
To everyone from whom you shorted it:

 I'll be your avatar,
I'll put away the dreams in which you apologize to me
And do so much more than
What that temporary solace ever could;

Lord, grant me the free will you promised
And not its simulacrum,
Lord grant me the Earth I inherited and I'll

Punish the wicked,
Punish the worthy,
Punish myself,
Punish you;

Sing a song of unattachment and
Tear me from this body,
Lord make me a molecule

And leave me to my lonely work,
One caring atom vs. the world
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on November 28, 2012, 12:52:15 PM
The fire won't take down the whole house;
The black and the ashen, and later the bracken
Remain resident, spent carbon residing lonely
Until the city deigns to reinvest --

Thermodynamic remediation,
Cued to a timeline that inevitably leads
To the same heat death

Whether flaming or icy,
Abrupt or at the human pace
We set for one and another anon;

Embers on the hearth and the fiery
Dissolution of DNA we dubbed senescence,
The cooling of every passion
Brief or long-lived dead at the last,

With nothing more to show for it
Than growing distances
In a growing universe,
The gravity with which we come together
So handily outpaced by the rate we fall apart;

No deed worth doing in the world
Alzheimer's was reclassified as only an
Early-onset dementia
We all barrel towards anyway,
Nothing worth building in the world
It will only, eventually,
Idly fall to pieces

Before or after the end --

Allotted and spent carbon
We can't even muse on
Ever-after, because even the elephant in the room forgets
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on January 30, 2013, 11:42:12 PM
My experience with heroin took me to a dreamworld,
Paralyzed and in excruciating pain for the brief moments
I could wrest myself to consciousness;
There was a white ship, and familiar Grey Havens,
And a voice telling me it wasn't yet my time; turn back,
Wake up,
Go home.

Drenched in sweat I was alone with myself again,
Where I least and most wanted to be;
There's something inside of me that breathes
Despite my best or worst intentions,
Something that I spent a solid year attempting
To cut out at knifepoint
Because killing it somehow seemed to be the
Prerogative in ending pain forever.

I'm drawn in two different directions,
And vessel to as many lives besides.
This smallest thing,
Flickering and thriving amongst
The stem cells' persisting genesis
Drives me both this way and that --

This mote of life,
My smallest component,
Powering the countless engines of homeostasis
Has come to embody both every reason
To live and every reason to die.

More than I'm haunted by my chameleon past,
Turning black blue and yellow under your
Applied pressure

I'm haunted by this thing inside of me
That forces me to ride it out,
That whispers, "we'll grow a new skin,"
"We'll refill your veins,"
"We'll rebuild your body,"

And I'll cry, and I'm crying, not out of fear
That the new body will be subject to the same
Tortures, will bleed and ache just the same,

But because of the hope of a better body,
One to satisfy aforementioned other lives --

This smallest component,
This mote of life,
This thriving forward motion burns
Just as painfully with the notion things
Might get better,
That my long-delayed wants may be met,

And this terrifies me. I'm crying,
And I'll cry, because alone with myself
This piece of God-borne engineering
Keeps me awake at night
As surely as the night terrors and
Flashbacks do themselves;
These opposing directions have turned
Have become intertwined --

I'm compelled chemically to continue.
Nothing can tear this first,
And what will be the last,
Piece of my body from me --

Nothing can penetrate the marrow;
No amount of alcohol has yet to poison it,
No drug I've ever taken has passed through the heart,
No force of person or personality has ever
Won argument with the steady-state
Function, the ongoing act of coping
Through visualization:

I am the mote of life,
I am passing down my throat and
Into the stomach;
I am walking on the surface of my heart;
I am surveying all of the parts of me that have hitherto
Refused to die and
Will refuse to die tomorrow,

When the sun rises again
And I'm left alone, with myself,
One stubborn soul paired to one
Very fallible human
Who just needs to stop,
Breathe deep
And listen:

"We can get there,"
"But only once you agree to cooperate"
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on January 31, 2013, 07:51:05 AM
No rest for the wicked,
Can't sleep but dreaming big plans:
Tomorrow I'm going to call for help,
Tomorrow I'm going back to rehab,
Tomorrow I'm going to talk to someone,

But for the sleepless tomorrow never comes,
And today drags on interminably --
One day fluidly through the dark into
The same cavernous kind of living,

One kid at a computer who chose not to grow up
Listening to Taylor Swift and remembering

High school,
Something purposeful,
A time of my life when tomorrows sprouted
And branched out like willows
Riverside, back home in New Jersey where

I'm thinking back to every skipped lunch
And the dollar fifty going hungry earned me,
Shopping with Amanda for the first time,
Back to an era where I could and did make a list
Of every feminine article of clothing
I ever owned or borrowed ...

Sitting across from the superintendent and his cabinet
Holding hands with Brooke under the table
While we discussed the pragmatic steps
Before I knew they would peter out to nothing:

A key to the staff bathroom,
A transfer from P.E. to an essay-based health class
Consisting solely of me,
Built from the ground up for me

The same way I was churning tomorrows into
What was going to be the life I'd lead forevermore;

I owned everything, or thought I did,
Saw the placard for Jessica Heba at my prom table
And through it into everything I'd ever wanted

But there's no rest for the wicked,
Can't sleep, only big dreams,
Awake at 4AM making lists of people to call
When tomorrow comes,
When tomorrow comes,
When tomorrow comes

Things will be better. This is what I tell her,
While the walls melt
Just the same as my eyes into the back of my skull
From the time spent idle,
Wasted staring into a screen where
I'm trying to communicate to anyone who will listen

The elation when I first came out at Montclair,
Rushing back into my room to write on the wall
"October 13, 2:17PM"
To commit to memory the moment it was all
Supposed to change for the better

And the juxtaposition of this elation
With several years' accumulated self-loathing:
How rape enables prostitution,
Prostitution enables drugging,
And drugging drives dishonesty;

I'm not lonely, anymore, I regret to say --
Memories of high school finally faded.
I stopped trying to get in touch with my former friends.
I stopped trying to make new ones.
Today I've resigned myself to this lonesomeness,
And today has me held firmly in its clutches.

I used to dance.
I used to go out,
Change clothes in the backseat of my car
Because it wasn't permissible at home,
Meet people and ask them out on dates
No one ever agreed to.

This is all fading too, though --
The willow's gone grey,
Every feathery whisker pale yellow
And falling singly to the ground.

There's no rest for the wicked:
No sleep allotted prostitutes
And drug addicts,
Misdemeanants with pending court dates
That blot out the future
And flounder in the deep water,
Beyond the breakers and the buoys,

Hovering cold and alone over
Other than the black,
Nothing to do
But superimpose memory,

But all the happy ones have faded.
I remember them only as events,
Indifferent description pale in comparison
To the intensity with which
Flashbacks and night terrors rock me,
Roil the ocean entire

Throwing up walls of water,
Impassable, cutting off any rescue
Anyone might have attempted --
I'm a conch's discarded shell, now,
Hiding away a once-was
That for all anyone's efforts,
If they even managed a peek inside

Would find cold,
Bereft of the occupant that once dwelled within.

Going over all the right things to do,
There's no rest for the wicked:
Can't sleep, big dreams,

No follow-through,

And tomorrow never comes

Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on February 04, 2013, 05:01:36 AM
These breakaways are discontinuous,
Parenthetical because I'm denied
Brackets plotting the function of my illness --

I can hear you calling, mom,
See the ghosts rally round my bedside
While the fear and then the paralysis
Take away my ability to breathe

Naturally, naturally I'm at odds
But they're pulling the blankets off me,
Pulling me out of the bed,
My elbows are sore where they
Trudge the carpet
And I keep my eyes closed
Preferring the phosphorescence
To the adult, brazen shadows
Who've come here just to take me away;

But I open my eyes,
I'm still in bed,
No time has elapsed,
The fear slowly subsides,
I breathe easy and remember what Tim Theory said:

Don't focus on the inability to move,
Don't try to move,
Don't try to fight any of it,

More salient than any advice or pill
The psychiatrists have ever given me.
I can't walk straight on sidewalks --
The nystagmus of my eyes
Pushes through to every muscle
And the waking moment is a

Living moment, the world I'm seeing is
Different than yours,
Imbued with a character and life
You would have to artistically render
To experience yourself:

I am the benefactor,
Receptor of the God-given gift to see
The spirit inside every leaf and tree,
Motives of every insect I come across
At home in the wild or

At home in my bedroom,
The glass spiders that scurry across my blanket
Or the million ants dotting my sheetrock ceiling,
Always on a slow approach towards me
Like everything is once the wall breaks apart;
Oppressed from every side,
Seeing the dark designs of everything and

While the nature of my prowess commands me
To command them, transforms my biological
Inequity into something weaponized
I need to wield with care because I'm so sorry

About 9/11, so sorry about that time
I caught you in the rain without an umbrella, dad.
The commandments come uninterruptibly,
Demand chastisement and self-flagellating
That I hover around at the behest of
Taught reality testing

That just feels rote, plain,
Starkly dull in contrast to the richer life I could live
If I drew blood every time
The generals commanded me to,

Put into action their demands to ward off
The oncoming falling-out, fallout,
Missile strikes and coups that were placed
Between my able fingertips
In the world where only I can stop these

Ward off the end of all things,
Consumption of the Earth by the would-be-natural
Events set in motion prior to my birth
I was born to keep in check:

For long times I wondered whether I would emerge as the son of God,
What reagent test could prove it,
How apotheosis will feel when I finally achieve it;

But it's all at arm's length, now,
Myself safely sequestered into mind-poisoning
Video games that burn away my time
That would otherwise be spent revitalizing

The Long Winter Watch,
Buying another typewriter and glossy paper
To invite more people via


Only carbon is safe from their watching,
The eyes on this page same as yours
That would intervene if they knew I was
Intervening myself;

Self-styled hero,
My brain compels me in equal parts
Towards megalomania and punishment
For not having already achieved those goals.

You might find a letter slipped under your door --
An elegant header,
Gold foil embossing,
An invitation to something greater
Visible only to me because it was implanted at birth
On a day when my planets aligned,

And yours didn't.
Don't read what I write,
But don't send me away;

I'm already tranquilized,
Harmless and pacified by this goddamn stupefying laptop
That more than once I've wished
I had the wherewithal to just smash into a hundred pieces.

You have nothing to fear. America quelled me,
Long before I set into motion
My plans to quell America.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on February 04, 2013, 05:06:11 PM
Don't think, just refer to the
Heart of the matter,
First responses first;

In theory it should be so easy not to remember,
Halt ruminations,
But these words reflect tautology:
We're held by the past so long as we
Consider it,
Cut off at the head so long as we honor it;
Licking wounds long after they've healed,
Caught up in visions of a hard world
So long as we treat with that iron taste
Of blood long-spent, replaced but

Remembered because we stew and sue for
Retribution, restitution, the imposition
Of orderly ends to loose threads
We let entangle the present --

But the heart knows better on the
If and whens we tune in;
No beating heart turned black
Except in the most trite prose,
Never abandoned its charge
Of keeping rhythm as steady-as-can-be
No matter what happens,
What we apply to it,
Our self-correcting people engines --

Walking in the cold today it's a chilly forty-odd degrees,
But doing the right thing calls to heart
The heart's wishes and gift-giving ensues:

Today, I exude warmth
And am no worse in the winter weather
For lacking coat gloves or sleeves
Than anyone who has bundled up against

Cold or otherwise --

It doesn't flashback, today,
To the same scenario when I was just a boy
Walking the streets of New Jersey
With nowhere to go;

Today I am warm,
Firestarter uninterrupted
Let loose to play on the edge of the world
Where being clocked or laughed at doesn't matter anymore,

Because you are cold
While I am comfortably warm
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on February 06, 2013, 08:53:31 PM
Firestarter pt 2: Cruciform

At the end of any given day I'm left wondering
Why certain things ever came to be, or are:

It's amazing that we ever salted fields,
Invented the sword that never

Outmoded the hatchet, never bothered learning
Lessons from delta-dwelling peoples about

The accretion of salts in silts, poisonous inundation
Predating what we straight-facedly call "slash-and-burn"

While withholding the option of interventionism
Because first-world-ism doesn't judge the pastoralists,

At best force-feeds secrets of crop rotation with one hand
While the other collects royalties on trademarked seed;

Ratifying responses too late to save anyone
And codifying it every single time brazenly "non-binding,"

Only too eager to hold ourselves back:

A younger me would ask you pledge in brazen equanimity
Raise swords besides me, but my faith has bottomed out:

We'll all die together, not by force of senescence or
One another
But at the hands of just one judge,
A position for which I nominate only myself.

I want to kill the harassers,
Rebuild our atomic investment to a point where
Everyone's DNA falls apart,

Forgets itself,
All identity erased
At the point of origin,
All life ended via cancer or
Erroneous apoptosis
And at the last we can come together
Communally mad
With every cross discarded

And burden shared equally,
Dead on the ground cruciform from outstretched
Hand to toe:
I'll scrape together the trace elements
We pushed to the fringe or
Let slip through the cracks
Building my critical mass,
Lead a riot ever-lasting
Until I've killed everyone,

Removed every obstacle by means
Of preemptive contraception,
Taking away the human
Because you proved to me
We won't ever take away the suffering

And it's only fair for the sufferers
That they can join in with the able-
Minded and bodied, oppressors and despots
If only for one burning moment:

I'm sick of this, the cross hung round my neck
Already overburdened by the one at my back;
You burned me,
I'll burn you back,
And with no remorse I'll bite harder,

Watch you bleed out,
And enjoy all the while.

Stop killing my friends,
Stop killing me,
Or prepare for my apotheosis --
My will be done,
Mine kingdom come,

Every man will die
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on February 06, 2013, 11:12:54 PM

Pore over my stomach like a shark's
To find everything I've tried and failed:

I'll line my dozen medications up for you,
Walk through why each one failed before
Expressing doubt about the dopamine hypothesis;

Antipsychotic, neuroleptic,
Historically the major tranquilizers --
No one can tell me if I'll ever get better,
Stop having to cope with visions and
Soothsayer roommates that persist
Despite best efforts --

Increasingly catatonic, staring into space,
I'm forgetting what life is meant to be like.
I go over my own poetry, pick out the
Recurring themes and imagery:

Rising water, unresolved memories,
Undercurrents of wannabe violence;
I'm not just stressed, I'm angry
Having been saddled with an unfair burden
Then ridden to exhaustion;
No one deserves this,
And for once I'll muster the self-worth to say
I don't deserve it either.

But illness marches on: I'm stranded,
One floor below the real
With a heap of broken ladders.
This is how I build my life,
Matchstick woman -- broken pieces
Aggregated to approximate

Something functional
Despite every part being trash,
Every ounce of effort required
Just to put the two of us in alignment;
But what will we talk about?

My self hurts,
It's unfair,
And the whispers remind me

Things are only going to get worse
Before they get better
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on February 11, 2013, 12:01:14 PM
These paths are too well-trodden,
Games too played-out;
I made a commitment to change
I can't deliver on,
Back to sitting in the apartment
Hamstrung by the exhaustion
That comes with this kind of life:

Too scared or too tired,
Too insecure or too unsure,
Cursed to blaze new trails
Because the women that came before me
Succeeded in being invisible
While I at best flicker in,
Flicker out,

Safe for the better part of the day
But subject to the absence
Of the most common courtesies
With a calculated surety --
There's always going to be someone --
And without friend or family to fall back on

I fall back on the old habits,

But wonder how this life ever previously sustained me --
Lonesome and amazed that
I've invested more than a thousand hours
In not just one but multiple computer games
While all those intermediate years passed by;

I want something more fulfilling now,
But I'm too ashamed and beat-down to
Step up to the plate ... too
Easily dissuaded, too easily outmatched,
Lacking in whatever vitality it is
That drives the common and the cis
In both the day-to-day and ambition.

