Poems for Pedro

(x of xx)

vii

sea shells he brought for me
stained with my ankle’s blood

ix

it’s just sun on a page
until you look away
at another man with a suitcase

x

as soon as I drank him,
I went into a trance
and knew exactly what to do
oh no my pages run up quite soon
didn’t know he’d take up so much space

xii

everything else
the ink leaves out

xv

he wouldn’t want to rush anything
all these weddings around me
a man sprints past
a woman poses
a boy in Doc Martens shamefully stuffs
plastic checkered picnic blanket
into an overfilled trash bin
a little girl screams
“FLOWERS!”

xvi

all the leaves
I can’t collect or recollect
still fell

xvii

two men on their way
with a gallon of cooking oil,
preparing love

xviii

eye contact with a skater
as he bombs the hill I climb
it’s all happening in front of me
while I’m busy writing it down

xix

back through
the same alley I entered
of course I can’t breathe
with my nose plugged

xx

he gave me a poem

 

 

ありがとう

The flight attendant kept winking at me as we flew from summer to winter. Maybe he knew I was high from the sunrise in my eyes. So many Australians, so many snowboards. I said gracias to the customs agent but luckily he didn’t hear. First kiosk out the gate: sesame onigiri. Train tickets rubber banded together with origami. Kind and meticulous. Spiraled into a pink bathroom. Heated Toshiba toilets. Baby seat in the stall. A full platform; silence. But a constant buzz in the background. Bird chirps from a speaker. Crowded into cohesion. Face masks in phones. White and red lights. Lost in Shibuya station, staring at characters on a map. Then serene backstreets. Shimmering and matte tiles. Grey grout. Concrete floors and wood grain ceilings. Immaculate decay. Doors that don’t push or pull, they slide. Baozhi’s forehead split open and he emerged as the eleven-headed bodhisattva, deciding to open a ramen bar. Nodding out on noodles. Trying to read a vending machine. Not sure if all this travel is chipping away at me or building me up. Stimulation. Download. Overload. iPhones clicking. Another product shoot. Pain stretching behind my ear. That buzz. Did it again, lost my shit, there it went. Trying to be still in the middle of Harajuku, but everything’s speeding up. Moving and consuming. Can I pay away this pain? Empty and fill bags. Too ripped for all these vintage shops. American flags and *NSYNC on blast. West consumes East consumes West, what a beautiful/destructive reach. What happens when we all go the same way? The Earth will tip. Loud sigh, hot shower. Yoga on my towel. The cherry blossoms are blooming early this year. Headstones in the middle of a farm. Qi Baishi at the National Gallery. The meaning of it all in a girl playing with her doll. Draw the eyes bigger. Puff the lips up. What happens to the youth when infantilization grows old? Buckets of water in case of a fire. Took a seat in a saké bar. A hand next to me slid over a plate of coconut cookies. Sweet potato and fish chips. Saké, saké, saké, saké, shōchū. The bartender: our translator. He bowed his head and backed away.

( )

Sometimes old Spotify playlists do it. Replay stories, queue my mind through a loop. We had a time, I wish we could stay in. Shuffle. Breathe in the cold black space with the glistening edges. Shuffle. Every little lie in this world comes from dividing. Say you’re my lover. Say you’re my homie. Tilt my chin back, slit my throat, take a bath in my blood, get to know me. Shuffle. En tus ojos me desvelo y tus labios me buscan en la oscuridad como relaciones de la noche. Shuffle. These songs make me want to reach for you. Pause. Strangers’ smiles remind me: I used to push and pull, but I can be still. Self-induced lovelessness doesn’t last forever. Neither do rings on fingers or ink on paper. We can recreate how we relate. The simplicity of a daily choice. You’ve got it for one day, man. I used to search for the letters of his name, wait for his footsteps, buy time with food and wine, come and go as he pleased, but now we’re free from that parentheses.

