curly hair tips

not an expert, just what i do.

first off, you can feed any ingredients list to curlsbot for advice when picking a new product.

wash days

  • johnson’s baby shampoo
  • ecostore conditioner (optional)
  • garnier fructis’s hair food range in the big tubs. watch for when countdown has this on special ⁠— it’s good value anyway but it’s extra good value at $12 instead of $16. this can be used as a daily conditioner as well as a leave-in/deep conditioner and lasts a good while.

i aim to wash my hair twice a week, but i can survive on once and often do. the sequences are as follows:

shampoo day

once a fortnight, or as infrequently as once a month, i use the baby shampoo. first wash is just my scalp ⁠— i skim my fingers through my hair, rubbing at my scalp and covering it entirely. it won’t foam much if at all. second wash starts at the scalp and should lather enough to be spread through my hair. baby shampoo is made for baby heads. i need a few pumps for each wash, up to maybe ten.

(as a note: if i’m depressed or tired, i do this whole process upright. if not, i’ll have my head tipped forward so i can get at my crown more easily.

then, i put on the hair mask and detangle it ⁠— fingers or a broad-toothed detangling/shower comb. kmart has these, as do dollar stores, just simple plastic. i don’t ever otherwise detangle my hair, ideally ⁠— only with conditioner in, in the shower. by the time my hair’s all fully combed out and smoothly sitting lined up with itself, it’s probably been five to ten minutes, and i can rinse it out. if it hasn’t been, i plait the whole lot and pile it on top of my head and tie it there in some kinda bun so i can do the rest of my shower, then come back to it.

i rinse as cool as i can handle depending on the season.

not shampoo day

conditioner, in two rounds if i can be bothered, or just one if not: scalp, scrubbing with fingers, then lengths. detangle. that’s it. i rinse it mostly out, but not all the way.

optional adds to this process include a co-wash/non-foaming cleanser or fancy curl hair mask, but honestly i can’t say i’ll be buying either regularly. i sometimes also use diluted apple cider vinegar (in an old powerade bottle, lol, just a bit to a bunch of cold water) to degrease and remove any product from my hair, just before conditioner.

also, once i’m done detangling: i squish my hair upward and try my best not to rake my fingers through it. the conditioner rinse comes out leaving my hair in natural, clumpy curls. i squeeze them upward, and don’t separate them out more than a gentle shake would.

after wash

okay this is the magic bit. if you’ve at all heard of curly girl stuff, you’ve probably heard of the wash part.

i currently use a linen hand towel from bedthreads to dry my hair the moment i finish squeezing it dry. i twist it up and pop it on top of my head while i moisturize my body or just dry off and get dressed ⁠— linen absorbs water way faster than cotton, and it’s smooth/not terry textured so it doesn’t add friction. my hair takes hours to dry, so fuck the curly hair advice that says “never dry your hair too fast”. this first step is necessary. i am gentle and slow after it.

you can often get cheap, often bizarrely australian patriotic linen tea towels on trademe. those are large enough and would work perfectly for this purpose.

oil

the lady at urban kurl studio told me oil dries out curly hair. and to an extent, i never had luck with it on my actual hair, unless i was doing what my indian grandma does and oiling it to hell and back with coconut oil (which gives me acne and stains all my clothes, lol). that said, a little oil can be amazing.

i found the same to be true of my face: i stopped breaking out when i started oil cleansing my skin and keeping it moisturized bc my skin stopped making more oil to stop it drying out. i apply oil to my scalp, rubbing it in to get blood flow going. right now i use mostly almond oil, sometimes a little camellia, with tea tree and peppermint and a tiny bit of jasmine in it. the tea tree’s for dandruff/excess oil production/itching, whatever you call it, and the peppermint is for blood flow/hair growth/just feels really nice and soothing. the jasmine is for scent bc i’m indian and like it. i have better results when i don’t then comb it through my hair. i make this myself, and store it in a glass bottle with a glass dropper (from miniso, but an old bottle from a medical thing or pharmacy or food drops, as long as it’s glass on glass, will work).

