Between the two of us,
I am the one afraid
to know the plot.
Among your Excel rows –
“Look,” you point, calculate,
“We lose the least selling the house
by this” – a certain date –
I am afraid to find that life
has already been fixed, and all my role
is flipping the page to another date.
Sometimes in games
I refuse to look at the mini-map,
flirting with chance:
there is no one hiding in that bush.
The fog-of-war opens up to fresh terrain.
I roam amok in their jungle,
and get surprised every time.
Lorraine, I think
I saw my father’s ghost today.
He told me I was dying,
and I thought of you:
for the first time in five years,
I thought of you.
Application to Stanford University
Tell us why you want to be here:
My father did not get into Stanford,
so he spent my whole life
describing it to me.
I have imagined
cycling past the arches,
remembering my bathroom
as he taught me how to shave.
It’s still raining over here, Jon.
The metal roofs have been
drumming all day.
I can hear where
my house ends,
as if walls were built of sound.
The news said it might flood.
I hope not.
Last night while you were sleeping
I touched, in turn, 5 corners of your back:
left blade, small right, shoulder,
Your skin was smooth, so I did it again.
Left blade, small right, shoulder,
You jerked up, ramrod straight.
I pulled the blanket over my head.
You won’t remember this in the morning,
all my various nightly routines.
Today has been a day of excitement, despite the unrestful sleep and the sharp aches at the knee. Singpowrimo kicks off today, and it's incredible to see a whole community of writers participating in it together, putting up their works up on the group. It's good to be alive, and to have time enough for poetry again. Inspiration is another issue, but tell yourself -- it's all in the mind. And the bigger news of the day: Gambit! I've gotten in, thankfully. Even though I was assured of making a good impression (I asked after the interview, "Do I have a good chance?" and was given the grinning reply, "I think so, yeah."), it's still reassuring having it confirmed. 3 months of working on a game, while getting paid! One harbours a hope that the game would be something to be proud of.
CMU in the fall. Winter coats, vaccinations, searching for a good studio apartment that has a direct bus to the school. The chill in the air is palpable to me already.
Have started on the Alice Munro book I borrowed. I'm already in love with her writing, two short stories in. She got me in the middle of the first. Where has she been all my life?
Nobody quite knows when, or how,
the monopoly on grief came about.
It started with regulation:
the cause of suicides was traced
to depression, depriving the economy
of its workforce. This had to end,
lawmakers decided. An Act was passed:
only certain kinds of grief, at approved levels,
were allowed possession.
One company found a way
to measure, manufacture,
and put together
concoctions of sadness:
the Breakup Package
(20mg of rage, 33mg
emptiness, 40mg regret),
the Package of Bereavement
(included: sensory recorder
for memory of last moments),
Capsule for a Dream
Forgotten upon Waking,
Bottle for the Hour
Watching Your House Burn Down.
Patents were obtained, stores established,
competitors were sued and compensation given.
Suddenly one company
had all the shares in grief.
When a student confessed one evening
she needed something
for walking past a once close friend
without pausing, her teacher
shook her head:
“That’s going to cost.”
The staircases of this place
chug like trains, upward trains,
empty to a locked door whose eye
glimpses sky and painted pipes
while level upon level stacks a kitty flap
squeaking open, shut, unloading office refugees.
Carriage atop carriage the conveyor belt
moves tobacco smoke and murmurs,
occasionally shaping into fragments
like a torn letter from long-ago times
"obviously... doesn't understand"
"...had to abort, but then"
"...work, and work, and work..."
"a bitch, she thinks she..."
, moves the sound of zips like a plunge in dark tunnel
the wind whooshing in a rustle of skirts
a swerve of bitten gasp
a rumble of tracks in thumping
, moves slow breaths and the tick,
tick of watches.
Outside each kitty flap the green-lit "EXIT"
outlines a silhouette
of a running man;
just two metres away,
the elevator stops
on every floor.
in response to the tragedy of the death of two brothers, 7 and 13, upon getting hit by a cement truck
That dream again, of a severed head—
My child. And the other, flung
Like a boomerang, a puppet, dark lead.
Sleep is a spider that spins thick threads,
Weaves around me, though to Day I clung,
That dream again, of a severed head,
Afloat in my womb, nine months bred.
Out of my uterus it was wrung
Like a boomerang, a puppet, dark lead,
Thirteen years in an arc back to the dead.
Other nights I see my body strung
In that dream, again, of a severed head
Attached to a bar, feet made to tread
Endless corridors, cry thrown from lungs
Like a boomerang, a puppet—dark lead
Limbs—by mocking Fate led.
Who would know my tied tongue,
That again dream, of severed head
Like a boomerang, a puppet, dark lead.
I am fascinated with your legs
especially in relation to mine—
are you sure they belong to you?
These two pairs are in such a tangle
I find myself hunting for knees
between and beneath thighs.
Have you seen my left foot, darling?
I am not sure where that spasm
was from, after I ran my toes down
someone's sole. You know, darling,
one simply cannot function without legs
and I do need mine to get off the bed,
go for lessons and whatnot.
You'll help me look? Oh darling,
you are such a saint.
I love you so much. Let me roll over
and give you a kiss—
oh no. It seems now I need help
to find my arms as well;
a torso has gotten in the way.
It is like
a dotted line
I tell my hand
But it is
it tells me
break out of
A woman stands on the corner
of Laurel and Front
Her ear a bobbing volleyball
as she examines the inside
of her takeout box,
Gives the flap a last lick
before dropping it in the bin.
How many hairpins have dropped
on the grey carpet
Today I picked up yet another
gleaming too much
The city has made itself
its own night sky: each streetlamp
another star, so that
the stars themselves
(unused to seeing their reflections)
have hidden behind
the city's bright curtains,
and only the brave ones
dare peer at the winding cars,
coming back with gossip
on which meteors are returning
from a night
at whose houses.