SEE ALL TAGS & MOODS
The instructor said,
Go home and write
a page tonight.
And let that page come out of you —
You charm’d me not with that fair face
Though it was all divine:
To be another’s is the grace,
some towers are made of cladding
some made of ivory
some burn in the night
some built by slaves
wind rushes through coarse hair
body aches between vertebrae
Do you speak your language?
I stare — I just said: how are you?
I thought English was my language
apparently it isn’t
I thought Halkomelem was gibberish
the devil’s language
that’s what the nuns said
My mother never forgave my father
for killing himself,
especially at such an awkward time
and in a public park,
when I was waiting to be born.
She locked his name
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
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
Leaves, asleep under wind:
a ship for the wound.
glories in these ruinous times.
Trees growing in our own eyelashes
a lake for the wound.
The wound shows up in bridges
The ancestors of everyone I’ve let into my body
are gathered in a small room with one window,
no lights. Yes, the room is crowded. Yes, there
are no chairs. Yes, they are talking. Why are we
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
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.
I remember my birth
like it was tomorrow, the unholy sensation
“The link with poverty is there is there in the man's hat, too, for money has got to be brought in, got to be brought in somehow,” M.D., The Lover.
Hands pressed to glass
He is not doing well. She is not
Scrape the inside of sleep the belly wall
tasting like yoghurt cooked broccoli
its emptiness leaving something
on the tongue. Escaping the body
that wants to quit from the inside.
waiting. then comes rejection.
anger follows. shame makes
the shadows jostle between
the walls of the scarcely visited cities.
Only the beginning is true.
There was an island
and an orphanage
and a boy.
There was a train and a country
The thing that death gave you —
your face leaks
your face overflows
Your face is the grave of your nose
your face is the grave of your ears
Unless you believe in the eye of the needle
this kind of poverty will never be about material
it won't be about ragged clothing
or mud huts with broken walls
or river blindness
big ghosts contra
band my diction war
korea's north sees red as
america flags china's chopped limb
british crowns hong kong
cut for duplicity more capitalist than capitalist
Out of their torments men carved a flower
which they perched on the high plateaus of their faces
hunger makes a canopy for them
an image dissolves in their last tear
i can barely speak in my mother tongues stutter
my accent is bad
i hate jalebi
but i like aloo samosa
i'm a bad brown
girl i didn't join the
SAA or the ISA
He sat cross-legged, weeping on the steps
when Mom unlocked and opened the front door.
O God, he said. O God.
He wants to kill me, Mom.
Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb
The whiskey on your breath
Could make a small boy dizzy;
But I hung on like death:
Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.
Should lanterns shine, the holy face,
Caught in an octagon of unaccustomed light,
Would wither up, an any boy of love
before i start i want to say you shouldn’t blame yourself
there’s no point in beating around the bush
there’s something we need to talk about
this is the most difficult thing i’ve ever had to tell anyone
It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match’d with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
i twist and gasp
open and close my mouth
searching for air
whenever a sturgeon is caught in the rainy river
the feel of strange hands touching my body
There’s a joke that ends with — huh?
It’s the bomb saying here is your father.
Now here is your father inside
your lungs. Look how lighter
the earth is — afterward.
In the empty classroom, at sunrise, a girl
sits on the floor, staring at a glockenspiel.
She’s shredding the cuticles on her left hand
At the heart there is a hollow sun
by which we are constructed and undone
The calendar marred with birds and you are kik-kik-kik-kicking all the way into June.
180 days scratched with black X’s and crow’s feet: bird-of-two minds (goodandevil
It is never easy
Walking with an invisible border
Separating my left and right foot
The rain this morning pours from the gutters and
everywhere else it is lost in the trees. You need your
glasses to single out what you know is there because
Sure, there’s a spell the leaves can make, shuddering,
and in their lying suddenly still again — flat, and still,
like time itself when it seems unexpectedly more
Very loud a mad frenzy The wooden
barrel she rode would have roared
(I first wrote “road”)
— so we said to the somewhat: Be born —
& the shadow kept arriving in segments,
cold currents pushed minerals
Rain at Muchalat, rain at Sooke,
And rain, they say, from Yale to Skeena,
And the skid-roads blind, and never a look
Backward & down into inbetween as Vicki says. Or as Robin teaches
the gap, from which all things emerge. A left
handed compliment. Bats…
Down from the purple mist of trees on the mountain,
lurching through forests of white spruce and cedar,
stumbling through tamarack swamps…
My bands of silk and miniver
Momently grew heavier;
The black gauze was beggarly thin;
There’s a race of men that don’t fit in,
A race that can’t stay still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
“Oh where are you going with your love-locks flowing
On the west wind blowing along this valley track?”
“The downhill path is easy, come with me an it please ye,
When I consider how my light is spent,
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one Talent which is death to hide
What if the sun comes out
And the new furrows do not look smeared?
This is April, and the sumach candles
When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain,
Before high-pilèd books, in charactery,