Nikki Darling: Ascension

Who Said it Was Simple

There are so many roots to the tree of anger

That sometimes the branches shatter

Before they bear.

Sitting in the Nedicks

The women rally before they march

Discussing the problematic girls

They hire to make them free.

An almost white counterman passes

A waiting brother to serve them first

And the ladies neither notice nor reject

The slighter pleasures of their slavery.

But I am bound by my mirror

as well as my bed

see causes in color

as well as sex


and sit here wondering

which me will survive

all these liberations.


- Audre Lorde


Nikki Darling


The Politics of Dancing


All my purple life

I’ve wanted a black hole

Super nova


Decimate your delicate

Way of being

Like a needy boyfriend


Revolts me to the core


Why must we discuss



All my purple my life.


She was trying to become a writer and discovering that this required large blocks of unstructured time. She drew the shades and read and masturbated and lit a candle at her desk. At night sometimes she used the automated sex ads on the phone. She liked that they could link her up with other outposts of loneliness around the city. She was living entirely within her head. For a while she experimented with keeping pets.


Picture 1

Metal Can

Navy glowing spotted


Sweet bird of proof

Barf bag

Full of


May I shit in the toilet

Of outer space

Floating nebulous

Little helmet, monkey skeleton

For company

For laughs

For a good ol time.

Perpendicular, tumbling

spray of stars.


Coca cola

A road trip without toilet paper

A bad breath dog

Your hang-ups

Hold the coats

Of old white men

Pasty scared and running

The future opens its mouth

Inside a language full of hate

Swallow the bile

Of revolution


Give your cucumber

Double A batteries



Give me a minute to delete your number.

There’s nothing left to talk about.


I make this face because I’m about to undress.




Oh hai! So wonderful to finally get to know you. Savior of the night. Amigo of my dreamz.

Picture 5


Lets fuck and hang out

Lets get stoned and rock church

Lets let hands do to mouths


Let us lift up our arms

The eyes of god are everywhere

Private eyes are

Watching you

Love is to break

A glass of milk

On a black marble floor.

Brown mother


Gloria I reach to


Maria I suckle to u

I am so


In this shit

Lets get fetishy


Broken branch

Thorn in the jello

Whip cream on the waterbed

Lets rewind

I like this part.

We are the dirty children grown up

We are the acid tabs blown up

We are the expired condom

Living life daily with the bitter pill of consciousness.

Lets be the wet towel on the bathroom floor

Fuck it anyway.



A rainbow

A ribbon

A thick slice

Of sky

Hovering toward the tower

Of tomorrow.

Of the skull of Hera

Of Electra’s great

Den of complex.

To be the serpent and the sword

To be the oppressor and

The kinky.

To be the well read asshole

At the asshole party.

To be the consumer

In the bow tie

Cashing checks

With Jacuzzis on the side.


One Art

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;

So many things seem filled with the intent

To be lost that their loss is no disaster


Lose something every day. Accept the fluster

Of lost door keys the hour badly spent.

The art of losing isn’t hard to master,


Then practice losing farther, losing faster:

places, and names, and where it was you meant

to travel. None of these will bring disaster.


I lost my mother’s watch. And look! My last, or

next-to-last, of three loved houses went.

The art of losing isn’t hard to master.


I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,

some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.

I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.


-Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture

I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident

the art of losing isn’t hard to master

though it might look like (Write it!) like disaster.


-Elizabeth Bishop

Can You Hear Me Now?

I longed (dramatically) to DJ for you, but you never came over. I wanted to make sammies for you, kiss you, hug you, hold you, tap your nose with my fingertip and make collages. I wanted you to know me. I wanted to know being known. But look, I get it, it’s cool. Ramblin on and on and on. In NY on a night when sweat clung to my lip and brow, headphones on, a paramour beside me, no weed for miles, I heard your voice on the radio and smiled in the dark, the dawn deciding yet to yawn. You said my name. Touching all these things, making drawers for all these pieces, transform into these sentences, blossoming at the very least into a fictitious parable of love. I made a list of songs and each one knew your face. Your smile, a thing that rises and sets, the universe unfurling at your glow, grateful for it’s sweetness, your heart, a vessel, struggling against consumption, forgetting everything it knows.

