Tag Archives: 2014

2014, Week 6: Untitled



His face is a shroud. His face is itself
faceless. It is every face softening
to mere thaw, running a river, turning,
turned, around the bend. Gone, away.

I had a dream, was delivered from it to
a lightless morning. The clouds outside
mutated slowly into shapes and figures,
symbols never seen before, already seen:

his lips covering the mouthpiece of a milk-pearl
abalone flute, his fingers sifting through
blessing powder the worn color of turmeric.
After that, I did not dream for many nights

and days were spent driving the blue-gray coils
of a sleepless highway. At a gas station the pump’s
TV monitor blazed, wordless. His face flickered
in and out with the poor reception — first a man,

his nose angled and proud, then a boy biting
the inside of his cheek. When the picture
came back on he was a bear cub, hunched
over and shoulders drawn, but eyes bright,

black, sharp like the stones in the creek
outside my bedroom window. The gas pump
jerked against the car, the clouds rolled in.
The screen went dark. His face was still there.

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They…is that so fucking hard to say?

He. His. Him. Guy.
Is this what they think when I’m walking by?

She. Her. Her’s. Chick.
Is that what they think, can they tell I have a dick?

Hey Bro! How it hangin’ guy?
I hope they don’t know I tuck it up inside!

Hey slut! What’s up bitch?
The way women talk to me makes me itch.

What’s up homo? Who’s this dude,
with the fagot face, and the bitch attitude?!

Excuse me please, as I don’t mean to be rude,
but don’t call me by a gender I don’t wish to exude!

What should I call you, sick fucking runt,
which end do you eat on, a cock or a cunt?!

Whatever I eat, my gender won’t say,
but as for what you can call me, you can start with “they”.

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2014, Week 5: She

There was never a time when I was not she,
the long hair, tangled, the breasts (unimpressive,
akin to the flat russet stones I’d sought as a child
on the riverbank), the territory, hidden and strange,
some slick pink undersea thing, which the boys
admonished, said shave, shave, and I did.

I was never not she, never not one who did not
want hands, his, like the great green wings
of the luna moth, opening and closing, once more
smearing dust onto the skin of my waist; never not
one who did not, with her own mouth, ask for his.
I did not enter the world with a painted face,

I did not enter it with rouge rubbed onto either cheek.
Instead I slipped from the womb bearing precious salts
as my gifts to give, only to relinquish them to modesty.
I was never not she: foolish girl, foolish woman, scorned
and loved, a treasure, a burden; but then, suddenly

Saturn turned. The constellation points that ran down
the length of limbs and legs wavered, whole galaxies
mislaid. She? — me! — me, a foolish beast brimming
with lost bounty. Me, eyes dry and belly taut, barren,
biding time on the edge of a breast, a body, a blizzard.


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2014, Week 4: Cycling

Unravveling Fire

There is a woman who I know whom I love who is close to me in ways I cannot possibly define. Oh, how I wanted to become her, to be as brave and as fearless, to be as shocking and clever and wily. Flames kindled on her red tongue. She chomped at the bit and crashed into lovers and drank long and belched hard. A million friends, every one of them in rapture. She told me secrets and I worshiped and I worshiped her. Embers rose into the air and she always jumped she always caught them she always fell.

She is cycling again, he says. Scraping knees, mystery bruises. Hospital visits, therapists, psychiatrists all lining up to douse this rogue fire, swiping at a chance maybe even to catch it to study it. Pills line the bathroom sink. It has been years. There is a woman who I know whom I’ve tried to love who is so close to me that I can no longer untangle her breath her thoughts from my own.  She is burdened and ashamed and heavy and her fire is old, old, no hearth fire, no bobbling lantern in dark night. Just a weak candle, sputter, reaching, reaching for air, waiting, thinking this is my time. Thinking this is it, this is it and then the fall.

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2014, Week 4: Cycle



Bicycle tires going ’round, the medicine wheel, seasons turning, compass spinning. The wheel of fortune, mine or yours. Menstrual cycle, moons waxing and waning, lemniscates looping endlessly, ouroboros tucking into his own tail. What goes around comes around. The ring on my finger. The orbit in your eyes. Last year, the years before, the years after.

Have at it, darlings.

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foodie: some notes on food and memory

1.         1. There is the desert  and  food stand and the expansive blue sky like a bonnet holding it all in.  We are in Mexico.  It is probably 1990, one can just walk straight across the border, no passport or fuss, just “American” to get back in, the password into the party. We are visiting my Nana Nati—short for Natividad—and we are at a food stand in the market.  We have a lunch of pita pocket filled with ground meat and sauce (a gordita) and green glass bottles of orange soda,  there are vats of horchata (milky coconut, cantaloupe, watermelon, strawberry) and the smoky aroma of  grilled corn is a fine mist.  The cool of the glass bottles and plastic cups and the wrinkle of foil are tastes my hands still reach for.

t       2.The dead of summer 1999. I am cupped by my Nana Nati’s death (We go back to Mexico for the funeral. In the market I feel like an observer this time around instead of obliviously in the thick of it) and my freshman year of high school. I spend the summer mostly by myself and reading. I read Francesca Lia Block, Shakespeare and mythology books over and over. I have a summer job at a daycare in a women’s shelter. I only eat in the afternoons. I drink coffee and fix myself peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, I order fruit and salads at restaurants. I read cookbooks and make muffins and kolacky and take them to my room and read some more.