which is mostly because i don’t comb anything through my hair and have it end well. i try to use the prayer hands method of applying product: flat hands, as in prayer, like the two sides of a hair straightener. no separating out curls at all.

excess oil on my hands goes on the very tips of my hair, which don’t get the oil from the roots bc it’s so long.

creme/gel/whatever

ratios and exact products depend on texture. my hair is thick as fuck, so often products for finer curls don’t have a strong enough touch. i’m still experimenting! the basic principle is: a gel without drying alcohols, and a creme or deep conditioner or anti-frizz serum or whatever. for thick hair, serums are bullshit. mix both together, using generous amounts but not enough to make your whole head one giant gel crunch (though: you can work this out with a bit of sprayed water and a t-shirt later). prayer hands the mixture on.

after

i pop my head upside down in a cotton t-shirt and tie it around my head so all my hair sits on top. this is called plopping (gross lol) and there are hundreds of tutorials out there. this is usually the point at which i go to work or do chores and leave it for like an hour, but honestly 10ish minutes is more than enough i’m just lazy and like to not think about wet hair on my back.

then it all comes down. air drying is what i normally do (sun helps a lot, don’t wear clothes that will cause super static or drape a t-shirt over your back if you do) but i am asking for an ionic hair dryer with a diffuser for my birthday! kmart has one for $27 and i’m hoping for that one 🙂 there’s videos on using a diffuser on curly hair on youtube: you put your hair in it, hold the diffuser pretty close to your scalp, and it dries the curls gently.

(if your hair comes out too crunchy from gel, re-wet it slightly or intervene before fully dry, and scrunch it with a t-shirt in your hands. you should be able to get soft definition unless you really put a whole pot on there.)

that’s pretty much it.

quick and easy depresso version

just conditioner, shampoo once a month, upright, no bending over. detangle quickly, tea towel dry, french plait or flat out wear the t-shirt tied on my head all day. sleep in the plait for a week. rinse and repeat. plaits are protective. in winter, i’ve been known to pop a warm stretchy beanie over the t-shirt and let the heat eventually dry my hair a bit.

non-wash days

honestly? i don’t do anything, lol. i sleep with my hair “pineappled” (read: ponytail, for me often doubled so the ends are tucked into it too) in a silk scrunchie i made myself, but any satiny/smooth scrunchie will work. you can also tie a silk or satin bandanna around your head. silk is better for not getting gross with oil and product, and silk pillowcases also help, but that shit is expensive.

in the morning, i undo, shake it out, and go. if shit is thoroughly fucked, i keep an old cleaning product spray bottle full of water, with a tiny bit of gel and some conditioner in it. (i’ve seen people recommend vitamin e oil or aloe vera in here too, but ymmv). i spritz my hair, grab the hair t-shirt to scrunch it out, and let the water hard reset whatever happened to it. detangling gently this way works too with a little tiny bit of deep conditioner, which you can just leave in.

i try to avoid hair ties outside of securing plaits unless i’m going running and need a proper high ponytail (and i wear a cap when running so i can keep the ponytail in place by threading it through the back, and not worry about flyaways), or it’s the day before wash and i just don’t care. i use silk scarves a lot, as bandannas or to tie lazy low ponytails; giant daiso hair clips also feature. i also use… i mentally refer to them as amish hair pins? u-shaped crinkle pins, that, yeah, the amish use and sell. two of those can hold a whole bun in place perfectly for hours unless i’m doing aggressive yoga. they work brilliantly and non-damagingly on most curls. bobby pins do not.

if i’ve gotten sweaty, i use face wash on my entire hairline while showering, but keep the rest under a shower cap until the next wash day.

yeah! that’s it! (i say, having made the longest blog post i’ve ever made).

