The Last Suicide Note

You’ll make sure nothing
will go wrong
anymore.

This time, you’ll make sure

you won’t go
wrong anymore,
no longer feel

the fracturing
of your glass
as it spills out

what’s left
of half-empty,

what better way
to fill this silence

than by breaking?

What better way
to mend the glass

than by bleeding?
maybe this

was the rose-tinted view
you were supposed to be searching for,

the smoking fuse of a lifeline
about to set itself on fire, see

how brightly we burn
when we set sight in darkness?

See how we always cave in
to our last resorts, like we didn’t know
life could exist without exits,

like if we shut ourselves out
the world would keep on turning
until it ran us over, didn’t you know

your falling corpse
still makes a sound
even though

you won’t be listening,
even though

you won’t be
here?

 

Disney’s so Diverse

In 2017, Disney opened up
a new section for its theme park

called the World of Avatar, an experience
so immersive, you’ll be sure to forget

what place you’ve come from, lose yourself
among the exotic glowing plants

in the Valley of Mo’ara, find yourself
trampling tradition

to the beat
of the DIY Na’vi drum circle,
you’ll trade in

your FastPass ticket
for a pair of mountain banshee reins–
your right to passage

for their rite of passage–

and when the Shaman of Songs
serenades you with her tribal tune,

all her words will translate

into positive energy, into a new age
nirvana Teavana hippie buzzword

as electrifying as the current
running through her Animatronic veins,
on the inside

she looks no different
than the rest of the beasts
surrounding the World of Avatar

in Disney’s Animal Kingdom


Animal–because Disney

was too civil

to call them savage,
because Disney must

have been listening
to Pocahontas

too hard,
when she told us

we should paint in all the colors,
Disney took it as an invitation

to turn race into canvas,
so it could fill in the blank–

Disney’s so diverse

it now colonizes in every color,


spices up redskin with blue,
steals letters from “native,”
leaves apostrophes behind, and claims

it’s original, leaves an ending
where a white man
sheds his foreign body

to call himself indigenous–no amount
of special effects can erase
that level of racist entitlement

Disney’s so diverse
it celebrates the technological progress
of being able to render racism in 3D too,
I guess the 2D caricatures

of Peter Pan’s “cunning and not intelligent savages,”
of Aladdin’s exotic Arabian princesses,
of Lady and the Tramp’s bucktoothed, slant-eyed Siamese cats,
of Dumbo’s Jim Crow,

just weren’t accurate enough


Disney’s so diverse

it only adds marginalized groups
in proportion to marginal profit,

 

from Tiana to Elena,
from Mulan to Moana,
in fact

Disney’s so diverse
it added two more types
of white

in Scandinavian and Scottish,
because diversity
isn’t intersectional

unless white people can join in
Disney’s so diverse
it replays history
through interactive media,

and calls it amusement

 

but diversity is not a magic show, a spectacle
of conjuring as many different colors
in as little amount of time–
don’t tell me how

your act should be applauded, because my people
have been hungry for representation–
don’t call them hungry,

when they have been starved to the point
of gnawing white bones for sustenance,

Disney’s so diverse

it keeps its menu open for every body
so you will always know
how much your skin is worth
after it’s cut up and served

Disney’s so diverse

it asks you whether you want your racism
for here, to-go, for there, for wear,
forever for everywhere



Disney’s so diverse

it will hand you the knife
and call it character customization

Disney’s so diverse
it will tell you not to worry,

after all

once the skin, once the meat is removed
our bones will all look
so white.

Gravedigger

Sometimes I pretend to be a ghost
because I am afraid that my past will come back

to haunt me. That is to say
I pretend I no longer exist

because if I unmake my own grave first,
you won’t have to wait

to lie in it–I fantasize
about where we’re going to be

when this is over. I imagine you,
someday, asking someone else

for a lighter to set us on fire
so you can feel our sparks flying

one
last

time–my therapist asks me
when suicide

became a form of self-defense,
I tell him

I am defending the world
from myself, he tells me

I am just trying
to escape this world,

I tell him
there is no escape

when you’ve desensitized yourself to dying,
when you fantasize yourself into threats

because you don’t want to play it safe anymore,
because once,

you took a leap of faith
and now,

you can’t
stop

falling–I fantasize
about choking on my own parachute strings,

I fantasize
about being my own parachute strings,

that is to say, this
is how much I crave control, this

is how much I crave our destruction,
because it’s easier to choke

on the dirt of your own grave
than to splinter your shovel

with someone else, because it’s not
the splinters that’ll kill you,

it’s the tetanus–that is to say, this
is how far death’s from us now,

this gaping space
between the ends of our graves

that we’re not even close
to filling–and I promise you

no one has to choke tonight,
so hold on for me.

I’ll let you know
how the ash tastes

later.

A Dialogue on Toxic Masculinity

I punch my brother.

