Bitter

This Be The Verse

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.   

    They may not mean to, but they do.   

They fill you with the faults they had

    And add some extra, just for you.

 

But they were fucked up in their turn

    By fools in old-style hats and coats,   

Who half the time were soppy-stern

    And half at one another’s throats.

 

Man hands on misery to man.

    It deepens like a coastal shelf.

Get out as early as you can,

    And don’t have any kids yourself.

Tulips Bloom from Youths’ Blood

I.

 

It’s the season of wine, meadows, and Rose

The court of spring is cleared of choughs and crows

Generous clouds now water Rey[1] more freely than Khotan[2]

The caged bird and I both long for our own land

 

How wayward are you, Heaven!

How vicious are you, Heaven!

You’re headed to vengeance, O Heaven!

You have no faith

You have no creed—no creed

O Heaven!

 

 

II.

 

diaspora babies

diaspora babies, we

are born of pregnant pauses/spilled

from unwanted wombs/squalling invisible-ink poems/written in the margins

of a map of a place

called No Homeland

 

old gong gong honoured uncle is the man i won't become/

BBQ pork-scented sorrow and red

bean paste buns he sold on street corners in Chinatown/handing out sweetbread

and stories

for seventy-five cents each/ red meat and red hands stained

by the winter wind’s violence/as the Goddess of Mercy watched/pitying

Rejected Text for a Tourist Brochure

“I saw my land in the morning

and O but she was fair”

- M.G. Smith, “Jamaica” (1938)

 

I

 

Come see my land

 

Come see my land

before the particles of busy fires ascend;

before the rivers descend underground;

before coffee plantations

grind the mountains into dust; before

the coral dies; before the beaches

disappear

 

Come see my land

Come see my land

And know

That she was fair.

 

Wrk

this job hates me

             this job wouldn’t make me feel so shitty if it didn’t

i’m nothing but nice to this job

but when this job is done with me it always sneaks out while

i’m still sleeping

              this job

wears too much cologne and i reek of it when i come home

and my girlfnend makes me shower before I can get close to

her

this job is full of work friends that you only text to see if

they can switch shifts

that you drink with at staff parties but don’t go out of your

Moon of the Returning Sun

A view from two sides of Polaris, it is said:

                                               the living awaits destined relatives to retort.

 

These people go around waking the sleeping ones

when the weather is good:                          they wait for those

                                                                                    who-are-coming-around-the-bend.

 

1981 Anaktuvik Pass/Tulugaq Elijah Kakinya Inupiaq name Kainnaaq said,

 

Lake Michigan, Scene 3

The bodies are on the beach

And the bodies keep breaking

And the fight is over

But the bodies aren't dead

And the mayor keeps saying      I will bring back the bodies

I will bring back the bodies that were broken

The broken bodies speak slowly

They walk slowly onto a beach that hangs over a fire

Into a fire that hangs over a city

Into a city of immigrants       of refugees       of dozens of illegal languages

Into a city where every body is a border between one empire and another

Kome's Story

for auntie nagasaki

it's the same story

told again & again

 

the modulations

& the machinations

 

the maudlin

& the dream

 

schemes & data

a million documents

 

& a single story

kome's

 

she said she

moved into her house

 

her dream house

on december 6th

 

fell into a deep sleep

stirred the dream

 

to wake

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