for our sake




How short and sweet and bitter it was,

poetic.  We began as poems do,

in the manner of quiet revelations


blink and the feeling is gone, inscribe inscribe

at all costs.  Too soon did we become

the tired manuscripts of forgiveness


with nothing to invest but our ghosts

in the showroom of desire.  Soon we were out of words

also, you preparing your papyrus


and I thinking it was a new language,

trying so hard to erase.  I was taught good poems

leave nothing to be erased,


that there should be nothing left to break down

Prosaic, and like a doomed prose

you broke it down for me


and I cried obtusely

not for the poem but for our rhythm

in disrepair; was never used to near-rhymes,


the male ease of unreasonable release,

malaise of flesh.  Worried because I was never

a revivalist. 


So it was there I was forced to punctuate,

follow your logic of line breaks without

questions such as what about the white space


in between or my voice in all this. 

You looked at me desperate to water

the plot down from behind a play


of Christmas lights,

at first withering slowly into omniscience,

and then a swift flick of the wrist


page turning cigarette ash burning

the both of us

disconnecting marking the end


how we left together

and apart in desire and idea. 

It was there I decided against all repair,


all revision or elegy

for the sake of first draft best draft,

the poem you can’t break down, have to keep


burning if nothing else when the night folds over

without your hands, eyes, a love or tongue

to speak in.




scenes from suite #415


this room lit with amber
furnished by imitation
Persian carpets glazing
atop cement beneath leather
over tell-tale hearts
     to strike a whisper 
tells me I am home
     a poem
coming in from the cold


history of the world
contained in this elevator
about to grumble
     for its last trip upwards
on earth


crumbling Madonna
left behind
     an exhalation
brings murmurs to my belly I
    quiver with grace for phrases and lovers
     to arrive
     in no particular order


walls blackened like fish
the temporality of limbs betwixt them
it is 4 a.m.
     I am still searching
     for reasons to love


fingerprints intangible by morning
     it is the promise
     that keeps me going
burning red bright thru midnight
city of god
until rush hour blues


the relief in knowing that nights mean nothing
and afternoons everything
softens the stretching back
of new skin
     over the old neons
as sunlight draws the room
     in an arc of heaven,
evidence gone in time
for the gods
to descend


but there is no descending
or uplifting,
just the curious mix of memory
and bleach,
a faint hymn of ghosts
new sheets and ambivalence
for the handwritten scraps on the table
or maybe sympathy


the hotel skyline is a constellation
to be followed
in tics


I will never learn to love

     big city goodbyes, would rather
desert myself.




black hawk


perched on a tree
stump, eyes old with the bleakness
of earthliness 

it sings dark moans, unbird-like

drones — a heart full of stones
not even

I sing out to you but am inclined to disappear
to you and your army
who consume the sky
with the leaves of your body —
everything of nature
unnaturally of you

did I say
again?  I simply meant the bird,

flying fast,
and without warning
over the blue horizon

to which I let its
vision go,
skipping all histories
like stones.




praising the waves


the sea gives me elemental warnings as I wait
for signs of promise, nights to turn into mornings
with you but I am alone and this sun though dissolves
frost is altogether too blinding.  you were never the wind
beneath my wings or any other passive romantic image. 
by this sea a morning haze encompasses me.  and I am
of course thinking of you, the us of history, the spring
that is approaching: a reminder of things growing by tremor
into new birth, the pastels of childhood a reminder of
those phases we forget, those moments when the world
stretches its arms and I become we, the world, and not
just you.  that we are somehow in spirit all abandoned
and that this is what brings us together is how the sea
compensates for our chaos of forms.  how it keeps still,
as I try to keep myself guarded against the storm of memory,
when things blur and breakdown but the waves still
moving even after winds die agitated and full
of life submerging the cliff.




I fear my words might be asking the same thing:
how to resist closure, how to display my sensibility
the sensuousness on starched pages and have it speak
to the concerns of my sisters and future children.
to desire to either fix or destabilize my own name.
I fear my poems argue for identity, to burn their own
brandings when spoken aloud but are too young
to know what they are. that they will come to me
one day from the shore drained of self no longer able to
speak the right tongue but what else should I expect
from this black body/white body/mixed-up confused body
who was never in the mind of Ginsberg’s generation
destroyed by madness as he said in 1956. I fear the empty
fix I’m looking for will tie me down forever to that old bag
of tricks called choosing against context. I know that same
context drenched in history will come lash me with fire,
the types of fire that do not speak of love but would sober up
even Bukowski and the jazz poets is an unforgiving rattling
of bones. I fear those bones will be mine, anonymous,
underground and silenced, that I will be made into
an anonymous poem, that the myth of every document
signed anonymous being a woman is true and so I must wait
in the old style for the other to understand each line. these lines
frontlines in my hands in another language another sea pouring out
into a river as praisesong. it is not that I fear walking across water
but that the water may erase others’
marks on the sand.


“anon” originally appeared in Canadian Literature #196, “Diasporic Women’s Writing”


One thought on “Writings

  1. You are such a brilliant writer – your words so deeply saturated with the intensity of life being lived.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s