(Sh)anonymous

in the centre of what is supposed to be good, Dreams speak my truth.

little blood speckles from mozzie bites in the sapphire evening, and you

 listening and loving. (forgiving) Both caught up in the quiet, fire

pouring from your throat, smoke teases up

spelling burnt hope into the tile roof.

– oh, you. Still friend. Still real. Still here.

I don’t need a dream this time.

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someone’s great-grandmother

so I, gleaming in wedding blue,

say, “you look beautiful today!”

to lace on sky-cloth, hair like clouds

behind round-rimmed glass, her cerulean eyes glitter with tears

and she tells me that it can’t be true

her sister was always prettier, even when they were kids

so she just accepted it and kept living

 translucent skin quivering around cracked lipstick

and now she (thinks)knows she can’t be beautiful because she is 92 years old.

she loves my voice and hair, though. Heavens yes.

eye contact

sudden, unconventional family waiting for the bus

dripping rain on our luggages, 1am Chicago time. The pilot Matt (or was it Mack?)

says this is the first time he’s seen O’Hare like this. The woman in the red jacket agrees

and hugs her purse close. When the Country Inn shuttle pulls up, we rush

squeezing into seats, holding each other’s luggage and making room for standing.

Matt is the last one on. We bounce down the highway laughing, making jokes about

spring break and beer runs. “I need a drink!” people keep yelling as we pass

shady convenience stores. LIQUOR. BEER. CIGARETTES.

For these twenty minutes, we become best friends. I say something

and everyone laughs. The guy next to me makes a comeback. (Do they know

this is my only dream?) We pull up to the hotel’s automatic doors.

The round Texan man with a barbecue drawl lets me out first.

argument

I wouldn’t mind sand and salt

in my hair, which I imagine long and unkempt

loose about my shoulders, sticking

bare skin cool in pools of gathering water about my limbs

the sunlight gleams on my ocean, always setting, always rising

your voice elevates in pitch and I turn

the foamy white waves turning with me,

hair billowing, suspended in watery space,

the anger I was trying to let go of

returns in full force. I don’t want to hate,

so I will focus it, damn this table between us.

and the switch clicks off again, I am

somewhere drowning and you are still talking rivers of words at me

giving all you have

the tryst of trust: Are We?

– and quell, the shivering wrinkles

betray overuse, overthought, overanalyzed

Fear and weakness synonymous,

the lack of context relative to frame of reference.

double-helix doubled over on itself. Infinity sign.

Eight fell over, twisted circle

a tension of mind questioned together.

(we beg the question and do not answer)

a quiet cycle.

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this thanks I give

over heavy-laden heads and hands

clenched

fingers red-white as they shake together.

watching the aged crown of white stammer,

tell me of your lifestory and cry proudly

over your grandchild’s hand,

his blue eyes are yours.

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.

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.

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perusing, I found that last piece:

dusty charcoal circles, slightly smudged

by your fingers, your artwork

forgotten on a shelf. I lifted it,

my wrists shivering, the pale white

lines and seven simple shapes.

I could hear the squeak of the charcoal sticks

on paper, the squeak of your voice in it. That

memory, dead in my head, has grown silent.

It will not speak, so I will

set your art aflame

on the cold asphalt and dry leaves

where it curls up and dies glowing.

– not alone, someone else

stomps out the flames. And then we roll away into the night.

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.