She Just Wants to Win

She just wants to win; she’s shooting for the top

She’s scaling glacial mountains in her shorts and she won’t stop

The wind is biting at her face, where skin is turning blue

The mountain cannot cut her race – she’s shooting higher, faster

If gusts of hell dry out her tongue, she’ll drink a toast of tears

If triumph takes a lifetime, then she’ll take it on in years

And if the wind scores at her skin and asks a price to pay

The mountain could well kill her kin and she’d shoot harder, longer

She has a life so long to lose: one filled with seas and hills

She’d choose the mountain any day – and even if it kills

She’s losing out on pathways, on the sunset and its light

The days are bleeding through her fingers – they go quicker, slicker

–but she just wants to win, so we’ll suppose that that’s alright.

Inferno

I wish my mind would lack this deep and desperate need for flight:

this burning urge to contemplate the world throughout the night

And for myself I wish a thick resilience, true, that could

deny the mind of doing boldly all of what it would.

 

Like fire in a chain, the thoughts can spread inside my skull,

ignite each memory and swell it with a violent lull

of small mistakes inflamed and made much heavier than they should

The right to think becomes a torch; my life, a smoking wood.

The Manner of Stars

Tell me, my friend, of the stars:

those that remain so alive

far and beyond hither grave

humans would sooner exhaust

just like the fuel from our cars

– dissipate, bees from the hive.

Elucidate me on death,

chasing the bold and the brave

Sirius but left there, uncrossed,

snugly preserved in our minds,

etched into eyelids, behind

Left so unchanged by dying breath.

Now They Debate in Slogans

 

The endless buzz of fretful youth is ripe with dripping omens

Though what are words supposed to mean when we don’t mean them so?

They used to think in metaphor; now they debate in slogans.

 

The elders hobble shuffling pages: gold and crispy Trojans

And slavish office repertoire is what these deeds bestow

The endless buzz of fretful youth is ripe with dripping omens.

 

The children lap up texts off gilded frames and wring their colons

of filthy sludge, accepting what they can and cannot know

They used to think in metaphor; now they debate in slogans.

 

From dawn to dusk the day is sliced to pocket-ready moments

Forgone, abstract ideas and time – all life is units, rows

The endless buzz of fretful youth is ripe with dripping omens.

 

Alas, the child is forced to leave his outer space and oceans

Alas, the child donates her phoenix sword and dragon’s bow

They used to think in metaphor; now they debate in slogans.

 

So, ingots made from ichor were exchanged for pyrite tokens

Above the hive there wails a single old and dying crow

The endless buzz of fretful youth is ripe with dripping omens

They used to think in metaphor; now they debate in slogans.

Bioluminescence

fireworm

We humans, we are made from every dull and dusky tissue
That drifts upon this soupy plane aside from that of beauty
The rusty blood that coasts right through our veins without an issue
The brittle bones that ferry us, with threats of drowning plenty
We spend a cruise below the deck just minding pipe and engine
What bores we are, as thick as tar, so tangible and present
Ignoring how the fireworms paint comets to perfection
–And only death could ever make us bioluminescent.


Inspired by:

http://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/archive/newsrel/general/04-09GreenGlow.asp

Illustrated by:

Me. 

Biological accuracy not included. 

Dye

I have tried drinking paint –

And trust me, it didn’t work

To turn my glass-hued blood

As crimson as it should

The way a set square thrown skywards

Cannot change

The patterns of stars.

Another Poem About Trees

So much exists for tracking

In this sprawling madman’s tree

The birdsong from the branches spouts a gilded melody

 

The twisted trunk, it splinters

Makes a hundred broken roads

The knots in bark appear as eyes of blankly staring toads

 

So much exists for tracking

In the mental apogee

Each mem’ry makes its case out loud: an urgent bumblebee

 

The twisted trunk, it splinters

The thoughts are bulging nodes

Each branching path incurs some wrath, the brain it overloads.

Botched Sayings and Formalities

The kid has your eyes, darling – I mean it.

They’re the ones you kept in a pickle jar on the dresser beside our bed. She’s cradling them to their chest – still in their container, thank goodness –the way you’d hold a newborn. It’s strange, isn’t it? One man’s forgotten keepsake really can become another’s treasure.

Why is there a kid in our apartment? It’s not ours, I can tell you that. Secret children only exist in my writings; real me wants nothing to do with them. The child came up in the lift at midnight, soaked to the bone by the storm. I let her in and went to get her a towel. She must have come across the jar while I was in the bathroom.

It’s weird, isn’t it? A stranger has more familiarity with the nooks and crannies of our home than I do. The existence of that Mason jar had been cropped out of my mind space long ago, probably to make room for the half-a-manuscript I have piling up in the living room. I don’t stop the kid, opting instead to gaze into the pickled eyes with the same grotesque wonder as she.