And now when some girl, some smart pretty girl, who thinks she can be the one to change you, says, you’re a writer girl’s dream, has anyone ever written anything about you? You can think of me, chuckle and say, funny you should bring up such a thing.


Dreams steered her through the day and she needed the slight weight of morning vapor to protect her. She was trying to become a writer. Since she’d never been especially creative, the only way that she could think to do this was to transcribe the pictures in her head. She found that sometimes in the darkened room, the pictures moved outside her head and into her entire body, and these, she realized, were the good times. This was what she sought.


The Grass Was Greener

Tongue Tied Twisted

Earth Bound Misfit


Day 4


I’ve done this


I’ve stopped before



Sliced bag of seed

Slipping through


Cracks of sound

That come in fits and jerks

Clogging up the corners of my


Fertilizing brand new blades

Just to cut them down.


I try to breath,


Not on your face (bright and stormy dark and warm)

I try to reconfigure

Every way.



Steven Mercato

Roman Castevet


You are his mother



I love you devil



Hurt me with your focused fire

Your neglect and pain

Every corner

Sharp, shape and edges

Slicing from one side to next

Until my mug

Is only that,

A cup of Lipton

Nothing else



I want you


A stand in

For what I can’t imagine:



And then I was like:


I think about the past ones, the ones that blew away, left their mark and even they, thought I could never undue a spell and just like that you came to show me up. To play a number on this soul game, to rub in just how wrong I always am. Now, all you are is my desire and ambition. Hunger unsatisfied, I could listen to the Floyd all night, paralyzed indecision, why can’t I just get stoned and forget? I know you never feel you never let yourself soaked in liquor all warm and tight never getting out until you dissolve, your liver a little spot in outer space the fishbowl of fire a thing you never got to know or show or use or be, you’re in the casket now with the other earth bound detritus and I am shiny tears wet rose stem inside the glass beaten back against a memory the time my purse filled with beer little swimming pool of death float to the surface and forget, maybe I want to save you because I saved myself and know deep down you’re the one that’s really living. Give me some of that. The water always flowing the endless river the nights remember. Because deep down, you’re the one I envy.

I mean, why be coy?



Colors Triangulate

In the window

Outside my window

Shaped like a diamond.


Party Boys

Having men want to spend time with me makes me aware of how much I don’t want to spend time with other men.

I want it to be clear that when you call I silence my phone.

There is one man on this earth who could reach through the clouds and make me cum, but he’s not here.

Oh, you’re into Hip Hop, tell me about it.

No, please, show me how to use a record player.

He’s probably getting drunk and not thinking about me.

I’m probably standing here, doing this,

Wishing I was too.

Not thinking

About me

Thinking about you.


Faced with roomfuls of acrylic paintings of computer chips and monochromes, she learned to cultivate a dreamy vacant stare. She learned to free-associate and verbalize nonsequitors, and finally drop the names of first-wave minimalists with a slight inflection upwards at the end, as if the names themselves were challenges or questions. “Robert Ryman, Donald Judd?”  She had the vaguest idea who these artists actually were.


The Cannibal’s Canción

        It is our custom

to consume

the person we love.

Taboo flesh:  swollen

genitalia    nipples

the scrotum    the vulva

the soles of the feet

the palms of the hand

heart and liver taste best.

Cannibalism is blessed.


I’ll wear your jawbone

round my neck

listen to your vertebrae

bone tapping bone in my wrists.

I’ll string your fingers round my waist-

What a rigorous embrace.

Over my heart I’ll wear

a brooch with a lock of your hair.

Nights       I’ll sleep cradling

your skull      sharpening

my teeth on your toothless grin.


