Cold Water

I let the water run

lukewarm

took it to the face
and didn’t feel any better,
like exorcising the worst
of the pain but retaining
the majority of the splinters.         Grew cold
and I stepped to solid ground
to shivers, to slivers of light
through the window, to shrunken sight
of self in the mirror,
to her hands,
and turning the dial
was adjusting the clock time
difference
love
deferred
long frozen season
post-reason,
plane ticket
darkened at the edge and the shower
in the Shanghai hotel was frigid at best
while the radio played Christmas songs
in August and touching down
was like submerging self in the Thames
in winter.          Cold water
short lay-over,
a sink in terminal two,
you.

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Alien

This air goes down too smooth.

I want to chew
my oxygen,

break it down

into easily

digestible

chunks

and then

throw it

back

up,

watch the flowers
bloom from between my toes
like they do back home.

**

A note to home:

Starbucks
still kind of starsucks.

Ghost Writer

i
Sometimes this apartment is too cold.
It was a long lifetime of winter
after the first long lifetime. I circle
the sink-drain like almost
disappearing is a natural state of
post-being being. I recall
a bright light and a sudden hum,
but that could have just been
the air-con blinking on, and this
apartment is slightly warmer
but only when they are sleeping
or squeaking I tried the mattress
and it was closer to a home comfort
than the windowsill was. The view
from the twenty-fifth; there were
no fireworks at New Year, just
the lights that had been left on
all day, and if the clock ever struck
twelve then it was hard to say when.

ii
This pen is less familiar
than it was back then;
I wrote an epic
and lost it in the wreckage,

recalled now,
echoes from the ether;
no hope
for the novella either.

Block

Doing laps of the courtyard at 1AM,
the sky here is never quite black,
more a grey through the haze,
lights in the occasional windows
silhouettes only half-imagined,

and there is a woman dancing
by the central chessboard,
traditional music from an old radio
her movements tranquil,
her shadow dancing also,

and I am walking through
the city at 2AM, the jungle
of tower blocks like my own,
the sky here an orange glow
as the streetlights seek escape,

phosphorescence, and I wonder
if my grandmother was known
to dance to the radio, and I
cannot remember her name
immediately, as if it has

danced away from me
in the years since she died
and as if I had not even tried
to keep it close, until 3AM,
dancing to slow songs by the lake.

Wooden

Why did the words
come so stiff,
falling from my mouth
like poisoned carp
tumbling over a
Shaanxi waterfall.

You loved me
better when I
sounded more
like myself.

Whiteboard hours
slowed me
to a crawl
less of a drawl,

and the accent
was not quite as
accented after
ten months away.

And for
ten hours a day
it was a good thing.
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