2.    3.. 1989. My abuelo’s  funeral. Us kids have to stay with my Madrina.  I am small and the grown-ups are so big and I don’t understand death. There are hotdogs. Buns and ketchup and paper plates. I don’t understand why no one feels  like cooking.

3.       4.. 2011. J.’s funeral. There is a brunch of fried chicken and sweet things and bread and eggs and bacon.  I eat none of it. I want to stuff my face but the thought of it makes me sick. We go home and make tamales and red rice and pintos and eat that instead. I finally understand the true and absolute essence of comfort food: the child I once was still nestled in my stomach and screaming for something ancient and familiar.

4.      5.  I am 16, it is 2001 and I live in an apartment with my friends. We are 16 and 17 year-old cast-outs and runaways and we have schemed our way into a $275/month 2-story apartment. There are no parents to tell us what to eat! I cook us Ramen with broccoli and some kind of dollar seasoning. We fill plastic goblets with ketchup and potato tots. There is cheap beer and cheap vodka. We are the kings of our castle.

5.      6. Sunday. 2014. I visit my mom on Sundays. We have split-pea soup, and spinach lasagna, and oranges. The times have changed. There is a brightness like a bonnet holding it all in.


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Week 2: foodie



Oh baby. I am always so excited to photograph delicious meals and gush about new favorite restaurants that when I dated a picky eater for three months I was surprised by how much I missed the excitement of tasting new flavor combinations. I filled up on pizza and love instead (and it was a whole different kind of satisfying). Now I have more free time for restaurant adventures, experiments in cooking and instagramming my meals. I’m even thinking about starting a mason jar herb garden this year. Why not, really? So tell me about your favorite cuisines, why you are afraid to try any food that’s write and creamy, vinegary, etc. I want photos and recipes, restaurant reviews, poems about love affairs with food. Anything!

tastefully yours,

Melanie Kristy

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Ladybugs & Families




My aunt believes that ladybugs are signs from the grandmother I barely knew.
When I tattooed my foot with a ladybug, though, it wasn’t Nana I had in mind, 
but a reminder of faith stemmed from watching Under the Tuscan Sun many times.
Still connecting dots I realize: faith and Nana are connected.

My Papa died before I was even imagined
sometime in 1970-something on December 22nd.
He shared a name with my uncle B, and his son Baby B

Uncle B passed away a few weeks back, December 23rd from the big C
then something around twenty-four hours later
we lost our cousin, Baby B
Three men with the same name passed December 22, 23 & 24

The morning of the family services
Auntie D asked for a sign from her mother
then went about doing her hair
only to find a ladybug in the bathroom sink in the middle of winter

Earlier in December my dad found a ladybug in a coffee cup his garage 
he tried to let it go, thought he may have stepped on it in the process
Only to find the ladybug back in the cup the next day

My tattoo never healed right
the red ink fought my skin until bits of it oozed off
and still the representation of faith remains blemished on dry skin
Even connecting the dots, identifying synchronous moments 
in time & life & on movie screens
I think it might keep it this way


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2014, Week 1: Synchronicity

Most nights I dream I
am digging a hole
as wide and deep
as a coffin. The walls
of the tomb smell like food;
naan bread, crab cakes,
worcestershire sauce.
I lie down and take
a deep breath.

But the other night
an invisible shaman
spoke in my ear.
I dreamed he taught me
how to heal the hairline
fractures splitting
people’s hearts, but
all I wanted to know
was how to heal my own.

I heard his tongue
cluck, cluck, like
a ruffled rooster
shaking out silken,
loose plumes.
He cackled
and told me that
more than half
of any wound is
healed by healing.

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Constellations: 2014 Week 1 Synchronicity

I’m in the process of learning how to use words in a cathartic way. Until now I most wrote for escape. I’m rusty at poetry and still broken hearted, but here’s a story.


I believed in the
Of you
And me

I believed
The little green house
I drove by daily
The fact that
You spent three years
Just streets away

You always asked me
About the constellations

I wanted to
Draw lines between
The same college
Same major
You had my friend as a professor

Make our own constellation
We didn’t need the gods in the sky

The day before I stopped believing
In our lives aligning
I decided to plan a trip to Portland
The same city she lived in

You are responsible
And I want to hold it against her
Remember the time she
Wanted me to know:
I had nothing to worry about
And I wasn’t even worried

When I asked
You said you believe things happen
For a reason
Like maybe this had to happen
For you to blossom
For me to break free
Fill myself with self love
Mourn the destruction of stars

& I forgave you
Because online flirting
Amateur and dumb
Doesn’t outweigh
The pull of my heart

But you couldn’t
Release blame on yourself

And so we wander
Lonely stars in a
Finite universe
Exchanging constellation
For coexistence
Slowly unwinding
We unalign

Melanie Kristy


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