Sundays there’s Mass and communion

And I’ll put your relics to rest.

- Gloria Anzaldua

Interesting Old Photos of Cats (9)


Erotic City

Just so you know I take you very

seriously. Teasing at your expense is

shitty and ignorant. You’re not a

funny ha ha dude. You’re for real. You’re

fucking brilliant, like, people don’t get

it. But I do.


I like gossip. Don’t you? I know you

do. Fondle it. You delicious


With kindness I creep.


You’re so fucking hot. Flipped inside out. Just so you


The kindergarten boy who drowns barbies

bakes sand cakes and screams all day.

You’re nuts. I can tell.


Slip n slide rainbow, delicious purple

bruise inside this inner thigh

Little thumb imprint, just so you know.


You are the pilot of my fantasies.

Head thrown back flesh finger ripple


After you since 1985.




Cerebral Hemorrhage

There are exactly two of you who think these sentences bear your marking.

And each of you is right and each of you is wrong.

These sentences are about me, and the fantasy of who you aren’t.

And if you have to ask yourself, I’ve left you in the dark

Because you never sent me spinning the way that ego thought.

Broken walk

Crippled memory, relearn, feel my way back to a fuck

Remind my body, which way to fall

and always miss the mark

I do love this game.

The passing of time is not a marker of importance. It’s the frenzy of this madness.

Exorcise me. Send me back to God.

Fingers pulling lips apart, wet and expectant.

Your breath sour and warm.

I could never hate you, Soggy Brain,

Initial substantive mind screw

Satan in the morning, strawberry jam at night.



lil poems

In the morning time


Swift green blue

Slice of sky

Taken from a photograph

You have never seen

Stolen from an archive

But knows the story takes it’s

Time to ripen on your page.


one day you’ll want your friends

says my mother

one day, she says

you’ll want me.

Is that so,

I say

And hand her all my money.






In the distance

There are shapes

Cutting and butting at my seams

Ready to reflect

The sad state of my affairs

I like to fuck

With my eyes closed and the

Speakers on

and in that moment

Dark and fuzzy

I touch myself and shiver

With anxiety.



I’m not living

call it work

I’m climbing

call it necessary

I’m falling

call it what it is.


Every time you hurt me

It feels familiar

So I keep going back.


The thing that struck the woman most about living in Los Angeles was how things happen but nothing quite adds up. The way it’s possible to be in regular contact with another person, to talk on the phone, to maybe see each other once a week and then for no discernible reason the contact stops, the person drifts entirely out of range. Perhaps it was depression? 



Cutting across the River of America

Texas Red

Long Necks

Just the steer, no beans.

Bouncing across the lake

Happy as a clam

Bud Light’s spitting out behind us in the water spray

Turning into buoys rippling in the waves.

 Picture 3


J.A.L: Your Initial Substance

– For Jon, undoubtedly


Just this, I,

Create a prison.


(I) twist

(I) suffocate


Insufferable substance.


Your brilliance,

Bullshit word.


Bars between this superhighway

Socially mediated



This doghouse of death.


Because she didn’t care if people liked her and seemed to notice what went on, most people saw her as a monster. In Fantasy, she liked that somebody else could play that role.

To make a metaphor so big and bold that you drain it of it’s subtext, create an overarching irony where all codes of romance are exposed. Fantasy is a parody, a carnival.


Dandy Asshole Fever

I’m Still Here

R U?

Break down,

This alphabet.


“Mitigate this agony”


Like, string cheese in outer space

Curl, on the brink

Of Heaven’s muck.



Un Poquito Violin


Nobody loves me

Let me clarify

My mother loves me

My father, in his own

misguided way, tries to love me

My girlfriends love me

My boy friends love me

But you don’t love me

And you are everybody.


I eat that absence,

I shake hands and smile

I mourn my tits

Once so beautiful, titans of flesh

Wasted on a not smart boy

Obsessed with his own reflection,

He was really dumb

A simpleton

I’m so mad, three years tossed


I like tiny tits he said.