Off to Oz

The tension before taking off. How do you pack it all and go? Zippers inside zippers. A tetris of objects playing tricks of easiness. Summer clothes. THC tea, a blotter sheet, Dr. Bronner’s soap, Goo Gone for sticky messes. Rhodiola and yerba mate. 37 books. I’m ready. Flying into another season. The farthest I’ve ever been from home. My cells shake, anticipate. Preparing for a whole new world. New rules, new government, new order. No more sativa mornings. Walks through redwoods. No more Bart rides to 16th. Delayed by people jumping. New transit, new accent, new coffee shops. Wondering what will be. A place that seems mythical. A place also fucked by foundations of colonization, but somehow seems to function in a streamlined smoothness of well-being that gleams from many Aussies I meet. Generally okay. No worries. And that’s what scares me. The main thing I’ll miss and maybe even crave in Australia is friction to rub against. Something to be bothered about. An itch. Something that makes me watch out. Something that makes me critical. All the chaos home provides. The subsequent yearning to make, to do, to deconstruct, to transform. What will I do in a land called Oz? The same as anywhere: think, feel, read, write. Burn and rebuild energy. But will Australia irk me the same way? Will the people agitate towards change like they do in the Bay? Will there be access to the same niches of information and conversation? Talks on Tuesdays. Will the people care about what’s happening around them? Or are they too far removed, hearing yesterday’s news? Will the flag be half-mast everyday there too? Lifted into the air by migrants on minimum wage while those who pay to have it risen stay inside, scheming. The American Dream. If everything is relatively sane and easy-going down under, then what is there to reach? (Isn’t simply being there wrong?) Where’s the dirt? (Paved by Victorians seeking gold. Stolen generations.) Maybe it’s fertile soil for groovy music and laid-back design of neon pinks and blues. Quality gastronomy. I’m not sure how far I’ll go slipping into pleasure. A new place to consume. You can’t compare the two, but you can feel them differently. When you mix all the paint the color turns brown. Once at a bar in Paris, drinking my favorite color green, I overheard a table of Aussies saying they’ll never go to the United States. Because of the ignorance, the obesity. All the shit. The competition, the stress, the drugs, the mess, the machine. But I’ll miss the mud that springs lotuses of reform the world watches and replicates. The tallest trees and the dry breeze. I’ll miss California. Not the border, but what happens within. Channels of hope to grasp in the dark. The ones that pull you through and push you forward. This is just a time capsule of thoughts. A photograph. Maybe in a year I’ll have some answers to these questions. Maybe I’ll be wrong, again. And look, I’m outside of myself. Already there, wondering how next will be.

*

Here. Made it. First impression: love.

Sigh, it’s benign

Notebook entry on October 2, 2018

9:10 am, waiting room. People rushing, apologizing for minutes. The parking lot was full. “I’d like to make an appointment.” “How about next month?” Holding time to cram us in. This mole is new and dark in the middle of my chest. From a pale pore to an odd shape. An island, collecting the sun of my life. Forming near my heart. Doctor, please see me. 

Shut eyes see

Notebook entry on October 15, 2018 

With every journal I scribble the years. Wonder what’s happening. Detached from the moment, pen following behind the brain. Probably don’t write as much as I should, but it comes as it likes. And when it wants, it needs. There is no choice. No yes or no—just words coming out. So much to say, so much to miss. Where’s the space between? Do they connect? A perpendicular line across the two or parallel along the edges? Another divine intersection. Eternities we cannot see. Maybe it’s in a poem or a card. The secrets in the stars. What do they need? Nothing; anything will do. They’ll go on and on no matter what. Can we alter the course? Only forward.

 

To be

Telling her how to be and when to be. “There’s a time and place for everything.” A predicament inherent to being. Everyday reflections remind her where the power lies. In the subway, the cinema, this screen. Attention doesn’t equate to better treatment. “Smile, honey” becomes “fuck you, conceited bitch.” Every dismissed stranger presents more risk of danger. “Can I buy you a drink—no?—you’re not that hot, anyway.” Standard procedure: projection after rejection. Discomfort aroused from desires denied. Hold it against her. Eyes on thighs as she walks by. Words responded but he just wanted her mouth. Reactions often halted, in fear of another attack. But she no longer holds in her expression for his convenience. Someday he’ll never want again.

Migrate

3 am, can’t sleep. Don’t want to think about it anymore. Him, her. Is it possible to care and be happy? Considering place. I don’t want to label and critique every moving object. Get into debates in a digital web of 1s and 0s. So reactive by surroundings. Neurons scanning a screen won’t fix the anthropocene. Maybe I shouldn’t talk about what I think on that podcast. Me, me, me. I, I, I on the byline. Why even put it in a book? Thoughts keep coming anyway. Maybe someday I’ll write them away. Mental predispositions mix with chemical compounds. Exposing patterns in unseen conditions. Role play the foreplay ‘til climax; the end. A crisis, the meeting point. Rather read and listen. Get high and take notes. Entering a stealth mode to heal head and heart. Still migrating physically and mentally. Something I don’t take for granted. Something all humans should be able to do. Freely.

Lost a friend to the supremacy

Deliberately maniacal. We lost her, in a fit of rage, conspiring to craft a message of hate on an eternal day of love. Isolation built illusions before they ascended into delusions. Grandeur and Purity. Conspiracies built from fear. “They’re not welcome here.” Where does it hurt? He’ll impregnate more deception if he doesn’t heal the wound. Murder more ties while those within buckle and harden before they shatter and break. He found someone online who shared his beliefs: hatred of Others, hatred of a system that is discovering They Aren’t Superior. So he “joined the community.” Or at least a sense of one. A virtual cult where the virus spreads. Replacing notions of what we crave, for space, for Others. They attack ~identity politics~ but only conspire with those who share their identity. We do not fetishize identity out of nerves like you do, we unite against a pattern of facts, a history of evil, shaping it into beauty and art and music in your ears. But do not fear, we are all together here. He will erase her. But not me.