Monday, June 10, 2019

three piece light

when the lava lamp fell on my moms head
just before bedtime
after the stories
after kumbaya
was the first moment of damn
she’s so brave.
how could my bug eyes get even wider?
she asked me to get her purse.
i wondered how big the cut was
because she used a whole towel to cover it.
one of the blue ones
that my whole family shared.
“can you get my purse”
i want her to be like this always:
calm, holding a towel
up to her bleeding head
taking herself to the hospital
leaving me with the neighbors
when brooklyn used to be friendly
all the kids on the block knew each other
and i got to eat spaghetti
and sleep next to my crush
who had blue eyes and still wore diapers

how do i tie together
and cloud karaoke
do it for the girl.
how many nights
will we get drunk?
little sake bottles
from the 7/11
white bread sandwiches
with the crust cut off
filled with fish and mayonnaise
and how many stray cats
will we see
sitting on motorcycles
jumping up in the air
like a cartoon
either go home before
or stay out
until the sun rises
i have to make
when the whole trip
was impulsive

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Missing all the girls I’ve loved

Of course the one time I wasn’t depressed was in a fantasy
Land filled with girl.
The mailwoman who has the only other key to my private locker.
The girl with the kitty cat smile, slicked back pony with one rebellious tuft.

Missing the romance moment that I never had
The sober one
The sleepover.
Instead of
Flared ribs jutting out of a black leotard
With each breath, laid
On a hardwood floor covered in itchy carpeting
The same brand of tobacco and beer
Swimming between our mouths,
Pretending I was as wild as she.

Promising boys I’d kiss them when Dr. removed my braces.
Blaming the retainer’s potential to fall out. I can’t waste all of this money
my parents spent for straight teeth.
Talking to Kayla years later, we lament our cute tooth imperfections,
and I wonder if we’re really talking about kissing girls.
Everything would have turned out better for us
if you still had your gap

and my right canine still overlapped with its neighbor.

Gum Street

Pavement polka dotted with gum and melted rubber
I descend into the tunnels
And remember my quack
Telling me,
Turn your rabbit hole
Into a pothole.
A woman in the station tells me she is going to jump
So I hold on tight and wait to die.
The train comes and a man in a red shirt grabs her
I tell him, this is my train, and he nods
In the direction of the open doors.
The rest of my ride I stare
At one page in my book

And wonder if she was bluffing.

Obsession with Cars

Wearing polka dots in the desert like
Something that doesn’t belong
A little sparkling city in a new red world
That won’t let you bring a piece back

Leaving big red
And it’s lost in one night
No memories, or scents of the desert
Just my polka dot dress and
Glittery windows
Like sequins
As I descend from the sky
Scrolling through the same night stories

Growing up without radio drives
And hearing all these trucker songs
About Teddy and trucker heaven
I wonder - what is it that we love here?
Not the simple things.
Backflips and hat tricks still don’t get you money
Everyone has seen it before and forgot
It is magic.
On a drive there’s nothing else but forward.

Never Eat Salty Worms
Never Eat Shredded Wheat
Never Eat Slimy Worms
Never Eat Soggy Waffles
Never Ever Smoke Weed
Never Eat Soggy Wafers
Never Eat Soggy Weatbix

And yet

I still don’t know how to drive.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

A long poem written in Asagaya:

Cai tells me her grandmother
Is an egret.
We see one land on a tall tree
At dusk.
Pearl white in a quickly changing blue sky.
I tell her about Jan
And the dove that visited us
And we agree
The dead become birds.
Of course!
Finally free to fly,
To watch from above.
The following morning
We walk home after a night of
Tequila and shochu.
The sound of birds fill the air.
To be so festive in the morning like,
Hey, you did it,
You made it to a new day!
They cheer for us.
But if we’ve stayed awake
Through the night
Is it a new day?

Stumbling upon a cemetery in Asagaya
We hear a rustle in the graves.
Perhaps a cat,
Like the ones in Buenos Aires.
Or a stone fox, the spirits’ protector.
Why do birds and cats stay
Slaves to the food chain in life,
When in death they become
Protected and protector?

Walking along the river
A group of nine to eleven year old boys approach us.
Some of them wear bicycle helmets.
The obvious leader holds a soccer ball.
They ask Cai to dance
And we soon realize
They are watching her breasts bounce
Under her pink mesh top.
Further down the river we sit at the bench
Where all the cats congregate.
Cai says she met a small old woman
Who comes every Saturday at five
With cans of cat food.
But she’s not there
And the cats are disinterested.
Most of them are white
Like the egrets,
With orange or brown markings.
They are so white in the dark soil.
So clean, like this city.
They each sit in front of their own tree
Coiled atop the roots
Like flowers.
A walking man stands and waves
At the cats
And all the passing dogs
Wear LED collars

Like little ravers.

Tropical Beach, Okinawa

There are street speakers
Everywhere in Japan.
A soundtrack for your walk to work,
Even here at the beach
At the edge of this island.
I try to identify the difference
Between the beach here
And back at home.
It somehow feels more
The sand more noticeable
Under my feet.
Dead coral that still
Looks beautiful
When it’s dead,
Unlike most things.
A taxi driver smiles at me
Above his newspaper.
A woman gives me a tissue
Through the bathroom stall.
There aren’t any toilet paper dispensers.
Just used pads in the trash can.

It’s hard to describe the exact flavor
Of orange reflecting
On the water at dusk
And the sun dips
So fast it’s a race
Between the persimmon
Glazed water and
The light that binds us.
This is the only point in the day
Where I’m reminded
Just how fast the earth turns.
The sun falls
From Okinawa, Japan
Into the New York skyline.
The ferris wheel is in the distance now
Getting brighter
As the sun sets.
It doesn’t even turn, just lights up
Like a firework
And I never thought
I’d feel so relieved being away
From carnival lights.
This carnival was
Tequila sunrise
Pink cushioned VIP.
Young men
With 1 AM curfews,
Six years of
Ghosts in their rooms,
And wanting girls

Even more desperately than before.