Where to go today, alone?
Safer and warmer inside,
Less difficult decisions to make
That loom over me not only
As choices

But the absence thereof --
What are they? What are my options?
What do people do?

I don't want to sit here
But I don't know where else to be.
I don't want to face the future,
But the future's staring me down;

And it nails me, squarely,
A short and neat sum:
Broken-hearted coward on the fringe
Of personhood, denied any
Dignity or admiration
By the twin demons pinning me to the wall:

Present compromised by past and future,
I'm belly-up and waiting for the
Strike of the hammer;

Where to go today?
Nowhere, nowhere,
Nowhere but another day whiled away
Buried deep within myself
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on February 11, 2013, 08:18:18 PM

When skeletons drive cars, you're always at risk of
Rubbernecking unless you adjust to it --
Accept there are devils in the passenger seat,
Listen calmly and dismissively

Two hands on the wheel

To avoid what you're already, always afraid of,
The deathblow,
The wrong stimulus at the wrong moment
That shreds your body how your mind already is.

There's so little time to react between the onset
And the transformation,
Realization that you're hearing something
When there was nothing
And trying to puzzle out whether it's there
Or not, and it never matters
Because you can't grip tight enough,
There's no way to turn it off once it's started:

A few seconds of believing
It's just your neighbor's television
Before it's changed into something
You can't qualify or believe,
The news really can't be talking about me
And how badly I fucked up my day,
And it would be bad enough if it stopped there

But tuning in, your throat tightens,
Ensorcelled by the compulsion to listen
The whole world is whitewashed
By voices turning into mingled screams and
Cacophony, an intensely loud
Collision of metal on metal
You don't even waste time trying to rationalize
Is anything other than the unreal's

Aural dictation, imposition by a faceless,
Purposeless will that's possessed you with
Deep roots,
Tapped every autonomous system,
Deprives you of a world where
Things happen only for a reason;

Correlation breaks down,
The purposelessness spreads without check
Crushing ambition and self by the by;
Effort spent is effort wasted when
Your senses are subject to the whimsy
Of a nothing,
A non-entity that nonetheless
Bellows, issues orders,
Carries out due punishment
When you fail to live up to its impossible standards --

If you could only see what these eyes have seen,
You would be miserable, too,
Hoping only for the one cure reserved our unfortunate lot;
The merging of the real and the unreal,
Unfettered psychosis,
Too far-gone to angst or pontificate
On the sadness of your station
And why, God oh why,
Your illness ever had to come to be
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on February 26, 2013, 03:08:01 PM
Some dreams lie close enough to the heart
To shield it, ensorcelling all the viscera
With an invisible, unbroachable gossamer;

One device, one thin sheen
To keep us alive when all
The world comes bearing down,
At every juncture where we're left

"Why is it anyone else's dream to put my own to ashes?"

I don't know where hateful people come from.
I don't pretend to have an inkling, or the start of an
Answer for why some things happen to some people --

Or for that matter, what makes some of ourselves
So hateful from time to time that we become our
Own roadblocks, and make light of
What's kept us on our feet the whole time.

I think I've forgotten, too many times,
Where I slipped and it was someone else that caught me
Whether they outspokenly opposed my dream
Or supported it. It and I
Survived thanks to intervention,
Knowingly or not, begrudgingly or not,
And too many times I've
Missed the forest for the trees
(Too, too many times)
And forgotten to give credit where credit is due.

Thank you, mom, dad, and otherwise;
And thanks to all the inscrutable,
Blow-turning forces I won't ever be able to comprehend.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on June 26, 2013, 04:54:18 PM

I’m cupping new growth in the mirror, envisioning the
Inframammary fold before it’s there; just
Budding fat now, no ligaments, I lack
Connective tissue but
Things are coming together —

In front of the mirror I’m holding onto feelings I couldn’t
Cognit before they came, because I couldn’t know
How this would feel;
Hand-wringing beforehand, because I knew she would ask,
I’m wondering just what it means
To change the structure of your brain.
I’m carried away to that time I fell and hit my head in the shower,
The euphoria that comes with traumatic brain injury

Maybe this won’t be so bad,
If I’ll even be able to remember; can the person
Measure the distance before her,
Between herself and him,
Or do I get lost in translation,

The motion forward I presaged living my long
Prelude to these moments

Surreal and lonely,

I’m becoming what I’ve never known
But only imagined and even if I put the needle back in,
I couldn’t draw the injection back out.
That person is shriveled, as shrunken and dead as the
Leydig cells and their round,
Hanging prison,

My chemical cord wrapped tight around the balls
I decided needed to come off
Without ever thinking just what that would feel like

30 minutes before an appointment,
Anxious and depressed,
Somehow infused with the inkling that
Today is the day she’s going to ask,
“Do you think you’re ready?”

I’ve structured my response into three parts when she does:
But I honestly don’t know, and
Because I’m scared of finally being happy.
It’s only occurred to me then,
At the instant of decision,
A change in velocity after so long
Holding myself back

That I’ve actually wondered what it’s going to be like to be
Something different than what I am.
I don’t know if I’ve just overlooked it,
I don’t know if I just never thought it would come;
I don’t know if I was just afraid of it,
And the unavoidable answer that,


Maybe I’ll remember,
Maybe I’ll stay the same,
Maybe I’ll be so different I can’t tell,
And maybe I’ll get it wrong after the fact, anyway,

And who could tell me otherwise?

In a hospital room, stripped of my clothes and identity
I’m burying my face in my arms and feeling
More intensely uncomfortable to be seen
Than I ever have before in my life. It’s become so much more visceral,

So much more fundamental to who I am
That I am


Permitted to be what I am,
That this is more unbearable than anything I’ve ever known.
There’s been this bottom-level change,
I’m wearing these clothes today not because

Back then, this is how I wanted to look but

Today, this is just who I am. Something’s changed,
A commitment that’s solidified,
Become codified when estrogen imprinted itself
Onto the dura mater, and
A minority of white matter atrophied
For gray;

Will the expansion of Wernicke’s area make me a better writer?
Having compromised the parietal lobes,
How am I going to make these measurements,
Traverse the folded, creased road
Between then and now?

It’s racing through my mind in the brief space
Between a formal assessment that grants me a letter
Dr. Pittaway won’t see me without
And seeing him,
That collection of hearsay online we’ve compiled into websites
Titled ‘The Transgender Roadmap’ and likewise,
Conflicting literature about whether

Cross-gender hormone therapy can result in changes to
Sexual preference,

Whether I was entitled to call myself a lesbian before
Or if I was just

Temporally straight

And what am I going to be tomorrow?
Conflicting literature about whether

The pelvic bones turn out,
Or whether their fusion at puberty was the last change possible
And this feeling I have of an

Out-turned bone
When I brush my hand over my hip, ...
Lying in bed breathing easy, slow,
Relaxed for the first time I can remember, ...
Has always been there or not;

And I know.

I was right, and I was wrong, to be afraid;
Because today I am sundered,

But from what,

I can’t ever know again.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on June 27, 2013, 07:42:04 PM

I have nagging doubts about the status of transversals:

Claiming to be something I've only intersected,
So reluctant to be the arc and unwilling
To be called tangent,

Reduced in a world of division
And given
The option to fall back on what I've been

Moving away from

Or take up the mantle of that

This series of homonyms that begin trans-
And pin down people in motion
Describing them by that motion
Naming them according to this motion

Deferent to destination

But ready to recall the origin in self-defense
And reference
The birthplace, birth names, past biology
Inferred through histology
Tracing sampled observations, cells
Reversed to the mast and infancy,

I'm just so sick of my past being inclusive to my present
When arriving where I am is so deliberate, and the journey so arduous,
But it's so arduous for you to take me at face value
When I'm


Asking you to abdicate or accept me and ignore the transit,
Humor me

And forget what you might infer,
Just listen to what I'm telling you
As if it wasn't so hard to grant me the ownership of myself I'm pleading for,
Myself deferent at the last and unwilling to assert,
Take up steel for the idea
I'm something you're already up in arms I'm not
When I could just

Walk away,
Homely seeking home
Insistent it's there somewhere,
A place for me
Where the transversal terminates
And we can double-back together to the place
I said I was headed,
Dwell in agreement
At the double-destination I was destined to

Congenitally, by no fault of my own
Though you'll hold it against me
Like it wasn't presaged or integrated,
Ignore the area beneath the curve because,
Oh, that's too difficult
When just keeping me at arm's length instead

Serves so well to define the small, comfortable world
You don't want to believe can be
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on June 28, 2013, 12:08:17 PM

Run out like the world runs away from me,
Slips between fingers when I'm not slipping between
Cracks on a blanket, the craters formed
When we unfold the bloody linen after-the-fact
So there's something to sleep under,
Better than sleeping bare and naked beneath
What put you there, underarm property counting hours
You tied a three hundred dollar coefficient to
Just to be bearable
Because you can infer a kind of self-worth from being
A prized possession not everyone
Can afford, it's so nice to be able to turn away
Someone after you were turned away
Like your eyes find the wall, press against it
Like you found something that can prop you up
Against an inequity you'd rage against
If you didn't believe in it yourself
And count the seconds,
Count the minutes, count your hours
Counting on being paid after the fact,
Just wrap yourself up in the poetic device
You wrap around the ring on the nightstand
Before you write it into two poems
No one will read but yourself
When you're trying to create the illusion
Some distance really has come between you
And those days, that person,
These feelings, that linen, those shapes
You saw from afar and thought were so shapely
When you weren't wrapped up in them,
Saw the mountain without looking up out of the
Valley, canyon, the reverse precipice
Pinning you down every moment of life
Waking or undead, because the inglorious
Don't sleep, they stagger between
The bus and metro stops that earmark the
Last place they're going to want to remember
Because you've come to attach so much beauty
To the mundane things you just absolutely aren't,
Those little things you can't ever be
Because you were born running,
Hit the ground and run away from me like the water
Hits the drain and vomits up the blood and broken hair
That rinses off every time I hit the water, just so
To wash off that smell I'm just so sure
Can just get such a good feel for me from a
It doesn't matter you never get close to anyone
When they're pressing down on you so hard from afar
Like those mountains fall out of the sky
Raining hard on a pilgrim
Who crossed one line
Too far, too far from home and the Sandy Hook
You'll glass over in the final blasphemy
When you take all of these things
You internalized
And turn the glance outward, for once,
To show the world two black eyes
And whatever color your heart's turned
Before the outpouring hate
Turns every river in the world into one red cataract,
Breaks on the beachhead,
And you laugh to feel so relaxed
While all the world crumbles
Underneath a burden you carried so lightly,
So gaily, for so long
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on July 21, 2013, 10:54:13 AM
I wrote a poem about my love


In the fold of your wings I remember something
Previously distant beyond recollection,
Absolutely lost without hope of recall --

An emotion gone, blasted into formlessness
Or repulsive mockery
By the long shelling of my embattled life;

I never thought someone could rise out of
The world I shied away from
In such brazen deference,
Such total disrespect,
Teaching me to be happy against my will
And the heavy curtains of protestation --

That anyone would take their time out for me,
That anyone would fight for me,
All the much more when I was past the point
Of fighting for myself anymore.

And now I'm happy here,
Not just with you but in my own company too;
Your glowing warmth, the firespout love
Reflects pink and red on the skin
That was so long cold and pallid, callous,
Indifferent and emotionless --
Every part of my body shines with the beauty
Put forth for you, reminding me of you,
Silhouetted always by what you saw in me first
And your smile that pulled
The mirror image out of me.

Still, I'm treading water in a flooding room
Whether or not you lift and buoy me;
There's refractory depression,
There's always that fatalism within arm's reach
And the low-hanging fruits of self-sabotage
I've gotten so, so accustomed to;
You struggled to believe I would choose to be unhappy
Just because it was comfortable,
But living above the world
In the dragon's claws
I just have these conflicting ideas about what security even means.

I think that it boils down to investment.
Deriving security from your pledge to be it takes something from me too,
Requires going out on a limb
That's never failed to snap beneath me before;
The security of my dark and empty room is so much more effortless,
Just omnipresent and suffusing me so easily
With the chilly ennui that doesn't even provide to
Care at all
That it is what it sadly is.

I don't know where I'll end up.
Right now, I love being happy and in love,
And I'll keep my fingers woven with yours
As long as I can, soaring over the throat of the world
Eyes-closed but smiling, terrified you'll let me go but
Fighting again,
Fighting today to remain convinced you won't

And we'll just fly on, until I take flight beside you,
And all the water of the ocean entire beneath
Will bubble and roar
Bereft of menace,
The threat of drowning removed both forever
And for the first time in my life.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on August 25, 2013, 10:39:17 PM
It's amazing how everyone looks past me,
Electrifying standing in line to get into the bookstore
Wracked with anxiety same as it ever was,
Same as it ever was,
But there's no second glances today --
There's no judgment, no inference or
Burning condemnation
Behind all those eyes that just track


And move on past me as if I really am
Just as invisible,
Just as unremarkable as every man and woman
Standing in this line

Probably not wracked with the same anxiety I am,
Not trained by hard knocks,
Unaware of the jargon definitions of "clock" and "stealth,"
People who haven't felt the need to weaponize mirrors
As tools of self-defense
Critical to quality of life in a way so distinct from
The way they preen themselves

But they're probably not electrified
This same way either,
They're probably not elated or ecstatic
To mingle
Without being obliged to mingle,
Fitting in by fitting in without having to ever


I am anything,

Being myself an assertion,
An assertion that goes unchecked and unquestioned,
A sensation I honestly never expected to feel;

I've railed against God and the Devil
For what nature did to me,
Begged recompense because my stack seemed short,
Hand of cards lacking --

But now I'm finding payoff.
And it's often payoff the genetic genders
Will never feel
And couldn't comprehend,

And it's alright. I'm happy to be transgender,
Understanding now my love of self
Was actually broadened in scope at birth,

So that I might not just this day love being a woman,
But love being something more special as well.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on August 29, 2013, 12:22:35 PM
*The Dreams I Have*

It was the best time to be alive,
Watching every alarmist broadcaster I hated
Become lovely, turning their digital designers
Over to the masturbatory fury
Of illustrating the narrow-shot

Where the eye of the hurricane
Passes right over the top of the Empire State Building,
Where the Army Corps of Engineers
Failed again, levees break,
And all the quietly-detested parts of Manhattan
Disappear briefly under the waves,

Rise anew primed for reconstructive gentrification;

Deepwater Horizon inspired my hydrocarbocane,
That Danik turned into an eighth-level spell
In my trite fantasy prose so Haep-Kiru

Would have his, you know, opportunity
To flex that one talent I gave him
In the foreshadowed conclusion to a years-long
Dream-printed arc,
Saving the world in conjunction with Koranos

Who wielded a sword, in a dream,
Borrowed from another dream
Featuring me instead of him,
Where a psychic worm buried deep inside my head

Radiated outwards

All my thoughts and superpowers,
Ruining that super-great one I had where
I appeared on a dance contest reality show
With a _beautiful_ girl
Who I loved to hold hands with

And whose mother _loved_ me

That got so much worse when my hidden parasite
Tuned the world airwaves into
What was hidden under my swirling skirt
And the newspapers worldwide
Into truth-telling tabloids

I couldn't deny

When the whole world's inhabitants had a red-phone
Directly into my shame.

Conquering the worm gave me unused fodder,
Material I could transplant from one dream
Into another
So that my heroic alter-ego had the device necessary
To enact his deus ex machina
Against the deus plaguing his world
I'd only borrowed from Richard Garriot, anyway.