Published
Categorized as life stuff

proverbs 3:6

in the end maybe this was the problem, after
all: i was never going to listen. or—i did. listened to
your spiel about how He knows all my twisted
ways, about Him telling you when i lied. i had to
acknowledge that this, at least, was an untruth.
Him and His divine wisdom and His omniscience
and He never once told you any of it. instead
He and i formed a truce of sorts. it was sheer
will on my part, growing into the sin i would
make into flesh you couldn’t beat out of it. perhaps
your body gave ground to it, me and my twisted
paths, my wandering eyes, my defiant heart. go
straight to hell i did, mama. go straight i didn’t.

Published
Categorized as poetry

my submission for the conversion practices prohibition legislation bill

my story

It’s easy to pretend anyone arguing in favor of conversion therapy simply does not think that people like me exist. That, even if they believe in queerness, they are merely ignorant of the possibility someone is a migrant, a sex worker, a transgender person (with a pre-existing hormone difference!), a lesbian, an autistic person, and a survivor of immense childhood sexual abuse.

I have experienced conversion therapy, and believe me: they are aware. If anything, in at least a couple of the many cases where I ran into it, the people trying to convert me were determined to turn the many perceived tragedies of my existence into the most beautiful testimony to God.

It makes writing this submission particularly difficult. Even having this bill be discussed widely in my social circles over the last couple of months has been profoundly upsetting. I write this at the eleventh hour, the evening of the eighth, knowing that I may regret it if I don’t; I write it with an awareness that writing it is almost too close to writing the testimony they so desperately wanted from me that they were willing to, in various cases, detain me, exorcise me, spend months or even years counselling me, and finally, finally, expel me from service at church.

In a way, I’ve won. I’m a married lesbian, settled so squarely into my adult life that I only periodically remember that my mother still proudly interacts with social media pages which promise I can be cured. But in another way, writing this, sitting with my grief and my immense sense of hopelessness about it all, and feeling compelled to share my story, they’ve won anyway.

I don’t want to go into too much more detail. What I will say is this: I was raised in the deeply conspiratorial clutches of fundamentalist Christianity, such that even in my first year of primary school in South-East Asia I was telling my classmates they were all going to hell. I was terrified; I was struggling with many other things, including undiagnosed autism and being routinely sexually assaulted at school, and my parents’ particular system of faith involved intense denial that anything at all could be wrong with me.

Aged nine, we moved sight unseen to New Zealand. In this new country I had nobody but my family: we grew closer in the miserable cold of an Auckland winter in inadequate housing with few non-tropical clothes.

There are things no child should know. By ten, I was sure God hated me. By fifteen, I knew exactly how cruel the church could be, and exactly what I had become: an abomination. At that age, I was visibly withdrawn, later diagnosed with what I didn’t know yet was post-traumatic stress disorder, newly sure I was queer. I was sent to therapy and sat through months of sessions with an ACC counselor who was possibly the first person I came out to, and who spent most of those sessions telling me I was going to hell.

I kept a bag packed and ready to run, but I stayed until I was sure my siblings would be able to defend themselves. Went to law school until I was sure my parents knew that I knew spare the rod and spoil the child was no justification for a criminal offense.

Then my parents found out about my girlfriend, and everything tumbled down.

In a way, I’m grateful they forced me out. I don’t know how many more years I would have swallowed my fear and my pain and let a church which harbored known predators pray for me.  I would have been thoroughly unable to start the arduous work of healing. In a way, years on from that period of homelessness, I’ll never be able to finish that work while they still believe they can fix me.

the bill

I’ve grown into a person I’d like to think the terrified child I was would be proud of. Part of that growth has been becoming a prison abolitionist: simply put, I believe that everything we work toward must minimize the amount of harm in the world, and that carceral solutions by and large do not do that.

In particular, as a child, I experienced child-on-child sexual abuse; as a teenager, I was once tricked into an exorcism by other people my age, compelled by their youth pastors to bring glory to God by rescuing me. In both these situations, I was not the only victim. We all were.

