Stunner

You are the only one with whom
I can share a harmless closeness.
My hand slips down your back and I find
memories, valleys contained
in beautiful lines; past encounters.

Let me drink in the dips of your body,
give them a rest from constant pressure.
Remember the Shirley Temples,
glass tinted red from maraschino cherries
free from spirits and bitters;

the people who have walked out on you.
Your right hip I touch, and I experience your streets,
where people laugh at your mangled language
but can’t stop staring because
you’re a stunner.

I feel your left shoulder,
where resides a giant knot
strong like your walk, dull as old glass;
people who have scorned you.
Heels click, crisp as East Coast winters.

Who are they to decide?
They should envy your touch, sultry
and sweet, i’m chasing you down
gray concrete because I know:
You stop for no one.

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Invitation

Pull a chair over, into
perpetual rain,
and we will talk about selfish desires,
as the cold erodes the warmth of skin
against skin.

Bodies throbbing,
portable stereo imitates rhythmic rain, syncopated
hi-hats and snares
that render others soundless.

Settle in,
wash away the beat-up shins,
and the earsmuffs everyone tries to give–
the world has her own pair.
Away

with the grinding memories, crackling against
black asphalt.
I wonder if it’s gray in England today.
It’s so dark I cannot see my hands.

bleach

winding, winding through the lacquered night and just running
through the blue skeleton of time
past the barred silver rail between us
skirting vertigo before-

bones slip

into the silvery green water of
skipped stones and
spiral types of space.

ripples ebb in and out of themselves
as body performs an impossible reversal into
a level plane,
pressed into a towel, weight
into sand, sun upon my back.

clean.

Pale Skin

I keep forgetting that today is supposed to be some sort of celebration of independence for Americans. Twisting the whole idea around–yes, I am American (no matter how reluctant I may be to reveal that to foreigners, but I will write more on that another time), and I am celebrating my independence–abroad. A reminder to all: never let anything hold you back. We are all priceless, and no matter how much we get beat down, we have the ability to rise again. And here is a poem that embodies the moment I was able to let go; here’s one for my own independence:

*****************************************************************************

Your family was fortunate: when the Khmer Rouge was silently gaining power
in Cambodia, they left for Taiwan.
They escaped the starvation, concentration camps, the executions.
Those were your people.
But I will not cry for you.

These are the people with whom I share an ultimate root,
but know nothing of because
you never talk to me.
It’s always, you wouldn’t understand, you don’t know about

Life, the place you left me teetering,
clutching your leg as you went to live in another woman’s place for two weeks?
Life, what I contemplated taking many nights
as I sat in the bathtub letting the water run loud to drown out your lies, thinking
it’d be so goddamn easy?
But this is not about me.

This is about you, and the way you walked away from me when all I wanted
were answers. This is about the way you would not answer my sister’s questions
about biology even though you hold a fucking PhD in molecular life science
bullshit because you obviously don’t give a shit about life, because you
left me
with blood tainted purple.

This is about the way you starved us of love while you fooled around with some spoiled Latina brat who wore
perfume, unlike my mother
who could not mask her displacement, who could not overcome the fact
that when she was a few weeks old she was left
in a corner to die.

This is about my mother, who followed you across
a sea and followed your white teeth and fed you and stood on the side
as you carved perfection into plaster molds
and as you deemed us imperfections in your sterilized world of dentures.

You think this is about me forgiving you, but
I will not cry for you
I do not look like you
with your pale, pale skin, you emerged unbruised.

You are pale like the belly of a dead fish, you are hideous
in the backdrop of Cambodia
that is beautiful temples and beautiful, dark, children bronzed by the sun.

This is about the years of tears i’m taking back.

Desire

Image

The silver tide calls to me:
my foot glides into the river.

My blood runs
blue with wanting–union of two
long-lost lovers.

Silken water slips
between my softened bones,
salt bleaches me clean.

My hair unravels in thin ribbons,
black, the flat notes of a piano,
interlaced with the sea.

I swallow instinctively. I find
I cannot breathe I slip and grasp
for the world but my body protests, crawling

frictionless, water molding to the hollow
of my neck. I force my fingers through the cold wet
towards the surface. I am frail, my skin:

Blue.

Unsuited Pair

In my lapses of longing
you take the shape of a tree,
branches stretched wide across the child’s
sandbox where dirty toys lay half-hidden, corners
red, the outside a black plastic where on hot
days it burns real bad and the children scream.

But in the arctic frost of New York winters,
the obsidian black of your dying bark reminds me
we are living in the present
and I cannot undress your night.

My limbs are willows
that will not bend
like bamboo, already scarred too much
to take your void of space.

Magnetic

Like a wind-up toy
designed to move only
in one direction,
I am drawn to you.
Pulsing chest,
heartbeat like a hummingbird’s wings,
tangle of loose limbs.
With a hum of belonging,
I burrow closer.
Designed to move only in one
direction,
I am wound.

Tire Swing

as we near the end of summer, reminders of childhood kick in. or, summer is the time when we relive our childhoods.
*****************************************************************************
Sun-dyed trees sun-kissed locks ruffled
birds, scooter on cement, drowned
cars and motorcycles,
glittery plastic sandals, pink on feet of small
girl, it smells like hot rubber I get dizzy fast
not a carsick dizzy but a thrilling
dizzy I can spin real fast
unbalanced– the elliptical arc is lopsided
sent into uneven orbit
sky gradiates from yellow to blue
sunlight settles at a golden shimmer.

Girls

these days are not told often enough that they are beautiful.
I wish I could love you as you should be loved,
but I can’t walk alongside such perfection as you.
Even when teetering on stilettos and with face caked in paint,
your soft voice curls around my body as I wish
to curl around you.
Today I saw you checking the glass to fix your hair,
but I know you were really checking to see if you
were still there.
Wrapped up in a blanket on your bed,
your invisible opiate bruise stays nestled
in the hollow of your neck.
If only I could undo you
untangle the leash you spun yourself into
and kiss you blind–
Galvanizing bodies, sunrise burst
in fragments
we break through polluted flesh with full resonance
my hands slide
down carved shoulders, for you are beautiful,
and I, only a blunder in vented perfection.

Torn

My best friend killed my pet hamster.
I asked her
why.
She said
sorry.

I told her we couldn’t be friends anymore.
She stroked the fragile
body, collected the bloody mass
and left.

Do you see?
The image of you resurfaces.

I give you an x-ray, uncover
a metallic spine, blue-black bones.
I run my fingers across your body and ask why

I deserved it.

You say I wouldn’t understand.

Yesterday I spent hours crumpling
newspapers. My hands were black
from tearing paper flesh. I expose

a silver skeleton, crinkled skin.
I finger the bony vertebrae and jumbled words spill
into my hands. Today

I am still slightly gray
with ink residue.
My floor is littered with paper
carcasses,

tattered and worn.

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