Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Rise and Fall

1. Hello

You pressed into me like flesh was just
another barrier that love could overcome.

We were such fools, giddy in the heat of sunlight
and summer dreaming.
Nails scoring nape, tasting salt and sharing sips
of drinks always too sweet.

We spoke like we could climb over each other's
words and reach the sky together.

Breathless murmurings, birdsong.
Touch flesh and touchstone.

2. Goodbye

Silence never fords a river
and my hands are bare. Like flowers
they open and speak in the rise
and fall of heat, in fleeting scent
and aborted gestures and touch.
(Oh, but kisses and bruises fade.)
It is time for clouds to rest. Outside,
the sun settles below the horizon,
like an eyelid shuttering, like goodbye.

3. Hello (Again)

I search the lines around your eyes
and your mouth as if unraveling
a mystery. Time was not kind to me,
nor to you. But we can be kind enough
to each other. I look down at my hands,
curled up together like birds in the nest.

(We said goodbye like we had planes to catch.
The thread snapped and we lived with hearts
that still wanted healing. Not so tender now.)

I once said that silence never fords a river.
But what did I know? Wordlessly we speak
in gestures that have or have not changed.
A rough translation: hello again, hello.

4. Goodbye (Again)

What did I know of pain?
Whatever heights we reached together--
Whatever depths we dived together--

Nothing, nothing hurts more
than watching you leave

5. (    )

Will there be another hello?
Only the gods know.

Okay. This just started with number two--a draft I wrote down five years ago--and it grew from there. Still a draft, but richer and deeper perhaps?

Friday, April 24, 2015

For Those Who Were Here Yesterday

first posted here: tumblr

But not today.
Today turned into a labyrinthine tangle
and this city was full of wild and kind hearts
and the moving bus carried me home too early
on wheels made of loud worries 
which kissed the grey road stretched before us
like a long arm reaching 
for the other hand and the bus 
wove among the orange cones 
and yellow lights of vigorous construction
because no matter what happened, we tend 
towards remaking–what we should have said
or done, or how we should feel–
and the buildings were like bald faces,
tired faces, weary and heartsick faces,
nodding at each other, eyes sliding over
to compare and measure and fall short
and the crows collaborate
with metal fences
and become makeshift gargoyles
watching over sidewalks we’ve stumbled on 
with our eyes closed, while seagulls circle 
like an immigrant’s thoughts, full of guilt
and need, and songbirds show off 
their red chests and chatter about sex
in the season’s careless glories, landing
among growing things, pecking 
at the hard truths, showing how the cage
has no door except the one everyone walks through, 
and then the lights changed
so the tide of sound ebbed and returned
like our own stuttering breath
and when I knew nothing
about everything, and something of nothing
I stopped at my usual place
greeted the black dots of rain 
like an old friend going over an old conversation 
and I put both my feet on the ground
swung my backpack over my shoulder
which I have crushed against myself
thinking what will come from today’s subtraction
thinking of what rushes in to fill the cracks
thinking what will I do today
today, today, today–
this excess of time 
I’ve been squandering since.

Remix of Jessica Greenbaum's poem.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Playing Catch Up: NaPoWriMo

Never mind my excuses. Here are a handful of poems to honour the month.

(prompt: fourteener)

Twisted words fall from open mouth, as poet asks for truth.
It comes and goes like a radio song between the ads.
What is it for anyway? Who is it for? Who speaks truth
when lies suffice in the day to day? The poet is he
who pans for truth in the streaming words. What shimmers? What glows?
What will the water bring to the surface there? A small truth
embedded in a tangle of lies, sharp enough to cut
through the bullshit. Will it feed you? Will you carry it home?
Will it save you from yourself? Will it save you from the world?

(prompt: loveless love/break-up)

Don't hold on too tight or you will leave bruises on tender flesh.
It is what it is, though there is room to grow, or wither.
The moment weighs you down lest the wind carry you away.
You must play the game or practice laughter. Neither
will help you be the best. You can still lose it all in a throw.
To dream of loss now is to be aware of limits. Eat, dance and sing
anyway. It is what it is. It was what it was. It will be what
it will be. You are not as important as you think. You are everything.

(prompt: remix of Dickinson poem, 930)

The poets live on light
but wicks burn out.
Vital parts they stimulate.

Each the sun of their age,
each work disseminating
their circumference.

The wicks' sacrifice:
Light lives on poets.
And the rest of us survive the night.


Friday, February 20, 2015


Christine Fojas

Voice must flow like lava from the volcano's lip. Hips must sway. The grey must hide in shaded hair. Bare skin given like a gift, after waxing like a maxed out moon. An afternoon of pain for a night of love.

Aroma of flowers and home cooked meals. Heels in the air, toes painted red. The bed is waiting, warm.

After a lifetime of obedience, here is the promise of sin.

An exercise in form

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Poet: an identity crisis

I am not as good at this as I wish I could be. And I've never quite mustered enough courage to actually call myself a writer or a poet, even though I desperately, hopelessly want to be. Why not? Why the f--- not?

How about I promise to try? It's not courage I lack, it's momentum. It's motivation. To try and submit poems to literary magazines, to update my poetry blogs (here and notional mess) with thoughts and exercises and musings and to write regularly and repeat the cycle. To work at being a poet and writer. So I earn that name.

What am I waiting for?

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

some links I've come back to or stumbled onto this month:

A poetry book called Situations by Laura Carter

"Some Feel Rain" by Joanna Klink

A blog of literary commentary called Pomp and Intertext

Chanterelle's Notebook, a poetry e-zine

A TEDtalk on architecture

Playable games

End of April: Notes

Many of the poems I've written this month lacked the typical cohesive nature of the tradition that I grew under. They are like open-ended questions, like one-half of a parenthesis. Or more like random notations on a sheet of music, which, when played, produces mostly noise rather than song. The reasons behind this--aside from that they were easier to write--is that I wrote them in the spirit of alea or chance. I needed to be shaken loose from the narrow circle of my own thoughts. I consider those poems collaged because they grew from other people's work, from random words and phrases culled from current readings. They are collaborations, in a way. Not all of them are successful, however. And I find myself still circling the same old images and themes sometimes. (So the work is never done.)

I've also liked playing with form in general, from truncated haikus to that weird Filipino poem. I've done some long ones this month, and I've written short lines, and longer ones. When I read them over, I am happy to be so inconsistent. I always feel like I'm repeating myself, so the unexpected, the novel, and the random are all welcome here. But there are still patterns. I find myself writing a lot of internal or slant rhymes, more out of instinct that strict deliberation. There are a lot of maps, a lot of songs, and poems about stories. I've also been drawn to anaphora.

As always, doing this everyday means my life seeps into the poetry. My dark days, my daily worries, the questions and topics that are my current obsessions or preoccupations--they are all present in my poems. Will I do this again? Maybe next year. I am wrung out now, and also, craving prose.