Monday, April 12, 2021

Four out of Forever

Day one thousand,
four hundred
and sixty one.  

That abandoned stadium 
with the black rose perfume
wafting from the baseboards   
is a distant red pin 
on our creased, coffee-stained map. 

The years have been kind to us — mostly.
We have tightroped on telephone wires 
during the dark days, and fluorescent nights
when distance was not the only plague.
And once out of the allegorical cave,
I was reassured that you, 
my tall and lanky shadow cast by firelight
were not merely that. 

The shadow was not you, 
but it was yours. 
Tethered to you by the boot heel 
in the days of our bereavement. 
When you returned, ash at your feet, 
to reclaim it, it was like meeting you for the first time. 
Along with the gentle hum of your voice,
was the valley of your chest, 
on which I lay to gaze upon my starless ceiling. 

Your once immaterial hand was now secured mine 
and like the beginning, I fell asleep
to the whooshing of wind 
through the caverns of your lungs.  
And like an explorer, 
I discovered anew, the deep rumble of your voice,
the rippling aftershocks of your earthquake laughter,
your touch — softer than silk but as sure as a surgeon’s. 

This year, we are twice as grateful 
yet, twice as existential
as we strap more age to our backs. 
We sometimes forget what youth tastes like,
though it still lies like an almost melted candy
at the back of our tongues.

We are house-hunting nomads,
with the hearts of gypsies.    
We sit in token candlelight,
drinking Tuscan wine and eating Camembert 
atop salted crackers and charcuterie.   
We exhume our old skeletons and talk of them, 
over the clinking of monogrammed cutlery.  

Now, I sink to sleep
and awake to find you’ve surfaced with me. 
We chase the hours and I, ever the stenographer,
have our every moment at my fingertips. 
I believe our cave days are over;
the world is bright and blinding
and if we take it together,
it might not be the Everest we think 
is beyond us.    

I choose you like the sea chooses the captain,
like the moons choose their planet. 
Natural. Unforced but intended. 
As everyone begins to drift apart, 
overcoming their tidal forces,
and bowing to the Big Bang,
we hold fast in mutual gravity. 

Two hundred and eight weeks.
Two million, one hundred and three thousand
eight hundred and forty minutes. 
Four years 
and forever to go.  

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Twelve, Four, Twenty

Day one thousand and ninety six.

It is day eleven and our blinding stadium lights
have been shut off, the scent of black rose
drowned out by the petrichor,
as the rain weathers the paint,
our little up-and-comer
does a three-sixty and becomes abandoned again.

It is day thirty-six
and my skin is forgetting your touch.
Two thousand five hundred and twenty billion
cells of mine have died and been replaced
and I worry soon this body
will not have known you. 

This year, I stand by the window,
a cigarette dangling lazily from my fingertips,
fingers-crossed my smoke turns signals
and the suburban breeze wafts into your home,
carrying my heavy sighs
that here only fall on deaf ears. 

This year, you pluck guitar strings
instead of brushing tears off my cheek.
The notes you sing come through the wire,
and for a moment, I forget the one I am walking on.

Three thousand is why the trains won't run,
four thousand is why our cars won't start.
It is the modern dystopia building barriers
of brick numbers and cemented chance,
of chaos in the capital, of household prisons,
and all we have in common:
the rolling numbers, the music, and the stars. 

I still wake to see your face
translated into ones and zeroes.
It is a mere mirage of you
but my desert desiccated heart
believes itself to be beating beside yours,
next to you and
two hundred and twenty-five kilometres apart.

Time does not seem to have any bearing on you.
As they slander, abuse... forget me,
my pain shatters me, speaks in saltwater streams,
I am all empty shell and shattered stained glass memories.
You have been there to pick up every last piece,
grazing your fingertips as you dust gold between the cracks,
as if to say after this golden repair,
my beauty is twofold.

Take me with you on your wandering days,
even those you walk with your shoulders hunched,
head hung as you hold a map that has no markings,
as a million voices in your head
screaming which direction to take.

We have a home, you and I. 
It is not here, it is not now.
It will smell of spring and aged books,
down the line perhaps several thousand more days.
where my heart will lie down next to yours
and never have to move again.   

Monday, May 13, 2019

Ten Years of Age

The girl with her viridescent fingerprints
through her first act of life,
whose ground she has paced for a decade,
traces her fingertips on the teal fences,
that come away flaking auburn powder.

Her black school shoes
with chalk-white prints
gently graze the crewcut lawn.

Her checkered dress swings in the wind,
seeds of weeping love-grass
catching on the cotton hem.

The mid-week midsummer wind
blows a thousand needle pricks
on her molten milk chocolate eyes.

She plucks a stalk
and with the same fingertips grazed from the rusted fence,
ties a knot around the iron,
tethering her plucked, withering sanity
on the fence that owned her youth.