Who will love these melons?

Who will kiss this flower?

Who will tread their fingers up and down the Valley of Hips?

Their tongue across this body?

Like a book without a reader

I can’t walk away.


My eyes like apple dolls

Wrinkle over time

And I’m racing against it

trying to get the light bulb screwed in right




I’ve never been to Europe

Or flown overseas

Or had a passport stamped.


I’ve driven to the same museum a thousand times

Looked at the same Rodin’s


Loving them each visit

So they never feel unloved.


And because of this I’m sad

See, I really feel I’ve lost something


and you, you want me to spend these

last few moments of agency

of beauty

of youth, organizing a way to get to your wedding?

No, no I have finally climbed to the top of the mountain

And I’m not comprising or coming down for anyone.



But can’t there be a way of translating allegory into psychological realms? The Master and the Slave, the Monster and the Slut. All the little dramas of romance get batted back and forth between these poles. 

Romance, desire, context expectation loop back and forth between us through our roles. Multiple paradox yielding triple penetration. The game is totally complete within itself. Unlike ordinary sex, Fantasy is an act, and not a metaphor of love.



Hitching A Ride


Dear God

I’m reaching toward u

everything inside me,

touching nothing



velvet coffin

sunlight lid

angry fist

around my daydream

sends me to u

on a cloud of shame.




Parcel out



All these signs



Breakin my mind


No one knows

What it’s like

To be the sad man

Behind blue eyes


And u


Nothing about






And nothing

About blindness


From Soho down to


I’ve played that fist and finger game.



French New Wave

Chill, how? On ice

Clinking in glass

ON the screen her violet


through this black and white.


Torn like V.C Andrews

All hands and wails, all dicks

And siblings

This sweet Audrina

This pitcher of tea


Antiquated cemeteries

Those sad weepy trees


Oh Louis, Oh Lestat


Southern accent

Cast out like demons

Gay man on the utubes

Pushed in the forehead, with an open fist

A palm tree



Cast out! I cast u- text style- out!


“I taught myself”

to talk

I understand language,”




Picture 7

Paper Cut

Wall of tape

And slaughtered trees,

Like a pre-teen girl, with a high school



You cough and smirk

Tell me, I whisper,

About your hotel stationary,

Glass cubes, and



Show me these things,

Your harem of tits

Lick the page,

Off you get, on


Hard drive





Let me show you

Something real.


Dramatic Exits

Vintage Elizabeth utubes

Ann makes vegetarian sushi

I read an essay on subjectivity

Cool Ranch Derrido

Instafame with the Hot Pockets

Writing poems like Jon

High five on all fours

I’m totally linked in. Tell

me all about it, at the Big Judy ball.


I’m not here to help you sell bananas.


This is an advertisement.


Get off the cross

I want to kill u with it.

(I), understand the risks.


An Open Letter to Every Man, I Men, I Have Loved

Except One, He did this and is fucking killing it.

(Well two, but that guy’s fucking crazy)


I know you aren’t afraid of me because you understand me

Even if you refuse to dance.


This shit, it’s killing you

So talk about it

Because you’re dying.


It almost killed me

And is still killing me

Just in slower increments

And my punishments are hilarious.


Go a little Molly Ringwald

Rasta only

Get over yourself

Buckle up

You’re gonna cry a lot. But you already do.

(but for a bummer)

Cum then forever.


Billy Bobby


It gets magical.

I can do shit like this.

I can love you from here.



True Love

By Nicole Darling

It occurred to me that I don’t date. Have never dated and will probably never date. And that I will die alone, a snow angel, blue indention in a white landscape, glowing wingspan on a glinting sun, the tired work of this busy body, never stopping, caught forever moving toward an unknown heaven.

Take from this ice fossil all the beauty you can hold inside two hands and build a snowman beside me, and together, here, we will find one another, frozen in our destinies to never melt away.