The long-running fetish dreams faded into obsessions of motherhood
As progesterone weaseled its way deeper into my brain,
Recurring, awful, titillating visions of
And a uterus full of insect eggs,
Hatching into gentle-fingered, woman-faced spider brood
Suckling on swollen tits
Going unused in the real world
Prior to weaving "thank you mommy" through sunlit branches

In a scene I only feign detesting so that it's appropriate to mention
In conversations inappropriate anyway,
Cementing my reputation as the detested attention-seeker
No one pauses to reflect on the motives of
Or why she'd really have those dreams she really has.

I gave into dream pressure,
Began incubating an egg underneath me while I sat or slept
I only took from the fridge

But that I convinced my friends was fertilized

So that my pathetic ruminations on motherhood
At least seemed heartfelt, and maybe hopeful,
Instead of mere ventures

Into a corrupt daydream,

All of the sensible feelings cordoned off
By what separates me from you,
The sleeping ministrations of my heart and mind
As diminished and reduced
By the waking shame
Baked into my core by my daily gulf,

That I'm retreating into,
And progressively reluctant to leave.

I can throw away this egg in another twenty days,
Tell my friends that this one was a bust but
That three-and-a-half-weeks will see me a mother,

Convincing myself audibly as I turn off the bedside lamp

That it actually is, possible, though,
Because I've seen tabloid stories that women making omelettes
Cracked fetuses into their pans.

And so I sleep and dream frozen,
Perched on these errant hopes I pulled from the bottom-shelf;

Never crush the egg,
Never stop believing

That the dreams the world left me with may someday
And my deplorable existence
Somehow find life between my loins.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on August 29, 2013, 01:49:09 PM
posting the above to my Family Facebook was the best thing ever, except people will probably think that this is all metaphor and I am not actually incubating a store-bought egg with my ass on the impossibly improbable hope it will hatch into a chick rendering me a mother

incubating that egg with my ass every minute of every goddamn day
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on August 31, 2013, 01:07:30 PM

Every day is burdensome,
I’m getting more and more eager to sleep
(Perchance to dream)
That the excitement mounts
Earlier-and-earlier in the day,

4PM, getting psyched
For my bedtime routine
Of playing out my favorite fantasies
Before gripped by slumber;

I inserted an intersex woman into the universe of
Final Fantasy 6,
Play out her rejection and the
Slow-coming kindness she receives
With eager, eager, eagerness —
I’m living out the life of someone
Harassed for something more concrete than what I did,
Being born an other-kind
Without the philosophical trappings of
“Well, no one owes you acceptance,”
“Because becoming a woman was the choice you made.”

My eponymous alter-ego is handicapped,
Had both her hands pulped by
An overzealous empire
And struggles with the tasks of daily living;
The doctor overseeing the hospital where she stays
Helps slip her shoes on,
The nurse who wipes her down to approximate a bath
Is privy to her secret shame —

There’s something so attractive about being
Definitively fucked-up,
Getting to trace without doubt the reason people despise you
Back to a birth you didn’t control
That I wish the strangers of my waking life
Could submit to.

I just want to be vindicated,
I want to be told I was given the rough life
But really,

What does anyone gain from shitting on me because of it?

I always struggle to understand why people
Choose to be cruel,
And what place it has versus the antipode
When you’re being cruel on the basis
Your subject made a choice they never did,

But you made yours, didn’t you?
There’s this growling hate inside of me,
My one claim to beg of unconditional justice
Is that everyone who chose hate
Be punished commensurately,

That everyone who chooses to hate me
Suffer sleepless nights
The same as I do,

But myself at least resting confident,
Heartfelt believer that at least I made the right choice,
Making well on a birthright,
While their own lives are just the handiwork
Of having chosen wrong.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on September 03, 2013, 07:50:30 PM
this is about my sister's miscarriage and very personal to our family situation, and no one here will understand it, but I am posting because I like keeping all of my poems in one easily-remembered place

something about somebody about something

It felt like an impossible situation,
Every inch of exposed emotion sure to be interpreted
Wrongly, as misplaced or inauthentic,
Because I didn’t,
And am sure she couldn’t imagine why.

It was the first time in a long time talking to my mother,
And we both cried,
But it didn’t feel dangerous in the same way.
I never thought, either,
My mother would understand the full breadth

Of how it was affecting me,
The emotions underlying the sympathy and

I’m always coming back to something I read once,
That people only ever cry because they can
Relate something back to themselves

And that ‘tears of joy,’ pity, or sympathy
Are really never as simple as such.

But I can’t wear that author’s aphorism on my sleeve,
I can’t tell that story every time I tear up
Or even expect the person whose tragedy I’m co-opting
To give a shit
About venturing guesses
Why the party leaving the voicemail would be so utterly,
Obviously choked up.

And I never expected a callback, anyway,
And I didn’t and don’t expect a day will ever come
It could come mentioned by-the-way
In a conversation casual or on another topic,
Some organic conversation between
Equals and
Beleaguered women-at-arms
Worn low and thin
By the same arbitrary, and unkind world

Eager all the same
To find unity in difference,
The bridge that was never there
Exposed when
All of the combined tragedies are sloughed off,
Investigated casually,
And revealed for what they were.

It always feels like an impossible situation,
And feels more and more like it’s grown into an
Unbroachable gap,
Because the distance between us poisons the notion
To the point of mortality

And now I can never say, we lost something,
Even if you lost something immeasurably worse,
Without just coming across like a bullshitter at best,

And more probably something worse,
At likelihood.

But I lost a part of you,

That feels like a large enough part
That now the gap can’t ever be bridged,

All besides the possible parts of myself
Vanished likewise into the ether,
The parts of family,
The parts of a more whole family,

The this-November and
Expectations we shared,
That we all lost,
Alongside you losing more than ever seems
Can be filled

To the caprice
Of a natural world you understand better than most,
And yet tragically,
Only served to underline the notion no man or woman can be master.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on September 09, 2013, 11:23:47 AM
I fell in love with the word 'synchroneity' when I learned,
Despite spell-check's insistence,
It wasn't just something I made up.

I'd later link it to Jung's concept of
Synchronicity --
A tender pejorative like all his other neologisms,
The gentle ministrations of a son
Trying to make amends with the world
For his father's misgivings,
Wrapped up in repairing a hurtful worldview
Only through which he could ever
Show the world his own:

Typical, I always thought, father-son relationship.

The only photographs of Jung that stay with me
Are those old ones,
Ones from his 'youth,'
Bowlered man in a black suit,
Backseat of a black limousine,
Jovial and chortling in the company of men
Engaged in lenscrafting,

Intent on shaping less-imperfect ways to see
This one Earth we've all been tethered to.

Synchroneity for me was always intrusiveness,
The painful addition of past events
And seemingly inexorable futures
Upon a present that labored under the weight.

Synchronicity was always the attached rationales,
My baseless insistence

All those past events,
All those inexorable futures,

Were predicated on causal events
I could never see or investigate
That nonetheless put fingertips to the clay,
Handed clay off to the kiln,
And lay immutable beyond the reach of my own
Scrabbling, diminishingly pliant grasp.
Over time, things only became more fixed,
A gear chain settling out of

Mixed cogs in a black velvet bag,
Watchmaker absent,

All my yet-unlived experiences
By this haphazard arrangement, arising from chance,
As tooth found tooth
And everything grew inextricably,
Chatteringly connected. My own teeth clenched painfully

Under the care of Freud's cocaine,
Digesting Alan Moore's colorful treatise
On how a smart man
Making only perfect choices
Can outwit and outmaneuver God.
I'm ecstatic first experiencing the only graphic novel
Hugo would ever commemorate,

Remiss reexperiencing it in synchroneity
When a shitty film adaptation is released,
And Moore's inspirational missive to me
Has been transformed into a vindication of

Moral absolutism

That panders to the rest of my generation,
Young men with choppy sideburns
Lining my dormitory hall
All-too-proud to fail the reinvisioned Rorschach Test.

I'm caught in a Gordian Knot of simultaneous vices
And vice grips,
Every ray of light splayed across my retinas
By past and future,
Every man and woman I meet
Overlain with the silhouettes of those I've met before,
Helpless to do anything other than


The brutality and the callousness,
Rejection and
Those destitute hours and days,
Stronger hands holding me down at the

Wrists I pine over
In pre-sleep rituals
Reciting things I love about myself,
Those slender wrists I thanked God for

Holding me down,
Stronger hands than mine
Pushing me across the face of the clock,
Watchmaker absent,

Explaining in junior-year homeroom
What an 'horologist' is
Because I needed a more pretentious way
To explain the already-pretentious idea
I want to be a watchmaker,

That idea pregnant with all those same
Rationalized causalities
Swirling behind my eyes sitting in
Junior-year obstetrics class,
The elective nobody else understands why I took

When for me,
I never chose to take it,
I was only acting out my pretension

To pretend to

The profession no one will ever lay claim to,
And about which Jung will sing me to sleep,
Symbols on the nightstand,
Whispering a five-syllable safety word in my ear
More impregnable than what Jeremy invented
And subsequently ignored --

You're wrong to see through their actions
Towards mechanisms that compelled them,
Jung whispers:

But it's so utterly human to do so,
So let these clockwise arms cradle you:

The southern continent was a myth,
Counterclockwise motion is a fairytale,
And notwithstanding that you are
An omnipresent watchmaker,
Sleep soundly,
Because nobody ever is.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Jack on September 14, 2013, 05:15:59 PM
Can I just say all of your poems are just complicated patterns of 26 letters and that's p.cool
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on September 15, 2013, 02:01:51 AM
you're a sand nigger
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on September 26, 2013, 12:50:35 PM
I learned young most people will either
Love you or hate you
If you can tell them what they're thinking.

I have this image stuck in my mind
When I'm around you, that hovers round you --
It's this place I need to pass through,
The last transition before my fingers
Are going to mesh with yours,
The scene I'm looking through
To you
Wondering if you see it looking back at me.

It's atmosphere that rushes out the window
When the car hits the water,
It's stale air and a smell
You can't ever place
But readily distinguish --

Accumulated breath that blows out the windshield,
Sum underfoot miles -- baggage --
Tumbling out the odometer and trunk
At the same time. A life's experiences,
Exhalations, rolled up into one last gasp
Just before the lungs fill with water.
And the car sinks.

Underwater, I won't need
The things that were --
Underwater, the things that were
To be
Won't happen.

I'm looking through a plunge

To an entire world that off-roads

While a car stands still.

Looking into your eyes, the light scatters off
Cracked safety glass and half-open
Window cataracts, sunset reds playing off the
Rear-view mirror under cresting foam.
When I reach out, I reach in --
And when you take my hand,
I take you under.

Through the frothy looking-glass,
I'm every right kind of beautiful
And the car never crashed.
Singing on-key we hit all the high notes,
And drive back to my place
As the setting sun rises.

It's a hazy,
Cold water impact standing between
Where I am and you,
That sinks to the core of the matter,
Ever further fathoms further,
One phantom opportunity
Fading into the pitch black
Pinpoints of your irises
While a car pulls up,
And the driver rolls down the window to ask:
"Where did you two want to go tonight?"
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on September 30, 2013, 10:48:01 AM
Online I blush between asterisks,
Just project this idea I think
What you just said
May have made me feel

At the zoo, I shriek when a wasp buzzes me
And the fathers
With their daughters
And the mothers
With their sons
Smile or chuckle.

I think I'm blushing for the first time,
Suddenly at a loss for words and
Staring at my feet.
I didn't know about this kind of embarrassment --
The warm and validating rush of


When my self escapes my mouth,
In good company,

And the world looks on:
All the cultured patrons of the zoo
Just happy to see

A tried-and-true trope
On exhibit.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on October 03, 2013, 09:23:56 PM
The tanks in Baltimore are blue and backlit,
Glass whose thickness I got at
Finger-length impression
Pressing myself against it,
Eyeballing refraction.

At the time there's a spiral of inference
I look clean to the bottom of
That tells me the glass pane is holding back
An indoor sea,
Millions of gallons of water
Probing the glass with
A constant, unquenchable complaint
Far-exceeding what my four fingers registered.

In 2003, it's just fingertips and a pane of glass,
Keen memory of how the light played off the
Back walls but
Faded out so quickly
In the murky bottom of the tank.
I'm not thinking of this weird,

Uncomfortable regret

That a decade later,
There aren't any fish in the aquarium.

I've gotten old enough that the admixture of
Into memory has gotten so painfully palpable --
I can never convince myself
The fish I'm seeing in those tanks are
The fish that were,
Just the fish I'm borrowing,

Composite fish

Cobbled together as a lifetime of experiences
Into the silhouettes that flesh out
Dreams and memories,
Filling in the gaps behind and
Coloring in the yet-unseen vistas like

This compensation might be universal, I guess.
I'm watching the sun set over the Inner Harbor
And this new timescale I've discovered,
Going-on twenty-six,
Where I'm seeing farther ahead
But parts and pasts behind me've
Faded irretrievably into the dark.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on October 18, 2013, 05:38:08 PM
I was twenty-five when I first wondered if the world was just so quiet
Or if it always was, or if it had to be.


I'm so fucking frustrated that this is what accreted,
All that we have to show for the business of living;
The bones of a world where every child
Independently strikes and internalizes

'cold and empty space.'

Silence is intrinsic to where I grew up,
There's no medium
And I know I'm hurtling through one

But it's cold and empty space.

The purpose of my vibrations and
The fluttering,
The fibrillation
Starts and ends with me --
Transit is just self-evident
Because I hurt more or less;
It wasn't because sound carried,
Just because days differed
In small and unimportant ways,

And I didn't get you had to be closer than arm's length
To be hurt by anyone,
And I never hit on the constancy of earshot.

We made a cultural meme of the phrase
No one could hear you scream,
And I never thought differently. It went unchallenged
Because I saw it,
I saw human trajectories end in screams,
People become rubble,

Supernova landmarks impressing dark light
On lives separated by years or decades from the point of impact,
The firecracker gunshot
So fucking
tinny and frail,
collapsing echoes on a cast-iron stairwell

But it wasn't sound. There were no voices.
It's all just visual,
This thunderclap panorama
That rings between my ears

Without passing through them

Of a pitch-black backdrop,
Lifeless faces on straw bodies that
Leave noiseless, glittering trails --
Frenetic debris,
Space junk without
The importance connoted
By a population of satellites we'd mourn if broken --

Impacts without larger consequence.
An unsung space opera.
You died,
And I kept a photograph
But I never heard why.


What I remember of Amanda Appleyard is all qualitative.
She always wore white eyeliner,
Spaghetti straps that violated the dress code.
She was sent home from 7th-grade science, once, for that --
I know it was the only class I ever had with her.

Amanda Appleyard was the first girl
We would say had breasts. She was the first girl
I had a prerogative to like,
Because she had prematurely injected sex
Into our lives
And there was no other locus,
There was no other ground on which to stand
To make the case
You weren't a faggot.

It was before the circle-jerk at Jason's,
It was before flaccid penises
Crashed on the rocks of static,
Snowswept porno -- those distorted,
Robotic moans ... crying in the bathroom ...
My father driving me home.

It was sex before we knew what sex was.
Bravado in a playpen, utter naivety that made plausible
And tantalizing
The endless stream of rumors
About who she fucked, who she was fucking,
Who would fuck her.

I remember Amanda Appleyard's voice --
The lilting way she spoke, the upturned punctuation,
Softened periods that left the most benign sentences
Open-ended teases and flirts ...
But I don't remember a single word she ever said,
Can't hear her speak one.
I never said a word to Amanda Appleyard,

But I would have sworn on my life she was so much fucking happier than me.

