Three Tanka

I
Through cellular cells
Litanies of undone tunes
Are alluring me;
Flies carousel to honey
As I propel these wind-thoughts.

II
Rummaging through pearls
Sitting in mother’s treasure
The calcium bone hair
Has to have come from somewhere—
Fingertips wedded to sin.

III
Though the hue changes
On the stained-glass sea,
Grey dissolving red,
Windows still screech when shattered;
Blood will still dry if spattered.

IV – Metamorphosizing

My hands are stained
The colour of butterfly peas
And butterfly wings
Iridescence on onyx
And the blue sapphires like eyes
Peering from between pale creases.

Did you think otherwise? I’m sorry
Apologies make people uncomfortable
Like the irises of a painting
Palms open containing evidence
Of all the insects I’ve crushed
Between these unwrinkled fingers.

The colour of death is blotched
Bruises grape-like growing on the exoskeleton
But you live in a world of fenced-off forests:
Your hands stain
The colour of my dead butterflies
Fingers pinching, constricting things to dust –

You know what I mean? No
Other person can understand what either of us
Hides inside our fists
But I understand
That my hands are stained
That you have stained them
For good.

Sur(faces)

I live in a room of ambiguous walls:
Walls bearing dubious expressions,
Where lines of light and dark are blending
Making it hard to make out friend or foe.
I don’t know what to make of this all.

I do believe the plaster paint
That peels when I’m not looking
Hides something solid, albeit
Of a different shade.

But when I chart a map of this place
The points swarm on the page, like ants
And the contours, they dizzy me;
So dizzying it is to map our shallow surfaces.

Difficult

We are difficult
puzzles by nature, wanting
to be solved – but how?
Now that fingers are swimming,
how can we unpick the sea?

Maybe we want things
without knowing what, my moon:
endlessly thoughtful
in a world of light feelings.
Sweet nighttime is running short.

Oxbow Lake

Two rivers flow
Apart from one another
And the one
Dries around to form an
Oxbow lake.

Stranded in a sea
Of rice-infested land
To stand
Time, and the lake
Is alone.

One river flows
Apart from where the other
By chance
Stranded an oxbow lake
But meets –

Does it spit
Rejecting water that tastes
Too familiar?

The Fervent Lie

We are the road
Pinched tight and hanging
From the fingertips of fate.
We are the ever-churning circle.

We run the mountains;
We crush the borders,
We live, we die
And we deny

We are a road
Pinched tight and narrow
Between fingers squeezed in hate.
We are an ever-turning circle.

We will be nothing else.

From the Faucet

Hand-wash warm pulls up a memory
of sweet bubble bath, water silky
on the skin of a time before picking
at specks of dirt on the shelves before
shower water was contaminated.

Hand-wash cold, remember the smell
of clinical cleanliness, the water
is a stagnating puddle in the swamp
so maybe I will
rinse and repeat, after all.

Human

Multi-hued tentacles
Glowing summer-coloured
In the bruise of the deep blue sea.
Only the image of emptiness
Entrances me.
How can I exist
So close to all this
But grasp at plain air
Eyes screwed unaware?
Of summer-golden colours
Glowing with the heat
With creatures multi-hued
Still I lie there
Dead and bare.