a model of the universe

i’ve been burning a red candle since the new moon in hopes of understanding love.

blooming on the heels of a dark winter, a new love changed my whole life, and boldly unfurled for a stranger that almost loved me back. this early love. this, too quick to be love, love. this, how could i possibly? this, massively foolish. this, put it all out on front street.

love. and it was love for a person, and the person is a stranger, and the stranger is getting stranger and farther away. and the love is no longer new but bigger and softer, and sad and mournful, and patient, and willful.

i started a new red candle last night, a seven day tall boy for myself. for the person. for whatever is supposed to come. i prayed. i folded laundry, i washed my floors, i checked my finances, i prayed. i read, i drank water, i drank liquor, i prayed. and then praying, deeply, with eyes open, with palms open, i talked to grandma and she put a hand on my knee and said beta, which means son. and i looked at her and i finally fell asleep so very early in the morning.

i had a dream where i was sitting on the floor of a very old temple that had been razed, only remnants of pillars and an old dusty floor remained and in every direction was dusty old desert and few live animals the color of sand. i asked the temple why was i given this certain and illogical heart, why do i carry so much dumb love and reckless tenderness in a world that hates or fears love? a world that uses love to manipulate, to feed their insecurities or to wield power over one another? why am i made the fool when i feel that love makes me wise?

it answered and told me to wake up.

“to love, be alone”

and i thought to myself,

i am such a dramatic hoe. why am i like this? i was surged with doubt and self punishment. i don’t even know what love is. this is so stupid. i’m just a careless love thot. i just need attention. i really just need to do yoga or some shit. get dicked down or something.  why don’t you go write it in your tumblr, sadboy.

and then i remembered my grandmother. and even if it was a figment of my imagination, i felt ashamed to speak callously about a gift dream she gave me. i humbled myself to the message. “to love, be alone”.

love isn’t loneliness, i know this for sure. when i think of what real love is supposed to look like, i see it existing in moments when we can escape our socialized notions of domination. i feel love when i feel worthy of affection or forgiveness or belonging regardless of what i was conditioned to think i need to do to earn love. if there is no one around you cannot depend on anyone to feel worthy. come to think of it, when you’re alone, there is no “worthy” either. being alone, i think – is being. and being in society is being, but maybe being in relation to power. and maybe power is a natural phenomenon, maybe our relation is power, and together we are power, but it’s important to acknowledge and to be aware of when we go from being humans to being social machines.

“to love, be alone.” what is love alone? i often attribute all these wondrous and brilliant feelings to the presence of another person. i experience love as a revaluation, look at this! i’ve forgotton that i’ve lost you and now you are home! thank god!


i seldom get the chance to marvel at them in my own heart, all sparkling and sweet, all mine.

in long stretches of solitude, in the woods of loneliness, after the fear and insecurity subside, i start to understand just how many whims and impulses and desires are informed by power. i can start to see how deeply i believe i can control anything at all, what systems reinforce this idea, and who taught me that in the first place. i see the soldier and the monk and the priest and all the systems of consolidated power. here perhaps ironically, alone, i can see how harmful individualism and statehood, and nationhood, and any idea static identity can be. ideas of worth and dignity are useless alone. there is only this deep humility and humor for my own human foolishness.

and maybe i understand now, the space of humility is the only place that my new stupid love can settle.

maybe it’s all a silly dream and i’ll look back on this and cringe but that’s the point of writing this at all. the future always knows better. by then i’ll know then what it is, but right now, it takes the form of a woman far away. it takes the form of my grandmother with her hand on my knee, it  it flickers and sparks and singes the lip of my candle when i am alone, praying at night.

live the questions


There are a lot of questions, very serious and important questions about sovereignty, agency, supremacy, and oppression that are seemingly becoming more and more important to answer in order to fight the unyielding death drive of our nation. There are a lot of questions people are afraid (or refuse) to ask because there may be no available answer. Or the answer is something that will require such a radical and arduous shift they fear they won’t survive it. OR there are so many damn answers and a single one can not answer to them all. I can’t even answer the question of how why there is no answer.


Some think of justice as a place of arrival. “A seat at the table”. But there have been people like us at the table for a long time and are still waiting to eat. What of the people who cooked for the people at the table, who washed their dishes, and take care of their children? There is no time, or energy, or desire to stand in line to sit and starve to death.


Some might say it’s only realistic. You’ve got to make a living. And make a living we should, but reality it sure aint. The idea of this table, this room, is a scene to make reality bearable. What reality is for most is exploitation at it’s core.