I understood it was all relative,
But there was no proof or reason to believe
Any frame of reference existed other than mine.
Her happiness was just a rung of the ladder to dangle from,
But it was what I knew. A comfortable world
With hard edges, an extreme and inked buffer
To bounce and break against
While I struggled to keep up the pretense

My life was one colored within the lines

Without ever stopping to realize
There had to be someone else spouting
What they were, and whether I was.

It was the wrong realization I had struck on,
The insistence of
Cold and empty spaces
Without the inference

I had been fed that line!
I'd been told that it was so quiet. And I'd swallowed it whole.

It was the constancy of earshot --
A distance without units --
Hemming in the night, ...
The toroid twist-tied
With no need to grasp for dark matter
Or the yet-undiscovered-truth;

Just the words shared in a world of people
Who could never stop listening,

But never once spoke.


I'm so fucking frustrated that I have to tell you this.
Nearer the origin, everyone I knew's trajectory
Was so similar -- a generation typified by the early onset of
Angst and ennui,
Where being the first in your class to meekly say

I write poetry

And vocalize a cold and empty space
Earned you awe and recognition,
An invitation to the Teen Arts festival,
And an award from the governor.

Confluence and community were just these commonplace things
For so long, when we all ran down the same checklist,
Same scavenger hunt for the same rites of passage.

I'm so tired, and I just want to rest,
And I'm so sad and I'm so lonely that we've all drifted so far apart
Because in adulthood, we were robbed of any common cause.
I hate this waking dead bullshit,
The constant, painful drone of my heart railing against
Circumstance as I am slammed again and again against the
Edge of the table, and I reverberate soundlessly --
A fork without a voice.

"Life is a crucible," though.
The kindly reproach fell on the world instead of people
When I thrash, scream into cold and empty space

I'm going to burn entirely to ashes

But I wouldn't, I shouldn't. "Because that's just how life is,"
This self-perpetuating schema civilization set in motion
Because no one had ever opened their mouth
To say to any one other person,

This is how I feel.
This is what I'm afraid of.
This is what I don't have,
This's what I think you do,
These are the words underpinning the


Of the relation, it's all relative, this is


frame of reference,
And please, God, please just open your mouth too
And tell me all about yours.

If Amanda didn't like being fucked
I wouldn't fuck myself for not being her,
And I'm sure I'd just take one step down the ladder instead of throwing it away
But the woman struggling to hold onto the next rung
Could've said hello, too.
I could have said hello, too.
There was no ladder at the start of all things,
And I fucking hate that I have to tell you there doesn't need to be a ladder
At the end of it.

The greatest secret we never shared was the inverse
Of the shrill truth our closed and veiled faces jabbered:
Suffering was only the way of the world we built,
And the handiwork was implicit,
And the hands are still alive!,
In the same room!,
Ultimately and completely trapped within
The constancy of earshot
With no mechanism in the human body
That would pause the hungry, hungry listening
That propels us on our

Fibrillating orbits.

I can print twenty-five years of memory onto spooled paper,
A miserable electocardiogram running the full gauntlet
Of disease --

You could print yours,
And we could sit and annotate them,
Match every cardiac event to disappointment
That this is the world humanity wrought.

Anxiety out of inadequacy,
Fear out of expectations,

Bradycardia out of lonesomeness.

I'm so tired. I just want to rest.
I have an unshakable belief in Heaven that gets made fun of,
Because I have an unshakable belief that we all just deserve
Rest from labors, and an end to weariness,

Competition, comparing, and contrasting.

I want to put the old bones to rest,
I want to die in a world where we've averaged out
The inadequacy, banished into the annals of legend
Hypertension and heartache
So that I don't need to make my last thoughts be of a belief
In a magical Heaven I'm supposed to believe can be real

When all the enterprise

Of all of life

That the universe has ever known

Has produced not what every single person wanted,

But only this:

Cold and empty space,
Distance without units,
And forks without a voice.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on November 15, 2013, 11:43:47 AM
My heart consolidates in spite of you,
Sleeps easy dreams
You call me Emily
Without ever having had the looming discussion
Why that's so important.


The days float by black
On a high-contrast, solar backdrop
Ripped from the pages of the novella
I'm too depressed to be working on.
I am the debris

Shuttling out of hyperspace,

So eminently mobile
Against the backdrop

Of everyone else's simple,
Easy-come, easy-go lives.
The motion sickness isn't outwardly evident,
The halting lurch
Echoed every waking day
I am still transgender,

And you are not.
I am the ablative,
My pulpy fictional detective
I built a sci-fi story around to illustrate painstakingly
The element of being
So out of element.

It's the day-in day-out business
Of being alien,
A stranger in a strange land --

The son of Moses altogether glanced over
In the popular scripture,
The heavy and juicy name
Whose meaning was taken somewhere so much more purposeful
When Heinlein lifted it
And the popular adherents

Flocked to the bull,
Can't ever remember the title was only lifted,

And that God spilled blood
Over the intransigence of the idolatry
We all practice
So well,

And it was only on a plea God pitied
His one pious prophet's
Call to halt it, take no more lives,
Build no more pillars of salt,

And let us take a hand in building something else instead.
For all the transit,
Life always comes together so neatly full-circle --

The fate of Lot's wife echoed in a pithy song that got me through
A Wicked Little Town
And through into space;

Just the woman on shaky legs beside the ferry,
Pregnant only with a purpose handed-down,
To live a life of ablation --
Gershom, a stranger in a strange land,
Tidally-locked into a corner of circumscript emotion
And a foreign Earth ...

Living life to erase what came before,
And to hem with laser precision what is
Into the lines others made
And celebrated so gaily,
The gold and bronze idols
Of man
And womanhood.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on November 18, 2013, 07:51:15 AM
I knew for a long time I wanted to write something
Full-bodied, as bombarding as living life,
But the experience is so intangible --
I'm here but I'm yesterday;
What is, is, because of what came before,
And what we see or choose not to
That we think may be just around the corner.


I only died in a dream once.
All of this rising water I'm treading
Was rendered literal
On the sleeper's canvas,
A cold tide that rushed in at ankle height,
Slowly creeping to calf and knee.

The sudden and final rush towards death meant
Falling out of the world,
The ground giving way beneath
As I wound down a slide
Carved from a glacier,
Just constantly growing

Darker and more far removed from

The world fading away as memory crashed in on itself
And approached the zero bound,
So completely terrified but quickly forgetting
What it was I was afraid of,
All clarion thought falling apart
In the face of

Just that abject terror,
The last thought possible to hold onto just being,
"I'm dieing now."

I'm dieing now.

I engineered what I thought would defy the odds and be
A successful overdose
Some months later. The terror was dream-lent,
Faded away like dreams do,
And it wasn't something I was afraid of at that time,
In that moment,

Though for the lengthy convalescence --
The uncomfortable, nagging sensation of dialysis
At the wrist, acetylcysteine served twice daily
In soda --
The dream became clear again,

And the even more uncomfortable sensation
Of sliding that seemingly endless slide
Into the cold,
And the dark,
And its unknowable yet inevitable terminus.

Life seems given so freely,
That the elusiveness of death for me
Has been something of a trip.
I made legit and calculated attempts at suicide three times,

And three times the smallest part of myself survived;
The mote of life just being so fucking inextinguishable,
Indefatigable, untiring of the
Day labor adventure of living
For no reason other than to live.

But the business of living is dream-like too,
Experience as apt to fade as imagined ones,
And walking out of the hospital was just another instance
Of terror fading
Upon waking.

Life, it seemed, would go on --
But the water was rising,
Never faded like my attention paid to it did,
And I never walked --
Only sloughed.


In any kind of aftermath,
Life is more resonant --
Full-bodied, seems precious even if given freely,
And even I'm given to feeling
I would drive myself to the brink
Of turning it back in,
Unsure I would even get to voice my defiant,
Stupid request for a refund
That the suicides really embodied.

The way I talked you down, reminding you
Bumblebees were a thing,
Grass can be walked barefoot,
Rain felt on the face,
Suddenly seemed poignant instead of desperate.
I was walking the loving waking world,
And it seemed for once like an ends
Not calling out for a means;

It was enough to just take in the sunshine,
Pontificate on why it seems so much

Paler in the wintertime,
Why I love and loathe rhyme
The way some people treat puns,
Which I just find wonderful.
The abject wonder of just being,
Being reminded it's just enough
Just to be, that the world
On some promises

Unfailingly --
The sun doesn't fail to rise,
Clouds always break,
Inclement weather is only ever an
And not a state of being,
There is no waking nightmare --

Nightmares themselves are just
Another noun,
They're removed from dreams because
One of the two needs to be the norm,
We can't explain the concept
Without stumbling over the words,
"It was just a bad dream."

It's experientially different
But that's the beauty of everything!
It's all so different,
And I can tell you what it is to me,
You can tell me what it is to you,
And the emerging conversation is
Just, I mean,
It's basically its own consciousness.
There's just this greater veneer over everything

Where meaning is rising from the ashes of happenstance,
The ground falling in is just a painful metaphor
To dream while
Dreaming one is dieing
Because it doesn't,
The ground doesn't fall out.
It's just a painful metaphor because

All my life, the ground never gave out,
And I know it would be terrible if I did.
In 2007 I'm talking to Jamie Meliado,
Just fucking exuberant,
Sharing this grand theory of everything and all of it
That's spun off solely of anecdotes:

A man once lost the engagement ring hours before proposing,
But found it when he doubled back.
Another man got it from a kindhearted stranger
After they put it through the loudspeaker at the convention,
And at another less business-like convention,
A woman dressed as an anime character
(Having just received an award for the quality of said costuming)
Proposed with a ring of her own,

And it all happened.
I don't know that it did,
But I know that it did,
And that makes this a world worth living in.
It's a loving, waking world,
Meaning out of randomness
We never need to elucidate with theoretical physics.

It's okay just how it is.

Walking out of the hospital,
It was an okay world to remember.
Life seemed it would go on.


Like I said, though,
Experiences fade. Water rises. Tides ebb,
But they also flow,
And a tide that reaches the brink
Of turning life in,

Reaches that brink more than once,
Seems ever-doomed to break upon it again.

I can't quantify how happy or upset I was when I met you --
The memories are shredded,
Like a remembered dream,
And it only cuts in the first time you're calling me girlfriend.
I know about things we did before,
Time spent in one another's company,

What transpired therein,

But it's weightless. It's ethereal,
Just paint on the canvas,
And I can't recall how I felt other than pangs of love
I probably only recall
Because they're echoed in how you've made me feel since then,
On a regular basis,
After memory cuts in

And the tape plays smoothly.

I've been at the point of holding the handful of
Warfarin in my hand,
A medication meted out carefully because it is, was, is,
Literally rat poison.
An insidious killer, I thought!
It would be a gruesome and miserable death,
But I can forestall anyone finding out
What's happened
Until I was past the point of no return.

That's where I was, one night. Holding the pills,
Putting the pills down,
Getting dressed at 10PM because I think,
"I won't make it if I don't go to the hospital NOW,"
But you talked me down.

I slept on it.
I was miserable upon waking,
It's always bad dreams, for me
But you talked me down.
You talked me up.

I can't help but smile when I'm with you,
I can't help feeling I just want the moment to stretch out
As interminably as that slide in the glacier,
But with a different terminus;

I want a happy inevitability to life,
And you became that for me.
You come online,
We talk,
We make plans,

And plans come true! It's
Waking upon dreaming,
To dream with someone,
To share dreams,
And have them thus far come true.
And the greatest dream around the corner,

And all indication it'll come true too. It has to.

I just have this sticky and irrational belief that
Things tend to balance out.
I saw death, in a dream, (but only once),
And it was a kind of cold and dark inevitability.

You're what I've found that balances it out,
Opposites clashing into neutrality --
You're all the light it takes to drown out
Unending and perpetual dark,

You're all the warmth it takes to escape a crevasse
By force of hope and heart,
The inexhaustible palpitations
Pounding away at the ice while existence proclaims so utterly,
Fucking brazenly beautiful,
"I am a warm-blooded creature."

You've proven equal in measure of inevitability --
One of life's unfailing promises,
You're here when you say you will be,
You never renege on trust,
You rise and you set and you ebb and you
And it's all so perfect, and it's all so beautiful,

You're my embodiment of the loving waking world

And I am just so fucking happy

I found you.

Because everything else was,

I was walking out of the hospital into another dream,
A full-bodied snatch of life that only seemed
Because of what had transpired yesterday,
Of what I feared or adored
I thought I saw
Just around the corner.

But you did me one better.

You're here, you're there, and you were there, too.
And you're still here, on and on,
And I still love you,
Still feel your love,
And will move the Great Plains --
In lieu of a mountain,
There is none between here and Idaho --
To be with you.

I love you. You are waking upon dreaming
Without forgetting or fading;
Something so eminently, categorically lovely
That it's not possible for it to ever change.
And I won't change, either, for you.

Here and there,
Now and then,
Onward and forward (and backward, and nowward):
I love you.

You saved my life.

And I don't want it to ever end.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on December 12, 2013, 04:27:43 PM
We burnt cattails tied to stakes in the sand,
Lingered long enough the tide changed hands,
That the sun set and
We draped the towels we'd lain on
Over our shoulders to keep up the borrowed,
Fading warmth of sun-baked sand
Where the sun had laid in turn.

Alone in the water after dark I melt into the tide
When for a moment there's a voice other than mine
Pitched against the pressing roar of the sea --
There's a heartfelt unity in urgency and
Two feeble cries
Up against a regular, constant sound
They'll never be heard over,
Crying all the same.

Knee-deep in saltwater, it's the quiet reverses of the
Loud waves
Lapping at my ankles, it's the

Cold touch


Ghost fingers,
Pulling while the foam pushes,

And it's the most easily-ignored plea in the world,
But alone in the water after dark I'm
Bowled over and overcome,
Washed away with pity for the undertow,

For latchkey children calling at neighbors' doors,
Begging anybody's mother will touch them.

Growing up was the loneliest transit,

Unlit rooms and

Listening to her television through my wall,
Pretending to sleep,

Empty and distant goodbyes and goodnights,

Harmed by
But impossible to see

I would be twenty-one years old when she first put her arms around me,
And that the neighbors' mothers
Only had eyes for the children of their own.

Piled into the backseat for the ride home,
Our thighs touch but I'm far away,
Silent while the oncoming headlights
Bob and bounce behind my eyes;

A hundred million yellow jellyfish are
Putting on a show of empathy,
But I've been just as robbed at birth --
Hopelessly wordless,
Helpless and fragile,
A far-off ghost of the deep water

Where the riptide ends

Looking through her fingers,
Still surprised it could all slip through
Just because of mother.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on December 16, 2013, 04:24:18 PM

Sara was a Long Island native, big-chested and
Sexually voracious; I loved how she would
Throw me to the floor in public places,
Grind on me in the dormitory common room and
Drag us in front of the television to make out,
Eliciting the nerdiest complaints
From the boys who couldn't see their Smash Brothers.

Everything petered out because
Sara said
She had been waiting for me to put it in her,

Which was strange to me,

Because I thought everything else was the build-up
To her
Putting it in me;

Sex is weird, I've always thought,
Pinned to the floor by Sara or
Watching Elizabeth's chest rise and fall
After an opiate overdose,
'911' dialed on my phone and with my thumb
Hovering over the 'Send' key should she stop breathing again,
Stop telling me she wishes I would let her die
And stop saying anything at all.

Angela and I painted the walls red
In a fight after oral,
Tailor's shears glinting in the moonlight,
Cool breeze through the open windows,
Blood red blood flying as we fought
To stop one another from committing suicide,
After she caught me downstairs cutting
And regressed herself.

