This Land Was Not Made for Angels

Ask if your country is addicted to forgetting
this land is not America
it is stolen
from people who are still alive
and fighting.

Ask if you country is addicted to forgetting
rivers are living things
we are living things
we are not weapons or numbers or usernames
we are animals
and animals need clean water.

Ask if your country is addicted to forgetting
we are people
and people need some kind of sacred to survive
but the God who’s on our money
is inconsistent in his miracles
and his angels are white.

This earth is brown.
This earth is red.
It does not need those angels.

It needs water protectors
prayers and poets.
It needs rebels and teachers and children
who need trees and rivers and birds
that are not covered in oil,
birds who are not cartoons or decorations,
birds who are made of bones and blood and songs
like us –

We need songs.
We need unflinching music in these unrelenting times.
Beauty will help us stay alive.
We need that winged thing called truth.
We need to stop forgetting
that we need each other
the way we need water
the way we need something sacred
to survive
like justice
and home.


Whether or Not You Fly

When I grow up I wanna be Brandi Carlile

I wanna sing to tear the roofs off houses

and serve you up your own heart on a plate.

When I grow up, I just wanna feel at home

in this boygirl body, at home on 10,000

foot mountains, at home

in my own bed. I wanna navigate

rush-hour traffic with regular breath,

get along
with my family,

make love
with my eyes wide open

and call down the rain when I come. When I grow up

I wanna jump off every waterfall

without ever having to flinch.


I love you even if you can’t jump

even if you stand at the top of the cliff shaking

wishing for your mom
even though she was so cruel. I love you

in those moments when you can’t speak

move, sing, jerk off, or smile. Those moments

when you need to be small again –

small and held, not small and brave.

I love you in those moments when you compare

your hair to every other girl, your muscles

to every other boy, when you look

around the room and find yourself deficient

because that is what you were trained to find.

I love you with sand in your underwear

after a wave knocks you out, I love you trying

to pee when no one’s looking, I love you

unwitnessed hungry, lonely, and done. I witness you.


I witness you talking to that beat up 11 year old girl

inside your own chest, the one who can’t believe

someone’s finally listening to her. I witness you bring her glitter,

ice cream, and daisy chains, I witness you describing

the perfect getaway that never happened

how all your friends would come bust her out of the house & fly

through the sky in a blue car like Harry Potter

and land somewhere safe.


Later, I witness you hiking alone

12 miles up and down ridges in the rain

and the sun, anchoring your heels into earth

your lungs to the sky, becoming part

of the widest expanse of ocean you have ever seen.

I witness you hitching the last ride down the mountain

to the last plate of fried chicken

in the last town at the edge

of the colonized world. I watch you wake up the next day

pray to the sunrise

press flowers in a book

for your girl back home. I witness you navigating

potholes, dehydration, Easter Sunday, and unrelenting wind.

I witness you wanting a family so bad you could taste it.

I witness you hoping

this girl is the one. Hoping one day
you get to plant

the blueberry bushes
you’re both keeping in pots

cause you’re waiting for them to root in the ground

together. I witness you calculating
budgets, debating careers,

trying to paint, love, fuck
and make poems

despite all the anxiety
of hustling a life under capitalism.


You are doing such a good job.

You are making it, you adult, you dreamer, you kid.


I see you when you count to three

and leap in the sky shrieking

only to find when you land

the water is actually deep enough to hold you.


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