Three Dimensional

I kept thinking of what I would’ve said

the day I almost told him. I saw from the way his eyes

transmuted that my brother was not one

to tolerate irregularities, nor to understand how running away

from my body was more beautiful than his acts

of blasphemy. And in the end I could only tell him this,

 

the way light came at me in sine waves 3am this

April morning. I felt sorry for my brother, who said

sleeplessness was destructive, an act

of irresponsibility magnetizing eyes

into black holes that suck away

ceilings. My brother was the only one

 

that cared about our well-being; one

evening gazing at the chandelier he told me this

scheme of forgetting, of doing away

with my disease that bothered him more than he said

it did. My brother, prone to forgetting, did not realize my eyes

were the only parts of his body that helped with my acting

 

the part of a disguiser. The way our lives were divided reminded me of acts

in an absurdist play, cyclical, inconsequential like the one

hamster we raised and let die. Burial day my mouth watered, eyes

turned geometric with rage feeling this

colorful earth vibrate and diffuse into our bodies. I said

to myself it was time to step away

 

from my brother. It was unethical to take away

his identity whenever I wanted to, acting

as if he had another to live in like he said

he did. Perhaps one day my mind will touch my body, my skin one

with the universe we curated. Staring down the ceiling this

dirty morning with loose-fitting skin and eyes

 

dripping black waters, eyes

the color of defeat too one-dimensional to look away

from, I tore my belly open knowing this

is where I belong. It is not a personal choice to be born into acting.

I wrapped my hair around my thighs around my spine to pretend I am one

thing only. I filled my bellybutton with my tongue saying

 

there are vertical asymptotes in my thinking, this

matter has to be approached three-dimensionally. My brother said

it was a matter of time. His index finger tells him I will be one.

the way we drink it

The first time we drank it

the incense cut our throats raw, diffused

up a concentration gradient of

sawdust & gaseous disease as she

said to me, tongue purple & jiggling:

“Under the dying sun our faces were

a shade of iron comparable to rain.”

She wrapped her little finger around

mine that were elongated by

the illusion that we engulfed

between lunch breaks & our upper lips.

She touched it with her tongue, gave birth to it

brooding beneath pale eyes & black

warring teeth. They disagreed often

but were loyal to her heart.

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Outlanders

This is what i think about

palpitating under 2 am peace and steady cement:

Between the newspaper office

and home by a ceremonial mountain

is a place called summer; our skin liquifies

every time we trespass in floral ties and birth certificates

umbrella-blessed against harsh winds or sunshine.

we have a way of protecting ourselves,

dematerializing the way stars do against nights of neon and insomnia

stars fading like dreams of outlanders

severed, misplaced, lost to the winds of an oceanic summer—

and we, glassy-eyed and lovestruck

with sick humor and ceremony, lose our sleep

by the hooks of our noses.

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Spring Views–a translation

I translated one of my favorite Chinese poems–Chun Jing (Spring Views) by Su Shi. Here’s the original poem:

 

花褪残红青杏小。燕子飞时,绿水人家绕。枝上柳绵吹又少,天涯何处无芳草

墙里秋千墙外道。墙外行人,墙里佳人笑。笑渐不闻声渐悄,多情却被无情恼。

Blooms fade as apricots sprout. Swallows spread wings, green waters entwine village houses. Catkins of willows taken by wind, to the end of the earth divine grasses abound.

Mirth within walls heard by those without. Pedestrian pauses, inside the maiden laughs. Laughter fades and no sound comes, sentimentality thwarted by the unsuspecting girl.

It’s impossible to capture the beauty of this poem in translation. The rhythm and much of the imagery is lost.

 

Summer

It is the third time this year

summer aged for her,

every night for eighty-four nights

golden dreams reincarnate

as the hours relive

and we count with our fingers

with fatigue, not pity.

 

For even as her lips stretch wide

she is glistening with the sweat

of labor and heart disease, her

empty hair and amber teeth shredding

stream-like into bighearted bouquets

open for age only.

 

Now we stand by

with nimble eyes without words

We save our condolences

for her funeral in a summer evening:

Her body, hairless head and all

will lose its last color

shielded in white linen in vain

against summer invasions

And before she returns elemental

to her mother, we will adorn

her celestial eyes with colorless kisses

and pray

for the death of summer.

 

Removal

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We remember her

by the eyes only, two

three dimensional black holes

of blood and bad dreams diluted

we hold them with our teeth the way

she used to hold her tongue

with her lips her

shrinking lips for she had a way

 

of shortening them, the upper petals

diminished

in poor taste, I said. But she never

listened to me with her

starlet dreams and starlit breath emanating

 

betrayal and I

my eyes double-folded my cheeks

burning with displacement and shame

thrust my paws through the heart

of her disease. I never failed

to remind her

of a dying mother.