Papa nearly kills a pigeon
with a rock.
That means, your own name can be used
& that is the way a mother can carry hope
without its burden. Then, grandma’s fingers
my flawless cheeks like salt. She drafts
from her lips, singular, preoccupied.
When I tell her I don’t like it,
we’re on Hainan
& I don’t have anywhere
but water. Mama’s colleague
I’m in love with
& cuts off my ponytail,
but Mama still wants to be
best friends. I wake early the next day
to find myself
a daughter. We raise
chicken for their fragility,
& Frida sleeps on Mama’s pillow,
but only follows
Mama sews me a skirt
to wear to church. The seam
only kissed the sewing
& after the sermon
it confesses like wings
that lay bare their frame with each flight.
That means, Mary might not have been
a virgin. That means a mouth
can be piece
and blackmailer at the same time.
The fan drags a dead bird/
hot air / thirty three degree Celsius
around with its propeller.
Through the window,
dies by the hands of white
curtains & it reeks
of coconut conditioner, oxygenated
drinking water & seventy
nanograms of bad girl
testosterone; half a bridge
on a foot.
& I give her what girls want
which is attribute/
feature/ distinction/ contribution.
That means, I hand her
she fingers me
with. That means, we are now
in contrast –
the words friends or lovers,
not animalistic enough.
The dead bird picks at her shadow,
a chisel, however pragmatic – there to carve,
studies the stone. Rehearses its reverse,
makes an organ of a stimulus
in a God’s pubescent flair.
A chip of hair loosens
from its bun.
I ignore the jewelry –
pendant & diamond
ring – best
while wearing it.
& I give her what girls want
which is a secret/
non-cursive/ abstract/ seven minutes.
That means, I give
her a closet.
That means, I hand
her mother a picture
of a boy & don’t write anything in my diary.
That means, she has
long hair & no tower
but my cervix.
She makes her hand
below my waistline,
& that wingwork
means, she puts
into her delirium.
We’ll celebrate whatever
snow-ridden day it is,
when I can only speak riverwater.
When I step on my tonguebed
and the rocks are round.
We'll go to the botanical gardens
and I'll water the succulents
on your chest
with my spit. Say
with high humidity, here, have me like
you knew I was coming.
You didn't grow a beard to hide
your mother's face beneath it —
how did she love you? And doesn't it make you
sad — the definiteness of “did”? I can't remember
what my father said about love,
but I remember his tears
when I moved out and on.
The thing is, he didn't know what I left —
that fact made me want to become him.
The thing is, when he found
out, my name sounded
Some of my body's light still catches
the truth of that house.
When my bones rupture
with laughter, my flesh doesn't know
the difference of a good bleed and a bad
man. Some say, coping mechanism
and how strong it made me.
I am not talking about my father,
I am talking about Tristan —
that, of course, is a made-up name,
because when I tell the light
my tongue falls out like
my story doesn't belong to me.
(I wonder what his purpose
was, now he's in my body,
he doesn't even talk, doesn't
tell me what happened.)
This is now third nature,
one I have been served
on the rusted platter
of my bed. The oil stain
of his body engine, grease
I have taken to white-coated
strangers, like to the public
washing machines, sat and waited
for an hour worth a coin,
worth 50 dollars. Came out
wet and heavy. Isn't that what it is like,
to talk about trauma, doesn't it traumatise?
Heaven held its birds and songs
and hallelujahs above my head,
they say, which only meant I was dead-
flat on my back like a bug.
I have now learned to flee
but it is only from my own self
and into your rib bones. But whose heart
wouldn't want that. Look, I don't want to injure
love with my knowing-nothing-about-it.
I don't want to spin an empty
barrel at a rabbit, I want you to chew
on the lead when you make a meal
of my hunting. Lose a tooth for a heart,
you thief. I mean to say that out loud
to my father and have him be done
grieving my name. Love is such a colossal
question, and for some reason
this poem is not about Tristan at all.
My Loneliness as Kafka’s Diaries
8 August. The two vases sit on the windowsill, and the slit of dust between them
reminds me of a woman’s skirt.
After half an hour of reading, loneliness has become academic. I don’t interpret anything into its presence – its fact. The knots in my fingers, derived from a precedent love-affair, are a thesis that only proves loneliness is a misshapen thing, that wants everything to look just like it. The only logical conclusion of an argument I have with myself, over which pillow to imagine a lover’s head on tonight, is Chimera. I chase myself around the bed until it is a brothel, meet loneliness in the red room and fall in love with her.
What events can I tell my friends about when we next meet?
The lid would not come off the marmalade jar, the sugar sat on the frontiers and gripped ownership of the land I wanted to screw off, to pass through and claim the chunks of orange fields for my mouth. I took a gunmetal spoon - stained silver at least - under the edge of the lid, or was it under the jaw? Then a shot-like sound. You can make a bullet come out of almost anything. These wars, however small, present themselves to me. I already know how bored they will be of my spoongun story, but I would rather not talk about corruption; the money that flows out of my pockets and under the table of mania, to fool myself with shiny new shoes, that will stay carpet-friendly and heel-scouring.
In my dream, my mother speaks Spanish and the postman delivers the wrong letter. We eat chips together, my cousin makes me a sandwich with chocolate spread and marshmallows. And I don't know what to get from that, other than at first I was lonely and misshapen, then suddenly I was not.