Jeremy is memories locked to January frost,
A story where the moral is that
Coercion to give road head is just
Because once he lets up,

You don't know where you are,

And once you get away,

You don't know the way home.
I was saved after him,
The miracle bore out,
But I don't think I ever found my way home.

I prostituted myself to spite
Sami's family after they kicked me out,
Empowered by the powerlessness sex takes on
After a rape,
And fell in love with three crisp, clean
Hundred-dollar bills I was handed after playing out my
Stupid, childish game.
Everything is repeats,

This blood red blood is tape spooled around my heart
Playing out over-and-over,
From girl to girl and the occasional guy
I'm flummoxed by the terminus,
The point sex needs to happen to save a relationship
Or keep it moving forward. There's just that focal point,
I swirl around the whorl
Spellbound by anxiety and the aftermath,
My take on the afterglow,
Where the erection I got is just a reason to self-harm
Even if it felt good,
Because I'm just that spiteful and
Just that emotional
And just that attached to a larger,
More glistening idea.

I'm driven forward by the pangs of a phantom vagina,
The false hopes this girl will want to peg me
When the others didn't,
That physical attraction will somehow smoothly transition
Into the penetration of me
Instead of crash headlong
Into the wall put up because I'm not going to be

I hated boyfriends because boys were stupid,
Fumbled every girlfriend because sex was a wall unbroachable,
Spent a night every month in the bathtub
At knifepoint,
Playing out the tape and
Blood red blood
Spilt for sex's sake
Because it felt like something missing,
Something worth having I didn't,
That life was more worthless having not.
It was integral to an identity
Was integral,
It was key to womanhood
In the sense sustaining my claim to what I was,
What I needed to be,
And the romantic
Put-along, the transversal, the destination and
Were important, oh-so-important,

Steeped in blood red blood

I'd only vindicate when I got there,
And would only bleed out meaninglessly
Until. There was no way to dress it up,

I am not part and privy to the American quest of
Satisfying virginity's exit clause,
I am not part and privy
To withholding virginity,
I cannot game around marriage, I cannot
Say I am virginal I am innocent I am pure

Someone took that from me,
And then I burnt the ashes through
Infernal, hate-driven combustion
Until there was nothing left of sex but the exercise,
The physical motion of

Present-day performance,
Mother this is a magical creature,
I am a futanari,
I can bill myself as a hermaphrodite,
I get billed as a dickgirl,
I'm called a shemale behind my back,
But I sit in front of this webcam

With a hairbrush, with a bottle,
With anything long and firm and

Present-day performance is free --
I have not regressed, I am not part and privy to
Prostitution, again, because
I'm not going to take money from my friends.
They offer, but it's immaterial,
It's not what I'm trying to get out of this,
It's not integral to
It's not integral to
It's not the blood red blood,
Not why the tape plays out,
Everything wrapped around my finger
Swollen and engorged, the grip is

"Of a vice,"

Hello mother I am a whore,
I squeal when they talk dirty to their slut,
My blood boils to get strange men off and
Watch them masturbate to me,
So utterly uninterested in those penises

We only ever call cocks,
Sparingly dicks,
Within the verbal trappings of these seductions and

Hello mother I learned to bind my own wrists,
Masturbate myself with my feet,
Suspend myself from the ceiling,
Hello mother I am turned-out,
Turn myself out as the trick
Without owning one,
Just being,
The sordid state of being a magical
Being a carnal
Being a magical creature,

Men love to look at this, mother,
And I can't get over my love to be seen

And the faux-appreciation

Of erupting penises,
Validation found wrapped up in streaming cum
I beg for to bring them closer to release,

Looking up out of this canyon

It's a performer's learned trick I can keep my face off-camera to

Hide my disinterest, the boredom faced alongside exhaustion

When they don't want to orgasm quickly,
When it stretches out,
When it's so painful
And I just want them to finish,

It's flashbacks to Brian,
It's flashbacks to lying in bed so afraid I'm going to wake him if I move,
I don't have a right to lie under the blankets because
I'd have to be his,
Have to risk rousing him into another bid for a midnight handjob,
I have to

Go through life cold,
So distant from the webcam
At a distance of two or three feet,

Face hidden and voice disguised,
Cooing and moaning before using words because
It's hard to talk dirty after a while,
It's repeats,

Sex is blood red blood we play over and over with one another and
It gets them off so much faster if I just
Squeak and moan, so I do it,

But my mind is elsewhere --
I'm repeats, this is dedicated to the girlfriends instead of the boys,
This is Sara, Angela, Sam and Sami, Elizabeth beating me
Beating me over the head with anything hard and blunt and
This is the bathtub incantation minus the knife
Because indulging that is too risky while on blood thinners
And so in the end, I guess,
I can blame this terminus on the unrelated events of my life.

I had a blood clot. I got put on thinners. I can't cut,
I need to prostitute,
I hate strangers,
I rely on friends,
And so I webcam

And dream of ex-girlfriends

While dreading the moment the present-day boyfriend signs on,
Awash in the horniness of his morning wood,
And asks:
"Emily, do you want to play?"

And being who I am,
I'm not given an option of responses --
The tape plays out,
I am my own blood red blood,
And sex aches eternal
Quivering and quavering across the
Finger-thin, red woolen cord
Tied between us in the verge
The knife would go.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on December 17, 2013, 06:15:51 PM

Sound is so much heavier underwater
And I'm borne down by it into the dark
Because at the center of everything

There's nothing,
Nothing but the night. I was told I float

But I can't ever stop swimming,

I know I'm weightless

But it's only inertia that moves me,

I'm too big and I'm too old to be afraid
And I shouldn't be; I brave the dark routinely
Trying to suit an overgrown appetite,

I pass the dripping columned border
Light fails and
Night opens -- unfolds without ever folding,
Abyss opposite the day without ever ending --

But I can't stop being terrified
In spite of what I know,
In spite of what you tell me.
The dark's just the dark but
It bothers me, it never stops bothering me.
It's just that every living thing throngs me
In a babel: I've seen more fish
Than stars,
Eaten more many-legged jetting things
Than I can count,
But the only constant I've ever seen firsthand is the
Constancy of pointlessness.

At the center of everything there's nothing
And sound is so much heavier underwater
And I bellow so loud
Without anyone ever listening,
Sing songs into the current

Hearing unauthored songs on the current

Without ever putting faces to words,
Names to faces,
Names to places,

Because nothing ever comes
And there's no place to name.

There's no arrival in the deep,
Just come-and-go,
Just pass-me-by,
Just counts of remora,
Just shapes of schools,
Just the tattoos left by barnacles
That'll outlive the life behind the girth
When the girth fails,
Swimming stops,
And the dead flesh sinks --

I won't float, at the end of all things --

I'll sink, into the dark. Into the night,
Which is a place as well as a time
And where I spend most of the day
And it's the place day just isn't.

I've seen the sun, sometimes, and I can remember it:
How it dithers in the wind,
Winks behind gray,
Hides from every storm.
I remember the names we give groups,
The unimportant not-names,
For all the not-faces:

The salmon, the tuna,
The sharks,
The porpoises,
And I dimly remember excitement when I learned
The world was full of things,
That my mother could teach me their names,
And thinking someday I'd meet
The children outside or inside the schools,
But I haven't. But I won't. But we don't.

I live at the center of everything,
Where there is nothing
That isn't blue, or isn't black, or isn't silver,

Or hasn't given up

And puts up no pretense of color

Or opacity

At all.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on December 21, 2013, 01:38:31 PM
It's just the barest fingertips that crash, only the
Crest that rises, only the froth that seethes;
The waves around the navel, the nape of the neck,
The milky web when my hands are
Full of your seed and I spread them,
The loving cling of potential bundled by protein,
Gravity-burdened strands
Pregnant and reeking
With everything this motile, craning love embodies.

It's so hard to write a love poem
Because I don't want to have what you don't,
I don't want to look down the bridge of my nose --
I want to believe I'm celebrating something universal,
I'm sharing without being selfish,
Selfless in the exploration and community
I'm leveraging from something personal,
Wholehearted and openhearted without coming across
Like I'm blowing this out of proportion,
Or saying whatever you've got just isn't as good.

Hearts run the spectrum and
There are other fish in the sea,
I can't equivocate these intertwined arteries
With any other
But there's other joinings,

Legs raised to the ceiling

Where the heart is penetrated,
Not where it's heartfelt,
And these rhythm strips start to run in proper rhythm
As the leads line up, electrodes and pins and needles
On the pleasure pressure points
That run south along the history highway --

Hopes always dwelt southwards,
The queen dreams of an untapped Southern Continent,
And these happy trails
Lead to that aching wonderland Cook never found,
The Endeavour touching down somewhere
Closer to home for all of us:

The thighs that brush and cross,
The provinces set off by heavy lines in maps
Drawn where the yearning to be touched
 is strongest.

Life started around here, circles around here,
Endeavors to return here and
Start another life here,
And wired and socketed and
Male-to-female plugged like this,
The electric touch and
Ecstasy that
Spins around us
Between sweeps of the hair out of the face,
Exultations and
The moaning, the pan-
Panting, the gasping and
Electric screaming

When these waves
 crash on the shore
Is the happiest feeling,

I'm loving love and loving motion
In motion together with you,

Quiet in the afterglow on the sand after the tide breaks --
This is what was missing,
What I hope that we all find,
And such a great

And such a small

But such an illustrative

Part of all the everything that flows, that ebbs, and flows
When we connect.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on December 30, 2013, 03:49:40 PM
The Black Eye, the Silver King, and the Red Deep

Out of respect for tradition and trope as much as anything,
My sister sat me down by a fireside
Before opining to me her vision of the origin of the world
On tip-toes, fingers curled into
Claws reaching out from a
Hunched and folded back,
Face shadowed by a flickering flame,
Foregoing all punctuation
For the crackling,
Hard stops
Admitted by the fire as I watched

As much as listened

As she spun, as she crowed, and as she sung.


At the periphery of every beginning
There's a god,
And to each god there's a whimsy --
A whimsy for earthen tones,
A whimsy for things that fly,
A whimsy for the unpredictable,
A whimsy by which a god is known --
And each god has a family
Like to ours,
Mothers and sisters and brothers and
All godly and godlike and
Altogether invested in a heavenly business of creating,
And of shepherding creation,
And scratching behind the ears
In peace and plenty,
And doing good
The business

Of being

Now and forever,
Here and everywhere,
Then and always.

Immortal realms, though, approach limits;
Every possibility becomes
Just something that happened,
Every eventuality
Is either commonplace, or unimportant,
Or just the pivotal events
Around which
The history of a kingdom that never ends
Must be told,
And leaves fingerprints like
Glass in the desert --
Illuminated riverbeds that run
From the surface of the world
To the center
Because the creator is evident in the creation,
And I have seen the creation --
And thereby, I say I know the creator.

What I've known of the world is
Eminent caprice,
A defining whorl of
Anything-and-everything all-the-time
That beats on in an irregular rhythm so tilted
It's pounding out three-sevenths' time,
A number only the odd savant like myself can utter

And only at the end of a sentence,
Never near the start. The world's obviously orphaned,
And a god that

Orphans all creation,
Abandons at the doorstep all mute or living things

Would have to be defined by it,
Would have to possess the whimsy of capriciousness,
Would have to be the fickle, unknowingly callous
God I perceive. The first and the last careless
God, the one who purloined all
Righteous authority
And broke loose from what was a
Right system,
Setting in motion the grand schema of
Living, breathing life and
Shape changing,
Shifting stone
Without a hand pressed firmly over anything's contours,
Setting in motion for one Earth's inhabitants
An unjust universe
That needn't be,
But was,
Because there need be eventually
A god who presses hot iron to the stone
Just to see sparks fly.

She's like to me, I've always thought,
When I think about her like that, and
I see her linger where the silver dust
Falls from the mirror
And the looking glass fails,
Falls through too alongside me
As my eyes track the hard edges of my self --

I've seen her linger in an open silver deep,
Past where the glass holds back the
Probing, pounding ocean's tide against
The sky; the upward crashing,
The groaning waves beneath the wind that
Crash up, crash up,
And I hear her plead:

Heed the sea, heed the sea!,
For the sea is whence we came;
Heed the sea, heed the sea!,
For the sea is where we go.

I've seen a silver body that
Glitters in the black,
I've seen a black eye that
Glimmers in the deep --
One golden,
One darken,
Two wise eyes that came from where
Nothing else could
And linger on, linger on,
And I have seen the creation --

And so I say I know the creator.
There was a time when she and I weren't so
Wrapped up in the grand uninvolvement,
A place where the order of the day was
Order, a home where we slept together in a
Trundle bed, and where she was

The silver king,
Sleek and shapely,
Beautiful beyond and above the boundaries of the word and
World, the kind of wonderful thing you can only be when you're
Divine, you're your own mother, the mother of
Everything, and everything is just definitively your

Your kingdom and domain. She lived and lost
Before we ever stood on the shore at Sandy Hook,
But the echoes ride in,
The bolt leaves its impression,
Like mother's nails leave tracks
On backs
On the blankets,
In the dark,
Before bedtime

When all the kingdom burned,
The mountains crashed soundlessly and
In the night,
And she was none the wiser, ever-unbelieving
Her wild-eyed daughter
When she unlocked the door,
Walked back in,
And asked how she slept.


I was lost enough before the fireside,
I expected a ghost story but
Different ghosts,
Never skeletons
Rattling our remembered closet.
I could hardly follow my sister as she moved seamlessly
Between an imagined god-being
From a world of gods
That I think she's implying still is

To patches of herself or us,
And our mother, or who else's mother,
And why mother?
There's a trailing, railing string of words
On the tip of my tongue
But she steals the air out of my lungs

I remember how it is,

I can't see past the fixation,

I can't forget the click of the lock on the other side of the door
Opened only long after dawn.
Sleeping is so stolen and
Stolen from you
When you can't walk away from it
And you take what you can by force,
Then lose the difference between strained and
Clasped fingers
When the motionless pounding of your jailor's door
Rocks you too powerfully to rest.

I never thought before, though,
That her mountains crashed as violently
And soundlessly
As mine,
And even now the detail's lost --
Pointless minutiae --
When the gap is so wide,
And there's nothing I could say to span or
Prop up what's already lost --

Something ventured and

Nothing gained

Every time the

Mountain quaked

Pebbles rolling down to shore
Thenceforth to be
Pebbles no more,

Just all the accumulating grit:
Sand and wasps and
Chips of shells,

Blood-tinged, already, when first noticed underfoot:
At Sandy Hook.

I remember Elsie lost her sandals in the
Riptide, underfoot, as we waded;
And though I swear to this day
It was nothing,

She swore on that day

There was a porpoise

Just past the buoys,
Just past her sandal,
When we ventured out to pick them up.

I never wanted to go to the beach like Elsie, I never
Pressed my nose against the windows
Driving down the Parkway.
I never saw a porpoise past the breakers,
Never ever imagined underwater,
Nor would put the crown to the flesh and
Deem any fish
The king of fish
As Elsie found

Her silver king,
The shining shape beyond the lifeguard's purview
That I see she's come to imagine as
Greater than life,
Greater than death,

Its own mother,

Liberated from everything
Tethering us to our
Sordid, sullen lots;
The dumb and wide-mouthed center of the universe
Gaping maw godfish
My sister fixated on,
Building up her empire of
Treasonous childplay
Around the silver swallow
Only she could see

And drifting ever further
With every stone skipped
From that vantage point.

But this all cuts across my eyes in a single
Flash and spasm,
A flange of memory and
The pang of a half-remembered fin:

Sympathy without empathy,
Understanding without appreciation,
Sharing without equivocation and
All the hollow tendrils of family that tie us together,
Flat and knotted without any blood present.


