in polyamory-land, i think of relationships as pies & i texted this to a hot, beardy musician to entice him on a second date

in polyamory-land, i think of relationships as pies

each person brings what’s in their kitchen: peaches, candy bars, blueberries, lemon juice, frozen fruits, wheatgrass, lunch meats, ramen packets, toffee bits, sliced beets, chia seeds, protein powder, green peppers, edible flowers.  flavor negotiate: select none, select all, select a few.  you can sift, sort, stir, pour, fill measuring cups, fuck on the counter, drop to the floor, hit the bowl, spill the filling, taste the mess—faces pressed to shoulders licking skin.  maybe you start all over again, preheat the oven, add some gin, empty the bowl into a crust from the fridge, lay lattice slats in a pentagram, a cat’s whiskered face (or, if you must, boring criss-cross lines).  sacrifice the jiggly thing to the heat, pray it hardens, set the timer, have a full body orgasm, sneak in a toke, peak in the oven, poke in a knife.  has it set yet?   sigh impatiently, full of anticipation: lust after the smell, bet on deliciousness.  no time for cooling; you’re both drooling.  hands in each other’s mouths until you’re full & satisfied.  each pie process is unique to the bakers.  could you be satiated forever on a single list of flavors?

i texted this to a hot, beardy musician to entice him on a second date

at the end of your set, i approached the merch table
‘i appreciate your angst,’ popped out (i meant to say something playful)

i’m glad you didn’t think my post-show friend request was bizarre
you even messaged me cat pics! && we ended up at that trendy bar

i immediately liked the way you said ‘kissed’ as a synonym for dated
(&& if you’re wondering, i don’t think boston’s over-rated)

after hours of pleasant conversation, i invited you back to my room
i wanted to see if our kissing chemistry was a bust or a bloom

bloom it did && we found the freckles in our eyes do align
regardless of our incompatible astrological signs

normally, i don’t forgo my sleep schedule or bring strangers into my bed
but it was all worth it (&& so sexy) when you pinned my arms above my head

i’m not looking to fall in love or whatever, just for some flirtation
(&& a few casual encounters?) until our inevitable dating expiration

thanks for taking a break from being bored && alone to be my big spoon
what i’m trying to say is

       can i pick your beard hairs off my tongue again sometime soon?


Raina K. Puels is an MFA candidate at Emerson College and the Editor-in-Chief of Redivider. She leaves a trail of glitter, cat hair, and small purple objects everywhere she goes. You can read her in (b)OINK, Animal, Sidereal, ​and forthcoming in The American Literary Review, Occulum, and former cactus. Tweet her: @rainakpuels


from Every Breath You Take

I am in love with the man that opened that car door into which I, passing by, on a bicycle – new, as another had been freed, from in front of Out of the Closet, in the middle of a week night – now, a week later, wearing a helmet!, caught the right handle bar & rolled over the left, landing on the left clavicle, smacking the right tibia through the muscle and flesh against the bicycle frame, scraping various sections of skin against the recently redone concrete of Foothill Blvd, a street I am, like that man, in love with, that I hope has at least a little love for me, as I trust and feel that in these minutes it does.

We hurt and are hurt by the ones we love, that I think is what it means to be ecstatic, to feel the vulnerability of the ecstasy that is love, that makes its own loss possible because it’s over full, and that is as good as ecstasy, when you are or are not on ecstasy, because love and drugs are pretty much the same thing and that’s why we will never stop hating our war on drugs, which is a war on our illicit care ecology, cracked as the whole shebang is.

I am in love with the man that opened that door to me because I know that he did not see me before but he really saw me then, and I don’t need to be seen before, I just want to be seen when I’m with you, and hell it doesn’t even need to be me being seen, just feel me, lets feel each other somewhat, however you like.

He and a friend helped me up, put my stuff in the back of the car and drove me home giving what I thought was 50 turned out to 100 bucks because I didn’t call the cops.

I like to think I would never call the cops, but sometimes it is early morning and outside someone is shouting that they are going to get a gun to kill their partner and their partner’s mother, and the sound of their voice makes this threat seem less like a statistically-typified-as- normal variation on intimate partner violence – I have heard murder threats several times before – and I know that calling the cops, who come, I think, anyway, some days later, will not help anything but those shouts suggest to me that this person possibly needs support in getting out of this relationship, and possibly they need further support that no police officer, by nature of their social role, could ever offer, and therefore, no emergency medical technician can offer because if you call the latter you damn well better expect that the former could come too.

And so when I get home I call, this is before I smashed my phone screen yesterday, two days before, the primary person that I trust to be able to support me through the pain and get me to the emergency room because this shoulder is pretty fucked up.

Chelsea, whom had been ready to bike over to the scene of contact when I called her – the man was then afraid I was on the phone with 911, and tells me he has neither license nor car insurance – now I am here, comes outside, and I call a cab and we ride it to Kaiser.

It is the fastest emergency room visit I have ever had, there is practically no wait to see the triage nurse, and then there is only one other person getting x-rayed before me, and then the x-ray technician walks me over to where Chelsea and I wait to hear about what is to come of all this delightful mess.

I am practically having fun and am so happy to feel loved and cared for by this person I know so well and these people whom I know practically not at all, and only barely by their name and title.

I debate mentioning perceived races & genders, motley as they are, for I wish neither to reiterate racialization nor to participate in the delusions of colorblindness, but I don’t yet know how to do this.