Free of needles, far from liquor, runoff water, sockets spilling with uncertainty. Salty brine of the dirty eye ocean, never turning back it’s tide. In the stillness of this wintery grave let us breath the particles of heat through some tired lungs, exhale all these insecurities anxieties and fears. Let us watch this black crow leave footprints in the hard packed rainbow of the sun’s reflection, a shimmer through a Fir, puffing frozen back into the air. His perfect wings feathery and wet ascending toward some crest, where other lovers wait for him to bring his silent song.


In a disembodied floating space, Fantasy offers little pockets of theatricality and connection. So long as they are playing, two people are totally accountable and listening to each other. Fantasy radically preempts romantic love because it is a practice of it.

To see this fact as cold or cynical is as naive as thinking writing ought to be “original” or that speaking in the first person necessarily connotes any kind of truth, sincerity.



But why do I hate myself? We hate ourselves? Spend all this time absorbed in the distraction of an emotionally unavailable baby wipe? That can’t even wipe it’s own ass? Messy on the dance floor, spilling precious drops of Dionysus nectar on the way back to the temple? The pixilated ouch? Oh you’re not so special (you are), you’re only the latest in a long line of Soggy Brains, it’s me, not you, I mean, my emotions make appointments to look into the mirror cancel last minute and never call back. I roll a sloppy joint but pack a tidy bowl.

Someone important has died. At a Holiday party, a friend of this important person, says, and the real tragedy is that to make it out alive, to make it to the place that he had reached, you have to find ways to get there, to cope, to hold your head up and walk into the room. He was queer and brown. Self made. And that is painful. It takes away. I want to say something important, but I don’t, someone else is standing beside us, and so I nod. It is however, that I understand. I feel the gold thread coming out of the top of my own head and connecting me to God and that thread is almost always being cut. By myself, by others, ripped away and pulled asunder this umbilical cord of light. Also, fuck you and your hostility toward faith, when you are born with so very little, sometimes God is all you get. Put that in your pipe, you privileged fucks and undermine something else. I’d like to tell you a story, in plain language, one that doesn’t fall back on metaphor. A way that requires another type of reading, a way that seems so simple to so many Others, but perhaps, might take you a minute to understand. Breathe in the contradiction, it gets easier over time.

I’ve learned that to desire is distasteful. I have wanted so much my entire life. In the first grade I mouthed off at the school bus driver, finding but not understanding then, that negative attention would get me a response. I lived in a silent house of anger and spastic explosion. I made my own way. I wanted her to like me, the bus driver, but instead I pissed her off. I repeated this behavior late into elementary school each time it failed, each time I tried. I became a liar. The truth was never good enough, or simply ignored, I was meant to be put aside, too loud, too needy, too present. I made bad feelings, guilty feelings and so I was asked without words to shrink away. Today the more you ignore me the more frenzied I become. The saddest part is that I’m pretty chill and fun, kind and smart, forgiving and warm, and by the grace of god, not bad looking. My legs and tits are more than decent. For this I’m grateful, but anyway, vanity, another dagger down the road. I came to accept that nothing I did mattered and so I was doused with the fire of anger and revenge. They’ll be sorry when I slit my wrists, they’ll be sorry when I swallow that bottle, I’ll show them. The skunky smoke of self-destruction floated down the hallway and still nothing. He was gone by then, Island man fucking Howlies at the Hilton. She was busy, depressed and wanted to be left alone. The door was always closed. I held my hand up to it and felt the heartbeat of a silent room. I went back down the hallway and flipped on the teevee, it’s a miracle I can write, or so I’ve been told, because I’m not much of a reader. I like to watch.

