Four Poems by Kelly Xio


FOUR POEMS by Kelly Xio


Poetry Planet
– after Alex, Casey, Jayson, Liz, Sarah Jean, and Sennah


Hi I am dangling a carrot

Pulled it from my garden


Summer is here but it’s still weepy spring

At night—I want to grow, wilt and rest


OK Imagine
Summer as orifice, hot loud damp


Sticky syllables warbling in Sarah’s summer

Parlor trick, candle wick tongue to soft palette


Want to go shopping with David Byrne

Look him dead in the eye get in the car loser


If your mouth does not latch to your mother,

It’s called nipple confusion


Like my first real kiss, obsidian hair

A biblical name is lost to the night


Lost the receipt to my birth, store credit in heaven

Of heaven, put your fingers in mouth


Ctrl+Z your smart watch with smart tongue

Swallow the implications of late stage capitalism


Tonite my pronouns are thumb/in/mouth, by mouth

I mean hot loud damp summer


MAY 5, 2023

written at a Whole Foods in Brooklyn where I thought a selection of beverages would change my life


Someone asks what I do for work and I say that I am professionally begging God to strike me down with lightning. I’m wringing my hands and hoping that I get my flowers before I die. You know—pushing daisies, I want them before I go. Say I’ve been trying to survive (Survivor-Destinys-Child.mp3) and everyday I wake up and do something stupid for money but it’s not enough and sometimes I’m very stupid. Want more flowers in my life and for someone to realize all I want is a sure thing and something to give my life meaning like daisies and white roses—I want to start over. See me pure of heart. Put posies in my pocket and cover up the stench of Black death on autoplay.


Come to my house with flowers and put the most beautiful bouquet into my arms like a newborn. God better strike me down right then. Reincarnate me as jasmine on the balcony of your apartment in Highland Park. Put Coltrane on and sit beside me—in my next life you will touch my soil for wetness and bury your nose into my fragrance. In this life: A man lays on the ground just outside Fort Greene Park in New York City and we have to walk around him. A woman presses her fingers to his pulse and people stumble and zig zag their cars trying to see. I want to say we are just curious, innocently, and we want to know the cause of death or who he is but really we want to know what will happen to us. Someone dies and we make it about ourselves. Is that going to be me? It can happen to anyone—but also why and how come and what if—me?


May 8, 2023


I am Mark Wahlberg’s camera man
and we are standing inside of his prayer garden.
Wake up around midnight to prepare
for Mark’s day. Drive my mother’s 2010 Prius
over to his house and he laughs
and says it’s a beater. He says if I stay thru the year he’ll get me a better car. He can’t stand to see it.
Looks like a wreck and he slaps my face lovingly—I’m just kidding you. You’re a smart kid. Buy used. Save up for experiences.
I ask what we are shooting today
and honestly it’s a full day—
WIEIAD, GRWM, VLOGS, a few cameos.
His assistant is sick so he asks
if I can just do a few things
on the side and so now I’m holding his yokes
and watching him do forty burpees in his wild salutation to the world.
I am Mark Wahlberg’s cameraman.
People do not know how important I am.
I am watching Mark say happy birthday to some kid in Idaho.
Mark asks me if I do morning pages and he’s shirtless covered in sweat on the kitchen floor.
I like him the most on these days.
He’s pretending he can get up on his own but he’s tired like me because it’s 3:30am.
He’s choking down tangerine colored yokes
and gurgling the albumen while typing
his thoughts into a notepad.
He can’t start the day
without prayer morning pages burpees
free range organic egg yolks
screaming in the shower that despite all his rage
He is just a rat in a cage.
As he walks away from me
I zoom into his muscles,
the sun hitting it just so.
He just finished a set of pull-ups and he’s shouting
“That’s the money, baby! That’s magic.”
I tell my girlfriend I am busy to kiss her hello as I splice and cut the best of Mark: his smile, crows feet and triceps. I’m watching his basketball shorts
swish as we stand in the prayer garden;
There’s a short king sized crucifix in the garden. I am filming him praying and I keep it rolling as he tells me it’s a shame that we suffer sin and few of us know the grace of God.


May 22, 2023
For Anna


I am sorry for the time I wrote that poem where I said I was having a hard time and that I felt so alone. What I should’ve said is that I miss the times when my friends lived close and I could walk to the bar and say hello or sit and pretend to read at the bar until someone came in and clapped me on the back and said my name in a way that held recognition.


Sorry I didn’t write the poem that was structurally interesting and I have been preoccupied by what it would mean to serve cunt during a depressive episode. Therapist asks if I’ve been taking my meds but I swear I’ve been giving Alprazolam the finest dome; I’m bussin’ it wide open fr fr. Wellbutrin? I ate that.


I am sorry for the time I was at the pharmacy and called it wellbussy. I am sorry that in the competition of being mother Rupaul commended me for blowing out my back on melancholy (gag) but regretted that I did not wholeheartedly commit to the death drop. I am getting bombastic side eyes in the waiting room before the final decision and I am screaming, crying and throwing up.


Are you afraid of death, Rupaul asks me dressed as a yassified horseman of the apocalypse. There is a pause as Rupaul reads the ad spot for Betterhelp. If you need help, get help, mama. Meanwhile I am sweating bullets bc I don’t wanna sashay away. I am sorry I didn’t write the poem that slayed.




kelly xio recently cried in a beautiful rose garden in Pasadena, California and just got over their orange wine phase. prefers cold oranges, sleeps on the right side of the bed, loves the smell of green figs, the color cerulean, blushy peonies and venus in aquarius. writes a substack called alone in my room.


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