so we’ll skirt around it, –point fingers at my lack of
skirt-wearing, your hatred of blue shirts and ships and ‘shit’s–
so she emerges only onto maps of accolade.

musical accomplishment equates to intellect and
calculated decisions. i play her music loud enough
in the living room and wait for you to ask about

the creator. soon enough it is god instead, who peels off
the cross over the tv, is sprinkled upon my honesties, adorn them
as sins. we learn the lines that part us and we learn the routes between.

she’s appropriate on scores and scholarships. in a flock,
onstage, performance. living room. easy to remember the
pavements we’ve lain between our home, and mine.

easy to remember pavements, but i’d like to walk the grass.
i see my inheritance is this muteness, not your housewarming.

life a bit like groundhog day

In the beginning there was the again, which then became the point
of seizure for years, breath, and memory. Six-year bouts of skimming
and then a space to file our notes. The bookends
back one another as caesura after caesura,
folders stamped with dates but smelling of colour.

Again had begun with letting fall the body
into white – dots taking walks tripping over nothings,
till our lines formed and our lines broke into new pages.
Shoes that soften; gloves that thin. When we’d finally felt
other hands the shelf was almost spilling over.

So again there will be the again. The last of this
shelf transcribes a flashcard quiz – “spondee,
anapest, dactyl”. We recognise both the diction we’ve swallowed and
the rhythms we’ve yet to move to. With each question hands
plunge into the air not to answer but to catch the next flight.


his finger finds the sand and forgets the slide, leaves the
shark crocodile obstacle course, the homed fears of
        catching, blindfolds,
and finds the sand. it drills and discovers
water. the nail drinks, this is
the blood he’s been looking for
            the swing no more.

his feet catch the sand and forget
to twist this time. is it the fireman’s pole
he wants? he takes it with the back of
the knee, a seduction of
childhood fears, yes – this is what he wants
i know, i have never wanted to belittle
him. if there were a fire i would
take him first, back down that pole
into the sand. provided he could not save himself.
i would hold that assumption for decades.
           it is soft when the crocodiles
catch us. we hug them to our chests.

his fingers recognise now sand as his
terrain, feet mountain biking the
permutations: how many times can
the shark poke its fingers into the holes
before it finally burns? how many
times can i run into the mirror and
still trample down the tops of slides and
tunnels? he finds his way:
finger in the sand, drilling, his
feet now spinning around this anchor to write
                Place –
no longer moated space. he sits
in the circle he has made, says
this is what is mine, i am taking it

jie jie i build my house here.
                    neh neh nee poo poo
                    you cannot catch me!

to stand, to stand and point at this
circle you have made –how it breathes, grows a playground–,
this is what i hope for you.


who put these things in order
nomenclature enchanted by
metaphors, stacked up so the bed
parts itself like a drawer, fingers
pulling apart strings for the weapon
of choice.

some of them looking for the perfect
fit, thinking of food, desire like a
tongue rolling out as the handle of
a spoon, ready to swallow whole
another rounded edge, only to clang
upon an amputated chopstick.

he says he wants to make something
out of this, so they’ll marry scissors paper,
make a stone, kill birds but not the fantasy
of flight. the drawer’s left open, so she
finds a sharper woman, and it goes:
snip snip

he was unaware of technique, head first
into expression so her face shaped itself into
butoh or vaudeville, compartments forgetting its
french names and then him, altogether. “beautiful, like
dance“, he’d melted, unaware that it never stays the night
– only rearranges the drawer, shuts it tight.

The next poem I write

The next poem I write shall be in prose. Shall sound like my father’s words in my mother’s voice. Shall carry that stunt, shall carry that slur, shall carry nothing, perhaps.

The next poem I write in prose shall be a vessel, shall go knock knock who’s there ——. Shall sound like 75% am, pm, shall sound like hanger against ironing board, shall sound like everything, perhaps.

The next poem I write in prose as a vessel shall be a music box, or a portable speaker. All 3 of them. Shall go everywhere like a board waiting at the airport, shall go into our flat to pick us up at midnight, shall go sermon song workout massage song sermon how to stay away from depression in times of crisis song, perhaps.

The next poem I write in prose as a vessel of music box or portable speaker shall not sound. Shall not shout, shall not speak, shall not slander, if this muteness was inherited.

what sacred history

We never talked about them then and
we don’t talk about them now,
three years later and yes,
we still treat these tigers the same
don’t feed them and hope they starve or
shrink, do whatever but recover
whatever noises tigers make:

patterns or white or textured grids,
they are still there even without their
food. You must recall how the
prowling starts – when there is flesh
there is the running; the teeth that never
stop their sinking.

And do you remember the smell of blood?
On the other side they call these wounds,
I think. Attrition. Even if we were in water
I think something like jumping the shark
would be suicide.

Things That Come in Pairs

You write pen on paper nowadays –
it makes you feel like a poet. The past had
always been a poet, as she had,
so you’re trying

pen & paper again, where you can no longer
seep your mistakes inward with a tap on the
nib, or gentle your fingertips to curl the flimsy fish
around their heads, & swirl 
them into another time,

like when you were younger,
some time ago. These circles you make now,
they look like a 40-year old voice to an unripe pond
calling, calling…

For pen on paper, these days, the way she
does it. & after it is all over how she still traces you
into the water, & how it 
stays, & how it keeps its curling &
swirling under her, even after she is long gone.

For paper, & days,
the ripples can rise to bid more blackness still,
for more movement & more fingertips, & for
no more seeping inward. Calling,

for the pen that swirls you to
another time, like before
you could remember, & the wind was soft
on the circles it made.

The penned, they are all still here,
& the ones making the circles you see?
Those are dried leaves in a patch of grass
but you think you see koi fish in a lake.