i don't know how to get out of the sky

i am made out of electricity.
i am always disappointing you.
i am not what you wanted, i feel dizzy
at the south pole. i pant from disorientation,
it makes me sad how the magnetic fields are changing.
north and south are moving towards each other.
when they meet they will hang over the continents.
everyone will have vertigo and fall down.

i don’t trust the compass. north is not good enough
for me anymore. north is not what i hoped
it would be. i hope north feels very bad
about itself. and the guilt! north will become bloated
from eating its feelings and roll over into the east.
everyone will bleed from their ears and jump into the ocean.

good. i am pissed.

i smoked cigarettes until i got an ear infection. i cried and all the tears
went up my nose. i am pissed at you.
when a plane flies by i don’t know which way is east.
i cannot see the sun and don’t know which way is east.
i look at the compass but don’t believe what it says. electricity could be
involved. when electricity is involved you cannot believe anything.
it makes me dizzy having electricity around all day.
the altitude is killing natural magnetism. east is going extinct.
east is selfish and will never get married.
east smokes too many cigarettes.
east is fucking the north and having illegitimate children.

i am never going to get out of here.
the only way is down.


the hot air balloonist is sleeping

(a bear, a native american and an auto mechanic are in the balloon).

bear: did you see that chameleon float by? it was the color of air.

auto mechanic: this hot air balloon has a flat tire and a false bottom. i don’t like deception and i don’t like poor vehicular maintenance.

native american: there should be a word for water without a bottom.

bear: i wish that chameleon would come back. that chameleon and i had something. i hate it when that chameleon is offline.

hot air balloonist: i don’t have wi-fi in this hot air balloon. i think you have mistaken yourself for the internet.

native american: my eyes are water and my hair is water and my heart is water. my pillow is water and my liver is water and my teeth are water.

hot air balloonist: i don’t feel like writing right now. i am going to go swimming in the balloon pool.

native american: i am water and my people are water.

auto mechanic: if you hadn’t let all the air out we wouldn’t have this problem. now there is no air left and everything is blue. that is not right. things should be clear but instead they are blue.

hot air balloonist: uh-oh. this hot air balloon is not a duck boat.

bear: that chameleon has opened my heart in one thousand ways.


the balloon without pedro is boring

i wish a bear would float by.
are there any bears in america? if a bear
was in my balloon with me we would hold hands.
the bear could not operate the mechanisms because
of no thumbs but i could take care of that
i have been playing solitaire for 4 days.

you take rejection so hard.
i didn’t want to throw you overboard but
we were sinking and i was tired of your vocabulary.
rejection can be funny if you laugh. laughter makes the thing
become funny. i am playing two hands of solitaire at once now
i will not let the devil beat me.

when i hated you i was thinking of someone else.
i saw people’s faces in the trees and confused you
with someone cold and heavy. i don’t really know
anything about your temperature or density or whether
you could operate the mechanisms. it doesn’t matter.
when i loved you i was thinking of someone else.


there should be a word for every kind of hot air balloon that exists

i met pedro in the air. he was collecting letters. he was assembling pieces of cloud.

i told pedro about the oldest form of human-carrying flight technology. he told me about a fire-starter in his village. she had a flame halo.

pedro went away to discover new fire words. “there should be a word for every kind of fire that exists” he said.

“there is a flame in this hot air balloon” i said.

“humans have explored the entire horizontal world, but they rarely think to explore vertically,” i said.

pedro and i are in love.

i taught pedro about how the oldest form of human-carrying flight technology started with floating eggshells and airborne lanterns. pieces of things went into the air before humans went into the air. birds are not included in this.

“people think too much about birds” pedro said.

i think too much about people. the tree line looks like a silver dollar when it reflects the sun. it makes the shape of a man’s face.

pedro is not even writing a new language. he is confused. he thinks he is in school right now. he thinks the air is a chalkboard.

“i am on my 49th word for fire!” pedro said.

i am going to throw pedro overboard. pedro and i are not in love.


Interview with a Hot Air Balloonist

Hot Air Balloonist Magazine: Are you a hot air balloonist?

Hot Air Balloonist: Yes.

HABM: Why did you become a hot air balloonist?

HAB: Someone stole my bicycle.

HABM: Has anyone ever stolen your hot air balloon?

HAB: No.

HABM: What is the best part about the job?

HAB: Going up. The small flame. The thinning air.

HABM: What is the most challenging part about the job?

HAB: Getting down.

HABM: How do you manage to get down?

HAB: I find heavy things in the sky. On a clear day it can be difficult. The passengers are not much help. Once we get to the tree line it’s easier. Branches are heavy.

HABM: Do the passengers enjoy the ride?

HAB: They feel happy before we go up and after we come down. While we’re in the air they think about other things. One lady got upset when she had to throw her handbag and shoes over the side. They were weighing us down. Sometimes they try to take home a bit of cloud as a souvenir. They get frustrated when they can’t. They are generally unhappy people.

HABM: How long have you been a hot air balloonist?

HAB: A man tied thousands of helium balloons to a lawn chair and floated around his neighborhood. He hovered over his dog and waved at his dog.

