The Intersection of a Flare

Today, I finally spat your name out, 
single syllables starting pointed and steely, harsh
at their tips but meander gently into curves—the 
seed of a fruit, one ripened last season.

But last season was just yesterday, and I am

a miser in love. The melody of her name plays 
as a maddening strum of your tongue—
the way you stretch it across a lovesick sigh,
have you noticed? Cocooning it with such tenderness, 
awaiting her metamorphosis about which you 
narrate predictions to me—the fool
who wishes those 
elegant, confident, poised 
wings of your dreams will 

Guillotine my gaze, like the way they cleave the air.
I wish them to sweep into a distant world 
your reflection,
the one that is dancing and falling off the
rim of my martini glass, a treacherous caldera…
the one I can’t save from being
entranced by the spotlights, from being
kissed and devoured by the intersection of a flare.

The jazz in the lounge is swollen with passion and
I’m still the fool, and still the miser, 
suspending a pointless hypothetical in the air, 
its pendulous swing lunging my words out, 
then in, then out again.
Perhaps it’s the alcohol and the scent of the stars—
they press me dangerously close to honesty,
brandishing a candour so bold it would 
cement every plot hole I skirt around, 
undo every reef knot you said, more than a sextant,
would save a seaman’s life. 

Deeper into the night, the wine softens my edges and 
your faults trickle away, with wine legs that
seem to mock my tear-streaked face. 

You asked me of the plague in my mind, 
the pensive swarm that shrouds my routine smile,

and I want to tell you that her beautiful wings did nothing for me, 
but also
that love makes me a miser, a fool, a girl who
hopes that for you, one day those wings open wide.

For as long as I write

We existed there—roving through time like the
party boats adrift, whimpering away their last song.
Rooted against every instinct, we stubbornly are,
though even the river shivers under the 
midnight blue skin of space.
I have stranded reason in the daylight, 
forgetting how the moon’s crescent cradles
my secrets, nearly tipping them in your ear.

Courting this memory like a fool—
a dream that evaporates upon waking, 
fraying more at the seams with every 
attempt at recollection. In a better world,
I would transform into portal of truth,
mapping the blueprints of this night
in every way but the fabled fashion I desire.

Would I still remember your gaze, 
so arresting that it confounds mine?
A fugitive, I leap from the cathedral to the city’s eye, 
then melt with the amber strokes under Blackfriars.
Could I still let you draw my hair back to
pick a misery, one that beckons softly
and glistens tenderly, eager to trust
like a lily from the earth?

As credulous as Gloucester, my fictions
a solvent for my facts. The walls with which
you say I banish you keep my brimming inkwells 
as still as the discontent of winter, yet
they remain as leaden as the Thames below,
Because when you say things like 
“The city was mine like never before”,
I can’t help but raise my quill,

and I am a lover for as long as I write. 

From the Glassblower

letters in letters you left, loose embers
frolicking in an innocuous upward twirl
to: you, a glassblower on that flirtatious gallivant,
breathing shapeless sand into golden honey.
fun, fun and games. you roll me over like a dice

and then i am at once spellbound, whisked
into a game i had always watched behind shoulders
but never joined. mostly modest
breaths shorten, breaths soften, till you
inflate me like a proud mother’s chest.

for every reason i can find to hate you
i have two more to love you instead;
for every thankless task i droop foolishly
like a homesick adult, one too tired to find the
itch in my spirit, the psychosis that bursts like

an outpour of flames to bake my lips into a stretched smile.
annealed, inside me every second of silence
burns my walls into a crisp. shoved
into an inferno, fished out as a pretty vase,
a goblet, a chalice… crystallized into

picture-perfect perfection. the treasures of Murano.

of the sweltering Italian sunshine. of strange nights
spent aching for more letters awash with love
from: you, to: me
of protests, shattered selves in the kiln,
haunting still potsherds of a heart that saw it coming.

Million Medusas

The sunshine lets a spillage of secrets
Fool me into thinking that this is
yet another beginning of my life. The Sixth.

Having loved one too many
You still stun me stiff
like a million Medusas.
I am both paralysed by love and its negation
一necessitation? Nevertheless,

You’ve got me, again, like a pest
Dancing in the very fumes
sent to kill it

Always mid-movement, limbs
bent all the wrong ways,
reeling my words back again
To mix them like paint on my palate
一palette? Perhaps,

What tones could I
Possibly contrive to cover everything
ugly and grim about myself?
Sinking my loved ones in shipwrecks,
A gut that has never known nourishment,

To make you want to frame me up
And kiss my rough edges and paste me on the
roof of your bunk bed? I continue
Mixing the acrylics as I wonder
一wander? Whatever.

Another Orphean temptation
of departure splinters my will,
and a ghastly silence trickles down
the walls of the room we used to inhabit.
Sabotage is a tradition.

Dying, am I, just dying
To erase this fiction一friction一
Prediction,
Of so many untold secrets
I dread no one will want to keep for me.

Unless you, you
You could cope一nope?
Fat hope.

