Deforestation

Nothing in all the world is quite so lonely as a lover who wants to love but loses his beloved in a jungle the two of them helped one another create, plant by tree by vine. Nothing in all the world is so pathetic as a lover who thinks he wants to stand but always finds himself lying down, thinks he wants to speak but constantly falls silent. Nothing in all the world is so helpless as a lover lost in a jungle he has helped to make and cannot find even the edge of.

There is no escaping, either for the lover or for his beloved, when the vines have closed off the sun, when the trees have closed off the wind, when the plants have grown into a thick wall that no foot was ever meant to penetrate. Escape is never a possibility, anyway. The only possibility is demolition — either the jungle or themselves. They must choose. No one else can choose for them, and they cannot escape the choice. It is their choice. They will live with it forever.”

-Burton Raffel
Lovers Losing Lovers

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.

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.

American addicts

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It started with a collective itch, absorbing unseen elements. We left and met here. Hopeful the unknown would be better than this. Still craving, switching spaces. The united states of bodies on the ground. Just human. Sure, we can migrate to a new state. We can evolve. But what’s next? Awareness morphing into control. A meditative/medicated existence, far removed from the jolts of the past. Blacking out the rising sun. Muting emotions. Tucking fear into a belt. Veins popping out. A splitting people. They say it doesn’t affect them, but children will singe. Blur this dirty scene, a failed humanity. Closed eyes see reality. Who cares if we can zone out? Focus on the breath. Unthinkable for many. Those who cannot escape. Those before us. Circling around fire. Making sense of sounds. They couldn’t afford to shut it all off. But we think we have the switch.