I met someone in person tonight that I’ve known online for five and a half years. It was poetry that brought us together. Before we knew anything else about each other, we exchanged poems. We wrote for each other. Haiku about butterflies mine in response to his in response to mine. Words we made fly together, some of them poems that nobody else has read. Dream catchers. Such a gift, to get to know someone this way. Coughs recurring dreams scars, via Facebook message, for years. The small aches we have let the other see. Here is this thing that hurts, hold it for me. And now to sit together. To hear each other say the word “sun.” 

Never write about how many people wish you happy birthday or how they wish it.

And when you inevitably think about how alone you are in this world because the young blond girl in the zebra dress twirls in a way you are sure you have never twirled, will ever twirl, do not divide your list of friends into “real” and “fake” based on who came to your party. Not everything is personal. But some things are. As friends fall away, you will wonder if they were ever truly friends to you, and you will remember the sleepovers, the time they brought all of their friends to your reading and packed the bar, the time you took a cab from the airport to cry on their couch, and you will know. There is no revision, and there is no retreat. Time is not a wave from a far-flung shore. It is a line, and you are walking it.

Do not wish that you were younger, that there were no clock. Where else would you find the urgency? How else would you write?

Do not give your number to the next man who smiles at you and says, “Don’t you look fine,” and follows you into the subway car, telling you he must have been compelled to buy a breakfast sandwich near the Nostrand stop on the A train because the stars aligned so he could meet you. Except that when he asks you what you do and you say you are a writer, his eyes deaden because now you are a person and not just a body and he has nothing to say.

-from "Never Writer From a Place of Despair" by Erika Anderson

Jumping out of a plane is one of those things you cannot remember doing. I cannot remember loving the few men I thought I did. I cannot remember who taught me how to ride a bike. I cannot remember the dreams I feel I should when I’m standing in the shower each morning. Flying in the air is not like the sea. My ears remember voices underwater. And so if it weren’t for the things left behind, I’m not sure I’d know – that I jumped out of a plane yesterday. That I got hit by a car this morning. The skydive left my right thigh muscle longing for pressure. Being thrown off my bike, well, my left leg is burning. Before starting on my route to work I thought to myself going down the stairs “you are not in a bad mood.”

Right before the skydive we were made to watch a video about all the things that can go wrong. All I could focus on were my legs. What if I don’t land properly? You can lose your legs, don’t you like your legs? I have loved my legs. The places they have traveled. How they carry me. In the last three years, they seem weary. I don’t know what to think about the burning pain. I don’t want a hospital or a lawsuit. I want the typewriter I had a dream about last night. There was a man sitting next to me waiting for me to finish typing. There I stood, making mistakes I couldn’t delete.

“It’s strange how children never tell their parents the things they most need to tell them.”


This Is Not Humility


Tonight I had the opportunity to cook in my new apartment for the first time. I was sick of sandwiches and shitty food. Before I moved I was telling Twitter I basically only have one knife, and it is serrated at that. They shamed me, appropriately, so during the move, I bought a big girl knife set with a German name and also used my new knives for the first time. Well, I used one of them, and the first order of business was slicing an onion and then I sautéed that onion in olive oil. I was craving Mexican and I needed protein but I also wanted something resembling healthy.

As I was cooking, I was thinking about flirtation and how women have been very ummmm friendly with me at my readings lately. I have been friendly back. I am flirtatious. I am and it is especially fun when flirtation is mutual. It has done my ego good to be flirted with by lovely people. When you reach a certain age, it’s nice to have reminders that you’re still interesting to at least a couple people. Tattoos are always a great conversation starter and for whatever reason, they compel people to reach out and touch. “What’s the story behind this?”

Oh this old thing, smile, batting of the eyes. Well, let me tell you. 

It’s interesting…women will walk right up to me in public and make their interest known. Men send pictures of their dicks. I’m not always opposed to the later but the contrast is kind of funny.

The thrill of flirtation will never take the place of the magnetic pull of you, always you. 


I took a can of Amy’s refried beans and added them to my softened onions. It looked absolutely horrifying. I’m sorry but refried beans look like dog shit. I was really dismayed staring down into my pan. 

I had a conversation with my mother this evening. With all the press that’s out there, I have no secrets and my parents have been tentatively trying to talk to me about The Thing. For the first time in my life, she blurted out, “I need to talk about your rape.” There was no more talking around it. There were no vagaries or using someone else’s story to have a conversation about me or our family. She asked, “Have you gotten help?” She said, “Give me their names.” She asked, “How could I not know?” She asked, “Are you okay?”

It’s hard for me to have this kind of conversation with my mother because she is an exceptional mother and I don’t want her to feel hurt or responsible. I don’t want to shatter what she knew of my childhood though I suppose that illusion is no longer possible.

She asked, “Why did you go public with the story? Is that because you’re over it?” I said, “I haven’t been private with it for quite some time, but really, I’m as over it as I’m going to be and I cannot stay quiet anymore.” She was quiet for a moment and then she said, “I understand how something like this, you never really forget or move on from.” She said, “Your father is struggling with this.” She said, “It’s strange how children never tell their parents the things they most need to tell them.” 