He punches back,

calls me “bitch,”
calls me “faggot,”
I call him

nothing. ‘Cause when I came out
of the closet, I learned that silence
was death, and it kills me
to fight him. I can feel the fire

burning
in his eyes, as fiercely
as the tears
are burning
in mine–he mistakes
this reflection

as weakness, I see

the blur of his fist
sailing towards me
like a shooting star,
I reach out

to snatch it, and he smiles,
thinks I’m trying to snuff out his light.
A black-and-white fight is exactly
what he’s looking for
and in his mind, I’ve already lost
the war, he knows
my freedom to speak
retreated from my throat
two punches ago–he’s just here
to finish

what’s left
behind. He knocks me
to the floor, wraps his fingers
around my neck, asks me
if the river of my liberal mouth
still dares to run now, as if he doesn’t know
how the bloodstream beneath his knuckles
flows like poetry in his native tongue,
so I reach out to help him

get lost in translation,
embrace his wrists like handcuffs,
embrace the only way
I can arrest
his attention. He understands
what I’m saying
and switches back
to punching–his fist

collides into me, we’ve finally
made a connection, I think
I’ll call it “love,”
I’ll call it “communication,” I imagine,

one day
he’ll connect with me hard enough
to paint pages with my blood, I imagine,
he’ll stare at my broken bones
long enough to understand who’s missing,
I imagine

he’ll be coming for my funeral, I imagine
he’ll bury me, so that we
can finally communicate on equal ground,
so that he can use his words

to stomp out my silence,
to wipe out my death
and rewrite our conversation
his way:

in which we tear
at each other’s throats
until our vocal cords
no longer
hold us

back.

Skin

There were 24 bikes on Sunday.
Last week, there were 25–

NO
THERE IS NO LAST WEEK

the fish took last week,

OBAMA NEEDS HIS LUNCH
LIKE A FISH NEEDS A BICYCLE

and his dog ate my homework. That’s why
I had to drive
backwards to school today, so I could sing
to the preacher about it, but when I went

to find the preacher the fish told me
the preacher was in the basement so I started
going down

and that’s when
the roof started shaking, ’cause when
the fish took Obama they left
his dog on the roof
and the dog
stepped on the bomb in the grass–

NO
THERE IS NO BOMB IN THE GRASS

the fish took the bombs away
last week. That’s why
there’s no more purple skin left

to go around. That’s why
I couldn’t find any bodies
in the grass last night.
That’s why

I had to come out on Sunday–

NO
THERE IS NO SUNDAY
AND YOU CAN’T COME OUT.
WHAT SKIN

DID YOU THINK
YOU COULD EVER LEAVE BEHIND?

no–
the fish took my skin,
the fish took everything,
we sent the fish away
for a reason

NO
WE SENT YOU AWAY
FOR A REASON

no–
you
sent us
away.

Metaphors for Leaving

I remember when I told you, it was sunset.

I remember, afterwards, you ran
out the door because you already

imagined the words leaving my mouth
before my mouth left you. I remember

it was because
I didn’t know

how to love you.

It was because I didn’t know
how to go
from treading water

to trembling ground,
it was because
we were metaphors for each other,


it was because
the metaphors came too easy,

with the way we cast ourselves
to fit each other’s shadows, taking turns
to drown each other in black, I remember

it was sunset.
We were playing
suicide chess, where the goal
was to make your opponent
take all of your pieces, and we couldn’t

remember
whose turn it was
to play black, and I wondered
if that was just foreshadowing
for another metaphor,
it was because you made me
forget the difference between
penning metaphors

and penning myself in,
it was because I opened you

into another closed door,
it was because we didn’t know
how to cut our locks into keys,
I remember

it was night, when you promised
to come home

but didn’t,
I remember

telling you, that home
is where the heart is

and you telling me
your heart only lies

in other people’s houses,
and that time, it was my turn
to run out the door

because we couldn’t cut
our mismatched hearts in half

and call it compromise,

because I didn’t want to pen you
into another metaphor,

into the dirty laundry
that never whips itself in the air,
into open graves,
between nameless bones–I asked
whether you preferred cremation

for a reason. We were as intimate
as two insects, drawn
to the same flame, yet somehow
I

am the only one
left burning.

Things I Know About Grief

1. Don’t talk to me
about stages.

The spotlights here
barely sputter
as they spit away their glass
exoskeletons. The floorboards

rot
into an open grave
for their shattered shells,
and the corpses here

keep cracking open, as if breaking themselves
into more microscopic pieces

could magnify them
into greater wholes

2. Don’t talk to me
about holes. As if you

could pierce earth
without losing your sense
of solid ground, as if you

could bury the questions
breaking the back
of your throat, by causing cave-ins
at another entrance deeper

as if therapy
was impaling hope
with a shovel–you cannot
grow answers

from ground-up corpses,
you cannot refine corpses

into ground-up metaphors

3. Don’t talk to me
about metaphors,
about stitching my scars
into constellations,

about spitting new needles
to match old threads,

about discovering new ways to drain
my blood into a corner–tell me

whose grave
have I been watering?

4. Even if you drown yourself in tears,
the sky will not rain flowers for your funeral

5. Instead, the glass
raining down from the spotlights
will crack your casket open,

impale your corpse
into the floorboards,

impale the floorboards
into the earth

impale the earth
Into your shovel

6. And the earth will choke back the bones
as it swallows your body whole

7. And the sputtering spotlights
will shed the last of their broken skin

and stitch their dying lights
into a garden of constellations;

they’ll bury stages in fire,
bury fire with the sky
until the sunrise
swallows

the last
splinter
whole.