Disintegration Loops (after William Basinski)

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.

— A. P.

Helena

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.

— A. P.