I tautoko the voices of everyone who has expressed concern about carceral, criminal approaches to enforcing this bill. These don’t help survivors; in particular, as a migrant, my family was all I had. I knew I could have gone to the police about some of the things that had happened to me in their care, but I wasn’t going to. As with sexual violence, the criminal justice system is a grotesque, retraumatizing process, even when it does not have the potential to end with losing everything and everyone we have.

That’s already the problem with conversion therapy, you see. If we didn’t love the people or the church that bullied us into it, we wouldn’t be doing it. If it were easy for us to walk away, or even to name it for what it is, we would have done that. But most of us are young and confused and hopeful that whatever it is that is driving the wedge between us and the only life we have ever known, it can be fixed. It doesn’t help to know that the outside world, the world our pastors tell us is fallen, the world that we are to be a light in the darkness to, thinks it’s criminal. It really doesn’t. Here, more than almost anywhere else, this approach will lead to children like I was turning further into the church for fear of losing even more.

Beyond this, I want to acknowledge the work of other autistic, neurodivergent and intersex people, and the ways many of us have suffered non-consensual medical intervention. I strongly believe that intersex people at least fall within the scope of this bill; even if you disagree, I urge you to consider the immense harm that intersex genital mutilation and ABA therapy have on us.

More generally, I strongly oppose any attempt to exclude healthcare professionals, whether acting within their scope or not, from this bill. This defangs it entirely, not just for intersex and autistic people who generally experience conversion practices in medical settings, but for the many more transgender and queer people who experience this behavior from their GPs, counselors, psychologists, and specialists, even where it involves entirely unrelated medical issues. This is a major quality of life issue for many of us, in particular those of us who are otherwise disabled.

The goal of this bill is creating less people who have survived what I have. That I understand and appreciate. But I don’t think its current form does that, and I fear that it may cause more harm by forcing the most vulnerable of our young people further into their conspiracist communities for fear of criminal penalties, and by implicitly condoning these practices when done by someone with the right degree and far too much power over our health outcomes.

When I read about this bill, I was filled with hopelessness. I didn’t believe it could make anything right, not for me, not for any of the many other queer people I went to fundamentalist school with, or for any other survivor who is, was, or is to come. Writing this now, I see ways that it might be able to change things, the way it was meant to.

That will require a significant change in how the bill looks and functions. I believe you are capable of making the correct choice, and can only hope that you will. 

Published
Categorized as prose

lazy-type

on my nintendo switch there is a
mammoth on my new horizons island.
or at least, i have to assume that's
what he's meant to be. he wears 
a leopard-print tunic one-shoulder 
flintstones-style & his name is 
tucker. tucker in english, hajime 
in japanese. did

you know that hajime means one? or
first? the wikia says that perhaps 
he is called that since he is the 
last of his kind. extinct & trapped on
my island with sheep & horses & 
hedgehogs & cats & the knowledge
that he is the only relic of a bygone
time. the loneliest

thing about tiggers is that i'm the only
one, tigger says in the tigger movie. 
hajime —  i cannot think of him as 
tucker — likes historical furniture in 
pocket camp, and all he asks from 
your low-poly player character in happy
home designer is a fresh start. the
wikia says he

is lazy. that his best skill is oversleeping. 
every time i load up the game i wonder
what it is like to wake up after an ice age.
the wikia says he wants to become an 
archaeologist. i want to sit him down on
my wild log bench and look him in the 
eye and say: hajime, it's not worth it.
it's not worth it.
Published
Categorized as poetry

brown is

a content note, if you need one:

child sexual assault; medical fatphobia; homophobia, biblical and otherwise; cancer.

brown is resilience. my parents always told me i was heavy-boned, built from cast-iron at four-foot-ten and heavier than i should be. small enough to blow away on the wind on the wellington waterfront in my mother’s bright red windbreaker, borrowed to travel with the woman who raped me. was raping me, flown from california to be a sex tourist to a brown girl in a way that nobody in new zealand could ever imagine would happen here. a brown girl, then, because her trans woman partner her own age had broken up with her over the disgust that she was seeing a fifteen-year-old, and she had told me it was because she couldn’t handle her dysphoria knowing i was cis. a cis girl, fleshy and easy to use. broken in for her. preseasoned, in the way the cast iron pan with the wood handle was before the handle snapped on me and it became more difficult to clean.

