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.

my mentor likes the poems i don’t

Those read like LRT doors,
a cat’s flehming every few steps so
we can see down its throat, swallow the 
it choked on last night. The tracks I prefer to
follow nearly nudge the flats, 
close enough to kitchens
and bedrooms and 
TVs and towelled girls to
give us the frost we deserve. The closed lid of the cat,
its orange curled, crumpled till our hands
reach to tickle. Then it yawns.
We cannot believe what we see. Next station
is across the country. The places 
we’ve passed
we’ve alighted. 5th life down, now irretrievable –
perfect, the cat grins. But my mentor likes the poems
I don’t have the cargo to milk, nor the milk to cargo.
A cat’s nature is to curl, lean against the rail.
When its belly is prodded, it mews and cleans itself.

duck tusks

”Pain is truth; all else is subject to doubt.”
J.M. Coetzee, Waiting for the Barbarians

                                                   we saw his head see circles as it fell.

the elephant in the room turns
its tusks towards the sun. this is a duck
crafted from gold, the buoy i must
inflate – i swim to it.

my nails barely make a clik ting
when i realise the kuap kap
kiap- ah shit, i should have reached
for thick skin instead but this is what i saw.

                                  but my hands, they had been behind my back

to have a gnawing not your own is
guilt’s webbed feet, it goes swoosh
swoossawoosh to keep up, keep
you up, till the colour smushes 

fingers like a Midas spiak fiewm.
i can only envision a step-ball-
change to the trunk that stores
exit, bla biash bleugh into untruth:

                                                    his head was in your lap when it fell

from the elephant’s mouth. the duck is
germinating tusks and grey skin
fold after fold replacing gold
still afloat, the yak yap armoured now

with blood and script, tuned to the
resonance of repetition, of you you
you and your lie lie lie till you lie
down down with that lie now:

                                                    his head, it was in my lap when it fell

it was at the tuck of dusk
i confessed to what i had not done.
the sun turning away from boom
boom corhk!, watering its mile-long nose

                                                                          under my hand and it fell.

flight fight


tabula rasa
beginning had always been white-slit
black-think, crevice here to please donate

dollars, perhaps drop sense, or identities free
to dark into an eternity
for uterus soils to raise once more. 

this ground has been stamped before. now
the laundry of flags is grasping its colour, elephant
slates wash their green. they are circumventing
the apocalypse of the eleven-floor
claw climb.

forgive us, father,
for we know not what we have
dug the ground and found, this whiteness
splayed by movement – this arcing motion over
heads; sometimes it is difficult to see.

a decade and we are still ejecting paper expecting
flight – how do you expect to fight the flames you
fan yourself? never less,
in heat we will still
cursive; conceive; conjure; 

we are the creators from creators. we hit the
marks left
to etch further 

the whitewash with black tint,
those kamikaze men,
nosedive, still standing.