HABM: Are you going up right now?

HAB: Yes.

HABM: Do you think hot air ballooning is still a viable form of travel?

HAB: It doesn’t...moment...giraffe knees...

HABM: I can’t hear you anymore. Can you hear me?


HABM: Do you have any words of advice for young aspiring hot air balloonists?



Notes from the Window

Is it unlikely? The turpentine has evaporated.
At closed doors I am dark
shadowing the unusual light of winter orange
glow absorbed and lulled:
trash cans, stadiums of light.
My clock set, I enhance numerically,
absorbed by orange; numerical because
no one tries to number me; not that I have nothing
that can be counted, I might have some new kind of code.
I might as well shout, “I have depth of feeling!”
Sewer moss bursts in light
and the slippery morning looks like this:



first: the day you were born and i dropped you in the water.

word: the day all of my hair fell onto the floor like a mass of paper clips clicking.

cold: the day the man in blue shorts swam across our living room. how did he get through the door, how did your laughter pour him like water.

and again: the day the plant died for revenge and thirst. we took to the salt mines. we dug and we dug and we came up with one red wagon, one piece of coal. one blueberry to put in the freezer and one chicken fillet to coddle and fit to a bonnet.

foretold: the day you came home and said, “i am not made for swimming through the neighborhood we need a raft.” we took our car and drove out onto the lake, a dark sparkle on the water. we bought you a new dress made of evening and topped with lampshade. we shielded our eyes from the glare.

fracture: the day you said “i need a chicken to cluck, a rope to jump. i need a wig to brush to cover my lighted head. you are too much for me, we can’t talk anymore.”

and lull: doing laundry doing laundry doing laundry. growing out my hair.

the dig: we will not always have the daylight. she has broken me into pieces and now i am leaning out the window to find them, and I am losing the lamp. I am belittling the yard which only grows in the dark.

the twins: you took out the trash for your birthday. a thousand pieces of glass danced a shining portrait. you are cinderella and i am the locked door.

age: “mama hit me with a prefix deliver me away.”

date unknown: the day i lost my vocabulary. a napoleon has taken over the country and there are bursts of light everywhere. i don’t know where my rainwater is. i have taken to the road. on both sides are rushing green, specks of light, the wheat fields and the traveling wells.

word: the day my hair came back in a sprout of glory and the water streamed at both ends.

pursuit: you now radiate like an onion peel lit from beneath. you were always grown into the dirt, a daphne running for the river, you have been sealed at the root.

death: “he showed up glistening. you are an ivory tower, give me your hair. i lowered a hot wire and a cat clawing. an electric bundle and a blue spark. this is how I cry out.”

date unknown: i opened all the letters. not one light bulb folded into any of them.


a day with the baron and his family by jorin bossen

jorin bossen made this at an art party a couple of years ago.

it has been on my refrigerator ever since then.

he probably doesn't remember making it.

he probably doesn't remember me.

jorin, i am shannon's friend. kathy.


1,000 recoveries

if i stopped eating it would be like you stopped drinking. if we ate and drank it would be like we rolled around in the mud. in the rain. let’s build a shelter. with pancakes for breakfast. when you go to the store it’s like i’ll visit your grave. at the petting zoo let’s make pies. say you’ll stop smoking. say i’ll stop lighting fires under the house. we need a system. if you stopped with your literacy it would be like i found a baby on the stoop. everyday i’ll stop. it is like this.


The Photograph

It had to have been
a fake. Take this head
in your bag, for example.
Fake. Not real, not even
close. I can see the white
Styrofoam through the makeup,
for example, how I look
in the morning.

My left shoe finally caught
up with my right. It said you,
miss, are a criminal.
It's time to put that gun down.

This sky looks suspicious,
too blue and too
low to the ground.
That is not a bomb, it is a burst
of light, not to be confused
with photosynthesis.
That ticking is music and not
what it could be.

Like what I'd like
to know about you
and that church you leveled.
For example, my teeth
and the way they are shining
white in the dirt.


nothing good is happening online right now

q: what are you doing

a: counting the spaces

q: name one bad thing

a: waking up with you. waking up with the dent of you. going online at 3am and finding you still glowing. the milk cannot be touching anything else. it won't work. would you like to be face to face and not in cyberspace?

q: when i open my mouth you

a: turn down the music. the phone is always an unknown caller. the milk cannot touch the place "from whence it came." we were in the christmas aisle, casually, and then i woke up hollering. i wasn't crying, it was nighttime everything was blue that is why water gives that appearance.

q: christmas is not good because

a: quiet graves

q: when you say counting the spaces do you mean between plots or between words or between faces as in spaces have faces or do you mean

a: you shouldn't drink coffee at night because you will wake up with your mouth open and sometimes a sound will be coming out and you won't know it as your own until you realize the tv is not on and the alarm is not set.

q: and the phone is not ringing

a: she told her best friend. she said, my husband is in the mob. simple. then he shot her dead. it was me that time, he shot me dead. i was wearing his jacket when three bullets came through it. then i put the gun to my head. i said i love you i promise don't kill me.