For example, when I was out the night before all of this smoking weed before I did the dishes and/or fell asleep on the couch, as I do many nights, but on this night, having agreed with Chelsea that we would sleep in the same bed, having a deadline, I perceived the person I encountered on E 18th in front of our apartment to be a black woman, probably younger than me.

[Revisiting this, I wonder – what if that was Sadie Too Cold?

I can’t remember if I’d seen the graffiti before or after we met.]

She, if I may take that pronominal liberty, was shouting “fuck the police” in as many different ways as she could, some of which, given my understanding of the way some people use the word “punks,” were possibly homophobic in fact if not intention.

I said I could not, as she noticed me and approached, asking if I saw all the cop cars flashing down the street, nine of them.

So she grabbed the arm that now would have had me wincing, connected to fractured- collarboned shoulder as it is, and led me into the street so I could see.

Then she told me how they had all pulled up around her and she kept asking “am I free to go?” as she accused the officers, now and then, whom she identified as of more than one gender, of being sexually interested in her, as had been the man who reached for and touched her ass in the nearby corner store to which she had responded by throwing over shelves and things off of shelves.

The police told her, she told me, they had not yet enough evidence to keep her.

And as she told me all of this, and I listened carefully, she seemed to keep standing closer.

I would back up, trying not to back away so much to suggest any disturbance but simply because, high as I was, I wasn’t sure what this closeness meant.

I have control and understanding issues and generally find that I am uncomfortable when I don’t understand the meaning of intimacy though I want to be open to it and to learn to relinquish my need for control and understanding, though, concurrently, Chelsea and I generally weren’t having other sexual partners.

Besides, the point is the only things definitely sexualizing this closeness were my concern that it was sexual – intensified by disavowed but real unconscious raced and gendered projections – and my vulnerability to transference-love.

I guess this person had also said that the person whom had reached for and touched her ass hadn’t first paid her but I took that as a manner of speaking and not indicating anything.

In any case, it’s not as though someone doing sex work makes them any more desirous of intimacy with strangers, simply that they have found others’ desire for intimacy with them to be one way to pay for the life they want to live.

About then, she asked to hit what I was smoking and I gave it to her and apologized for not having offered sooner, stupefied as I was by things in my physiological state already susceptible to stupefaction.

She had to relight a few times.

I don’t remember where the lighter came from.

I wanted stay out to listen more, not least because of how flattered I was when she observed that, insofar as I hadn’t sided with the police in wishing her to be arrested on suspicion of property destruction, I wasn’t acting very white for a white person, no offense intended and none taken.

Then I perceived I offended by saying, after the weed’s light went out, that I had to go back inside.

I don’t know if this was bothersome because of how abrupt my leaving was, if she needed someone with whom to talk a bit longer, and/or if indeed the closeness of her body that I encountered suggested that she wanted to hang out in our apartment for a little and my disposition, generally and then, got in the way of me being able to read signals she in fact did intend to send, that I refused to receive because I am so afraid of acting on receiving messages that weren’t sent with my reading in mind.

Like when, in the hospital, Chelsea – who was at that moment upstairs waiting for me, irritated with how long I was taking, and this moment there with me in the room waiting to get my prescriptions and copay receipt – asked that we split the cost of his car repairs and I reacted as if she asked contrary to our prior agreements to share financial burdens through mixing sliding scale of capacity to pay and distribution of actual use.

Chelsea almost left, but we did together without the Norco they prescribed.


Julian Francis Park has poetry and narrative (forthcoming) in Blind Field, Entropy, Hold, Queen Mob’s Tea House, and Writing w/o Walls, reviews in Jacket2 and Tripwire, and a chapter, “On the Historical Conditions of Accumulation,” in Rosa Luxemburg: A Permanent Challenge for Political Economy. Julian works intake in Causa Justa/Just Cause’s Tenants’ Rights Clinic and organizes free education with the Bay Area Public School at the Omni Commons. Tweets @jfpark3

Migraines Come Slow

Not like Florida storms, sharp in the sky like an arrow. Not like the late summer light I cut with thick blinds. The migraines start cool, then numb. Then the throb. The pain. In the shadows, I write. The words come backwards, like how the morning glories curl now that they’ve run out of bodies to climb. Migraines and shadow work are the same—they make me say things I don’t mean to say, like, I need to buy spaghetti before summer ends today. They make me say things I really mean to say. I want you. My voice stretches the words long like when I was sixteen, tipsy with cheap red wine at a Greek club, downtown Clematis. Your teeth on my throat. Why do I think of him now, as I peel the papaya to reveal its sweet flesh. Why do I think of the freckle on his collarbone. My mouth surrounds it. Sucking. I think this headache makes me think backwards. It makes me reach for the piña with my left hand, makes me finger the tough leaves and imagine his hands squeezing my hips so tight they bruise. How you tremble under my tongue. I once wrote a poem about God slicing open a papaya and now I think of when sex used to be holy, when an orgasm could bring you prophecies from the lips of temple prostitutes. I try not to moan but it’s hard. I’ve never read his cards. If I did, I’d light a hundred beeswax candles with rose oil on my wrists. Then I’d spread the deck in a spiral. I wonder which ones he’d pick. The Lovers. Maybe the Ace of Cups. Maybe Temptation. I always curl my toes at the end. And just like that, the pain dulls. I peek out the window, wincing only slightly at the light. I pull the string and let the shadows out. Your chest on mine, sticky. Breath slowing. And I think I can stop now. Saying all the things I mean to say.


Raquel Vasquez Gilliland is Mexican-American poet and painter. Her first collection will be released April 2018 by Green Writers Press. You can find Raquel on her website: