Love in the time of quarantine


I should count myself lucky

I get to be stuck with you


My hands spell out on your skin the things I can’t say

so I will build you into the walls of the things I know


I will treat you like a lover,

lovers like enemies,

enemies like the world


I will hold it you and turn it you over in my hands,

finding the truth


Love in the time of quarantine is

when I will need you the most

and need to see the world

I have always said I have no wanderlust but

I never knew how much I hadn’t seen until I was forced blind



help me feel

help me feel the universe I just found,

my hands are not enough

I need to taste it

Author's Notes/Comments: 

Written 8/31/20

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You Don't Know Me

You poor little porcupine.

It startled me that you jumped in front of a moving car.

I wish I could be there for you and help in any way I can.

But your quills pricked my heart when I gave you a hug.


I cannot pull them out or I would die.

So I had to tolerate this pain and let it suck the life out of me little by little

While I think back to when our affection for each other mended every obstacle we faced.


The future was bright for us.

You couldn’t stand by to let me sink

So you taught me to swim.

I wanted to return the favor badly.

But I didn’t know how I could, sadly.


The possibilities were endless when we spoke of our dreams.

You could picture yourself coming to my rescue and growing old with me.

You couldn’t wait to hear my voice as if your favorite show was about to air on TV.

You made every effort to show that you loved me

Even if I have nothing to give you in return except my own.


A year passed and the storm clouds were brewing.

The weather grew colder and attitudes turned sour.

I was working hard and I felt out of breath.

You were studying hard and you turned inflammable.


“Where was I when you needed me most?” you asked “calmly” one day.

“I’ve been fighting my own battles all this time.” I tell you. “Life hasn’t been kind to me lately.”

Please, please bear with me. I’m tired and I’m scared. I’m going to be left to my own devices.”

“You need to make more time for me.” You scream. “Anyone would have abandoned you ages ago”

“If you’ve been gone for as long as you did. Is several hours with me too much to ask?”

“Answer me, you ignorant, pathetic excuse of a child!!! Grow up!!!”

I couldn’t with you leeching off of my aura.

You made it seem like the world hates me now.

So I packed up my things, spread my wings, and flew off into the rain.

It doesn’t matter how badly you are suffering yourself

If the prospect that I need to take care of myself too slips your mind.


I never asked you to help me.

You did so at your own volition.

If you didn’t want to in the first place,

You could’ve answered, “No thank you.”

We could’ve gone on with our lives either way.


But here you are.

You called me immature.

You called me a teen in an adult’s body.

You said I never bothered to do my share.


But my dear porcupine, have you taken a look at yourself?

Or better yet, look in a mirror?

You don’t see the newfound greed in your heart, but I do.

The scholars in my inner circles do.


Whose leg are you trying to pull?

My loved ones know exactly what you said.

They know how selfish you’ve been acting and what I could’ve done.

If you think no one can love me the way you did, you could not be more wrong.


I can admit when I am anyway.

You went to town on me like I didn’t know how to count.

And my only response to your passionate rave was goodbye.

In the blink of an eye, you disappeared from my mind. Your quills in my heart decomposed.

It was like you were just another customer that treats cashiers like their punching bags.


I wish you the best of luck with your own hardships.

And I hope your own wounds heal entirely.

But I am done with you.

I am done letting your vitriol take up space.

I am done listening to you disguise your resentment as facts.

I am done hating myself for what our love has come to.

My love for you was just practice for the next person.

Nothing more, nothing less.


Demeter was wise to tell me to stop getting involved.

Because I discovered that what you don’t know

Was how amazing it felt to give you up and do her work

Without a care in the world. After all, you don’t know me.

The Tower



Tomorrow falls flat like a tomato dropped
from the ninth story window. I'm dangling
my hard earned cash from fingers
bent on hoarding every thread-bare sheet
tucked away in the linen closet just
because it still smells like your perfume:
oleander. I can still taste it:

the speed I swallowed to force time forward

instead of back. That day you turned towards the door

while I opened the curtains

and looked down.




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The Flame of Burnt Brandy



She was a Corpse Reviver No.1:

sweeter than her name

with a punch that would leave my head reeling
in the morning. There were lit candles
that smelled like apples and
honey. I breathed in the burnt fruit like it was the first time

I pressed my face to her neck.

Outside the leaves blew against the window

with the incoming storm; inside, my fingers

pressed into the pillow on my lap with
every word she whispered,
offhanded adjectives trailing through the foyer

to mingle with the dust on the baseboards.

It wasn't until the air stood silent that the house roared with age,

neglected after so many years. I stood

and felt the tingle of electricity in the air,

my bare feet grounding me

to the radiance of her alter. Nouns dribbled over my lips

like daisy petals plucked and dropped

under our yew tree. It was then that she rose

her blackened fingertips to my cheek

and let me cradle her absence.

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The Prince of Darkness Faces His Executioner

Are you ready for it?

I shouldn’t have to ask you that question after all that you have done.

It would’ve been rude of me not to give you a heads-up like this.

Your reign of terror is steps closer to its endgame.

If I do not draw my sword and face the ghosts of my past, checkmate is guaranteed.

I did something bad long ago, but can you blame me?

I’m just a human being that made a mistake because I was not in the right mind.

Anguish and love do not mix because both made my life worse before.

If you respect that my situation is delicate, why do you keep poking the hornet nest?

If you crack it open and the wasps sting you so much their poison burns,

don’t be surprised if I say, “Look what you made me do.”

Your empathy is lacking so why should I care if you are put to rest the next day?

Princes don’t negotiate with paupers like me.

So it goes because fame and violence are always placed above justice and peace.

Isn’t it gorgeous to be the one in control? To run a country or a sect without a care in the world?

Doesn’t it feel amazing when your subjects obey you unconditionally as if you are an almighty god?

These questions reveal to me that aristocrats and celebrities use their authority

for insolence and seduction. No wonder we can’t have nice things.

You are not entitled to my throne even though a liar was the king of my heart before.

What was “yes” today could be “no” tomorrow so I keep fewer promises.

I’ve heard enough empty platitudes from your devotees to realize that an oath is not to be made lightly.

Anything else you want to preach about before I take the getaway car to escape additional agony?

Go ahead and dress your possessive wiles by telling me you love me

And shower me with material goods to let my guard down against my better judgment.

But when you try to use your tenderness as leverage, it is all the more reason for me to leave.

The longer I stay here, the more certain it is that my life is in danger.

My hands are tied keeping the darkness around me at bay for as long as I can.

Fortune is never on my side when I dance, but my sword will always be my partner.

Call it what you want, but the battlefield is my ballroom.

If dancing alone is the only way I can retain my individuality, so be it.

Happy Raʼs as-Sanah al-Hijrīyah, Vlad Dracula.

I’ll see you in Hell.




September is my birthday month

and the leaves were drifting like snow

in a city that hasn't known snow since the 70s.

You stood behind me on the front porch and

I knew your warmth

like the blanket we would huddle under later that night.

There was a ripeness in the air

that signified pumpkins would be harvested soon

and gourds would be made to grin at trick or treaters in a month.

Are you ready for the spirits to grace our door?
In the city there are no bonfires to dance around,

no flames to illuminate our faces, no

snaking hands to conjure spells as sparks drift towards the sky.

But magic would still seep into our lungs

as evening slipped over treetops to fall under the porch light

above our heads.

I could already smell it on your breath,

taste it on your tongue.

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Sea Glass



Knob kneed and pale,
I glow
before the waves with toes painted green

like the world through a piece of sea glass, my vision hazed and

calm. Your thumb presses my fingers

like the tactile press of a keyboard's

steps towards the fully formed sentences

I can't quite seem to finish. The storm on the horizon

is electrifying. It drowns out my breath with each rumble

echoing over the waves and we know we should leave,

move to safety,

but the water is the most intense

shade of you.





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"Arange Chicken"

She always said orange with an “a”
back then. I loved her
clipped bursts of speech like the twitch of clipped wings.   
She sat beside me and I drifted
then dove until my ears popped
and sulfur filled my nose and
the pressure in my lungs left me
With her nails in my back
my eyes were floating to the ceiling   
on her lingering laps
through gently discarded ambitions. The world became
her perception and my reality
and I could do nothing
but wring my hands and offer
my ego on the plate next to her
arange chicken because
she let me run my thumb across
the bones in her shoulder blades. They threatened to break
the skin that’s softer than down   
and I wondered
do you miss the sky?

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Monet’s Parasol Beauty


She was a woman built in technicolor:

a vibrant Monet's parasol beauty in a miniskirt with

indecencies etched into her eyelids

and the promise of
galaxies mapped out on her lips.



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