and the moon is you

May 29th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

to hide and reveal, to cover the moon with
a dime. to tuck, and conceal.

think: ragdoll
think: flesh and clothes
red nails and testosterone

you’re the ghost of a dream
more moon than a set sun

and soon: bound, twisting
in satellite.

zoom out: a steady glow
beat to a summer’s night.


this is how

May 1st, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

there are bones in the back of your car,

rattling as you shift gears, turning out of our driveway.

linger on, says the stereo, says

the window down, says the

bright pike ahead of us. linger on.


this is how I met you


for weeks we unpack ourselves

under waterfalls or on our way to them

this is where I’m from you tell me

pointing to your grandmother

to the tulip poplar

to the tattooed armadillo


this is how I know you


in the winter you bring everything green

inside, spilling it across the floor. limbs &

twigs & flowers boughed across your

lap, nesting & weaving. you look

up at me smiling.


this is how I remember you


and that day in the kitchen, the

window cracked open, water boiling.

you came home different, emerging from

a night of ugly truths & hard lines, where you

refused to do anyone else’s emotional labor,

refused to be called back to sleep.

from now on you said. from now on.


this is how I met the fire in you

(this is how I met the fire in me)


from now on, you say, your boot pushing

the shovel into the soil. you’re bringing all of the

green outside, eager & abundant, the honeysuckle

thick as rain. you cultivate the small & sweet, the

beautiful, the resilient:





this is how you come alive.


Helen means light

February 5th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

I can hear you from the window
of my blue room
you’re walking up the hill, singing to yourself,
an unexpected voice, a lantern,
deep & strong & unafraid
your voice is a thread

the blue I find in your life always comes as a surprise
I am always looking for blue & there you
have it, the sudden appearance of the sea
drawn through a forest, a surprise blue which
is of course the best kind of blue

and of course the card I drew for you this morning isn’t
the epilogue, though it is the stillness of hope, the star that follows
the tower, they are two sides of the same card, hope & its
partnership to destruction, a forest burned to the
ground so new life may grow so that you may emerge
hovering above a still-beating body of water in the moonlight
so that a person may break open & pour out
cool water from the wound

I know what it’s like to be spun around what
its like to be told the ground beneath your
feet is actually the sky & you are falling & have
been falling for longer than you thought. I know what
it’s like to get lost in your own mind, to emerge
stumbling forward. I know what it’s like
to walk up the hill, my own voice ahead of me,
a rope pulling me forward, up the hill where the
lights in the house are on & your voices are ropes too
hoisting me up & your voices are ropes too
that form a net when I fall, I know what
its like to walk up the hill when
the stars are out & the moon is behind a cloud,
when the lights are on & I surprise myself
by singing: I know what it’s like to be led home.



did you miss it?

December 2nd, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

by Alexandra Axel


March 6th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink


When I touch you, it is to tame you.


To pluck you, to squeeze you, to tweeze you, to shave you,

to rip you apart.


You sleep with the covers to your chin,

neck flinching in fear

of my metal hands.


When I touch you, it is to silence you.


To muffle you with long pants and scarves.

to quiet your angry red protests,

a hundred little agonies.


We are not the same.

We are not the same.

We are not the same.


When I lead you to the shower,

dear god I wish it were to cleanse you.


To find you,

to kiss your sweet arms.


To marvel at the way your neck,

your thick thick thighs.


At the way the water remembers

a child showering in the rain.


But when I touch you, it is with tools of war.


When I touch you, it is with—regret.




February 7th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Over clasped hands,

over a crusty sourdough,

you told me I am an ordinal direction

I am a current

blood line



Gesturing to yourself,

a forest fire, an asterisk of motion,

everything burning down and growing

all at once.


And both the fire, crawling out,

trailing along Sixty-Four;

and the rivers,

a letting of blood water body,


resemble a single raw nerve.


I feel more like a boat rocking

on the Gennesee river,

than the north itself.


When we’ve finished the bread,

when your name on the page races my heart,

ask me, tell me, how to carry my legs and

fingers and hair,

how to carry them

and still move forward.

Waterfalls: Here’s To Not Chasing Them

January 10th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink


There is a girl. She evokes.

