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Saturday, Oct 13 and Sunday, Oct 14 I am reading this piece in Charlottesville, Virginia, USA.  If you would like to attend, please email me @ veronicahaunani@gmail.com.

I am Charlottesville.

My pronouns are princess, mistress, and goddess.


I live in your dreams’ shadows

serving, seeking, meek and unheard

being so you may master another piece.

I watch you take your space.

I slowly dissolve

painting your beautiful tomorrows

with my disintegrating bones.


both light and darkness


I am

the butterfly who gives up last flight to touch down on your water’s edge.. bent knee… outstretched hand– tired of life and the feel of wind carriage.

I am a woman of three rivers and dig in the sand till I find slow streams

full of blast ash and moral detachment.

I am Charlottesville.

Depressed princess mother.

Hush lil baby, don’t say a word.

I feel the choking lump, but no tears come.

There are many ways to weep.

There are many grieving paths to addiction.

Remember when you brought me white men with rich purses in their lips to tell my story— as if no purple mouths rouged red had ever sang the blues of my new world. An earth song old to others.

You thought you could steal and sell me. I was never yours.

I am a ghost running backwards trying to slow time.

Gasping for sun among ever reaching upward brick walls and glass shadows.

I attempt to tie my tubed parkways to save myself from being population pushed out but instead am banged against the steel webs becoming cages painted black with the drying blood of another political, personal, police print.

I am Charlottesville.

Heartless mistress.

I was not well kept.

When you took away my babies leaving my arms bare and cut.

When you left me in jail for stealing bread.

When you evicted me to the street after twenty years.

When you deported me.

The constant beat on my body and soul.

I was not well kept.

My city is littered with places where he took me and made me a puppet on his finger strings. I want some new unmarked geography. Somewhere beyond the things of men and women and children and dogs and cats and picket fences and double car garages.

He took me to a concert in a red lit basement. The performer asked over and over again what did love sound like. I pushed my lips near his right ear and told him his quiet uneven breathing when he came in me was what love sounded like. Special and heavy. He just laughed. I think I made him uneasy.

I wish I could laugh away things that made me uneasy. I wish I could do a lot of things he does.

Nightly, he sang the body electric into my hot neck, and I felt nothing.

I became a tunnel for his wind winding in and out to nowhere.

He adored me until he didn’t.

And, I wrapped my legs and heart around his solar holes until I bled roses and tulips.

The trap is me.

The bars are so gilded they blind and are therefore unseen.

But, you can feel them in the dark.

They press against his chest choking out, “I love you.”

Bitter tenderness breathes child asthma in the projects

while we lie and cry about foreign places like Flint and Africa.

The trap is him.

I try not to catch his babies or laugh too loudly at his jokes.

I cannot be contented.

He cannot fill me– that is my work.

So, we return to a cluttered room with empty yellowing walls.

He sits on an unmade bed, beckoning.

His bedroom eyes are the prize yet again.

His blue blink draws another 3 AM bent hip and bit, quivered lip.

The steady, monotonous sounds of another Charlottesville rainstorm provide a new rhythm for his growing restlessness, uncertainty, and dread.

He watches the rain through the bay window of his large luxury condo close to downtown, alone. 

Across the street, the downpour travels the incline of the cupcake bakery roof and pools in the slight valleys of the unoccupied handicap spaces of the deserted parking lot. 

Behind him, his furniture, his books, his instruments, his things do not fill the space, and the emptiness echoes and subtly frames him a small man. When he vaguely senses his design induced inferiority, he grits his teeth and entertains.

Publicly, he takes great pleasure in the borrowed peace of Hatha yoga, the improvised cacophony of modern jazz, and the slow savor of heavy, crystal glasses brimming with freshly made mojitos.

Privately, he takes great pleasure in me. 

When all of his guests have begun their slow, soggy stumble homeward, he takes me out of my box and lovingly places me on the floor amidst the sticky and solid party debris. I become the calm eye center of the chaos. I am his rose of Sharon.