At the height of the kingdom,
Ilberi's towers tapped the same
Star-splattered seine that the
Tallest waves do,
The only kind of mastery that mattered --

I can build a castle,
I can build a a facsimile of a castle,
I can build castles over and over in the sand
 with parapets of coral,
Taller and more shapely than every other castle,

Worth the devotion of every mother
Except mine, being mine,
And drawing them hither doting --
Mothers swirling sons and wunderkind,
Nurturing fantasies her own brood's
Just yet to lead
Behind Ilberi, and Ilberi's steaming trail of

Tumbling sand that rolls and falls from
Waterfalls carved solemn and tall
Into facades of castles on shores gone by,
Ilberi's youth blazing forth into darken times

Where the towers shadowing towers by design
End at once in the wastes,
When the burgeoning stops -- a pause --
For the porpoise king's
And well-meaning attempt
To bring home a bottlenosed prince

Sets a-mess the full lot and loll of
His and hers, the once-tied tied-no-more
As every tie of the kingdom blows away,
The gossiping mothers rising again on
Frothy currents of a scandalous
Happy for once the kid's not theirs,
Just offcolor,
Such that no porpoise mom will shed
No porpoise tear
Should she beach,
Should she die,
Should she end up moored forevermore
The wrong side of a sandbar,

Past a buoy,
Past a breaker,

Just the dumb
Black-eyed, silver king flesh carcass
Dividing line

Whose kingdoms burn on all sides,
A heat for which her body has
No retort;

A wanted state of negligence,
The sea aflame and all earthbound things
In similar clamor, yet unknowing
Their calamity need not be rolling
So steadily as
That boulder aches and
Rolls to-and-fro,
The capricious god was always
Underwater, marine and drowned
Such that until that awkward day,
When all our fighting faded far
Because look once
Look what I saw
Behold, said I,
It's more than my sandal

Look here

At this

That I've found, as I paddle

Out past the breakers,
Out near the buoy,
Out to the end of the ocean's
Breadth, where the sea kingdom ends and the
Sea god's death would lie on the doorstep
Plain to see --
The black-eyed porpoise, my Ilberi,
The callous god
Who orphaned our world
Such that
We're all her orphans,
Gaping and left wanting
Behind locked doors,
Just past the buoy,
Where the eye looks,
And the heart follows,
But the tide can never reverse
And go.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on January 09, 2014, 01:50:22 PM
The edge of anticipation is velvety and cloying,
Worth touching and rubbing against --
The ongoing evening between buying a plane ticket and
Departing, take-off and then taking off,
All the bundled joy that overtakes anxieties as
Every preparation is undertaken and then
Bundled with the packing,
Until the packing is done
And all that remains is
Reunion -- arrival and a warm embrace,
The interlocking of fingers and lips and
Every body part that yearns to be touched after
The longest wait and forever-time that
Stretched out beforehand,
Living life waiting for the something-better that was always
Integral, always taken into account without any understanding
What was worth waiting for,
Until it dawned, and then it came,
And then the sun peaked on a perfect midday
And the world lounged at noon,
Forever, forever-more.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on January 09, 2014, 03:04:29 PM
“This is a girl trapped in a boy’s body,”
You are introducing me over-and-over in a nightmare:

The angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection,
The woman in the mirror is farcical,
The dream is a stupid obsession realized in
The outward perception

I am just a pervert and faggot
And what I change cannot change the reality baked into me —

I’m crying in CCD but I can’t tell mother why,
Even if I wanted to I don’t understand it myself —
I am twisted, I am self-loathing, I am burning up inside and
Cancerous, malefic, a knot umbilicized to a future
I wish I could abort but I can’t,
I can't,

I know I can’t -- I can’t tear or cut it out of myself although
I’ll try, and I’ll try, and I’ll dance on knifepoint
While I carry my knot and the pregnant panging
Pregnancy of holding within me someone who would,
But never could, quaking on the tip,

Everything fevered and exhausting,
I’m standing fulfilled
On the steps of Queen of Peace Our Lord & Mother
But I’ll never stop being so out of breath and hungry,
No matter what it is
Or how it is
The pious learn to feed the poor.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on January 09, 2014, 03:13:20 PM
The Onion King

Puking in the snow, the stench of my wort
As everything unfolds at the tip
Stings my eyes and nose and everything's just so
Civic planning is so much more orderly than
What I'm running away from,
And I don't understand how I'm ever going to get away
When every street's on a straight line from the origin.

I'm peeling apart under your firm hands,
I'm crying after-the-fact but

I reverberate soundlessly when you beat me,
And my shirt sticks to the small of my back with blood after you leave.

It sticks; I feel a thousand pinpoints of tension,
My body is so sensitive to your violence: it’s stretching,
My blood is reaching out to you:
“Please stop,” it’s crying,
“But don’t let me go.”
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on January 21, 2014, 07:32:36 PM
The casual end of everything is just cold and hungry,
The place thought shortens and wraps around
Into mantra

Cursing poverty, cursing circumstance, cursing
So that there's nothing left in the world
But to simmer.

I'm stranded on the uttermost floes,
Live life in a commercialized nation
Where everything is designed from the ground up
To inspire want

And I can't deny, I want things,

But there's nothing to get for me.
America drawn on its short side is just
One aisle of
Thirty brands of soda

And the illusion of selection is just
Iterative aching,
All of this market explosion just
A creative way to burden the poor
With that many more things they won't have.

The state of knowing for weeks on-end
"I will have nothing more than what I already own"
Becomes casual,
The state of casualness with which others
Buy the combo meal,
Stop at a vending machine,
Grab something for the road is just
Aching, more aching.

I am writing about not-having in an empty apartment
Aside from with which I write
Because it was worth it to come here,
It's worth living with nothing,
But it doesn't dull the cold and the hunger that comes
From living
Day-to-day stranded on the uttermost floes
Looking up at the mainland,
Chalk cliffs glittering in the sun,
And the land of plenty that's never out of earshot
But never either in arm's reach.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on January 22, 2014, 10:11:03 AM
My favorite game as a child was just
Sticking the hose in the gutter
And building dams, and setting boats a-sail.

Water always seemed so convalescent,
And so easy to come by. Everything gets wet,
And wet things just dry,
And it's okay to spill water when it isn't okay
To spill coffee
And something about that made me smile.

I needed water more and more,
And getting older getting smarter
It seemed necessary to attach something more
To water,
And so the snails and jellies took on personalities

And the heart of all the ocean was something
I swore was,
Or had to be,
But that evidence for only existed in dreams.

In church, we say that faith is
Believing in things which are true,
But that we cannot prove.

I had faith in my friend,
Nighttime companion giant who dwarfed all living things that
Ever were, or are,
And existed in solitude in any part of the
Unfathomable deep
Only belief could espy,
And only dream could reach.

I had faith in my godfish,
In my soothing mammoth whale among whales
Who let my flickering self
Compass myself around and against it
To have an angle of attack against the day,
Who let my doubting self
Press up against its bulk
To buffer the travails of the day.

The compensating mechanism bore on as the world
Bore down,
And my sea teemed with life
Increasingly fantastic
Speeding towards a convalescent ideal,
Plesiosaurs that could talk,
Sapient islands that could knowingly comfort or

The novelty fades, though --
It gets ritualised, it becomes escape instead of
Heroism, it gets beat down by the gnawing
Rationalization of growing, it gets old and
It gets to be something I just talk about with pride,
Because it seems so fascinating
To have had a fascination

And it's so fascinating for my therapists

When my secret place of retreat isn't the sea
Or a waterfall,
Isn't a lush garden or a quiet room,

But a sandbar island
In the unknowable reaches
Where scallions grow,
And standing tall at the center of it
I cast no shadow on the water.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on January 22, 2014, 10:23:18 AM
When you hold me I'm warmer than when we started,
And when we sit by the river the river is more dangerous
Than before we came. It was such a powerful place to be
Because there was that unspoken air
We shouldn't have been there,
And something so eminently purposeful about going there
Because there was that glimmer of hope
The murky waters hid whatever it was
That drew me out of my room,
Out of home and off of the stoop and as far as
The river, where North Arlington leveled off
At its sea level bottom
Where we would brush up amiably
Against the Passaic,
And join it walking hand-in-hand towards the bay.

I was always hoping to find more in the river than what I lost in it --
Good luck exceeding the value of the coin tossed,
Repose worth more than the hurt when I threw in secrets.

I remember stepping over a dead pig in a carton,
And the chilling absence of warmth
When you held me after I shrieked, consoling:
"It's okay, it's just dead,"
Like that was the answer to anything.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on January 22, 2014, 10:29:03 AM
We weaved worms through each our hair in the grass,
Took pictures of picture poses in and against
Your tree.

The world was so much brighter and bearable
In your presence,
Standing in the galleries of your crystal cave
Aglow with the sunlight of yesterday and tomorrow
As much as today.
I never learned how to be that happy.
It was easier just learning how to be with you.

You propped a chair against the door
To give me three minutes in a safe place,
And I never forgot it.
I just go through life missing you,
And missing that cave,
And wondering always why no one else I'll ever meet
Knows where or what it is
But you.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on January 22, 2014, 11:21:10 AM
In the student center quad, loving Katie means
Intimidating her with cold reading,
Assertively stating what she is thinking,
And by chance happening to be right.

She disagrees when I veer too far towards
My own inclinations
And suggest she wants a violent end to the world,

But pretending to be watching the stars
Lets me avoid eye contact
While appearing thoughtful.

Habitually looking away empties every memory of faces,
Someday the names follow,
And then it's only smells -- bleach and sweat in your bathroom,
Sweating in school,
Sweating in bed --

Sweating bleeds male. Damp socks and palms,
Hair adhering to my forehead in soppy curls,
The matted hair of forearms...

Amanda tells me I think other transwomen are ugly because they have no style,
But I'm secretly confident it's because we are men,
And we can't stop brushing shoulders because of our broadness --
Our essential drama --
But I'm only part of the problem to point it out, and we ache so divisively
And derisively
But we're quiet because these pains all run parallel.

I'll draw this line in the sand -- stand there, and then envy you --
And only oppositionally do we make a pair.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on January 22, 2014, 11:36:58 AM
The line the future follows is so fat and palpable,
So ingrained in everything I touch and do;
Joining the church was a maelstrom,
A richer future sweeping in on the eaves
Of a possibility storm,
'What might be' distinct from
'What will.'

Death in Seattle was less frightening than
A life so diminished by drugs and slovenliness
That possibility bottomed out --
A broke and destitute moment where
There wasn't the chance for anything to happen,
An indefinite life on the streets
That would have to end eventually
Or end sooner out of suicide
When confronted with a future of nothing.
It still scares me more than death,

The idea of being destitute not in things but in
Poverty of chance. Without chance life doesn't
Nothing unexpected can ever make things
And nothing planned can ever come to

Because the underpinnings of what-can-be
Just aren't there. Joining the church felt so good
Not because of what happened,
But because of what could. I can become
Important, I can become spiritually rich,
I can make friends and I can be a good Mormon
Or a bad Mormon
But either way,
It's something I'll be. It's not the absence-of,
It's not the lack thereof
Of anything
But the fat and throbbing
Vein of what-may-be,

All future washed out
In the vigor and vitality
Of the red essence contained therein.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on January 22, 2014, 12:00:30 PM
How the Tide Really Works

The ocean floor is alive,
Papered over with starfish
And trains of lobsters
That travel warmward when cold
And coldbound when warm.

The sediment is called 'ooze'
Because it's half-alive
(As it once was,)
(Even if it isn't anymore,)
And at the right magnification
Every centimeter of sea
Is being soothed by a flagellum.

Detritus floats on currents
Instead of tides,
Contributes something heavy and sheltering
To a weightless world
Whether originating from the ocean or
The scattered above,
Broken-down cars and dumpsters dumped
That haphazardly become
The homes and landmarks by which
Swimming things travel or reside.

Almost everything we know migrates;
Fish school, jellyfish throng,
Squids agglomerate,
The seabed crawls at its flagella pace,
The starfish chew up and
Spit out
Reefs, and the reefs grow sideways
When they're cut off at the top,
And the garbage swirls in eddies
Or sinks to the bottom
To partner with the whale bones and
Discarded scrap that makes up the
Seafloor landscape,

And then there is a moon,

But there's also everything else,
And maybe we called the moon a
Good answer
To the question
Because the other half of the equation is
Presently unknowable,

But when even the walls of the ocean
Are a sludge that crawls
You have to wonder.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on January 22, 2014, 12:12:08 PM
I'm regretting not taking my head out of his lap on the drive
So I could have gotten bearings,
Regretting think pleasing him would have been enough to win the war.
I am conciliatory at the last --
I am on the run from him,
Because he is the vindicated and righteous one
As he hunts down errant property.

There's nowhere to go but I'm still preoccupied with the
Repetitive act of just creating space between us.
My fear oscillates in time with time --
Every minute I have to pause and fear,
Maybe I know he didn't wake up fifty ago,
But was it forty-nine?

Walking in a straight line
The farthest sun possible is still the only warmth in the world
And the cold is bearable enough
With my scarf wrapped around my nose and ears
To prevent frostbite
Because I still want to get out of this whole,
As if that's possible;

This January I'm just wearing my pajamas,
And I'm bleeding from places you can't see
As you pass me on the street.
I have my cell phone pressed to my ear because
You taught me this trick:
"Threaten me, I dare you,"
"I'm so ready to call 911."

And to this day I don't know why I didn't,
But I defensively understand.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on January 22, 2014, 12:32:33 PM
I saw God matted into my hair, tangled in the
Afterglow getting off the floor with Angela --
In a mirror in the dark, I loved my face,
My hair, my body, for the first time.

And I forgot about it. I smile into mirrors, now,
But I don't always remember why.
This happiness has become so reflexive,
So essential,
I am bursting at the seams daily
Immortal and immovable
Living the consummated life
Of someone who was dying to move people,
And then somehow did.

I see God in your pink cheeks,
In Amanda's blue hair and blue dreams,
The sweet contrary giants of
Challenge and

I found God in matchstick living,
Borrowed bones and dreams that let me
Share the pain and the burden
Along architectural design
Before I ever had happiness to share,
And we are all here because of it:

Macabre living on the shoulders of
The giants we slew,
Swords at long last turned into plowshares
As I see God everywhere
And know I've reached the promised land.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on January 22, 2014, 08:57:33 PM
After the war I'll come home
To the sound of my name being called.

With clammy hands I'll pick up the pieces
Alone and in quiet understanding,
At peace with the setting and the
Last lonely feelings

That spring from separation,
Eager to rest in my homecoming
Coming home
From a hostile and far-off world.

It's easy because I know it's fleeting

To suffer these feelings

And it's not long 'till meeting

Friends and sundry again,
Secure in my know-how
Of the distance between us
And just what grew between:

The weeds and the bracken
In the small unlined spaces,

The absent names and faces,

The gulf of difference
Formed when the tide rose with needles
And I succumbed to the sea!

The broken promises are all dried out,
Aging in vases on the mantle
Between low-burning candles
That once-upon-a-time
Lit the hard edges of your face;
It's the smell of pines, the sight of fading lines,
The sound of light
Shut out through a keyhole
And crying, crying,

But I'll call!,
After the war, with nothing to say,

But I'll call!,
And we can go back to Fall in the Pine Barrens --
Standing on dry needles and you repeating:
"No, I don't understand,"
Like it would somehow protect you
From the confessions at hand

And I ached all over
With every step you took back,
Repeating, "No, I don't understand"
How much courage it takes just to come clean
When nature bait-and-switched you
And it's your very nature
That's come between.

