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.

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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.