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you can’t say you’re an asshole just so you can be one

I don’t know why it took us eight years
to attract each other
I don’t know why you say you’ll call
and don’t
I don’t know what you’re so goddamn afraid of
why we even started this?
I don’t know why I feel safe in your arms
and think about you all the time

I don’t know why I’ve been so

when you
and forget me

when I mean to say
fuck you

yeah, sorry, what I meant to say was

fuck you.

someone who can step to this

I liked the way your slim hips swayed
back and forth with mine
I was careful not to say anything like “slim hips”
I played the shy girl
and it paid off
here, it’s become strange to kiss strangers
but tonight I got my flirt back
haulin’ out the rusty old smile
but it’s easy when you feel it
smiles are easy
when you’re singing in my ear
holding my hand
pushing me up against the car
brushing your moustache against mine
you tell me that you’re trouble,
like I don’t know touble
I’m more trouble than you could ever be
I say
’cause I know that you don’t even know the half of it
I think:
someone that can step to this

nothing like riding a bike

I guess we’re going for it
you told me you didn’t realize
I was a serious and well-read person
I told you that I liked you
but that I should draw clearer boundaries
I don’t know if you have experience with this
but I do
it’s amazing how easily I can slide
back into this role
Sean said it was like riding a bike
you talked about the wonders that tunnels are
blasted through mountains
and the disppointment of coming out on the other side
I thought about how society tells you
that your words are worth more than mine
I brush your silver hair out of your eyes
and wonder why you’re in my bed
I hate the way you kiss
but the desire to kiss you is overwhelming 
later after you’re gone
I think, shit, I guess I’m going to need some condoms

$500 for $20

I am submitting “$20” as a short story to a local writing contest and have made some new edits. Here is the latest, more polished version.


It’s a little awkward trying to come up with a fake name to protect his identity because I don’t remember his actual name.

I was standing alone on the patio of the gay bar that stays open long after all of the others close. The fags I came with had pumped me full of whiskey and compliments all night, but now were nowhere to be found. I was feeling dejected in Anchorage, recently back from college and missing the kind of queers you find in big cities. I had just ripped off an itchy $9 witch wig and washed an eyeliner moustache off in the bathroom mirror. Maybe that’s why I looked acceptable to him. Let’s call him Henry.

I had made eye contact with Henry between making conversation with the gorgeous old fag from Chile and sipping random drinks I found unattended on the wooden picnic tables. He was pretty unremarkable. Tall, average white dude, crew cut, black hoodie, five o’clock shadow. But I kept catching him looking at me and was curious why. I’m femme enough to give off the straight vibe, sure, but I haven’t been approached by a man in years. So I found myself leaning up against the wall next to him. We talked for a while and he asked me if I wanted to “hang out”. I knew I was too drunk and bored to pass up this potential adventure for going back to the cold van I was living in at the time.

Henry is in the Air Force and very proud of his Irish heritage (maybe I should have named him Liam). He tells me such things while we walk to the gas station so he can buy cigarettes. I grab a bottled water and a gingersnap cookie and he buys. As we walk back towards downtown he says, “You have the most clear green eyes. Make my eyes clear like that. Tell me how to make my eyes clear like yours.” I can’t tell if we’re having a special moment, or if he’s just drunk or high. He says he has a lot of money and would rather get a hotel room than take me to his downtown home. When I question the idea he tells me it’s because he has a pit-bull. I try to explain to him that I work with dogs, a pit-bull isn’t an issue for me (is it for other women???) But he insists, so we ride around and around in a cab looking for a vacancy on a Friday night, and finally end up at a run down motel with holes punched in the head boards.

Henry turned on the cable and I shouted from the bathroom for him to find some porn. There was a jacuzzi tub that looked like it hadn’t been cleaned in ten years. Despite that, I craved a hot bath so I started the water, got naked and came out of the bathroom proclaiming that we would have a hot tub together. Henry did not argue. He did whine that the water was too hot though and I told him to “man up, soldier.” We eased into the steaming water, the only light coming from the street through the bars on the windows. I hadn’t told Henry that I was gay yet, so when we were soaking in the tub he put his hand on my knee. I decided I was ok with it. We talked about his wife. Apparently, this was the “pit-bull” he spoke of. He said they hated each other but the Air Force gave them some kind of benefits if they stayed married. I told him he should get a divorce. He put his head back and sighed, agreeing. Henry got too hot and left the tub. I relaxed in it a little longer and when I got out I found him sprawled on the bed. I laid down and closed my eyes, heavy from the heat.

