A Thousand Tankas (1)



Dark granules streaming,
water whistles on the stove;

spoon bangs surfaces,
noise of the melting sugar;

anywhere is silence, still.




The lavender
bush on the veranda
is blossoming,
a taunt or dare, not sure,
I see no bee around.




On tiptoes,

the edge of my bed
to the tub
an endless traverse,

no shore, no ocean.


Empathy of Leather


The couch
welcomes my aches
as though
I’m an orphan
looking for arms.


Barren Nights



my belly)
is now dead.


Maladies without Antidotes


The mind that asks the same unease, the chest
that heaves for faster beats, the body tightly crouched
perhaps to yearn for arms that know mistrust,
the saddest soul whose breaths are hushed, I see myself
in glass, on coated wood, with open eyes or closed.


Hurting on the Toilet


My second joint of rolled hashish,
I thought of cinder smoke and dying fire,
the grains of sand, the rowdy waves;

my skin recalled the shallow burn of flares,

the frigid feel of water soothing ache.


Blind Date


The bridge is still around
to ask, remind, obscurely mock:
his hands that held my waist,
the sudden wind that hissed, the noise
of river flow, the citrus moon.




The kiss I get
on algid nights—my skin

defies the shake
of bones—a cup of tea
my tongue allows to slip.


Clenched Fist


I smoke
to burn my hand,
an act
against the pain,
the wound I keep.


Forms of Myself


Nope, you don’t have to

tell me more… how it drowns

deep: sorrow. My tankas are
enough; let the short verses cry
out for you. Look, the sunset.




All door knobs unlocked,
the window panes slightly open,
even the scuttle hole,
the wall cracks remain unfixed,
and I have been waiting.


Long Story


Where to begin:

your kiss that night,
the absence after?

The pale-waxed floor,
oak laminate, dead quiet.


Winter on the Patio


The hug
of cigarette smoke,
thick, loose,
not as warm;
above, the moon.


For E. E.



a leaf
to go
in autumn.


Photographic Memory


I don’t know anymore how to forget
the eyes that lured, the lips that said nothing, the hand
that pulled mine into the empty lair;
I’ve mastered recalling, existing in the past, going back
to the sepias, the black-and-whites, the slow fades in my mind.


Don’t Leave


Me. You once asked about the saddest
song. I said it was slowly sung by a French

guy. I could only remember the pearls

of rain. You still got the foreign senselessness
of words. But your heart didn’t catch the fire.


Before Bedtime


I studied the table lamp
(the shade seemed like a tent,
the wood base implied,
a bonfire after the quick drizzle)
and turned it off, hoping to forget.


Untaken Selfie


Still life:
empty bottle of vodka,
drying apple,
croissant covered with mold;

I staring at the bare table.




the remote in haste,
then pressed
called my name.


Desire to Drown


I whisper no name
to the billows of the waves;
theirs is not my tongue.

My eyes can only appeal:

spare me yet again today.


Last Word


Before he left,
his finger on my arm
drawing something,
I said it quick: blossom,
but it felt like goodbye.


Lesson for Gluttons


I didn’t

know how to devour
passion fruits

’till he showed me how
to swallow the seeds.




I ask which one
is sad:
the patchouli
or my shoulder.




me try this


in my mouth.




When you held my hand, I didn’t push yours
(clinging made me feel secured, desired and guarded);
why you gently pulled my yielding shoulders
(though my body had been spineless since I let you),
baffled, scared and pained—I didn’t know its meaning.


Widowed Grandma’s Old Recipe


Crushing cloves of garlic tedious,
slivered onions showing how to sniffle,

canned tomatoes close to bleeding,
waxy peppers still untouched, I wonder

why this dish is not apportioned aptly.


Sex Shop


Love is weird. I struggle
though it feels correct. I’m worried,
so distressed but okay.
Hatred seems the same. I’m seething
mad. I ask about a dildo.


Plum Tree


Stay beneath it

—let the flowers drown you,
taste the droplets,
catch the subtle tickles—

life is still delightful.


Sweet Pea


“Give me
flowers,” said I,
firm, my potted
plant decaying.


Bird Flu


In the cage, two lorikeets,

one is dead, the other silent;

I am torn between saying
it is okay and assuring myself
that, indeed, I am not alone.


In the Park


Under the maple tree,
the tall tufted grass lolling,
every wood bench empty,
cinder ash gorging the day,
I wait again for fireflies.


Water and Sugar


We would pick
lemons—when wild daisies
not in season.

He did know how
to squeeze them—gentle.


Waiting for Guido


They are
not as heavy.
The pace
is not hurried.
The steps outside.





I finished
jilted on
the plate.


Gluttony in the Orchard


I always mistake nectarines for peaches or plums
for apricots, one thing clear and common, succulence,
the rawness of sugar dripping off my chin
when my tongue swivels between the bows of my lips
I slightly open and a fly around waits for its turn.


Out of the Blue


When he stopped stroking my face,
I thought my light drugstore makeup was melting
or a zit I didn’t notice repulsed,
but when he left without telling me why,

I couldn’t think, if it was my lips or whole existence.




I tried writing you a missive,
but could not bear the noise
of the pen on the thin paper,
like a nail scratching my skin;
hence, I just said it to the air.


Spring Without Him


I smell the bed
sheet, a scent of detergent.

It’s not the same,
no trace of fading cologne,
no hint of the sun or rain.




He loves me,
he loves me not…
in the end,
it makes me cry…
I hate cliches.