Monday, April 15, 2019

All By Heart

The first utterance
whispered with the scent of
black rose mingled with lavender lingering in the wind,
seven hundred and thirty days forward 
and even road signs do not know 
of all the towns we have been to.

Last July slashed a gash 
that strapped years to me.
These trembling fingers 
that try too often to count 
the ticks of time I can’t take back,
and the saltwater that trickles down
these circles of twilight eyes 
and the violent velvet tempest tremors 
that take the voice from my throat
and leaves my chest a vacant vacuum of ember haloed gravity. 
You know them all by heart.
I read an almanac of secrets all mine in your watchful eyes. 

This springtime, our old stadium 
with the bolt scratches on the bleachers 
reopens for its last hurrah,
the lights brilliant like their lumens were of stolen starlight 
and we are somehow standing burnt out but star-bright,
our hands cinnamon dusted from building towers. 
You were alight with an ardent zeal,
as the songs slipped from your lips
all recalled and awaiting the strains,
you sauntered across the stage 
like it was yours to begin with. 

I have been ghosting, 
been slipping in and out of daytime comatose, 
confused my soul with pineapple smoke,
pirouetting in a fog of fragmented panic and poison envy.
But each night I try drifting down to
our post-code and pretend the sun rises 
only when I want it to 
and when the illusion splinters 
the storms roam again like wild, absconding animals 
and I have yet to outrun the slithering snakes in the rising water. 

Still you have been the stronghold,
the anchor arms that reach meters deep,
into trenches alongside all my once-was’s 
that still prick in spite of time. 
You have built bomb shelters from
bricks of patient promises,
sanctioned in the reigning monarchy
of a soft disapproving polar bear.
In our den, I salvage enough peace 
for slumber enclosed in a hold
that will not halt winter 
but may unfreeze scarlet rivers
just long enough to relearn 
a little forgetting 
and the simple act of breathing.  

Thursday, April 12, 2018

We Were Here

I remember it began like this:

Fifty two weeks,
three hundred and sixty five days ago,
a hollow stadium haunted with our silhouettes,
the night air saturated —
with the awakening aroma of coffee and dusty anecdotes.
Tonight's deep breath
is everything it was back in that nameless paper town.
Except it's a sweet nectar, red rose kind of night
and the fog is just a mist amidst mountaintops.
I wrote so many poems for you
in a language I still struggle to transcribe,
a language of silence and Earth spinning
and time passing and stars burning.

In springtime we sprouted
where we thought nothing could grow.
Here, in all the ways I told you I loved you
you heard it the loudest when I said nothing.

How after that whole stretch
of quiet foreheads pressed together 4am silence,
I whispered “I love you”
in parallel to all the stardust spilling out of my skin
and you said “I know.”
And after a beat you said, “I love you too.”
The summer sun strengthened our intertwined roots,
colored the blossoms, greened the leaves.
All the intoxicated conversations
and surprise golden hour adventures.

Autumn started beautiful... as it does.
The reds and violets, the tangerines and yellows.
October's tragedies were like falling leaves
and rotting roots.
Their aftermaths paved the path for winter's unrelenting hand.
And winter did come.
But somehow, insides not exactly optimal,
we stood, let the leaves fall where they had
and as fate had it...nothing took everything.

Folklore spilled from our lips
in nights that became morning
but there was truth in all the fantasy.
And I'd like to think the sky still smiles down on us now,
whispering an I told you so to the sea at horizons where they meet.
And so what if it took us months to say it with confidence?
And so what if it took us months of saying “See you tomorrow”
without knowing exactly when we started meaning it?
Saying it in a way that meant
“I see you in all my immediate tomorrows
and I hope I see you in what comes after that."

Ours is a morning coffee
but in bed till the afternoon type of romance,
a teeth brushed but midnight snack type of love.
I'm not as afraid of sleep as I used to be.
The nightmares that curled around every twilight waiting to pounce
have packed their bags and stepped quietly out the door.
And maybe you are the reason.

I'm in the abandoned stadium today,
seeing everything play out like a montage
with the howling wind as the background music.
I open my eyes and my slipper nudges a loose bolt.
I pick it up, tilt my head, and carved a signature, a bright red pin.
I heard footsteps and wasn't surprised.
I thought you'd have known where to find me.
You reach out your hand, offering to take me home
but I point to the bleachers where I had written "We are here."

And you take the bolt and cross out a letter or two.
You smile and rise, offering your hand to me one more.
I see you have changed it to "We were here."
And I see now all the places we have been since.

The world is awake and real and so are we.
I stand up and we walk hand in hand
back into the unnamed streets.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017


And I found a hell in her,
a planet that became barren,
that used to teem with life,
that wore happy like spring
and promise like sunrise.

Where every lungful of oxygen
used to be sharply exhaled,
forming weightless laughter
the sort which echoes
in confined spaces
longer than a smile does.
How dulcet a sound
that has turn to destruction
with the most marred of instruments.
A toggle on the world's silence.

