I only find me in the twilit streets.
I am conflict, and conflict is within me.
In the heaviness of dreams, I hear
only the thickness of a hundred bells.
LOOK! I have fear – among other night-mares
– inside of me, that I’ve never had before.
HEAR! My trembling, like a multitude of ghosts,
phantoms over a blackened grassland
just before an evening shines its moon.
FEEL! I suffocate in the thickness
of a thousand biographies ending, smothering me,
like books in free-fall eventually burying me. Look at me!
I am that one soldier maimed,
the enemy you looked upon with disdain,
my yells of pain now only echoes on a field;
should fortune smile, it could remain
in someone’s memory. People remember the glory;
I remember the shit, piss, the stench of fear,
my future unmarked grave. Thus, call me selfish.
I only find me in the twilit streets
because I walk alone. I only find me
in the deceptive terza rima of the changing
positions and dispositions of the times.
Mama, a man told me he liked me
at the school park this morning
and when I asked him why,
he could not muster a proper reply,
so I walked away.
I asked him why the morning drowned
in the aroma of citrus; sun-rays playing
a game of charades
across classroom roofs. He said,
“Helena, I barely know this school
and only learned how its locks
fit its doors, but the morning
only vaguely smells of citrus to me, and more
of your wisdom distilled and your fragrance cold.”
I did not believe him because men are idiots
and most of them abuse a newfound silver tongue.
I left him, believing I had not such “wisdom,”
so he stood on the park alone, perhaps thinking
that to choose such phrases as “fragrance cold”
would not really impress a girl, all told.
Besides, I am but seven years old.
You are curved
porcelain of coffee cups;
I can handle hell.
The little length
of thread tied
on little bookmark-holes
to remember where I’ve been,
and remind me where
I’ve reached. You:
cloud of white or grey,
suspended in sunshine,
looming in rain,
you prepare me for the day…
almost. You can be as fickle
as geeseflock patterns
above a troubled sea.
You are everything to me.
You are the only 1, highlighted
in red, above a mail icon
that I wait for. The only
from solitude and silence,
like a lone shakuhachi
sliding its notes
from air content to eager ear. You:
the reassuring voice
of psychiatrists in the movies and
handlebars on staircases
too steep, that trigger fears.
I will hold on to you through
roller-coasters and ferris wheels
and other-worldly nightmares.
Like how especially ridiculous
all the love that I poured
in this poem can be,
you are everything to me.
That rabid dog still goes to school,
passing a whipjack on its way.
(They’re a bit the same, these
beggars and dogs,
in that they ask — no, whimper
for scraps. Both use their feet
to scratch their backs; on both:
black, soil-infested claws.
The dog does look a bit
But this dog is different in that it goes to school.
It wears a tie and all that,
it wears a uniform, too.
Make no mistake:
it is still a dog, and possesses
an instinct that wants
nothing more than survival.
Survival: this dog goes to church
and prays with its paws together;
out, glistening tongue.
It cannot kneel so it sits quiet
when it wants its master’s compassion.
It cannot really give anything away
(at least never wholeheartedly), so
it despises the people who can;
it masks its contempt as derision.
The rabid dog that goes to school
has his future set, however.
He will get paid for scoffing
at people in his mind, but
people see only drool on its face,
and only hear it barking mad.
the sky, you will be
towering above the
echolalia of the Sunday streets.
in kimono, whispered by
reddest lips. The roads
that lead to us must be for
dancing; in time, the bells must
strike a rhythm familiar
the sound of
and the breathing of
a crowd underneath one
They should spin and careen
like a hundred sunsets fighting
for their place to rest. You will be
towering above them all.
I will sit
in your front steps,
content in the marvels
and joys brought by your foundation.