all this to say: small enough that a stranger — not her — caught my hand and hauled me back in, a gust of wind, an oversized windbreaker, my hand, the waterfront on the way to te papa. i have to wonder what he saw, beyond the instinct of a kiwi bystander and his alarmed shout: a woman, or perhaps a girl, or perhaps nobody at all, still worth saving. nobody at all sits in the endocrinologist’s office as she weighs my breasts in her cold hands and tells me that i am practically obese, ‘for an asian’, despite being just under the threshold on even the master’s tools. she plugs the numbers into a BMI calculator then sighs and shrugs. for you it’s different, she says. for you the standards are higher. your weight must be lower. i sit bare-chested and brown and acne-marked on her examination table and my testosterone is screaming so low that labtests sent it to a university for counting and they returned it undetectable, and she takes me off the cyproterone that is doing it, and she tells me to lose weight.

when i am eighteen, nineteen, twenty: when i am skinny enough for her, possibly. i dabble in slam poetry. i post it on tumblr, the first piece with this title. brown is what you get before you waterblast your clean rainbow, colors on white, i say. two months later someone whose face i do not remember, possibly a transphobic lesbian — we call them TERFs now, we didn’t yet — leaks a joke i make about cannibalism in a private group to the director of the only queer youth organisation in town and tells them i am a potential murderer. i go to the next annual general meeting and wonder why all the white queers with stretched ears inch away from the spot where i sit, half-lotus, folded into myself on the floor in the way that people like me have always known how to be small. that is the thing about being brown, right? that it is terrifying to be around us because we are relentless. shaped from backs that should be bent, from a man spitting at me on victoria street west where i wait for the bus because my hair is buzzed short and dyed rainbow. that being alive is a crime in itself, a personality trait, a sun sign or a myers-briggs type: chewing your way through gristle to survive, though the dentist told me i’d long since ground my teeth so far down my canines don’t have points any more.

sometimes i tell a story in passing. two phrases, barely a sentence, i got exorcised twice and it didn’t take, something like that. one of the footnotes in a life whose broad strokes i hardly even remember since my brain injury, no stories as scaffolding unless someone shares something which sends them bobbing like corpses to the surface of my mind. oh, i say, and i try not to be rude, that reminds me. they say that it’s autism that leads me to demonstrate empathy this way, to say: i understand. this is how you know i understand, that i have lived something like this. it would work a lot better if i was telling the stories i thought i was, marked by levity, flippant and joyful in their decisive confinement to the annals of my past.

instead people look at me. you could write a book, they say, in much the same way the girls from the churches of my past oohed and aahed if the ghosts of past hands grew too much to bear and i spilled it out in the way that teenagers will spill anything in a tantrum, even blood. what i heard then was: your testimony is so amazing. tainted by the ochres they pictured my homeland in, the way that ghoulish crimes against children certainly don’t happen in the sanctity of god-defended new zealand. your testimony — that i had fled the demon-possession of asia, the grasping hands of the already-dead, and been resanctified. made a virgin, but an interesting one, touched by knowledge and serpents and all the things that they wished they could stand white-dressed in front of a congregation and allude to, tearfully and modestly, before baptism. isn’t it strange, that? that bad things happen, and we can survive so much more than we think we can, and if that surviving is baked into me from the moment i am cut from the womb in an emergency surgery at a student hospital, then it doesn’t mean anything. your story would be better on a white girl. a deserving victim. they don’t say it but they say as much: i wish you would share, they say, on occasion, but more often it’s i wish i could share.