When feeling the weight
of her head on my fragile shoulder
sent anvils and anchors on my heart,
hornets stinging my ribcage,
begging to take more of me.
And the smile on her face,
a painting torn to pieces,
that I, the artist with no training
burned in my wake.
You will get better.
This isn't over.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Convergence Past the Fork

Our paths do meet and I see you again. We are both tired and wounded but tonight we sleep in each other’s arms and that is more than the other road could have given me. Your flushed cheeks and transparent eyes tell me you feel the same way.

And everything that has led to this has been worth it

Sunday, September 17, 2017


But it's my nature, I said.
Trying to change it would take a lot of time and effort
that would ultimately defeat the purpose.

Monday, September 4, 2017

She Says Apologetically

"I'm sorry."

What useless words. So craved, so meaningful and still...

I can assure you there are anchors and anvils attached to those two measly words. My apology is as heavy as every ocean and every sea. I could scream it till you were deaf and still wonder if you believed me. I promise you, I'm so sorry that I say it in my sleep.

I wish my apologies healed hearts.
I wish they did more than tear you apart.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Firefighter Logs

You need to know
that while I don the gas mask
and fireproof jacket every smoky morning,
I do not pray for fires.

I do not french kiss the tongues of flame,
do not shower in gasoline rain.

What fireman slides down the pole thinking
“I hope the fires will be unquenchable this time.”
What dispatch personnel holds the radio thinking
“I can’t wait to hear the silence of lives on the line.”

I am no certified firefighter.
I do not pray for fires.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

We’re back in the snow and I wish I could see the sky right now because I’m pretty sure night has fallen. I’m pretty sure the world knows where we are but they’re just afraid to walk out this far — afraid to leave their cabin, their firewood cavern which chimney smokes hope halos in the night.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Restructuring of the World

I am fashioned full of rhymes
and half forgotten things.
You are staccato bass beats
and immortalized memory.

And in the temporal symphony
of clicking heels and west tornados
all the dichotomies congregate
find marriage in harmony.

Luck likes the taste of us in her mouth.
We linger —
like mushroom smoke in the aftermath
haunting the rivers
and coloring the winds,
having an era named after us
be it a coronation of destruction
or majesty.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

No Man's Land

In all the hollow stadiums
never did I imagine it would be us by the vending machine,
cranking out old war stories,
eating expired skittles and drinking cold coffee,
our bodies silhouetted under the bleachers.

It was a sweet nectar, black rose kind of evening
and the fog made it seem like everything wasn't in focus.
It made it easier stumble into sinkholes
pretending that we were all along
puddle jumping.

I could've told you then
and there were so many things.
But to you, I suspect they would sound like nothing but a sordid tale
spoken only to lull youngsters into shaky oblivion.
You'd take it for nothing more than folklore
and from my lips, even more fraudulent.
Not to mention the lack of trust I had for words during moments like these.

Because all that you have said, all that I have done -
nothing but wild reflections throwing cast iron heat in the daylight.
Through the breaks in the bleachers,
the sky looks down,
a tender gaze, a knowing smile,
the constellations spelling sin like G-I-F-T.

You propped yourself up on your elbows
held the can to your mouth,
wincing as the cold aluminum paled your lips.
You planted a coffee stained kiss at my jugular
and pulled back only for me to lock my arms around your neck
and fasten my lips to yours, cold and warm,
a thermostat romance we knew too well.

I dread the lightening of the sky; in truth I do.
It becomes the dispelling of illusion,
the bottoming out of sleep deprived drunkenness into harsh sobriety.

The glass pieces now we use
to make picturesque iridescent tinted windows
will open cuts on our fingertips only when the sun rises,
only when your head hits the pillow,
only when you forget that ours is just a temporary world.

Like most things,
you can only start getting hurt when you start waking up.
Maybe that's why we're still here.
Maybe that's why we're hiding in abandoned stadiums
underneath bleachers that creak in the slightest gust of wind.

I haven't slept in three days and counting.
It is such a cruel trade off.
It is in your presence that I feel the most at peace -
thoughts barely any energy to run free.
How rare it is for me to find someone I can fall asleep with.
And yet it is with you that I cannot waste the hours with.
You and I - we are already a dream. If I close my eyes,
the world will wake up with me.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Regarding the Overflowing Trashcan and the Ever Empty Page

I long for the day
when I hold fear by its beating heart,
feel its breath come and go
in the racing pulse below its neck,
when its legs are two stumps
finally incapable of pursuing me.

I will crush its windpipe,
pulverize its voice box
for all the lies it spewed
that I believed to be truth.
And as its vitality slips through my fingers,
the eviction will be official.

And in the extra space I will plant my ego.
and I will water it daily,
trim it should become overgrown.
I will have conquered one demon.