SEE ALL TAGS & MOODS
On TV it looked like a high-speed photo of a milk drop
the dying leader of the Pana Wave laboratory cult smack in the
Acres of white cloth streamered his followers, who
I’ve known rivers:
I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the
flow of human blood in human veins.
My soul has grown deep like the rivers.
The river is famous to the fish.
The loud voice is famous to silence,
which knew it would inherit the earth
before anybody said so.
The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds
An eagle egg fell into a farmer’s chicken shed
and when it hatched the farmer gave it chicken feed
even though he was the king of birds. The farmer
clipped the eaglet’s princely beak and raised him
scurried around a classroom papered with poems.
Even the ceiling, pink and orange quilts of phrase...
they introduced one another, perched on a tiny stage
to read their work, blessed their teacher who
The instructor said,
Go home and write
a page tonight.
And let that page come out of you —
Dad reads aloud. I follow his finger across the page.
Sometimes his finger moves past words, tracing white space.
He makes the Moon say something new every night
to his deaf son who slurs his speech.
Thin are the night-skirts left behind
By daybreak hours that onward creep,
And thin, alas! the shred of sleep
Do you believe in the ghosts of aunties and uncles that drive old sin-
gle-bench pickup trucks spotted with bullet-hole rust, sweetgrass and
It takes eight matches, a burnt thumb, and a quick Google search
to light the sweetgrass braid Mom scored for me from an elder
at work. Always use matches, she said. Spirit likes matches.
What struck me first was the sheer numbers, queers everywhere.
Battalions of sailors and infantry, proud in their uniforms.
Eventually, I made uneasy peace with this equal right.
i wanted bitumen to be made of dead dinosaurs. why did i want these
ancient kin to be passively implicated in the fossil fuel industry? it
on the day the chief of kâ-awâsis announces they have confirmed 751
bodies in unmarked graves outside the residential “school” in their
community, i google things like:
when will the sun run out of fuel?
The fish are drifting calmly in their tank
between the green reeds, lit by a white glow
that passes for the sun. Blindly, the blank
glass that holds them in displays their slow
Was so imaginary he ceased to exist
he wasn’t sleeping in a treehouse or stalking the woods
in fatigues cheeks smeared green with camouflage grease
can go to Bible study every Sunday
and swear she’s still not convinced,
but she likes to be around people who are.
We have the same conversation
every few years — I’ll ask her if she stops
a girl between two dialects
still a screen and still a searching, learns
the season of breakup
another word for spring
can come before or after
depending on where you grew up
online, back and forth
Dreaming of one day being as fearless as a mango.
As friendly as a tomato. Merciless to chin & shirtfront.
Realizing I hate the word “sip.”
But that’s all I do.
The meteorologists are pleading with us
to keep checking back through the storm,
ice pellets making a carpet two, three inches thick,
this pale beach we walk on, this wind that passed
The sludge-slow flow of the visible current
opens a path we can’t continue, tugs
at what no hand can pull along.
It’s how even water loses memory,
travels a direction it cannot find,
You are light
when the sun is punched out
and darkness reigns.
You are the antidote
to what came before:
black blood, black heart,
hands tied, kneeling before
a ditch of human bones.
let the colonial borders be seen for the pretensions that they are
i hereby honour what the flow of water teaches us
the beauty of enough, the path of peace to be savoured
we are asking you to trust your hands. put them on your heart. trust
your heart. hear what we are saying. trust what you hear. we are
asking you to build a circle. always a circle. not almost a circle. face
I like people.
I’d like some paper people.
They’d be purple paper people.
Maybe pop-up purple paper people.
Proper pop-up purple paper people.
Let Us Be Fireflies
All day we
practice morse code signals
i once shoved my foot through glass
getting to know my own anger
its patches of stupid
stress is just a socially acceptable
word for fear
Our national bird – for years – was – as A M Klein said –
the rocking chair
I don’t know what our national bird is now – but my totem bird is
Stranger, who can measure the distance between us?
Distance is the rumor of a never-before-seen sea.
Distance the width of a layer of dust.
Maybe we need only strike a match
We Twitter, Tinder, Tumblr through eternity. Loquacious
text messages flit from fingertips, waves of data spill
through our skulls. Every cm2 of oxygen overflowing
The world has become corrupted
from our hearts
to the way our gods love us
as if they know they’re already dying
and they’re determined to drag us down with them
Price depends on how the cheongsam
was made, the fabric used.
Gasp. Lift breasts with one hand.
Stuff your body inside.
If you wear this print of peonies
What do they think about you,
the people who pass you on the street?
What would you like them to see?
They see the druggie, the whore, the junkie.
Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows
Each day, I am apprenticed to the boy
I want to be.
He rifles the ball
and I catch it
or I fumble.
His red head ducks and weaves,
You gasp, awakened by
a bucket of cold water.
A gauzy autumn morning. A drained sunrise.
You shiver, strain to see the house
parent’s fingers whipping & flicking in
My father liked them separate, one there,
one here (allá y aquí), as if aware
that words might cut in two his daughter’s heart
(el corazón) and lock the alien part
it's okay if you only learned about your culture from Google
it's okay if you only read your language at the public library
Hands pressed to glass
It has to be loved the way a laundress loves her linens,
the way she moves her hands caressing the fine muslins
knowing their warp and woof,
like a lover coaxing, or a mother praising.
We had no paper
then, or we had
no pen, or no words. How
to say it. We had
no voice. No listeners.
Just deaf night
One thousand eight hundred seconds.
Protest is not supposed to be comfortable.
I saw a perfect tree today
From my cabin bed on a Via Rail train
Through the North of Ontario
It was tall and thin and scraggly and prim
Then I saw another just as perfect
Take the thickest socks.
Wherever you're going
you'll have to walk.
There may be water.
There may be stones.
There may be high places
you cannot go without
If you want to travel run
around the neighbourhood with an empty
suitcase in hand. At least once, full circle.
Wear yellow underwear
for the 31st, lest fortune oversee your cup
in the south hebron hills the slanted hills
recall old songs, and the women collect
them like rain. the men have two-syllable
gap tooth black girl
back corner of class
poetry on blank paper
save the school's
curriculum for later
My poem without me in it—would it be like
my room when I had returned to it
after my mother was done with me.
Under my bed, only the outer
space balls, of dust, only
people arrived from portugal. people arrived from africa. people arrived from
india. people arrived from england. people arrived from china. people
waiting. then comes rejection.
anger follows. shame makes
the shadows jostle between
the walls of the scarcely visited cities.