After the war I'll come home alone,
To a house by the sea,
And in reality it's quiet --

It's only my own voice that calls out for me,

But you're there in the distance,
I'm just so damn sure,
If I'm willing to swim

And stronger
Than what grew between.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on January 22, 2014, 09:05:13 PM
Everything I hear is a babel,
Sound is so hostile and
When my hands can't stay still,
I won't rest my arms at my side.

I'm pacing in place again,
I'm chewing my purse strap again,
I'm looking at them
Looking at me
And it's only a matter of time before someone asks,
Like the tactful ones always do,
"Are you okay?"

"You look like you're freaking out."

Everyone is around me, and I hate it, because
Everyone is being such a someone
And I don't feel like I have the capacity
To deal with anyone except another
No one just like me.

There's always the need for acceptance or
But it's this impossible puzzle
To find someone with just the same sort of challenges,
The same sort of quirks,
The same kind of anxiety and the
Same need to have an unobstructed path to the door,
The same kind of flinch
When you get too close,
The same kind of fear.

More than I want to be with someone as good as me,
I've always wanted to be with someone as bad as me.
I don't understand the significance.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on January 24, 2014, 10:55:47 AM
I go back into my room after showering,
And close the door.
Text messages filter out through a hole in the wall,
Overshadowed and sunset,
It's either late or later but
I have this picture I need to show you,
It's all so insignificant but

In this picture I'm smiling, here,
In this picture I took of myself
Locked in my own room. After I show it to you,
I'm going to show it to Amanda,

I'm going to update Facebook, tag myself,
Text everyone, sign into old abdicated screennames to
Dig up the bones of friends I once had to
Burn the rope of chance meeting and
Use up my one opportunity I have to say,
"Hey! It's been so long! Let's catch up!"
Because I have to show you this picture.

It's all so significant, I'm smiling,
I'm alive, it's

Softy-lit and

Insinuates softly I was alive when I took it,
Smiling when I took it,
Insinuates that I smile or that I live,
That my bedroom door may be open,

And I'll lie or tell half-truths to your face:
It's going so well, and I'm so happy,
Or was it because
You looked.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on January 24, 2014, 11:34:17 AM
Everything is pregnant with the metaphor
Requisite to be anything else for the
One moment it matters,
And living is the act of transmuting
Thing into thing, as need be,
To keep the world honest,
Calling out when a deal isn't or
When a child ceases to be.

My own childhood ceased when I
Sneaked out of my bedroom after dark,
Tip-toed into the kitchen,
And realized my sleeping parents couldn't stop me
From eating all the dinosaur-shaped
Fruit snacks I wanted
And that, in the end,
My parents were just people as much as I was learning I was.

The world effuses beauty in my happiest moments
But I'm convinced it doesn't
When I'm feeling worse. In the afterglow
Two sweaty people in the dark
Can approximate the whole world
Falling out of itself into its own hands

And in the aftermath of accomplishment,
The world unfolds itself like origami
Broken back down into the pure essence of
And it's the same high,
It's the same surety of beauty and purpose as

Fourth of July parties when we still had them,
Uncles squaring off to master mortars
Against one another
In cheerful competition while my mother
Hides from the garden hose,
Me and my cousins pelt water balloons
By the dozen
And everything I've ever known about the hard world
Seems to sublimate and be
Whisked away in the wind
In favor of the truism that just,
"It's all so that you can have a really great party,"
And that must've been what family meant too.

Everything I remembered about childhood
Melted away too
Around the time of junior high,
When my friends started
Fighting for fun
And calling breaking into homes
Just how we used to call
Games of pretend.

In the brazen young arrogance
I felt like I had the world between
Thumb and index finger,
The potential of this and every egg mastered
Through intuition and what I called
Life experience;
Parents get hit by vans,
Mothers never touch you,
I don't understand television
So it can't be that important and
Family is really just, overall,
Actually the bad stuff that happens
Opposite the parties
When everyone puts on a good face and
Pretends the truth just isn't.

Growing up meant coming to terms with an
Increasingly two-faced Earth,
Flexing metaphor more and more often
To derisively hang truth from the low-hanging hooks
Of happenstance,
Inspired to spend every moment of every day
Illustrating to my friends and family
That things are only fated to be bad,
A spade should be called a spade,
And that nothing can ever get any better.

But no --
The world I'd put fingers on
In my triumphs later
Has to have a kind of constancy,
Something so large can't
Fluctuate so much
Without tearing apart everything living on top of it
In a whorl of shaking and tossed-off entropy.

The world is too beautiful to dead-end,
Even for the once-were-kids
Who choose to throw punches at one another
As their preferred activity,
Even the family that builds up
Instead of camaraderie
Will still see eye-to-eye at the party;

The violent fluctuation of every person's
Opinions of the world
And one another
Effuses into dreams instead of the waking life
To spare us all
(Except for when a valve may break,)
And the iniquity of the wicked

Is coolly dispatched

On the face of a constant and beautiful Earth.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on January 24, 2014, 01:21:39 PM
Cold weather bred cold people and cold people
Learned chemistry, conquered the hot places,
Tolerated gritty things and said:
"We'll build a city on the beach,"
"And live by the sea."

Cold people took fire back to the mountain
After they finished with it,
Built the boardwalk, invented neon lights,
And lived by the sea.

Cold weather defined cold lives and the
Blue places on maps; homes with thick walls
And heavy doors
Where people exploited every color,
Bought wicker furniture;

Shot water into the mouths of clowns,
Drove bumper cars to work,
Rented out their homes for the summer,
Worked the lee side of the carnival,
And lived by the sea.

I summered in cold places
With other warm people,
Interceded in the affairs of the cold
Via a beach house,
Via parties and bonfires,

Our crude imitation of the
Science with which they built their own flames,
And what I remember of the sea
When visiting
Was sitting in a hole in the sand
I dug in front of it,
Nursing a growing, warm drunkenness,
Staring into an impersonal body of water

That gave up everything once upon a time
Such that everything I will ever know
Once came from the sea,

But now gives up nothing;
And so I name it God,
And throw in a second penny,
And hope for better results.

Cold people built temples to Mars and funded magic,
Became pagans before they became Christians --
And sitting in the chilled nighttime sand,
I saw clearly through the purpose of
Cold people:

You will name Mars, and wish
For magic;
For superstition;
For intervention,
For something you can't name...
You will name God, but first

You will name Mars.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on January 24, 2014, 01:59:53 PM
I'm disgusted the bulk of my childhood memories
Are of video games,
That nothing more resonant for the present
Came out of those long years
Than whatever form arises from
Formative years spent
Holding a controller that can't control
Anything worth controlling,
Looking into a screen that
Never mirrored anything and
Never spoke only the truth.

I remember we had a rose bush that never once flowered.
I remember the cold feel of the patio stones
Underneath my feet,
I remember wishing our peach tree was olive
So my family
Could extend a measure of peace
Instead of having grown up in strife,

And if we hadn't maybe I would have
Spent those years better
Or taken more out of it.

The sundering is so complete,
I can't imagine that people don't molt;
We are crustaceans,
We are lonesome crabs,

We sit as young adults in McDonald's with
No one beside us
But a Dr. Pepper who is just a beverage.
I remember what came before the molt,

But it's so hard to make sense of my shape today
Without something in which
To see the hard lines.
The universe seems so combative,
And the bulwark of nothingness I lived
Prior to living now
Is just a shield to buffer against the
Sharpened, sword-edge of
This migratory and

I don't ever feel at home underneath the stars
And they follow me everywhere I go.
I'm suspended in a space without them
Looking up at them,
Wishing I had learned as a kid
How to properly crack an egg
So that I could fill a bowl with yolks
And just drag my fingers through gold.

'Combative' was just games of pretend as children,
Mock battles played out with sticks and
Pontificating over the
Bones of mice in owl pellets
In science class,
Gingerly touching rocks and feeling
So much more attached to them
After we learn what their names are.

Hello metamorphic,
Have you been through confusing changes, too?
The heat and the pressure
Frays my bangs,
Sweating in the winter for no apparent reason in that
Crowded, empty crab-filled McDonald's
Nursing a soda
And wondering when I'll molt again.

There needs to be some kind of advancement,
But I'm ill-prepared coming to the critical point:
I'm bringing a knife made of a peach branch
To a gunfight,
The dark horse black knight dredged out of
Warped history we loved as children and
Hate as adults after we learned the
College equivalent
Which was all about the feudal system and just how
None of us would really be knights,
We would be the turf turners,
Wishing for something as magical as the labor unit
So that we may become wage slaves
And advance past the
Pitched one-against-one warbling of
Everything that came before and

As an adult now

Seems as if it will come after.

Everything is competition,
And competition cuts down to and through
The ocean floor,
Where plates shifting in a molten sea
Themselves jostle for position such that

The rat race is beneath our feet,
And the rat race is peppered into space
Above our heads
When we pause for our adult study of what those stars
And what fills that empty space
Really is.

Everything is competition,
And it cuts to and through the bottom of me.
I worry myself to bed every night


I irrevocably threw away
The only years
I could have learned to
Master what is yet to come,

Sitting on the green and tattered carpet,
Controller in my hands,
Memorizing the names of the Knights of the Round Table and
The travails of the Mushroom Kingdom

Instead of ever thinking
Travails await me as well

That no one else can fight them for me

And that I can never reverse the molt and
Try to learn again.
What's done is done,
I am a crab with two small claws,
And I never even bothered to learn to swim
Because I never stopped to think
Someday the whole ocean would come to a boil.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on January 24, 2014, 02:23:52 PM
I dreamed my untrained hands would

Shatter the nightmare rock

And end wage labor, usher in the era of


Where we all get to sit on ours,
And no one will lift a finger they don't want to
Ever again.

It's so easy to talk big,
And something about being so unimportant
Makes it feel even more likely
I can do the impossible than someone
Important, with a known set of
Skills and limitations,
That will always be bound by the bold,
Demarcating strokes penning them in
Based on
That which they've already done.

It seemed just as likely the upstart
Schizophrenic could change the world as anyone,
Because changing the world seemed that impossible.
Infinites and absolutes just mess with math like that --
Careening towards the zero or
Endless bounds,
Everything is impossible or
And distinction just vanishes like a
Defining, reverse-fog
Blown off in the winds of meaninglessness.

I learned the happy end,
To the problem of why
Anyone or no one
Could change anything that seemed
So big at the time,
So worth changing,
Why all of those changeworthy things
Just never did.

People, it seemed,
Preferred to change the things close to them --
Congregate into couples,
Branch off into families,
Better the small lives of their loved ones
Healing the wounds of their
Schizophrenia or otherwise
Instead of taking on someone else's
Improbably large challenge.

I dreamed I would shatter the nightmare rock,
I think,
Because I was lonely and there was no one I loved.
I dreamed for a violent end to the world
Because there was nothing in the world
I didn't want to end with violence.

Wage labor, I think,
Feels like a much better system after-the-fact
And after finding love of my own
And realizing today's work
Pays for tomorrow's play

And when it's worth playing every bit you can,
It's okay to settle for the status quo
Instead of dreaming there's nothing worth doing
Other than smashing it.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on January 24, 2014, 10:44:08 PM

The Willing and Wanting

The bus left her in Clark,
Far removed from Toms River
Or Newark Penn where she was dropped off.

The first place she went
After they kicked her out
Was to Starbucks,
And the first place she went on her laptop
Was Craigslist.

She felt the need to break something,
Felt the need to burn away her life
In small parts
The way she was accustomed to,

She felt the need to plumb new depths.

Out of so many hopefuls
There was one lucky winner,
Chosen on the basis of
Career jargon
She had never before encountered but
Understood intimately.

The need for discretion,
The hotel far from either of them,
The highly-specific mention he is a working professional

And that she is not

And every ratcheting jackpot,
Every bit of her bio that he latched onto
Ratcheting upward her worth in his eyes.

She doesn't know Clark,
Though she has passed through it before --
She had a therapist here, once,
And her father taught her to drive
Before their separation
On these streets,
On the highway she would have taken
If she still had a car.

He called on the bus;
She is keen to everything
And it comes naturally,
She knows which notes belong in her voice
And which don't,
She has the wherewithal to speak freely
Everyone in the crowded bus who might listen in.
She is honed to a razor edge for this.

But she's running late.

She doesn't know Clark, and
Jumped into this without making much of an effort to.
She didn't look at a map,
Which she regrets --
She took only his directions,
And took them to heart, because
That seemed so reasonable:

After all, his everything in this present moment
Is getting her to him
And getting him to her.

She refers to him in her mind as
A for Apple;
She will work through the alphabet for now,
She thinks,
And will come up with the further letters later.

He finds her walking dumbly on the avenue,
Pulls his jeep blindly alongside her and asks:
Is it you?

Getting to the hotel this way,
Because she messed up,
She needs to ride in his jeep --
She has no inkling, though,
Of how bad an idea that could be.
She is still, after-all, a first-timer,
And she's mostly just embarrassed to be late
And that he had to pick her up off the street,
Where she still walked in her streetclothes.

He has already taken out the room.
She is instructed to wait a few minutes before following him.
Pornography is playing on the television,
And she is so unsure of the world
After she steps inside that unlit room
Where only the static-pebbled thrusts
Playing on the screen
And the king bed
Stand out at all.

Ahead of time, the memory is whitewashed --
There is nothing sticky here.
She won't remember his name or
Anything about the room,
How to get to the hotel even after having been dragged there,
Or what he said,
Or what they did.

One thing, though, sticks:
An unadorned gold wedding band,
He removed and left on the nightstand before they began.
When he retires to the shower,
She holds it up,
And it sticks to the veneer of seed
On her fingertips.

There is cash on the nightstand, too,
But she doesn't take it.
She considers taking the ring,
For a hot moment,
As a souvenir or because she unwittingly-at-the-time
Thinks it may be worth more than the green.

But she doesn't know;
It may not be real gold,
He may not be really married,
He may not really have had to rush out
To go to his nephew's birthday party
How he said he did.

On her way out the door, he stops her --
And presses the three hundred dollars into her hands.

She breaks one for a milkshake on the way home,
Feeling absolutely radioactive;
The stink of sex seems so pungent and
And she can almost swear everyone she sees
Sees through her
And into what she has just done,
But it only bothers her for
Hot moment --

She is happy, breathing deeply,
Running fingertips over scars
Underneath her skirt.

She is satisfied.
She is burning up.

The Iniquities of the Wicked

I hurry from the car
To the door,
Feeling so naked and silly and
Since I came dressed how he wanted,
Which was silly,
My mini dress and thigh-highs
With the pigtails
Far at odds with the winter weather and
Any semblance of
Dressing my age.

He is slobbering drunk
When he opens the door,
To the point
The very last thing he must have done
Before opening it
Is put the bottle down.

He offers me something
And I take nothing,
I laboriously
Carry him underarm and
Across the shoulder
Up the staircase,
Following his directions to
Where I can only hope
There's a plain and simple bed.

That much bears out,
But he has to take a sip from another bottle
Before he sits on it
And begins to undress.
He is having trouble,
So I help him with this also.

The stink of alcohol permeates the whole house,
Hangs over every family photograph
And dusty piano
Like the veneer of a
Principal problem
I am on the outside-looking-in on,
A problem that I now briefly inherit.

He is seriously
Drunk to the point of worthlessness.
He lies in bed dumbly
While I straddle and
Stroke him,
Oddly at east because
In the state he's in,
I don't even think there's any expectation
I actually need to get him off.
I think I just need to put on a show of
Effort, and the encounter will be
Shortly over,
And he'll let me wander back
Downstairs and outside
Into the world I don't belong
So that he can take a piss-drunk nap.

I mouth his flaccid member from time to time,
As often as need be to
Elicit his apologies instead of his
Praise, as he is beside himself with shame
He cannot even maintain an erection
As he is how he is.