i have no desire to exorcise myself in a comprehensible way, much less behind a loaned pulpit. this is what you get instead: wishes, dandelion seeds in the wind. i see myself in the stories of memoired brown and black queers who know what it is to build a spine from the way thighs splinter if prised too far apart. i see it there, the thread that we’ve all found, that we hold onto because there is nothing else for us, diving this deep: under pressure, we are compacted into the shapes that whiteness then expects us to keep. even now, at the surface, where blobfish take on their name because the lack of pressure folds them into newly grotesque shapes.

i’ll be honest: i don’t know how to survive up here, not yet. my therapist tells me i am doing well. i have burnt through my fair share; it is by sheer luck that a social worker who is sitting in on my psychiatrist appointments — he is a man, and we cannot be alone — has the phone number of a psychologist who she knows to be good at dealing with difficult people. she laughs on the phone, that intake enquiry, when i relay that on. did they say that, she asks. it turns out to be true: i am a prison abolitionist, and she is an ex-corrections psychologist who has worked with high-risk offenders nearly as long as i have been alive, and for a time she assumes that what she considers my optimism comes from naivete. then we get into the meat of it and she sees differently.

the meat of it, of course, being the meat of me. this year i am enduring a sweltering summer — no hotter than back home, but i have learned that the sun here is four times as vicious — with a shiny new shoulder scar that stings at the slightest blush of sunlight, even indoors. it is too hot to wear sleeves; i let it keloid and swell red and angry anyway. the surgeon — private, i have maintained health insurance because i know i collect pre-existing conditions like my mother once collected high heels — tells me it is benign this time, and i think about how resilient my body is. how, years ago, twenty minutes on a bed in the sun as a student-survival-prostitute napping naked between clients gave me a spot between my legs that was cut out of me while i stared up at a parody tui ad on the ceiling: this won’t hurt at all — yeah, right. that skin healed without a scar, between my cunt and my arse. my shoulder will continue blooming for months to come, i know already.

the story of that shoulder is another aside, the way my stories fold into each other like those infinite little origami story-choosers we used before we knew about tea leaves or natal charts or visual novels written in twine: you unfold one, and there is another, joined to it by sinew and scar tissue. none of it is interesting, unless i tell it interestingly: a lump that grew after acupuncture after a major brain injury grew and grew and grew for seven years until it exploded, me weeping on the floor of my bedroom in front of the mirror and cleaning up more detritus gray-crumpled and pouring out of my body than i knew bodies could make. i am a sex worker; i have had acne all my life; i know about MRSA, and the ways that things can go wrong for good if something goes wrong once. i sterilize everything. i go on a work trip that somehow involves abseiling down a waterfall in the dark in the waikato with nothing but a band-aid on my wetsuit-covered open wound. my mirror is streaked to this day.

brown is, i wrote, and then recorded in audacity, exporting it to reluctant mp3 for tumblr. performed it once, though i couldn’t tell you when behind the frosted glass of my post-concussion memory. what i want to say now is this, to you, my dear one, nineteen and homeless and posting angry and alone on tumblr: brown is more than you think it is now. i do not mean to condescend to you, to your metaphor, natural debris that conceals a rainbow. but you are luminous already, darling. you will learn to love — i will learn to love you. and this is what we want: not to be resilient. not to be moss or lichen, already there, hard to prise from the small spaces we’ve eked out for ourselves. to be vulnerable in the ways white people can be — overripe, full to bursting, tender to the point of runoff — and demand love all the same. to be beautiful in our broad back and our slender ribs even if the shoulder that has been out of joint ever since that one policeman twisted our arm behind our back never carries any weight again.

brown is strong, beloved. brown is strong enough to dream of weakness. to step into glass slippers and shatter them and walk bleeding the rest of the way, bare feet too honest to look at. brown is filthy and depraved and earnest and shuddering under the weight of everything that has been packed into us and sealed with the kind of extra-strong tape that smells so strongly chemical it lingers on our callused fingertips. and, well: god in his mercy promised that he would not flay us skin from soil again. that’s what the rainbow is, isn’t it? a promise. brown is a promise to you, mung bean germinating on the whiteness of a wet paper towel: you will become the person i am now. i will become the one you cannot imagine tomorrow.