My mother never told me about my identity. I knew only that she wasn’t white, I don’t think I even knew the word Mexican. My grandfather, who came to live with us and sent me to Catholic school with his veterans’ checks and helped my mother pay our bills, never used the word. He’d been the grounds keeper at a courthouse in the small town of La Junta Colorado for fifty years, and nick named Juan by his white co-workers, simply because he was brown and his last name was Valdez. And so he became Juan Valdez, the coffee man. His name was Laurence and our entire family called him Larry. But from the sixties on, all that changed, he was Juan, and so Juan I knew. Some of my own family I’m almost positive self identifies as white and even that kicks up confusion, shame, proclaiming we are descendents of Spaniards and therefore European. Well, of course we are, so is every other non-indigenous Mexican in Mexico. Shame and History are intertwined, that is the true American narrative. It wasn’t until elementary school, I was always drawn to Mexican friends, I felt most comfortable with Stephanie, Erika, Angie and Mari, that I understood the history of the Southwest, the purchase of the treaty of Hildago, the Spanish ancestors who came and made the Cosmic Race, once the property of Spain, then the property of Mexico, now the property of the United States, never owning anything except the trauma of becoming. I know now, that I am Nuevo Mexicano. Itself a group still grappling with the politics of what that even means. But for so long, I just never knew, and so there was a part of me, always feeling dirty and stupid in the company of my father’s blonde family, and not knowing what to say when a group of white school mates started in on bile racist epitaphs, not realizing I was in the room, separate from them, standing in the circle, but not completing the ring.

It took me years to hear my voice. And Tori Amos got me there, and the Wizard of Oz got me there, and Howl got me there, grabbing small ephemera on the climb. And so I guess what I’m trying to say is that I spent the first half of my life a shadow self, a long reflection on the pavement, but like Peter Pan, not knowing how to connect. I was missing, and then when I learned of my other half, it’s taken more years to wipe clean the blood of history, to see it’s true face.

It’s not that she didn’t want me to know, it’s just that shame is buried so deeply it moves from one generation to the next, my grandparents only wanted her to belong, to have the same privileges of those around her, her white counterparts, and so, pretty and smart, introverted and curious, white she became, or so they tried, simply by not discussing the past. The past though is a serpent that winds it’s way into a house at night, a thing that used to be an adobe, and her parents, my grandparents, were themselves orphans and alcoholics, they stumbled and left her vulnerable to the snake, who waits and knows his turn will come, and so she to was poisoned with the bite of shame.

Maybe you think my writing about this is a plea for attention? It wouldn’t be the first time I tried to matter, tacky or not your thing. Maybe you think it’s pedestrian and embarrassing, especially when I could easily walk through these doors that you’ve opened for me. But how can I walk through these doors and leave part of myself behind? It’s my truth, and because I’m here, and to be quite honest, was here before you, it becomes your truth too. And no, I’m not looking for a man.


Show don’t tell

But what If I do?

What if I say,




Staring at the sun, paralyzed

tears, spatializing on these cheeks,

Covering their own tracks


Grooved deep into the tissue

Riding through

Does it feel less, sting more?

Am I easier to dismiss?



can we call it important, now?


It’s like a prize inside your crackerjacks.


To all the liars: Your truth is mine.


Picture 2

Adrian Piper, The Mythic Being, I/You/Her, 1974


If not all then some if some then all.

If not all then some if some then all.

If not all then some if some then all.

If not all then some if some then all.

If not all then some if some then all.


In the Nedicks

In the teal booth

I am the women

I am the girls

I am the brother

I am the Lorde

I am you

I am me

I am two halves

Pulled apart like

A soft parsimmon

Coming to mush inside your hands

You cannot spread neatly on the sour dough,

The piece the waiter drops behind the counter

And brings out smiling

And the girls have no idea

They are both and everyone,

In the crystal ball they

Are trapped and chocking

Persecuted and persecuting

that we are

Brown water running down the drain

In the artist’s sink

Across the street

Behind the bus stop

Where the young lady lawyer

Has just stepped off,


Ready to fight, run

For something she has only read about

And the poet knows the silence

Before the storm, looks down and writes another line.



