I guess this could be an apology letter,
of sorts, because I’m sorry, I really am,
for stroking those sound bars into their own
sonic, semi-erotic oblivion. Giggling all the way
to the flat screens and pressing their power
buttons in pivot so that all your beats pills screamed
yes, they are still in stock. Did you know
that everything in your store can be taught
to speak with one another?
I guess this could be an apology letter,
Is it the eddy that makes us include the bits
we did not want? Is it the curving hill that means
snow shapes our pathway? or just the cold black
thought that the eddying of memory never
brings back even a swallow of the days
in which I wandered and left, and jumped
off the high stones in a ravine, near our lake.
Ravine, lake, stone, eddy, all to be leapt
Hurry body hurry. My time, almost quit.
Back then he saw himself, a Black Captain Kirk
cruising the cosmos in an Afro and tight gold shirt.
When he was eighteen, he tucked the doo-wop street corners
of his neighborhood into his back pocket and traveled
where no colored man had gone before. He crossed-over into suburbia
rang doorbell after doorbell while holding his breath, waiting
plus I dissociate whenever I get the chance.
how often have men watched me
watching my fingerjoints
(how they move like unfamiliar insects)
& interpreted it as desire?
You stand behind the bar gold-downed,
long-bodied, and say Would you like a thing?
and I say Yes, I would like a red thing
And the bartender says, “Sometimes, when it’s a slow night, I think about those vacant November days, when the leaves are an ancient language on the sidewalk, a prayer to something old and blind. I think about how this joke would look, boarded up and rotting.”
And the man says, “That bad, huh?”Read More
Beneath the old sarcophagus and inside the core of Reactor 4, there remains a black, molten mass. The mass has a name, though I’m not sure who named it. (Only a few people have seen it in person, and it’s unclear if any of them are still alive.) They call this black, molten mass the Elephant’s Foot, and if you look at it for more than five minutes, it may be the last thing you see. The blackened lava has solidified in parts and formed rings, loops like the bark of a tree. At its center, the Elephant’s Foot continues to burn. Thirty years later the wolves and deer and wild boars have returned, the sun is scorching, the mushrooms are scraping their fresh caps against the sky, oh my, oh my! And the core is still melting.Read More
This daily shrinking of a 28-letter alphabet
Trading غين حاء عين ضادfor the Fourteenth Amendment
Dragging inshallah by the vowels from right to left.
English no longer my second language
Nor Arabic my first.
We knew dog. We knew to love
lop ears and slow bounding after
tennis balls in the park. Wasn’t a fox
trying to trick the Three Little Pigs?
I remember every second: the shock of how very hot things feel very cold, the way my finger stuck to the plate, the skin tugging as I pulled it off, screaming as my grandmother ran the cold water. “Bet you won't do that again,” she told me. “Don’t just do things because people tell you to.'”Read More
I’m not here to have opinions
I keep thinking, Rib-eye steaks, and what do you know? Lil’ Spanky actually comes by. “Just Billy now,” he tells us, shaking Thomas’s hand. “But look at this! Big boss right here!” he says.
Thomas shrugs. He’s in a rayon shirt and cuffed slacks he ordered from a back-alley tailor in Little Saigon.
Billy’s still holding Thomas’s hand as he says to me, “Back in the day this fool was at a Motel 6! Running fingers through the carpet for rocks!”
“Yeah,” I say. “That probably explains a lot.”Read More
Every couple of months, the seller arrived unannounced to pick up something he had left behind: a wall phone in the den, canoe mounts in the shed. The buyer allowed him to take what he wanted, then asked him for help with a difficult chore.Read More
A man told me once that there’s more nuclear waste roaming the highways than there is in underground storage. He said they can’t keep it in one spot for too long. (I did not ask who “they” were.) I merely nodded at this possible lie. I found the story too romantic to want to challenge it.Read More
I asked her death angel, whom I could barely see that day, why. Why the savagery. She had been, on balance, a good person. Selfish at times, deceptive even. But on balance, I mean. The indistinct angel might have shrugged, I couldn’t be sure.Read More
first we must arrange the burial of the dead,
what some say are arrangements for life. the body seen through police eyes
we call it mourning. the ceremony. others call it an inconvenient bus ride.
The fence won’t be a deterrent for Liam; even with his skateboard, he’s a climber, and he’s not one to fear consequence or retribution. He has grown up in a trailer with his dad and his sister, the trailer park a tiny communal netherworld separated from the Kansas college town’s outer ring of student housing by a block of untapped woods that will soon be purchased and plowed and built on. For now, big fighting dogs roam unchallenged.Read More
Do you man or woman? Are they afraid of the dark?
Not monsters under bed or hall closet noir, but walking
home talking loud on the phone to no one. That dark.
HEMNES, named after the Norwegian word for “home,” left with your husband when you asked him to move out. All through the days and weeks that followed, you pushed remnant furniture across hardwood floors, liberated desks and armchairs from parallels, and right angles, arranged rooms for friends who didn’t yet exist.Read More
She’s started refusing furs. She turns up her nose at mink. She will not wear weasel. She won’t allow me the coonskin cap, either. It’s all about collegiate dress, she tells me, and one doesn’t wear furs to lecture.Read More