Virus Villanelle

so i wonder, where in the minute are we?
through a fortress of masked faces, minds,
never thought the world would leave me

here, i stand far yet stand not free
washing my memories, bordered by lines
wondering, where in the minute are we?

digits skyrocket, into a soundless reverie
under the stars, a joss stick bleeds and blinds,
I never thought the world would leave me

they hope a strange fate shows mercy,
for tangled queues and questions to unwind.
tell me, where in the minute are we?

cradled like a baby in the arms of the big city,
secretly waiting and dreaming feel like crimes.
never thought the world would leave me

maybe one day we will believe, not only see
to have died once is to have lived two times
still, answer us, where in the minute are we?
never thought the world would leave me

White Whale

I am wandering, haphazardly at best,
head full of helium and heartbeats running wild
to a hallucinatory rhythm.

History stares sternly at me,
its piercing gaze raising the hairs on
the back of my neck. I’ve
been here. The soles of my shoes
fit perfectly into the craters of footprints
left behind in the dirt. 
Perhaps I’ve just walked 
the entire planet to escape you,
only to return to where I had begun
at the end of my cyclical sojourn.

I wish I could tuck you away
into a password, 
or a receipt crushed at the bottom of my purse.

But you are my white whale,
an oasis in a desert. Like a drowning fish,
you make me pull my own puppet strings,
even when I’d sworn to cut them short.

I’m drawn to you, hideously and fatuously,
like a wasp is to a beacon.

And on some days, some better ones, the clouds seem to
morph into the contours of your face,
and I laugh from the earth below
at how even the skies

have a little sense of humour.

a eulogy for a dreamy sunday afternoon

i. sunlight seeping in borrows a rosy hue from tinted window glass, dancing off your tousled hair.

ii. the stereo murmurs a dull synth-pop tune to colour the silence, inside the lines.

iii. buildings we pass melt into a nondescript blur, like abstractions of ink on a drenched book.

iv. the weight of my baggage surrenders to the one tugging at my chest. i know i am not half-dreaming.

v. there’s only so much i can read from the back of your neck, like newspapers shrouded by the dark of morning.

iv. you mean so many things to me, things no tongue could explain. not even to myself.

iii. this silence amidst noise is killing me. i would rather burst into a rhapsodic wail, out of tune.

ii. this moment will not yield to captivity. like a firefly in a jar, the only glow i see is put out by the last breath of a dying dream.

i. heart and soul, mind and soul, maybe it’s time to let this firefly go?

when you said no

discord sown in the fields of my own mind
grow to be weeds, strangling the little seedlings
that cry for renewal, for a fresh breath,
gulping down the last yolk of sunshine for supper.

they tell me that it’s all in my own head:
a mass of tissue and neurons entangled with
the steady beat of my soul, stretching and contracting
like train couplers reconciling cabins that will never touch

all the time, I think about your typicality,
yet having to think implies mystery.
how is it that you never look at yourself in mirrors,
given how you’re so god damn beautiful?
why have I never tasted pretence in your voice,
but have only heard the purest thoughts, organic and
yours alone?

some questions will always be questions.
thus I, deciding whether these are tears or raindrops,
stagger back into eden, crawling
back into the soil of late winter,
retracting my roots in the wait for rebirth next spring.

SIT DOWN, PAIR UP

two white dresses at a wedding will command stares. 
a change of outfit is not granted; 
there are so many skeletons in my closet
that i can’t tell my backbones from belts. 

i can choose to smile and wave like i 
have always,
a rag doll pinned onto a cork board to be 
sliced, diced, and everything nice. 

to iron out my incompatibilities,
a creaseless palm clutching the smallest of 
infinities that persuade me to let go of
cards that no longer serve purpose

for i am a temporary tattoo,
the last page of a calendar, 
counting down to when i won’t fit the 
occasion anymore 

circus caravan, always on the go

words taste bitter in december when
urns are emptied, filled, lost, doubled till
small talk becomes no talk.

this year, the gap on the shelf
of a borrowed book reminds:
keep the moment when the acrobat
freezes on the trapeze, statuesque
marbled eyes locked in the space between
one second and the next,
feasting on the contradiction of being motionless
yet on top of the world.

this year, the gap on the shelf
of a borrowed book reminds me just that.

only a time too vulnerable to be measured in minutes
prevents seizures of lunacy when
young things trickle in rivulets, engulfing the space
only you and i knew.
they could never learn of
a time too vulnerable to be measured in minutes.
foolish, whimsical young things don’t speak in sepia
like we did.

deep breaths.
smiles in january will be sweeter,
the kinds that are followed by birdsongs.
i know this in threes, twos,

ones.

midnight blues

i’ve been groping for a candle
to melt the blue night away,
a flame on a riverbed you
float above while you hungrily scour
the banks for a heart to stitch you name on.

some permanency i assumed
flakes off the wall i wait behind.
this acrid affection dripping off my chin
can’t be wrung out

in a seashell.
or a pillow.
or a glass bottle.

dried blood on a screw meets
a fresh tide at daybreak.

most candles simply exhale
the vignette of you but
tomorrow will come only if i
melt the blue night away.

a dusty tune starts to soak
the air as i
continue my search.