The jar thumps against the coffee table as she sets it down. Wordlessly, she gets up and goes about making tea. My mouth opens, wanting to say something, but my throat declines the offer. Only the sound of drawers opening and closing disrupt the one o’clock vacuum. The kid doesn’t use a stool as she pours hot water from the kettle. With only her arm extending above the countertop, she tips half a mug of the steaming liquid into a cup. I should stop her. I find myself glued in place.

There’s been some sort of breeze passing through me since I opened the door: one that I can’t call a chill. It’s something temperature-less, something distorting the outline of my being the way holograms shiver in sci-fi films. You never liked that, I remember. There’s not much of a point in being able to see through a TV screen.

When I look up I find the kid has made a cup for me as well. It’s sitting on the coffee table, next to your eye jar. Otherwise, it’s almost as if she hasn’t seen me. She sits cross-legged on the other end of the table, back turned as she gazes out at the skyline. Once again, I feel an urgent need to speak – only to choke on nothingness and fall back into silence.

It’s nice like this, surprisingly. She doesn’t move as I clear the papers around her, as I put them away by the open door of my study. I sit down to sip my tea. Was the carpet always this comfy? I note a few changes in the window view since I last saw it: the blinking streetlights, the vanished forest, the skyscrapers that have suddenly sprouted. We sit there, just taking in the post-storm city as it resets itself in the dark.

Dawn comes. My eyes are wide open. The girl gets up to leave, placing her mug next to the jar on the table. Like a robot, I rise with her, fingers undoing the lock. It clatters when it falls to the ground. I haven’t the strength to pick it up. I think the sound startled her. For an instant, she turns her head and tilts it sideways, almost as if she’s scrutinizing me, considering me, recognizing me – but she does not. Her footsteps echo in the corridor as she leaves, and I wait until the sound dies down utterly before I slam the door shut. I sink down into the carpet, head in my hands.

You know what? She really does have your eyes.

An Apologetic Study

Sorry, but sometimes I wonder if the world tries to keep us dreaming. I wonder if there lives a woman curled up in the centre of the Earth who has a thousand hands, if she covers all of our pairs of eyes with those hands, singing a sweet lullaby to keep us asleep and happy. Ensconced in this honeycomb, life would seem to have a greater narrative, with meaning and purpose to every meeting of gazes across the room. It’s gratifying, validating, fulfilling – but, for fear I plunge too far into the pool of theory, let me describe to you a case study.

Yesterday I saw you lingering by the library entrance. Hoodie pulled tight over your music-sieged ears, you fiddled with your touchscreen, surveying tunes on Spotify. You probably don’t know this, but the contours of your face lend it a gallery exhibition of deep shadows, one of which shielded your eyes that day and made it seem as if they were closed tight. You became a CPU, disconnected from the outer world, your wires tangled in a universe within.

When she showed up, she plugged in a monitor. The wealth of information and soul inside of you rushed through the wires and was expressed in the pixels of her white-toothed smile. You raised your head, awakened, insides whirring to welcome your master. You yanked open the door for her at first, before she told you she wasn’t going in. You flushed. Most importantly, she made you smile back.

Nothing to see here, I thought, so I read a newspaper. It wasn’t very good, but neither was the text on her phone she was shoving into your face, and neither was the internet meme scrawled seductively in pink down the side of her asymmetrical socks. Her hand trailed along your arm, but I did not see that because, again, I was reading the newspaper.

A smirk cut through your face, the way a security guard might run, panting, before the Mona Lisa to tell the crowd “We’re closing in 10!”. You leaned into her ear, lips parted. Air rushed through your larynx. Just as your voice was about to come dashing to my eardrums, a car honked loudly, just enough to let me put my own words into your silently moving mouth. Sorry about that, by the way. I wouldn’t have told you, but I had to illustrate my point. I didn’t look as you followed her into her ride.

After the fact was when I began to think about this whole predicament between you and me. I imagine that I know you; you do not know me. I shove words into your mouth without your consent. I spend so many of my own words attaching these metaphors and symbolism to your person, weaving this story around you and between your blasted honey-coloured fingers – but I digress.

My argument is that the woman covers our eyes for a reason. She sings naivete for a reason. She bleeds flowers and kisses buds for a reason. That reason is this: that maybe reality will kill us.

Useless Thoughts

I wonder what we could do

With all the useless thoughts

The shower musings and

empty observations.

All the remonstrating

Echoed in crumpled sheets

That were tossed and turned in

so much futility.

All trains going nowhere

That ride on branched railways

Split like nuclear fission

and throw you off a cliff.

Maybe we could ravel

These things into a ball

Something we can shrug at

and perhaps name “human”.