It fascinates him that he owns me but cannot contain me. It fascinates him that my explicit obedience subverts and obliterates him. It fascinates him that his worship of me diminishes the anxiety mounting within his narcissism.

When I allow him to sample my darkness, he is purified and light. When he enters me, he encounters safe haven and the precise cut of my blade. When everything he is melts within me, he is mine. 

He is free.

He savors my intoxicating poison. He weeps remembering his first notice of sunsets and his later jaded, dismissal of her mango, red grapes, and watermelon shades. 

Overcome and writhing in ecstatic suffering, he collapses onto the trash on the floor by my side. 

Spent, satisfied, saturated.

He rests.

Awake now, he returns me to my box wiping away his tears. He gently places my box in the black corner of his sin closet.

He plays the later works of Art Pepper on his ipod and drifts from his pelvic tilts to his eye of the needle poses again promising to never leave the simplicity of his mat again.

The rain yields.

My city is where it happened. I want some new unmarked geography. Somewhere beyond the things of men and women and dogs and cats and statues and torches.

He comes to me in midnight suede. He smells of smoke and red lies.

I would love you more if you weren’t so loud with your emotions.”

I recoil from his rejection folding into my quivering rolls and mounds.

No. No. No.

I hiss yes through gritted teeth into his hot neck one last time. He grunts God.

His song is dotted, dense, devastating.

Metal snakes where trees once stood gushing darkness.

Death in quarters of streets and protesting parades.

Fatal festivals of carnality and disobedience

brushed with CNN documentaries and unjust arrest.

August comes.

Propped against a black pillar with arthritic, bent knee,

my praying manthis eats the world.

The trap is me.

The trap is me.

The trap is me.

Freedom fills my mouth.

The dogs at the heels died fifty years ago.

Now, they stand silently waiting for us to murder each other

being shot by their guns and body cams

to save money and to be watched later

with burnt pop corn and ironic grape nehi.

I guide as you pull holes from my heart with another frozen yogurt scoop pouring my iced blood into a cold brew beer garden where all the fruit is piss glistened and toxic and seductive.

Now, I am hollow chested.

Breathing deep or shallow is done.

Beating— thunderous clapping is silenced.

Heartless, I return to tin.

I am Charlottesville.

Dying goddess.

As you do not rise, remain silent, conjur with others rights, you murder me.

Green is gold

until withering bronze brown.

Death comes round here often

turning the life of spring into

summer fry.

As my edges burn

I am still tricked into glorying

the light.

I push my petals eastward

praying for another rise

sacrificing another night

to the false dream of growth.

Personal becomes cancer becomes


becomes another frenzy of unexpected

baby blooms.

You develop.

Shattered windows are replaced.

Keeping in, keeping out.


Sober, we watch the crooked lines of your progress form a hammer banging our coffins’ nails. I cannot hear my screams over the maddening, metallic din. I learned not to scream and learned my resentful silences lend no telekenitic weight.

Still, I suffocate writing on the edges– a letter- a final note– pieced together by the feelings of farewell.

I miss you already as I slide through your twitching fingers and wild hair leaving memorials of sound and texture that you will discover when you are more wise, more gray, more still.

I still love you, my painful children.

I wish you less suffering and sweet days embroidered with tomato pies and breezy half moon nights.

I forgive you your youth and careless, cruel smiles.

Gliding in and out of your times was grand and miraculous.

Obsoletion determined by their vision of phallic, heightened grandeur– choking climbing metal vines clustered, wasteful fumes.

Even the rose in my hair lies. It is fake and smells chemical.

How can I be so peaceful of my end?

‘Cause I will be ressurected.

Now, revolution must come through the cracks around credit card key holes and swim champagne mendacity.

You will bring me back, every time you remember to, when you are ready to, when you begin to—

leave him, defend us, give space to, take back, say her name, love fiercely, and fuck white supremacy.