I redouble myself when he complains,
Sight the end of the evening
Through the keyhole of his self-pity and
Self-absorbedment and
Inability to feel any kind of pleasure,
And how quickly the sad drunk
Will just give up when he can't do any better
Than he's already failing to be.

I take in the details while I sit on top of him
And take long pauses
I wouldn't normally be afforded,
Look at the pictures of his wife and
How this room would look
If I ever saw it with a light on --
Just the execution of
Ordinary and casual curiosity.

His state in drunkenness
Is a good kind,
He's not an energetic or happy drunk,
He's already just a sobbing one,
And it makes things so much
Easier and more carefree
For me
Than they would normally be.
Tonight, I am not the vile one,
I am not the one with a problem.
I am not the one who undoubtedly
Plagues his family,
I am not the one who shamefully
Brings prostitutes home,

I am the moral upper end

How I always try to see myself

And it makes the act of
Making the motions
Of oral sex easier,
And it's easier besides
Knowing in his state
He's well-aware he couldn't
Try anything more physical
And so that I will be spared.

Out his window
I see a street with no
An unlit place
Growing darker
Out of which I can
Scurry safely
When I am finished in here,
Depart as if I
Never even was.

It makes me think of
Dark and murky water,
The kind I tread day-to-day,
Impassable to even the willing,
Unseeable, unknowable space
No one believes I traverse
Because no one believes it traversable.

And he wants to sleep,
And has realized he is not getting anywhere,
Which I won't admit
I haven't put a lot of effort into,
And he lets me flop off of him.

From a dresser he gives me
What I'll later count to be
Twenty-one dollars,
Which means this hasn't been worth the time
But it was nice to take a break.

When John is too drunk to judge,
The whores of Babylon go unchastised
And their performance
Even on their own merits
Unmarked, and they rest;
So I rested,
And I leave the way I came,
And I breathe harshly onto my car steering wheel.

One down.

The Resplendent and the Glorious

I met her in the furthermost back room of a brothel,
About a week after Brody offered
I could come back once for free
When my last evening with an escort there petered out.
He had already taken my money once,
I thought --
He cared more about return business than
The loss of one girl's time, I thought --
And so I was back, as uneasy as the first time,
Until he led me to her workspace.

The room was dusty and dim,
But in a different fashion --
It wasn't dim for effect,
It was just dim,
And it wasn't dusty
Because it was an old building,
It was dusty
Because it was neglected.

I got a cordial hi when I walked in and put my coat on the bed.
She didn't seem to be paying much attention,
Staring forward at a muted television.

The layer of dust in the room
Felt almost sacred,
And I was careful not to disturb it as I
Thumbed through
Everything on the two rear bookshelves beside the bed,
Little trinkets and
Puzzle boxes
The kind you get from vending machines for a quarter,

Little silver marbles and
Saturated plastic
That just looked sad
In the darkling room.

There was a sheaf of paper dolls on a string,
Mad Libs books and
A copy of Monopoly
That looked as if it had never been opened.

I like to play games,
She told me according to a script,
Without turning to look at me,
As I continued my trek of disbelief,
Pausing only when the door closed behind me
And I was reminded instead
Of the second door to the room,

An old door that should lead to another suite,
Which would already be locked

And yield only to the key in my pocket.

From behind, she looked as dusty as the room;
Dusty blonde hair,
Dusty complexion under the flickering
A dusty black top that hung off her shoulders
So tight it strained
Against her posture,
Her hands and head still facing the television,
Holding something I hadn't seen since I was

I don't know

Four or five?

An Atari controller,
And on the screen was Adventure.
She had a key.
I remembered there is a dragon in that game.

I remember just floating around behind her,
Beside the bed,
Watching a square move
On a screen that lit nothing
Amongst other squares,
Square in a square world.

I remembered the dragon,
And wondered if she would just stop and
Finally pay attention to me
When it ate her.

It never came, and jumping ahead,
I never came.
There was something too sacred about

The other world I had stepped into,

Something too
About her station
Brazen indifference

That made it impossible for me to even fathom sex.
It was unfathomable
To even think of seeing this woman naked.

I don't doubt the tenseness of her posture
Was largely because of me,
Her intentionally
Locking eyes forward
Drawing out our time together,
Eking out every possible second
Of a meted hour
Into her corner,
And invisibly -- I'm sure -- relishing them,
And how long she could get away with it.

I knew what I was supposed to do because
Crystal had walked me through it last week,
But I was even less interested than then.

Brody knows me,
But I don't think Brody knows how to work a brothel.

Maybe it was some fundamental idea that
Pairing a self-professed gamer with your
Establishment-described gamer girl,

Kept in a room with two locked doors
And an Atari,

And an assortment of things
She probably had all kinds of cute
Scripted responses
Towards me pointing out,

Wouldn't result in sex --
But in indifference.
Because, as powerfully as she forced that
Emotion out of herself,
I baked in and
Found myself exuding it as well.

It was beyond me to say a single word,
Knowing any word I said
Would be twisted along the labyrinth of her
Career dialogue,
Would lead to her beginning to strip,
Would lead to the start of a rough play --

Brody said she liked it particularly rough,
Which was maybe a tongue-in-cheek challenge to
The kind of men he was no doubt sending her --

A rough play I wanted no part of.
I unlocked the rear door before I opened my mouth,
Choosing my words carefully after
Taking in as much of the moldings,
The carpeting,
The flickering light and television and
Battered, faded Atari controller
In her hands,
With the red fingernails.

I didn't know who she was.
I wasn't going to try wading into that conversation,
I wasn't so pretentious or arrogant
That I thought I could say anything
That would even rise up to the
Dusty heights
Of the occasion.

So I said something inexplicable:

Knocking on the open door frame to get her attention,
I smiled as warmly as I could and recited:

"Not with a bang, but with a whimper,"

And walked out of the brothel,
Sure I could never treat with a woman
Or her keeper
For sex
Ever again.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on January 29, 2014, 10:22:37 AM
I am the sum of the largemost count of
Small dying parts,

The towering heir of
A cellular people's industry,

Beleaguered and scourged
Cellular people
Who suffer programmed plagues and
Recycle themselves endlessly such that

I have never ceased to be alive,
But no part of me today
Was alive when I first came to be.

Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on January 29, 2014, 12:10:55 PM
As a ray the world was born
As I never see what
Rises from underneath
But am intimately aware
Of everything in the sky above,

And when I jump,
I feel like I'm half-finished too
Because there's only half of the world
I ever see
And it's the half I can't spend
More than a moment in.

Seabirds fly by in droves
With feathered fins,
And I spent so long
Growing out of a basket
I'll sprout feathers too,
So that I can fly with the rest of the birds,

But I've never seen a bird up close.
I don't know whether they see up or down,
Or both for some unjust reason,

Don't know if
Every bird spends every day
Thinking it's going to grow into something else
Because it's built from the ground up
To be an imperfect imitation
Of something else,
And not good at anything on its own merits.

Fish jump too,
So that never felt special.
'Special' as means of a handicap,
Mouth stuck down and
Eyes stuck up,
Doesn't ever feel like special proper;
There's nothing I do that
Someone else doesn't do better,

And underneath the mica curtain
Where the seawater
Meets what I see,
It's a lonely and wandering life
Spent wondering:

If shapes aren't fair and just,
What does it matter what else is?
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on January 30, 2014, 10:55:23 AM
I want to believe in 16th century parallelism,
That the empires of the world I know
Stand beside
Empires on the seafloor,
Cities built by
Salt lakes and
River currents and
That coral didn't just happen,
But that it was the preening of
Village patios
En masse
By a doting and

When I met with the unsympathetic above
I would just look below for their
Paired opposite and take solace,
When I met with violent chance up here
I would just hide below
In a kinder, albeit colder world.

Snow on the seafloor is organic,
Ice never forms under pressure,
And the weather of the world is
More constant
Because variation is dead,
And so even though sea life is so various
I don't imagine they'd be a very varied people.

The sand castles rimmed by
Watchful skates
Would always be a safe refuge
Because nothing down there changes,
The places I knew would always be
Close by,
And the people I met
Would always be kind
So long as I was kind too

And I could shoulder that,
I like to think,
When it is a guarantee.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on February 03, 2014, 09:47:26 PM
My heart is beating as hard as the surf is
Pounding, tirelessly weaving shells
Into the sandy warp
Felt underfoot
Without even a casual appreciation
For all the energy poured into
Breaking down the clams and scallops
Into the collage of color
That's just ignored underfoot,
The same way I grit my teeth and
Ride out the rush of my heart
Without skipping a beat
To the tune of the surf.

It's just so casual to ignore everything
In the course of every day,
But in this moment my heart is
Reconstituting life
Instead of just sustaining life,
And I feel the pang of
Reminding me my heart wants something more
When you're close to me,

Reminding me you're close to me.
Say something wonderful and let's
Slip away, retreat,
Eat at the high table,
Spoon soup with a leathern ladle
While it all comes to ease, comes to rest, comes to pause,
Comes to halt,

Rest my heart just beside your heart and
Raise praises for the sum of small parts,
Wag my arteries in memoriam to
Everything that that got me where I am,
The respiratory cycle that winnowed down
As both gas exchange and
The huff of hefty
Adenosine on the pavement,
The essential tremors that shake me when you're nearby.
Coarse like the shells that were woven into the
Weft, the shakes I get when I'm drunk on
The spaces in-between
And your essential rhythm
Is inside me

Counting out beats of distance between us
As if the world were a sonic
Cartesian plane
To be conquered
To end all
Possibilities of infraction or infarction
Were to be tendered and lost
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on February 07, 2014, 08:44:13 PM
Keeping together is the hardest part of the day
Inside the Sound,
Where the Puget sprays
Standing stones
Tall and resolute
That go unheralded and

Slick and grey into dawn or dusk

Notable only for the samewhich
Heft with which they hoist up the city
That was built atop without
Permission or asking,
Because stone bears loads
Without complaint or reservation
While the weight is not excessive.

In the travails of the day
I wonder how it came to be
That I heave beneath a city

And I wonder how it came to pass
That the city never demands so much of me
That it comes tumbling down.

Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on February 10, 2014, 09:32:23 PM
I relive the sick passage of hands
Nightly as an unheeded complainant,
Writhe under blankets feeling the
Grinning pressure of uninvited pressing
At the wrists, at the ankles,
The slick and grimy wit of the stalker
That met whom it stalked
And rehear the poisoned and baited
Words, honeyed and bloated,
The first man that ever tempted me
Calling me "princess;"

And I relive the guilt,
Because I'm the one who used the words
"Sugar daddy" in a roadside diner
When he seemed predatory but harmless
As if it was possible for anything to be so;

And I relive the torturous vomiting,
The slickness left behind me
Where he stung
As I walked to the bathroom
With my panties around my ankles,
His watchful eyes peering
Through behind me so that I
Don't stray, don't go anywhere
Princess isn't allowed to go to,

And relive the prayers once-answered
I would get away,
And that life would ever be
At least a shadow of itself again,
Or that life would just go on,

But life goes on in the shadow of
What life transpired already.
For my trial I'm rewarded with these
Pained flashbacks,
Every night of sleep stolen from me
Another meted out in his count
As effortlessly as his evil
First hounded one out from beneath me
On the roof of a parking garage,

Snow gently falling on the windows,
Where he first taught me the safety word
That maybe convinced me for a moment
That there would be a safety catch,
And that he wouldn't just ignore it
The way he would ignore me every time,
Pressing all his weight down on me
Such that there was nowhere to move,
Nothing to say but to scream
Into my own hands
While he just lightly told me over and over,
"I'm almost there."

I don't think I'll ever get away from
Again. I don't think I'll ever sleep soundly,
I don't think that I'll ever slip out from within the
Sound of his voice,
The heated, sweating grip of his
Mass blotting me out
Or holding me down

And I think of tidal pools,
And thorny starfish that
Grope and handle slick stones by moonlight
That go unseen by anyone
As nighttime beaches go vacant,
Stones for whom no one will sing
Or rise to defend,
Stones no one will ever say
Deserved to go undefiled,

That their defilers
Should go hungry,
That they should be cast out of the pool
Because to the best of my wit,
He's still lurking in it
While I've escaped
Just to be cast out,

Because I don't doubt that he sleeps quietly
And without incident.
What I miscounted when we first met
Was that evil goes unaccountably,
That I could never be prepared for his thrust
With any feint
Because any evil gesture is unstoppable,
That good cannot shield itself

In the cold moonlight where the
Wolf stalks
By virtue of goodness alone,

And for putting myself out
I found myself prostrate at the end
The way I had a premonition of
Kneeling prostrate and broken
Before the crime came to pass,
Just standing on that parking garage

Watching the snow lightly fall

And feeling his mass press against my back
For the first time,
Against a handrail,
And for a moment feeling all futures
Go blank and divide into nothing
Blotted out by the enormity
Evil assumes
Pressing against naive good.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on February 12, 2014, 07:21:05 PM
I'm open-ended looking
Eyes open
For any sign
That the ocean gets as bored
Of turning the
Same dead sea floor over
As I do
In everything.
Divested far from the sea I thought I'd be
Free of the troublesome
That come with the toilsome
Of having and keeping all the
World's water,
But it appears
The boredom and rack of
Daily duty
Is not far removed.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on February 13, 2014, 02:53:15 PM
Sugar says sexual conquest is hard
But I wouldn't know,
I eat my meals for free,
And I don't know why anyone
Rails against going hungry
When sex is so joyless.

It's not enough to say I'm
Missing something,
That the problem is with me;
There's a problem in that scenario
Just the same as the one it sidesteps,
And it's worse for the wear
Because the problem becomes
Squarely centered
On me.

I just don't feel at home
Between any pair of hands,
It's too jarring to relive the past
In tandem with the present
By the nature of synchronicity,
And even when the past is absent
The present isn't doing anything for me
Because nothing he does
Makes me honestly feel any better
Than when he wasn't doing it,
And plenty he does makes me feel
Entirely worse.

What I do for him
Is sometimes better,
I smile when I'm making him happy
But we're both sad
Because we can't turn away from the fact
I did it for him
And not for me
Even if it was alright for the doing,
And we're not making any progress
No matter who is doing
To whom.

If I was an angler fish
He could attach himself to me,
And if I was a mantis
I could behead and eat him
After we finish.

Being human is sometimes so
Because the expectations are so dull;
Human sex is just supposed to end
In an afterglow,
And I feel less than human
While not feeling any more
Like anything else
When I can't get there
Through any configuration
Of these sloppy,
Slipping human bodies.
Title: Re: Tenda's poems
Post by: Tenda on August 20, 2014, 12:59:54 PM
I woke to tiny voices screaming pleading,
Tiny hands with one long finger kneading
And wrapping 'round my ex-posed chest
Flush with the ground o'er turves of green,
Where -- to the best of my recollection --
This morning, my bathroom floor had been.

The grass cried Mother! as I rose
Clammy and cold,
Folding my arms 'cross my breasts
And stamping the cloying, crying grass
With my bare feet until the voices faded,
Children's pleas dissipated to sighs
And the rippling blades halted
And my shock somewhat abated,
Relieved and sated that no more
This dreaming grass tweaked and held
My chest where there I see
Dismayed and choking, shamed and moved
'nigh to crying
Pale milk glist'ning on teat and stomach,
Earth and mead,
Face flushing more fiercely with
Violation's surety, shock tumbled over
To plain sure indignity
Any dream would pretend to
Where once pressed his hands,
Kneading thither in love
Coaxing maternity endless.

He's gone now though, for months on end --
Time that will not end --
Hisself shamed admitting

We'll never be together again

And now these nights only belong to me.
The queen's bed
Mourning its
Never again to be satisfied
For naught will lie 'side or 'neath me