TE Tomaino: Three Poems

i fuck on the first date

ginsberg wrote through
the eyes of a sparrow but
i’m too busy teaching boys
how to best hate themselves

they’re all bad-bellied
skin hard scar
to the fingertips
too skinny
top jaws in yellow
stain. cocaine
thrusts. cement

this is nothing
more than stained-glass oration
cracked in fractures of color
how i charm, churn
the base gaze. lean
closer&lie a little
longer. whisper
tinder creates ashes

smashes vio
lent, vio
let kaleidoscope &

fall in funeral rouge
a bit of blonde-dyed frustration

they can’t say shit to a woman
when they’re a secret sleep
in a cheap casket or

a folded composition
from hammer hook of



i was a nervous line behind.sip sipon lobby lemon water.your husbands reservation in minneapolis adjusted for two minus you.& cool strawberries grew from his skull&silent vines curled from her lips&both glanced&turned away from my tart surprise&i dribble/blinded by the shared twinkle their pupils held.you didnt go that year.you couldnt.the kids/probably.so i wrote a poem that weekend about the pause in a circle&how it makes me dizzy&depressed&o! how i sucked at recognizing the radius that grew around them.what happens at AWP stays at AWPsome fuck lick lickin my ear during a panel on feminist free verse&your husband and her and that twinkle locked in a room of recycled impressions he left on your milk skin.his unrolled tongue of irish fathers/the silvery motions of slop slopand sweat sweet of forties&fit; her sensation/his approval/breast&taste of tangy cunt/a breathe so many forget to be there for&after i jogged/stopped in awe of their cun&traveled as an x-ray on a nj boardwalk counting beats of white diners&black waiters.but today ill tell you about this jog&how i saw that twinkle again against the atlantic/her hands lock lock in your husbands gray familiars.how can i be a master of this awful language when i cannot unroll my own irish tongue to protect&predict how your heart would breakbreak?&its okay you drank all the tequila&lost it on him.you are allowed that sad smile of sucked salt&lime&all the pauses in all the circles under the stars we twinkle twinkle silent under.



my dreams are
parallel lines
of light &



grandpa bashed
my baby sister’s
head in &


buried her
behind a wall.

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