Palms

I.

For a man:

I have written your name on the palms of my hands

I exult sunwards

and you are the first to share in the light.
For another man:

I have written your name on the palms of my hands 

I make a fist

and I am reminded not to forgive.
II.

These are the palms that pushed the chest. 

These are the palms that pushed the chest that provoked the words.

These are the palms that pushed the chest that provoked the words that carved the worlds.

These are the palms that pushed the chest that provoked the words that carved the worlds 

that she built. 

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To Bosnia

To Bosnia

 

I have a man
or rather had, a Mister from
furthest Bosnia; Eastern European
twang, short
and sturdy, massive hands
more than capable –
he was a blind date. Drinks with
Dracula

undressing him later
stocky
hairy as a bear, he
was beefy and big-armed
and reassuring. I encircled him
and sighed; happy,
found everything
much to my pleasing
especially that throaty Slavic
mumble
in my ear. No fear
of Asian – ahem – embarrassment
with him, he was
solid as a cannon, and went off
like one too
boom!

Ah, Bosnian
whose first name I am still
slightly unsure of – something
foreign, you were
all the man I needed
that night;
eyebrows bushy, tangled
sweaty and jubilant
nestled, hot and humming
with pleasure against
your barrel of a chest, I felt

what?
ecstatic! in your hard and heavy
grip, murmured
sweet, vodka-accented nasties
and nothings inside me
ah, lover
breaking away in the morning
to shower, and board your
plane back to Beijing

soon, soon
I’ll see you again,
coming for Christmas to
unwrap me early, and
I still don’t really know your name.

 

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Miss Independent on the Shores of Lake Michigan

I am walking along the promenade

it is 10:19am and already

the Chicago sun is burning and signs flash for heatwave. Americans

crowd into the yacht club, preferring to sail above the blue

than walk by it. I am thinking –

why? There is nothing more freeing than

walking.

A man went by and referred to me as a girl, but he is wrong. 

I am alone, woman and strong.

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Women Who Write

If you are anything like me

you see a lady approach the mic and think these things:

One) is this a poem about how hard it is to be a woman?

And two) 

poetry about sexual assault all starts to sound the same after a while. Women who write rape poetry

stories to stem the tide of nobody believed me because I told nobody – fuck, why am I telling bodies about what happened to my body? My body is my body 

I am not the story scrawled onto me

When you share a story, will you become

Her, that’s the girl who read the rape poem. Powerful, dude. And I kinda sorta wanta claw your eyes out because you are a witness. You came you saw you heard – i had my expulsion but I won’t let you leave and take my secret with you to be dissected later over lattes

Yeah i went to this slam last night

Any good?

Chicks reading rape poems. Pretty good though.

No no no no no no

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Anchored Boats

Anchored boats

have their arms trussed behind them 

like hostages

sitting in the blue pool

bobbing against rescue.

I feel the same way. My colour

is the blue of a dark, pulling sea

no longer reflecting the sky.

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Counting

I am in possession of an obsessive mind

I have numbered my compulsive behaviours, tallied them to see

where I fit on the spectrum

One I count steps and stairs. This is not normal behaviour, I know

there are 36 steps from the bottom of Causeway Bay MTR to my exit but I still count them every

every day and it’s worse when I’m drunk or on the way home

then I count how many steps will take me to my front gate, in groups of

cantonese tens. Yat yee sam say mm lo tut baht gau sup and repeat

yat yee sam say mm lo tut baht gau sup. Never more than ten I stop at ten

and it is not just the counting. How about

two the obsessive memorisation. there are over 700 children in my school and if you tested me I’d put money on knowing

500+ names. Added to that the students of my school before, primary 3 and primary 4 and we’re talking

autistic levels of name capabilities. and test me, go on test me (three)

on the 197 countries of the world because I can name them alphabetically. It fascinates me

this ability to recall information, to use

alphabeticised geography to sustain me through life’s unpleasantness

at the dentist: I mentally regurgitate

countries to get me through the drilling

Serbia, Sierra Leone, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal (getting a filling) Swaziland, Somalia, Saudi Arabia – it’s finished. Or when I’m doing reps

at the gym I recite from the end

Zimbabwe. Yemen. No Xs, unfortunately, 

I am fantastically

capable of memorising my poetry each line has to be

delivered right and perfectly

or start again, again never has perfectionism felt so heavy

armchair psychology would say to be right is to be in control, to name things is to own them

all I know is I’m awake and I can’t stop my brain from counting

counting counting

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Faces

Today I asked you

“what are you looking at?”

when you studied my face for a moment

that felt too long. 

“My beautiful wife,” you said

and suddenly my

past loves felt like forgeries.

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