Inside-out the world turns its being
Blank-eyed moon seeing
Fragrant shampoo wine weaving air-mesh
Melting night flesh
Quiet, darkness makes creation
Listening walls, drumbeat pulsation
from Secret portals locked in shadows
Opened in slanting streetlight from windows
that watch Blank-eyed moon seeing melting night flesh reach salvation.
30th April/ (11/30)/ Ovillejo
Tonight the night does not seem as poetic
Tonight words feel like bile in my throat
The air stings like acid reflux in my nose
Today's one a.m. is not
a 'frenzy of poetish thoughts'
like that week-old note in my phone
yet to be turned into a poem
Tonight I turn on the light instead.
Tonight feels strange,
that strange taste of water melted from ice
oppressive heat despite the air conditioner
brain crouched in a low growl
as if a stomach empty despite dinner.
Tonight there are eyebrows knit, teeth grit
hunched over trusty 'poem notebook'
in the itchy light shadowing scratchy Pierre Cardin strokes
irking insomniac incomprehension
into trying to untangle itself, not helping,
Like a concerned mother interrupting her weirdo kid in the middle of a midnight poem.
Tonight there is scribbled squiggly squeaky-cleaning
of midnight-tinted rose-rimmed glasses—
Look at it, it's just a quiet time of the day,
Nothing inherently artistic
Nothing, in fact, is inherently anything—
Our mere existence warps their realities,
we're people-shaped gravity-toting holes
in the space where air should be
Air, heavy feather, with its ticklish brain sneeze,
Cannot oppress the lifeless, at least, into breathing;
so tonight the night does not breathe.
Though somehow hammers away, black-
smith incessant at the forge of a sleepless head
Confusing about confusion about confusion—
Tonight the night is a dead thing
merely playing at being alive.
19th April/ (9/30)/ Free verse
Sometimes in the middle of the night
This sleeping house wakes up,
like a death in the newspaper
or whispers at a wake
Wake at the hour it's supposed to sleep
and this house, in the middle of the night
when it does not even know the time
(or time, for that matter)
its ton of bricks crush down on it
like a sense of despair.
Solitary, calm, poetic midnight
transforms into loneliness
cold as concrete
hollow as the foundation, eaten away
by rats now through the years
and this house, it cannot cry now.
It is too old and too empty
or perhaps it is the fact
that it does not have floorboards
to hide secrets underneath
to be pried open by fingernails
and put back in place at will,
it does not have
wood that can heave
and settle with a sigh;
Only cool (cold?) white tile
It would have to be broken
to see what lies underneath.
and this house, with its vast structure
feels small, so incredibly small
like a blue dot in a space painting
barely visible, with an arrow pointing
'You are here'
And all that you have ever known
And all that you will ever be—
it knows it is solid,
the world, whatever it is,
sees it is solid, and knowing
but the truth is it does not know
anything apart from...
and this house is a bastet
it changes shape in the night
or perhaps it is merely
casting off its clothes in the sundown's privacy
but it is afraid of its naked
self that hides during the day;
this house does not like the sun.
But neither does it like the moon
or the romanticized notions it carries
for all it sees is white tile,
it to tears
But never further, always choking on tidal brine
because it is that vast, you see,
and this house wants to scream
not for love, not for mercy, not for help,
but to make the particles
of its very skeleton resonate with shrill emptiness
until it implodes
like a bomb shelter, perhaps,
clattering furniture, falling bricks, gaping holes
that existed before it fell apart
Because it had never been together, really,
only now it might collapse
and let its weariness radiate
in tidal waves breaking
on the shore
finally uncovering its underbelly
some stillborn child
blood of this very house
gone quietly, loudly
into the black embrace of night.
Sunsets in the city
aren't the most romantic affair— you see,
there's no sun-dipping-into-the-horizon
(because there is no horizon)
no distant crash of waves
or the chirping of unknown birds,
(Though you might just get a nice breeze if you're lucky)
there's no fire in the hearth slowly going out.
But leaning here against the balcony's railing
Gazing at the sky you just know
you just feel the sun setting
And a slight smile creeps up your lips
and you feel the railing's warmth
which has had time to heat up the entire day,
but also its strangely soothing metallic cool.
You just know you're watching a sunset
without watching the sun set—
In the gradient of the sky
blue, then a hint of thunderstorm grey,
soft lamplight orange, then lovely, lovely pink
before finally descending
into the grey-blue of the oncoming night.
The oncoming night,
which does not fall, but rises
Though not before that flock of birds
stops tracing figures-of-eight in the dusk
then zeroes, and gets thinner and thinner
as each bird alights on the 'chosen one' tree,
Not before that lone kite
stops floating in the swirls and eddies
of the streetlight wind,
Not before you finally notice
the mosquitoes in your feet
and wish those powerlines in front of your house
cutting through every view
would just disappear forever,
Not before you still heave a contented sigh
and go back inside,
missing it already.
26th April/ (14/30) / Free verse
Faint feelings flitting
Like fireflies in the dark
I hardly feel light
For the glow is twinkling black
A pendulum made of night
6th April/ (6/30) / Tanka
On Friday evening, I took my SOS pill—
you know, the Slave Of Suicide one?
I picked up my planisphere obscured
my phone's torchlight with a finger,
And instead of looking down from my balcony,
I looked up
looked up at him, Orion, the hunter constellation
And held on to his belt.
I held on to his triple-star belt
And consulted my planisphere— I was going to try and find
not myself, but other constellations today
like my life depended on it
(because it did) after much trial-and-error,
I discovered I'd been mirroring him all along.
I'd been looking up at my hunter
the wrong way all these years
His bow is on the opposite end of Betelgeuse, you idiot
and that's why you haven't discovered anything else yet.