- For Asher

 I wear your chains like jewels

Take your dismissal as a chance to sneak in

I have come to covet your lack of faith in me

And turn it into fuel

I understand so little is understood

Of what a fucked up girl can do

Like transform herself into the smartest

most successful

 person in the room,

And you’re all, whoa, wait, where’d she come from?

And I’ll lay the key inside your hand and say,

They were your chains all along, and

thank you for these gems.



Now this isn’t going to be a little poem, okay? This is going to be a fat o’l paragraph and I might spell shit wrong and punctuate wrong and offend you with my lack but I’m taking up this goddamn space,

And I’ve never studied with the masters most of them are dead and even if they weren’t they probably wouldn’t want me anyway. Let me tell you what its like to wound someone its bad. Did you hear that? Read that? Real bad. I know. I’ve done it first hand hurt the ones that love me most participated in the ruin of other human lives. Real evil inexcusable shit. Hurt people hurt people. I learned that in AA, in NY where I sat beside Phyllis who lived through the 70’s on the Lower East Side and had AIDs and wore a bedraggled leather jacket and a tracheotomy and brought me white lilies on my two year anniversary and held my hand and patted it beneath those flickering fluorescents in that moldy hospice room and called me baby as I sobbed and cried and tried not to push her away the feel of her frail arms her spindly little fingers and that pungent smell that wafted from her mouth like metallic rot and her yellow jaundiced eyes and white film that pulled between her dry cracked lips. And I never call her or check on her and I’m afraid that she is dead. And that kills me. Get it? It KILLS me. Each day I try to say the right things to not be too much to not take too much to not feel so much and it’s hard, okay? Not all of us are born with perfect brains. Some are fizzy wisps and curly brains, broken brains and brains on sidewalks that never get to think again and my brain is a noodle turned to mush, left to drown in my own stupidity and when I finally got around to checking in they sat me on that crinkly white piece of paper on that rubber plastic table and I had that white gown on bare assed and they shook their heads certain I had really done it to myself but my liver was all fine! No calcified rot or shrinkage, I made it out alive!

And I’m not interested in trying to badass myself or tell you about a childhood of getting smacked or shooting crack and lemon juice and Bonnie Brae and 6th in the late 90’s, early 2000’s MacArthur Park when it was just a place that I bought drugs at 3 am or the drive thru, dear god, the drive thru, a van with a Winnie the Pooh blanket covering the windows and you’d pull up at any hour parked 24/7 a young brown girl, maybe 10 would pass the rock and you’d drive away implicit in her damage, a rip in her wound and now when I go to your galleries your museums I sort of remember that stuff but not so much because in bits and pieces it does slip away but there is still something inside me that just wont let go. Her life.

And now I’m here trying to tell you how much hate I have inside, how much pain I have inside and I don’t know what SAT book I bought because I never bought one and I don’t know what to say when you say you backpacked through the west indies or once got stuck in Berlin and honestly not much offends me, except perhaps your continuous offense on behalf of people you have never met, and maybe because my own voice was missing for so long and I just want everyone to have a chance to speak for themselves even though I’m aware it doesn’t always work that way and I don’t know what to tell you except to lie and build this life around myself that never really happened and if you want to know the truth here it is, I am just a woman who used to be a girl that fucked up and made it somehow through the back door to where you all are now. But we are not the same, you and I, we are simply not the same and every time were face to face I think you see right thru me

And that’s okay, but it’s hard to live with and sometimes I just need a little extra time to reconfigure every morning and start anew.

And it’s shame okay? Its just shame. And I’m just trying to grab out to anyone, someone who wants to share it with me, before I too blow away and I’m just these words left on this page, for another set of eyes that will never remember Phyllis and the thumping sound her oxygen tank made coming slowly up the stairwell and the way she hacked and coughed and smiled like life was just this fucking gift, when she made it to the top. And I need to leave her here because she meant something in this world. She meant something to me.
















Appropriated and altered text taken from the essay, Emotional Technologies from Video Green by Chris Kraus, Semiotext(e) 2004

Opening black eye, image by Marianne Williams, 2002, <