q: so then you got up and went to work

a: my head is in different spaces. right now it is on the train traveling southbound. southeast, if you want to know exactly. everything that's lovely gives off light. her mouth in space at 3am, a moonrise.


these remembering things

we thought something terrible had happened.

we thought the awful smell was coming from the cabinets
or that the nation was under attack because the couch had changed colors.

he said i’d like to introduce you to this person i won’t admit to knowing. say pleased to meet you.

he said i can’t talk to you when you’re this negative and i said i can’t talk to you when you’re this tan and when i’m trying to drink water and it is so goddamn hot. i said i know you have been hiding things since january, what i am trying to figure out is where you found the space.

he said i’m sorry, i don’t know anyone by that name.

we thought we had grown past this. we thought we had moved on to more affirming types of people.
we thought writing was some kind of tranquilizer, like nighttime or television.

she said i love to remember these beautiful remembering things.
i think she hasn’t learned the word memories.

she said i think something died at wabash and adams. everyone in their cars rolled up their windows and all the people on the street put their hands to their faces. i said do you think it was important?
she said it was close to the library.

in my old town there were plenty of cemeteries to wander around in but in this town there’s just street.
miller’s pub has a new flashing sign, have you seen it?

he said i don’t know what you mean by that.

what i mean is that i thought something terrible had happened but really the terrible thing had already happened and what i was doing was remembering.

As I Said is over

I am not going to post any more of As I Said. I will post other things now.


As I Said: 14

What if there were two of me and only one of you
What if one of me was at the bottom of the ocean and the other
stood at the shore looking at the water
What if you wanted me but did not know
that I am really under water, way down under loads of waves
and whales and starfish, hiding in a clam, a pearl in my mouth
What if I told you that you must speak my other name
What if the other you was a thousand miles away
in a hot desert buried under quicksand filling your mouth and eyes
What could either of us say with all of that weight on top of us
so far below the surface of the earth


whatever it is they are against it

some of these poems are now posted on 3:am magazine.

thank you tao


As I Said: 13

I need to find a whale
to get swallowed by


As I Said:12

"If it holds my attention that is as close as I come to happiness."

"There is a dragon in the washing machine. It must have crawled in
through the drainpipe. Now all of my clothes will be the color of fire."

"I dreamed she died and he got married two weeks later.
When really, he's the one that is dead."

"Her brother died and she waited for him
to come back but he never did. Then she got mad."

"Once I took a bath in the dishwater. It was cloudy
and turning cold but I still came out much cleaner."

"That dragon is leaving scales all over the house."

As I Said:11


As I Said:10

There are two trees and one man riding a bicycle past them
The first tree sticks out its tongue and lays it on the man's lap
The man grabs hold and hangs on and the tree says
I don't like it when you do that to my tongue
but the man cannot hear. He is so curious
The other tree looks down at the ground and wonders
when will this be over?
The man on the bicycle sits perfectly still, balanced
on two wheels and holding the tongue


As I Said:8

At one point the whole house
was on Prozac
then she broke out in hives
and the fun was over
She just showed up one day
soaking wet and talking
We encouraged her to relocate
I said to her Tennessee is pretty
but I just feel like Iceland
is where I belong
My answering machine
always confuses voices


As I Said:7

As I Said: 6

A girl chased a porcupine
up a tree that kept getting taller and taller
I want those quills she said
but what do you think was up there?
Above clouds more branches

A frog carried the sun above the water
because a princess was crying
She chased the porcupine for so long she forgot
about the ground and then she was somewhere else

A prince and princess were in two different towers
and the wind pushed them together
Some people believe in God but it's not good
to focus on one thing like a dream
with only one person in it

That frog swam for hours to find the sun and it was heavy
A line is forming at the gate


As I Said: 5

As I Said:4

I walked in and my cat was in pieces
clawing and meowing and generally raising
sadness. I said to her did you know
microwaves can send the cancer right into you
even though there's that door
People never kill with their hands anymore
why is that? He just collapsed
He wasn't sitting too close to the computer
or standing in front of the microwave or anything
like that he was just leaning into the sink
brushing his teeth and then he collapsed

I walked in and my cat had scratched the wall
into a vitamin scored to hide a tiny gun


As I Said: 3

As I Said:2

Don't you hate it when
the answering machine light is on
but there isn't really a message
As soon as I walked in the door
I could tell a stranger
had been in the apartment
These are the things that
my therapist refers to as
irrational thought patterns
She dresses up to watch television
I washed all the dishes as clean as I could
but I could still tell that
someone else was around
Someone is always calling for Daisy
but Daisy isn't my name


As I Said: 1

these are the things that
make me shoot myself
Isn't it weird how
taking a half of a forty
of Celexa really is like
breaking bread
It even looks like a little
loaf, see?

this is not poetry

i named this blog after andrea rexilius, della watson, megan martin, meghan austin, and shannon mullally. they are brilliant. you should love them.

my first series of posts will be excerpts from a chapbook i am trying to publish. it is called As I Said.