the seat of scorn

Unable to detangle myself from my form, 

what is my function?

I am the mocker. I am the fool. 

(I can’t even remember to be compassionate.)

This narcissistic modernity, our newest delight

is in finding ourselves within ourselves, 

teach the children to find food in their skin!

(God is not loud enough for us, we will eat the people)

Friends are really just mirrors, their voices 

are fuzzy behind the glass, so we will

just tell stories about ourselves over and over and

play with our hair. Maybe we’ll hear it

if they say we look nice today. Glamorous laughter rings.

And yet, inside these cubes of glass, fists are pounding outwards, 

desperate to be truly known and to know.

So many a teary eye is turned inwards again and again, 

spiralling to pieces, rather than

reaching out and anchoring up and down,

finding roots in rot and glory

nourishment through decay and refining. 


distanced hypothesizing

“poverty and death” said the classmate

self explanatory, the overused overwritten idea of something

never experienced completely known

to the point of cliche.


I –  in whom these bitter texts

ring and resound like churchbells in my ribcage

painful, horrible truth

guilty of wealth, seeing that which is untouchably impoverished

– am incredulous that this hideous,

so close to my heart and home

is so easily exhausted when never encountered.

Reflections on Henry James

I can’t lie, I wasn’t intending to finish the assignment – reading Henry James’ novella Daisy Miller. After this long semester of pages and pages of readings, I was fairly worn out. However, in this case, the subject matter truly struck home, and I was captivated till the last sentence.

The story opens with a young English man, Winterbourne, as he meets an American girl, Daisy, in the city of Geneva. He is immediately taken with her, and she convinces him to meet her in Rome. Throughout their interaction in the book, there is this constant question – is she innocent and naive or manipulative and dangerous?

The cultural difference was key, in my mind. By the end I realized how I am both Daisy and Winterbourne – casually going about in foreign places with little idea of what is appropriate and simultaneously evaluating the actions of others based on my own experience.

barbarian waiting

Is it wrong that I let others speak my mind?

though I am so unbelievably dumb – I would ask you again

to slap my face, but I cannot dictate precisely. What are these words that

my mind whispers? Even hinting at them

implies betrayal, but betrayal of what? of Whom?

are these shapes something worth mentioning, or

shall I still silently ponder,

in this spontaneous, aimless, underthought fashion?

Do you know what you have said or how it has been received?

Of course not. Never. We construct relations from that

which we choose to share, those facets

that roll forth when our die is tossed.

Even those who claim pure genuine expression as their own

are limited by their own tongues, which cannot

trace shapes in colour or even communicate some

internal form of unconsciousness:

We can’t explain our dreams in the morning.

Are we limited by intonation, inflection and implication?

quietly, my toes on a windscreen say otherwise

as we speak physically. I believe in hands reached out,

so I leave mine open-palmed and everything drops.

Perhaps, in utter black, we would see clearer

no longer attracted by these visual limits, but

borne on words alone, love fed outside of

all but the person. Perhaps then, honesty would be less trite.

In short, I am baffled by intimacy.

For that is really all we are – darkened blind figures reaching out, if we’re lucky

in a world we cannot comprehend. Logic will not love you,

Rational empiricism will not make you less alone.

These birds and bees restlessly flocking in your mind

must meet with similarity, or drown in the black.

CCH 2013

as usual, we do not live eye-to-eye.

Everyone pulls out their technology and sits alone,

dicing, marring, rationalizing beauty into tiny pieces trying to Understand.

what you do not know: the quiet cloth is my dream

I glow with it, I grow in it, white-hot is the clarity in me.

Fear, the orangey-pink shapes that attacked me in the subway that night

were from your lips. And yet no one said anything.

Maybe that is why I have painted you all in vomit, for

we learned how to eat each other, but we could never

keep it down. All over the walls.

this time, we’re brushing to gold, raising spirit glasses

to our eyes and lips. To new beginnings.

three chicago friends.

maybe I just tripped and fell into you

I was so tired, your every word cushioned my weariness

more than you know. I leaned back into years of security:

we are still friends.

I still know you and you remember every

detail of things I told you.

No judgment at all. In fact, you love me just the way I am.

We laugh together, sunlight

and transit breezes pull back our hair and we squint, grinning.

I reiterate: “I feel no pressure to be anyone else!”

and you take my arm in yours, making sure

that I don’t walk too fast or slow, that we

are wholly together and here.

Then I cried on the train

because you poured love into me and filled me with hope.

in which I express how much I do not understand the youth of America and their social inconsistencies

one night on after a night off, it’s

so frustrating the way each of you check in check out

of my life, our relationship. “You can trust me”

“I’m here for you”, etcetera. You have my number. This

is supposed friendship and connection, supposedly

we are friends, yet when I turned

you down you walked away to find

someone who would say yes.

So when I am spent, broken, wrecked

and hurting so, so badly, I cannot know that you will be there. Many

are not interested, they say I am melodramatic and over-the-top.

“I just don’t know what to say”

as if there is a right answer to this question – Help me?

silence is a no. thanks for that, by the way.

Last night, I am called upon

to wipe up blood, clean cuts

wrap one up in bandages and make a cup of tea

because no one will respond. This

hyper-individualization of self expression makes

introspection a dirty word. Your selfishness

is cowardice, but of course

what you have to say is most important, most relevant, most true.

Ridiculous. Sickening.

The point is, a semi-African girl will handle this

attempt at suicide willingly because

all we have is love and that is enough. God,

find us here and help me survive

these individuals.

walk: a true story

Last night, I sat on the edge

of the river and yelled out into the blackness

admitting the truth, clinging to the ground before I fell

headlong into the black-encased stars.

You held me down with a hand. We talked of

broken wrists and cold mists. As

always, the rushing of water calmed and with it

flowed away the things that were wrapped around my eyes –

I saw the treetops silhouetted, chilled fingers losing flesh-leaves

as I fear the skeletal, I hope

you will not let me hide when the winter comes.


I have two words written on the back of my hand –

“AYONG LO.”  – “I AM HE.

What he said when he accepted me.

when he chose to stand up. Those words inspire me and move me

to stand up and be recognised for what I am and where I need to be.

Regardless of this, however, it seems that my diaphragm

has dropped out and I am melted,

hanging loosely in the frame of bones, my spine is slackened

and everyone says just pray. Just trust. Maybe

I am not spiritual enough, not a good enough

follower of God, maybe if I just knew

how to hear the voice of the spirit

or speak in tongues

or lie on the floor, wave my arms in prayer

maybe then I would be real enough to be recognised

by God?  I do not think this is true. I believe

in more than what we can do or understand, and

these words just cause me to sink lower, feel

more unacceptable and forgotten

am I more of a failure? I know you

mean to encourage me, but the dark

I am battling every day makes it harder

for me to hear you. Please have patience

with my weakness, or stop pretending

and let me curl into the floor

which is God’s heart, where I hear nothing

but the beat of truth.