Then we moved on to other things and I stopped holding my breath but as with the last sort of conversation we had, I instantly feel lighter. They understand me more now, I think, and that’s good. I want them to understand me.

I want to be understood.


I added fresh Roma tomatoes and cilantro, salt and pepper and chilli powder to the beans and let that simmer. I loved the pop of green the cilantro provided. 

I was ON THE RADIO In Ireland.  I was interviewed by BUST and I have a considerable bust so that worked out well. 

WAS ON KCRW TODAY (if you scroll down the page you can listen to my segment, or you can listen to the entire episode, which was really good). The interviewer asked me about The Thing. There was an uncomfortable moment where my voice caught in my throat, where I just wanted to vomit and run away from the radio station. There are moments when time collapses and there is no preparing for that moment, none. Will that horrible feeling truly never go away? This, is a life sentence but I try not to live my life like i have been sentenced. 


Eventually, the beans were ready and I was ready because I was hungry.

There is a tattoo I have been thinking of getting—two letters, two numbers that are really one number, an infinity symbol, bold lines, surrounded by tribal ink work. Right now the tattoo is an idea. It might always be an idea but I know what it looks like.

Bad Feminist was #13 last week and it is #16 this week and it is sold out in many stores and it is going into a fourth printing. I ordered groceries on the Internet and a strapping young man in tight khaki pants delivered them to me. This tumblr now has more than 100,000 followers. 

I keep trying to feel worthy. The boss of me gets rather testy when I say that. She made me write out, “I am worthy,” thirty-three times. I repeat this as a mantra. I try to believe. This is not humility. This is  overwhelm and surprise. I won’t Taylor Swift this. Soon, I will accept all of this, as best I can. Soon. And I will make sure to do something good with whatever this is, not for myself, but for others. 


I made little tacos withe lettuce and light sour cream and cheese and raspberry chipotle salsa and this was a very delicious dinner. Everything in my new kitchen works as it should.

The new semester begins on Monday and I am nervous and excited and not even a little bit prepared so that’s what I will spend the rest of my week doing. 

I do wear a ring on a certain finger. I am often asked about it.  Sometimes, a commitment is silent and it may never become spoken, may never become anything more than an idea of what could have been, but that commitment is still there, beneath the ring and the pale tan line, in the skin and in the blood and in the breath and in the beating of a heart.


I’m meeting boys who like Charles Bukowski and they all want to do brutal things to my body. They tell me they buy a bottle of whiskey whenever they get one of his books and don’t stop reading till they’ve gone through a pack of cigarettes. They blow smoke in my face and say, “He was the outcast king of L.A. Did you know that, huh?” “Yeah, yeah, I know.” I say,“He’s great.”

A new boy gives me a worn copy of On the Road and thinks he’s being original. “We should explore the road together. Would you like that, baby?” I take a sip of my water and look away. Yes, I’d like that, I think. But he’s drunk and imagining himself sixty years earlier, in the back of a bar, sweating to the sound of live bop. Still, I prefer him to the hungry boy that devoured my shirt and said, “You have a tattoo? What’s it say?” ‘mad to live?’ What, are you angry about living? Aw, I’m just kidding, come here, let me take off that bra.”

The next boy I kiss doesn’t read. I ask him to come to a bookstore with me and he stays outside, sighing. He has no interest in words. He has no interest in me. I am thankful for him. For a few weeks, I am able to shed my habit of thinking obsessively and become a duller, rougher version of myself. I dump him when my fingers start turning imaginary pages in my sleep.

I go on a date with a boy who knows I like to write. He calls himself a fan of mine and swears he’s read every word I’ve put down. “You’ve got this voice that’s very modern, but also so classic.” I choke on my water as he says, “I read you to fall asleep.” At night, I listen to him pant metaphors and compare my mouth to the sea. One day, he stumbles across my journal and finds nothing about himself in it. “You don’t really love me, do you?” I shake my head. There is no use pretending anymore. He has read my poems about the boys I want to drown in me. His goodbye leaves my hands covers in ink. He wanted me so badly to be the sea, when all I am is a girl who writes poetry.

I try my best to become poetry. I take a bath and stain the water with black ink. I cut my hair in a motel sink. I cry for people I have never met. I start smoking cigarettes. I use words like “presumptuously” and talk about “post-modernist new wave.” I walk the streets at 4 a.m. and smile at people coming home from a rave. I wear sunglasses indoors. I carry a 500 page volume of poems wherever I go. I drink coffee instead of water. I talk about the “advantages of using film and listening to records.” But no matter how hard I try, I am not the sea. I am a sunken ship that has drowned in everyone who touched me.

I Am Not The Sea | Lora Mathis (via lora-mathis)

ave maria.


his image everywhere. his name
hums like every letter of the alphabet.
our skin a fault to march with.
my basic and deepest fear is sleep:
where he lies on the ground
trying to lift himself up.