Published
Categorized as prose

n f t

NON-FUNGIBLE TOKENS is already such a negative phrase it starts by telling you no and ends with a word i already know from people saying they need a brownskin person for their photographs NEAT FUCKING TWEETS sometimes as an artist i think about the things that get retweeted and the things that don’t NO FUCKING THANKS like color and shape and the specific genre of art made to appease rich people gold plated toilets and things that evoke the shallowest loss in their destruction and things that nobody should own like the pinkest pink in the world NOT FOR THEM i want to hone my craft learn to draw people as beautiful arcs of motion that will never make me rich i want to dance in my work-from-home office and sing anything but hamilton NO FREE TIME and make art with a hundred colors not one of them gold plated that people pinch-zoom on their phones and admire on company time NOT FOR THIS / NOT FREE TODAY / NOT FROM THIS

Published
Categorized as poetry

thumbprint

and what am i meant to say to you when
you took my little clay heart, me and all my 
loves, and shaped it? glazed it, too, that
crackle-shard stuff that happens when your
outsides cool faster than your insides. they 
tear apart, then. contents too hot to hold,
lawsuit-worthy, overfull. spilling over like
anger and so many poems and ink, blotted
too late not to leave a stain in your terrible
carpet. i was angry, but didn’t know it yet. 
you were beautiful in your anger and your
ennui and the crooked-tooth way you had
about work and men and being queer in the
way that queer means artist, ever making, 
perpetual motion machine, until the cables 
give out on him and her and you and me.
Published
Categorized as poetry

opprobrium

i'm tired of caring. you, your consecrated archways, your
story-spinning whirligigs, the way you papier-mache together
cleavage and moustachioed bravado until someone ⁠— 
anyone ⁠— puts the sword through the magician's coffin. i'm
tired of poisons and poultices and precipices. i'm tired of 
unnecessary hand-wringing and necessary interventions. 
i'm tired of swinging at shadows you've conjured up,
puppet-master around a cauldron of sins and puppy-dog
tails. the trail of broken hearts you've left in your wake 
is a miracle in itself, you stepping lightfooted across the 
watery roil of souls more cursed than yours, or perhaps 
just less clever. i don't even think you're clever, just smart.
you know the difference. that tongue-twisting finger-licking
catastrophizing echelon, riding back through the portcullis
after victory in distant lands, that's what you want, isn't it?
i'm tired of caring. i'm tired of polishing your saddle and 
saving the baby's breath that crumples in your hoofprints.
let me take my gilded scissors to the heart of your tangled
wood and cut your hair while you sleep. it doesn't matter. 
Published
Categorized as poetry

faceblind

i
have 
never been
good with faces

it's a quirk of synapses
the way my brain swims among 
people silver-scaled and refracted
by water into unfathomable shapes
i hold them loosely because i 
can't see them and i can't
bear to see the hurt of 
someone seeing 
me not see 
them

but you —
i would be lying
if i said i knew you
from the moment that we
met though it's not a lie that
you caught my eye right
away — swam through
my silver net my
crab pots my
bent back
my

memory

an eel a 
taniwha half myth
half purposeful and 
very much alive in my
grasp and my siren song turned
yours and i sang marry me
(you did) marry me (you
will) marry me in the
everyday and
marry me
in the

way 
i always
see you coming 
i remember your face
and i beam like
a lighthouse
shouting
home
Published
Categorized as poetry

in the beginning was the word

it is january and we must be brave.
in all things. the ways tongues fit 
in mouths, or don't. the way that resolve
is a noun and a verb and we aren't
sure if either is within reach, not even
if we try really really hard. the way 
to try can mean to strive for or to
test, you know, trials and tribulations
and all the other things that new
years are made of.

it is january and we must stare into the
corpse of the neonate world unflinching.
or very much flinching, that's okay too. 
curl your pinky finger around the ghost 
of mine six feet or six thousand miles 
away. we'll be fine. we'll be brave. i 
promise. i don't.
Published
Categorized as poetry