People ground themselves at the north star
But I say the north star is overrated
I won't make a single star my guiding light—
my guide is a man made out of stars.
And that night, I didn't feel my neck aching
(to be slit) from looking up for too long;
I was a child, my playground the night
sky, I learned the names of stars
and found constellations with my Orion—
Canis major and minor, Gemini, Auriga
(Taurus was concealed by the citylights)
I even created my own constellation,
I nicknamed stars;
I and the Sky
shared a lot of inside jokes that night.
When I was done frolicking through the sky
and sitting back singing Space Oddity, I saw
that the most serendipitous of stars
had also been the dullest—
In the darkest of nights,
the faintest of stars were the brightest of lights.
River Song had said in an episode of Doctor Who
that you love the stars,
but you don't expect them to love you back—
But sitting there in that chair I felt
The gusts of life through my hair and I realised,
I realised the stars did love me back.
On this day, when I was choking on my own brain
The day I was relapsing into the empty,
The universe embraced me in its galactic arms
caught me in its welcoming palm
soothed me with a forehead kiss saying, Look,
Look here, take out your forgotten planisphere
and today I'll uncloud your eyes,
so you can see all the patterns in the sequins embroidered
in this upturned black bowl that you've been missing.
And maybe it was just the SOS pill
Or the thrill
of finding paintings in the stars,
but in that moment, I felt them loving me back
filling my hollow body with their supernoval cores,
From a million light-years away, I felt loved.
Maybe it's temporary, or my hyperactive imagination,
but I don't care— I didn't pick up the kitchen's sharpest knife,
I didn't need anyone else that day
For the stars themselves had begged me to stay.
5th April/ (5/30) / Free verse
As cold water runs over my fingers I
look in the mirror and notice the crimson
staining my chapped lower lip
And a dot of it on the teardrop in the centre
of my upper lip it is
nothing but a stain from the shredded
Beetroot I ate with salt and lemon in the morning.
But this beet stain on my lip makes me feel
again, the beat of your heart
with my lips on your soft neck
My mouth feeling (the beat stain) pulse
(running, running) of your vitality coursing underneath
Clutching your shoulders
(running, running) down your bare arms
hot from your rushing blood but cold
from the gibbous-moon gusts of the night.
The beet stain brings your hushed body back
Your hair, flying loose, a thin veil before my eyes
as your hands squeezed mine and your heart beat fast
(the beat stain) lipsticked mouth gaping wide
to let out quick breaths (too much for your nose)
and a moan echoing in finality with pain
as my teeth drowned in your yielding flesh
and my tongue tasted the blood
(running, running) like a river down my throat your heart
pounding out a final grand symphony reverberating
in the flamenco through your arteries, your veins
collapsing like your dilated pupils into kaleidoscopic irises
that were always too reflective
Of the beauty of humanity, your humanity
to ever comprehend my lack of it
Or (the beat stain) secrets concealed in my canines
Until your heart stopped (running, running)
And the last vestiges of your delicate life
kept you from stumbling over forward
pushed you into my waiting arms
Your fingers still intertwined in mine, though limp
I touched your bluing mouth with my (beat stain) lips
and laid you down in the tall grass near the stream
My fingers no longer (running, running) down your sculpted body
but only the mud in the bank embracing you
4th April/ (4/30) / Free verse
Holi eve night
I can't see any stars in the black canopy of the sky
But she's there, beautiful, reduced to a centrepiece
For strangers to worship and attach stories to
Who look at her, but don't see— they love themselves
So they chatter and dance and have fun
Somebody I don't know offers me a sweet
My senses are absorbed,
For even though the sky is dark
She's there, scattering stars of sunset shimmering
Out for the night to inhale.
A girl films her swaying in slow motion to her own rhythm
Oblivious to the loud folk music on the community speakers
I have not brought my camera.
The girl's phone whites out her beauty
Turns her blossoming tongues of magma
Into featureless dazzling white
This is why I did not bring my camera.
But I have brought my heart.
So even though I know that all the metaphors
About her mercurial magnificence
That flood my brain like her anbaric rivulets,
All the poems I could write
That will white out her beauty
Have already been written;
I let my words flow and engulf this page
Like her flames do the wood
I let my words flow because I love the fire.
I love the fire so I come closer,
Even though I can feel her warmth from afar I
Can't help but come closer;
My skin cries tears of sweat
My brain yells at me to step back—
But all I can do is bask in the warmth she radiates
Let my pupils dilate with her heat
And my blood fill with the divinity of Prometheus's stolen treasure.
She is a slice of the Sun on the Earth
And a soothing sliver of the moon
All I can do is marvel at her supernova core
All I can do is look, and yet.
I look at her and I want to burn in her,
Dive into her heart and burn
I'll just be another log, some more kindling
That makes her hiss and sizzle and crackle in glee
But I want to feel her sear my bones from within
Like she's seared my heart from without.
Now the stick pyramid falls but she burns on
For she never needed that structure to exist—
She's a force of nature, hair flying wild
And as the wood falls I want to fall too
Fall to my knees in front of her, eyes closed
Be the Icarus in her tranquil orange lustre
That beautifies the ugliest with her summertime incandescence
And fills this empty pitcher with ichor
That overflows and splashes these pages
With the fiery passion inside.
1st April/ (1/30) / Free verse
I am the moon’s reflection
In a murky night puddle
Do I not want to flit among the fireflies?
But I am not the moon
(Though I could be)
Only its flattened image;
Here comes a shoe
Sending ripples through my body.
With half-closed eyes the sun
Watches the heavenly ink
Spill out of its pot
As if God, like a frustrated poet
Had pushed his inkpot off his writing-desk.