This is the indelible importance of art and artists. Artists are beholden to one rule, to tell the truth. Some might say people make art because they can’t deal with reality. And why should we? Why should we answer to questions or demands that are not relevant to what we truly believe in? Why enter a conversation that doesn’t talk on the level of a lived experience? Why should we have to disassociate from our lives? Art takes these questions and provokes another. It responds to a ‘reality’ by expressing a truth in a way, if done well, can only promise more truths. It can reframe our reality in ways that Fact cannot. And yeah, Fact is fundamental but truth is separate from Fact because fact can exist without humanity and truth cannot. That is important. We need humanity. We need to see it to believe it. We respond to art because art is someone’s truth. We have a response, and though it isn’t an answer, is an honest reply. It is a truthful dialectic. And that is the start of something real.


When the conversation is framed in a way that only leaves room for people “at the table”, fuck the table. Fuck the thin veil of sophistication that covers completely irrational and straight up fabricated ideas of “reality”. We live in political realities. Multitudes of them.


So I guess I just want to offer one thing. When you cannot answer “What can I do?” or “Where will I go?”, when you are speechless in horror or suffocation, the chaos of life is an incredible transformative energy. Let it ransom our memory of peace or equality where there was none. Let it disturb our aesthetics. Let it make us all criminals under unjust law. Let it rob us of answers. Let it reveal our truth. Let it make us artists.

no one writes about transsexual sex


we all deserve
soft open lips,
warm skin,
cool breath on the chest that
at the edges
like hot pie
baking under summer

piston hips,
punishing palms licking
like stinging needles on
new records singing
vinyl nerves

grips of fat fleshy ass and
ocean back sides, and tongues
lapping fuck
water pooled in between hips and bellies like drunk
peaches, mouths
muscles groping with happy labor,

and eyes seeing
seeing these skins
smooth all rasping griefs
which wait like vultures
over death
on the other side of






this is me in wet shoes climbing up silky rivers.

i am foolish, i am the fool. i stranded myself on a mountain top at the farthest edge of oakland. i read poems to a raven that was plucking the guts out of a mouse. so fucking dramatic. but, if i sang too loud, if i opened up my chest and beamed too bright it’s only because everyone already sees it anyway. it drew a hungry crowd and they say it’s brave, but really i am just unafraid of love.

but now i am moon beaming love hues in darker blues.

i am so stupid. and i am so glad to be so stupid. i know better, if only by experience, that this is the surest way to get hurt, to be used, exploited, and neglected. my best romance tells me that it’s real when someone asks you to sing louder. but that was once, and a long time ago. and i also know, if only by experience, that the very best things require patience, hunger, and come with time.


have you ever felt certain about something that is so impossible to be certain about? it teaches you temperance, and if you’re lucky, it teaches you faith.



sitting by docks in oakland on 4/20

The sun sets just behind San Francisco and the brown boys in the car next to me rattle their car with Miguel and e 40 and drake romantically while they hotbox with a thin joint. They have white boy laughs and old men’s lungs. There is a woman in an eddie bouer suv on the other side of me but I try not to look at her. She’s smoking a blunt alone, and unlike me and the other boys, she isn’t taking photos of the beautiful insta worthy vistas. She’s sitting, watching her blunt burn, and hearing the gently crashing waves. I play sade for her and she sways slowly, i move slower.

about three minutes from now she’ll get out of her car and walk towards me, knock on my window and offer me her blunt. i’ll say no thank you and compliment her nails which are gold and worn short. she’ll tell me i have pretty eyes and i’ll say i get them from my grandmother. and we find the end of our time together in a short pause looking into each others eyes. and we’ll say our goodbyes through a joke at the boys’ expense who are now outside of their car, shirtless, dancing.

In my room, early morning, I am dancing for him. Soft undulations, hips ridged, and I know all ready he’ll be a better dancer than me. I am trying to imagine his body, where the hand can grip and where the voice comes from. I see his chest, where he groans, I see his belly, where he breathes, I see his throat, where he shouts, and his mouth, where these sounds turn to words, that which i am grateful for, the work the mouth does to communicate to me what his heart wants. I imagine myself in a group of friends. At a party. In another city. And in the middle of a sentence I stop, his body is here. I know him. And I experience this feeling of meeting him for the first time, without him.

my friend caesar is a poet



i was telling him about my name, how it was chosen and how i’ve been thinking about changing it again.

i wanted the name henry, or otis, henrioso
especially henrioso. 


and then he spoke this poem into my phone.


but i think, if i may be so bold to directly reply to something you had said
(yes he talks to me like this)
i think people say your name with affection
and you probably know this already, right?
that the affection is attached to you.
not your name
and so to say your name
is to utter
and kind of let out
all of the affection someone may or may not have for you



you know.


does have for you

when you hear that affection is what i mean…


um and

i would dare say, that that affection would transfer over


to henry.
or henryoso,
or otis.

names are things that are exhaled from our chest.


and then he asked me what my favorite flower was.  



my most sacred thing is us.


when i hear your voice i see us on a mountain, i see us gathering grasses, i see us building a home. i see us drying our skin after praying in mud. we are the earth’s most sacred thing.

you are my friend.

i am proud to walk beside you.

and i love you.