We talked a little more, or I should say he talked more. “You’re really cool,” he said, “you’re so…. chill.” I laughed at him. My eyes were still closed and suddenly I felt him leaning over me. He rested his hand on my stomach and started sucking on my nipples out of nowhere in the middle of our conversation. I don’t know why, but somehow I was ok with this too. I figured if I just kept my eyes closed I could enjoy a little nipple sucking, why not?! I laughed and told him he wasn’t doing it hard enough. He got all timid and I remembered why I don’t like having sex with dudes. But, he was so nervous and kinda dorky that it was almost cute. He grabbed his dick and I decided to start masturbating in front of him. He was mesmerized. I actually got a little turned on by the thought of him watching me and told him he could fuck me, with his hand only. He didn’t get it at first, but with a little direction it turned out ok. “You taste really good,” he said at one point, pulling his fingers from his mouth. It was then I remembered I was still kinda on my period. He tried to fuck me with his dick a few times and I had to push him away and tell him no, like he was a dog or something. At one point, I had a little reality check in which I realized this burly bro could rape me if he wanted to and I was a little nervous for a second. I ended up coming three times and he was in awe watching me ejaculate. “I’ve never seen that in real life,” he said. I made him masturbate to orgasm and he was amazed that two people could have sex without penile penetration. Like it was some new secret trick. Afterward, I watched his face relax and then slowly turn into a grimace as he surely thought about his wife. “It’s alright,” I said touching his shoulder, “you’re human. It’s not the end of the world. Nothing is forever.” He nodded. Where were all these sagely words coming from?

Before we had arrived at the motel he had been saying “I’ll never lie to you, I’m a very honest person.” I didn’t think he was a bad guy and I decided I wanted to be honest with him now that we had been physical. “I should probably tell you that, uh… I’m a lesbian.” I blurted out. He looked confused and I braced myself. “Whoa, you’re like the coolest lesbian I’ve ever met…” He tried to kiss me and awkwardly missed. “You look kinda like Henry Rollins” I said as he pulled away. He didn’t know who that was.

I was starting to sober up and decided that if I was going to have some identity crisis because I just let a dude bro put his hand inside me that I should do it in the safety of my own van. He told me that he should go home, but that I could stay if I promised not to break anything. I told him I would rather just walk back to my van. I think he felt embarrassed to check out only a few hours after he had checked in. We gathered our belongings and I started toward the door. “Wait,” he said. I turned around and saw him shuffling through his wallet. He pulled out a twenty-dollar bill. “Take this,” he said. WTF? I told him “no”. He insisted. “Do you realize what you’re implying?” I asked. He told me it wasn’t like that, he just wanted to make sure I got home safe (even though my van was two blocks away). I wasn’t going to turn down cash. Henry walked me to my van. “Well, maybe I’ll see you around sometime,” he said and smiled. “Yeah.” I lied. “Are you sure you’ll be alright out here?” he said as he watched someone shuffling around behind a dumpster. “I’ll be fine.” I nodded. As he walked away he turned over his shoulder and said, “Well, if anything happens just scream and I’ll come back.”

pin holes into the sky, part 2.

give me one of your freckles
we’ll trade a tiny part of ourselves
I’ll do you and you do me
constellations of love over our bodies

Honey Bucket’s hands move just like Elena’s
and I remember warm nights
sleeping exausted
from talking and dancing and kissing

I’m pretty sure the girl at the counter at Middle Way
is something like eighteen years old
but she has a septum piercing, moustache and this demure style about her
all of which turns me into a fumbling dork when I order from her
especially today when she complimented my glasses

I told Meg I wasn’t fit to carry an anchor on my finger
but that’s not entirely true
I was born in a fishingtown
I know the quiet rocking of boats
and otters in the harbor
I know slippery seaweed dried on rocks
and red and purple starfish

if we are different people with each lover
if they each bring out varied qualities in us
and we relate to them in diverse ways
if in every relationship we are able to express unique parts of ourselves
and learn varying lessons each time we connect
then how on Earth does one go about considering
committing to a monogamous romantic relationship for the rest of their lives?

I can’t stand the way you chew your food
but I liked watching your fingers
wrapping thread around the needles
your teeth helping you hands make the knots
and the blunt side of the needle gently parting your moustache

the reason I call myself a queer dyke
has nothing to do with physical attraction
and everything to do with socialization and social construction
so stop fucking calling me a lesbian
and fuck me

pin holes into the sky

here there’s a certain kind of light just at dusk
blue stacked on white stacked on pink
the bare trees reach backlit black, upward

I don’t know what to say

a tattoo is made up of hundreds of single needle pricks
we’ve been going to fast
so we sit on the dirty carpet and poke intentionally
into each other
each point is an action
a map
I think of the one on my knee
jess you can
jess you are

in the black sky out the window
I watched the same star all the way back to Alaska
head full and heart heavy
knowing I’d forget the taste of Aden’s mouth
knowing I’d forget the clear color of the sky
what were you like as a kid?
did you get into trouble?
were you shy?

Alex said
that hummingbird and elephant hearts beat
the same number of times their whole lives
and that’s what relationships are like
is it true?
we all have a finite number of chances?

I told Beautiful she was the kind of girl I’d drop anything for
no matter where or who I was with
but I didn’t kiss her in the cabin in the woods underneath a stranger’s quilts
even though I wanted to
I remember vowing to become a musician just to sing a song for her

the people we leave our back doors unlocked for
planning trips and scheduling intimacy
climbing through each other’s windows
the friends we love, the friends we fuck
the love letters we’re writing behind our eyes when we talk
over coffee, over beers
great loves and perfect moments
slipping through our fingers and up into the sky
time and chance and distance
and sometimes working, sometimes not

I want your

f note
blue stars
four squares
puzzle pieces
black spruce
paw print
black bird
sinchi warmi
highbush cranberry
don’t worry
imaginary moon phases

I’ve never told you that I love you
I told you too soon
I tell you all the time
I don’t tell you enough