a forest underwater. do I make sense?
but when one image treads on
the composition of the collage
is less important
than the sum
of its pieces; today,
I built a portrait out of
noise and touch, and I
have not spoken one coherent word
Il fait beau; it’s a beautiful day.
I walked through a park and plucked four wild flowers. I kept them with me while I walked. An old man said to me, in French, ‘It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it?’ and I said yes. He asked me why I was holding flowers, and I told him that I didn’t really know. He smiled and told me I was beautiful, I wished him a good day, and that was it.
I passed by a woman and we smiled at each other. She, too, said ‘Il fait beau, non?’
Another man came up to me. I was sitting by the shore on some rocks. He commented on the weather, just like the others. He asked me about the flowers too, and why I had them lying next to me. I told him the same thing: I did not really know. He asked me if he could have one, and I handed him the prettiest one.
With the rest, I made this. Today is a beautiful day, even the flowers know.
(I left it by the shore.)
It is strange how people change colors with the days. Strange, in the loveliest way.
I am not afraid to place my mouth on the mouth of the boy who
once wrote a suicide note with his own blood. He does not taste
unfamiliar; I swear; I too have been victim
to my own predator of a lust, one that smirks at those who
do not hear
the same music as the rest of us. It is there; I swear; you are not
we were painted with a tincture of insane.
I write this ode to him in secret. Don’t tell him. Please.
We know silence in gulps.
He says: this is why I like being with you; I can say anything I want. I say: we have been quiet for the past hour. He says: see, with you, even that is enough.
There is a tree, some crows, some fallen leaves, and a him, and a me.
We are all part
of an extended family. We share rooms with
I am not afraid of him even though
he’s so closely related to
autumn and sand and chaos.
Sometimes, I mistake the wind for my mother.
There’s a him and a me. We touch each other as if we have only
extract your own from this— now, listen:
I thrive on abstraction(it is always a clamor fest inside; the end does
not have an end)s
this unhidden lick of madness
:more split-skin wound
less trophy shelf: is not a victory.
let us not pretend as if I will
crown myself a poet after this verse is done:
I am much too contained
by disarray, discord
to step out of this crust now.
now, look towards another diving sparrow; I cannot offer
you another confessional.
Skip the romance. Now. Put all of that on hold: the vases, the windowsills, the legs on legs on floor. They do not belong on this side of the story. From this side, all you see is a vast lawn. A pasture, or a field, or an unkempt garden. This is what happened:
I wrote a sentence on my ankle, and then spat on my thumb and smudged it out of existence. Momentarily, I had revealed the truth, but then the expanse of my skin gulped it down, and all I was left with was a patch of blue. There is no name for that.
He only saw the remnants of ink on my foot; he did not question them; he did not know. I tried to find a noun for that too, but failed.
Do you see now? This lawn? There are no wild daises in sight, from where I am, which means no need for the vase, which means no need for the windowsill.
The grass swallows all limbs: no need for legs on legs. Forget all of that. (The truth: this story is a wasteland, regardless of where you happen to stand.)
Alexandra; how your name turns my tongue into a ravenous
chamber, aching its door out of hinges. Just that— the tap of your name—
is a knock to all I once knew as void. Fire; how hunger writhes
within me, both scorching me inside and setting ablaze all strands
of hope. I wait for you with the urgency of desire— and yet, if you were
to take an eternity to reach me, I would still be here, my hands
before me, holding just ribbon. And when, if, you were to leave again,
I would tie that ribbon around a handful of moments and wrap your
fingers around the bouquet. I would wilt before I got to write our
last aubade. Alexandra; I am not afraid of being forgotten, but I
cannot bear the thought of losing memory of your neck, your waist.
Alexandra; take this poem as the smoke signal of my mouth.
I long for your touch; pine for it in ways that only the barren womb of
a desert has known, when the last mirage, too, turned to dust.
Come to me before I turn to rubble from my own lust; come to me,
I am waiting for you. Alexandra; how your name is the only one
who can quench this thirst. Oh, tell me, now, will you come?
Oh, river-like destiny of mine, flowing causelessly from one
country to another strange country— where have you brought me now?
How, when travelling down your neck, do I find myself unknowing
of where you are leading me?
The bed beneath us does not end. Oh, fate of mine,
is it safe if I choose to love you first?
You bring me to so many mirrors; I am aging in all of them, and yet—
the very waves that carry me away
are perpetually dragging me back. It must be safe, I think,
to choose to love you
before you regard me as more than another boatling; as muted
as we are,
the unrequited labor will harm me no more than
our unpracticed twists and turns.
The mirror does not see me, the way vacuum does not feel
light rays slice through it— they are mediums, and mediums of the
kind that exist
for no better reason
than to let others
pass through them. Oh,
tragedy prevails in every direction (, believe it or not,) and no
group of latticed dove-wings can conform it. So,
when I stand aface my reflection, I straighten my back
and puff my plumage, a cage of feathers
that fails to
contain, but is
prideful of its
music trickles down stalks and stems; the gray tinted with blue—
but silence unwinds thread by thread
to fall into the laps of unbirthed buds, still pressed against the
tongue of rime. the nests rustle and the branches sway
to the tunes that time
hums to itself.
there’s a certain bravery that comes in a being who both
holds your cheeks until they blush (like leaves after Winter’s last sneeze— yes— that kind)
and says, “I am deceiving you” with unclenched teeth;
it is the same courage that rests in gem-studded hilts,
in mortal embers, in the depths of an emerald, hungry sea—
this prowess struck a match against my ballads; they lost, came back
with injured knees.
(it is autumn now, for this Winter— he & he & he must leave—
though my face
is still ablaze with their valor and its
absence now possesses me.)
Outside, I watch the insects scatter and scuttle
and then, I crawl back into this shell
to be haunted by their ghosts—
that is where the phantoms find themselves, more often than not,
in a hull of a house,
where the walls believe in the primacy of echoes, and
resound only through the means of ill-seamed words.
when the rain falls so gently onto
clothed skin, or paper, there is no distinction left between
the prey & the predator. all crinkled lines
now turn to flame
as dainty wrists labor at bringing
seasons onto page
(& if I could be the sum of the softness of all the poems
being written right this moment, I would fold into the air
like a dog’s tongue into water, & trot out on
tip-toes with wet heels.)
—now, there is no question left
to whether a butcher’s desk
can be spick-and-span or not, the bloody mayhem
is a given,
cannot be forgotten.
so, when I stand near a lake
& become a tropicbird
diving into its wrinkled back, I hear chimes
& there is no distinction left
between the bride & the groom—
both the water & I
are open door, open word,
ringed finger, ringed contour.
It’s been gently raining for hours now. A boy wants me to go on a walk with him; he’s looking for what he calls ‘good company.’ But me, I’m not at all good company, not when the rain is so quiet. I like to whisper and watch ripples in puddles. I like to stand and face the sky. Sorry, stranger boy, I cannot come with you today. I’ve already made a commitment to the rain.