The usual bridges you cross to a heart—read her Charles Wright, show her the moon on a clear night—she’s not interested.

Here’s what you know.
You find her attractive. She is sharp. A generous smile. A big softie.
She isn’t afraid to show you attention. Her soul is her comfort is her skin.

Your heart pounds out of fear. In your hand you hold a tiny shred of romantic possibility. To keep it, to grow it, you must manage, stretch, thin, bulge. You could palm her the fisheye lens of you. You might be able to make. it. work. And to what end? You’ve threaded with dishonesty before. It dissolves in stitches, evidenced by scars. You would recover, of course. But with more of the same.

So you talk. You are frank. There is a little something else mixed in. She agrees. Here’s where, historically, you would drag that something out. To stretch it so it blankets all other thoughts and feelings. A thin membrane, ultimately too thin for the sharp points. Here’s where you would chase the winning and find a thousand little failures.

Together, individually, you decide to let it ride. What happens if you let it ride? You don’t know.

There is a relief in leaving it alone. Relief that you have not, once again, hooked yourself to the tenuous. Your heart batter slows,


for this is grace.


And then the seeing. Seeing where stumbling by the lamplight has led, a new bridge (not one still swinging from your last crossing), a friendship just begun. Here’s to radical nourishment, to true ambition, to the bare-naked intimacy of friendship. You could have sold yourself short, so so short. Let’s see what happens when you don’t.



Listen for Me

December 19th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

Your hands,
They came here without you.
This poem came here without you.

I spend all week thinking about your hands
Muttering life into reticent freckles
Fumbling how not held, not cupped
to one ear, listening.

Bedlaced, head-cocked, divining
your sound by distance.

To be sure it’s just the house

When I say your hands are the
open road and you’re its traveler,
I’ve just given you my name.

This poem came here without you,
Your hands met me at the door.

I’m the noise I listen for.


Does someone else’s drinking bother you?

December 5th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

Short answer: yes.

Yes, I take it personally. My thinking operates under the assumption that your heavy drinking or drug use is making up for what I lack. If I were enough, you wouldn’t need drugs and alcohol to feel better. Drop the middle from that sentence: If I were enough, I could make you feel better. Therefore, I am not enough.

This logic has very little to do with the limits of human potential. This logic does not account for depression, alcoholism, bipolarism, dysmorphia, i.e. having little (nothing) to do with me.

“Why am I not enough for you?” I asked my ex-boyfriend once, as he left the bed to pack a bowl. “Why do you have to get high when I’m here?”

He looked at me, incredulous, his lighter held like a question in his hand. “If you don’t want me to smoke around you, I won’t.”

I corrected him. “I don’t want you to smoke when I’m here because you don’t want to.” I want to be your drug. I want your cup to run over with me. 

Put me back into that slope-ceilinged, smoke filled room, with the axe body-spray and the carved wooden pipes. Put me back there and I’ll stand on the other side of the question: Why am I not enough for me?

How can I be enough for me?

Something like this:



The Big Reveal

November 29th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

Friday night, I was talking to most-recent-ex and what-feels-like the final veil lifted from my eyes.

The curtain pulls back– Oh! I know you! You’re Rick, from four years ago. The corduroy guitar drifter, with the footbells and twisted lips. You are the same person I’ve already dated in a different body, in a different life. But I am not the same person. I did not suffer for two years, taking whatever scraps were offered.

Most-recent-ex, you are more than Rick, just as he is more than you. But where the two of you overlap– that’s where I have, historically, drawn the curtain.

Here’s what I’m attempting to say, here’s what the curtain, short-tugged once more, finally revealed: there was so much healing in our brief relationship, and that healing, at least on my end, came from within me. You posed polyamory. You asked about my self-confidence. You asked me if I was enough. And my heart responded, with the generous aid of my friends, family and community. You were the question, I was the answer. And I continue to live the answer.

You were right, it does say a lot more about me than I originally credited myself. Still, I thank you. For carrying that question. I found my answer in me.  I hope you find your answers too.



Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the Repotting category at Alexandra Axel.

  • June 2021
    M T W T F S S
    « Jul