Otherness Is A Bird

Otherness is a bird singing
from a burnt tree

against the wind of invisible sea, desert uncrossed

it is a fire curled up in your chest
as you pretend to be be asleep
on a cold morning
but the ice is thin and breaking
and all you want is a mirror
to see your own sun
and the bird is singing a prayer;
please be there, please be there


Cast a splint of night
around the broken figments
of trees’ imagination;
fill with velvet void the cracks
in the trunks of reality
and thread the branches
with garlands of stars
that they may bath in silver light
the wounds of daylight hours,
dress them with gentler grace,
as you bind together
the frayed branches of ideas
so none will stray too far and break;
and mend the rough, crumbling bark
with your own hands, placing them
in holes left by the missing patches,
covering the raw, bare sinews
of the universe within

and the world will make it through another night.

The Way We Don’t Rhyme

And maybe it is a foreign language, maybe I was abandoned in this spot without such tools, such conveniences stashed in my luggage

and maybe it is a strange tongue, not mine, not rolling around in my mouth to come out as polished marbles
so I pray with my lips shut
in silence deemed irreverent to the sacred space held for metre and the rise and fall of kingdoms of melodic articulation

kneeling at the altar of shards
and rising to stand as
I build myself into a tower of images, of unspoken wordy height and touching liminality in more dimensions than a tongue could squeeze between two lips and two breaths,

no rhymes to a reason hidden from
an ear to the ground,
approaching infinity in the collapse of the tower, and finally, noise

but I am long gone to another metaphor, hiding under the table on which knowdledge is served in the shape of gold-dusted fruit;
hiding I lick my fingers after touching them all and dreaming of rearranging them into
run-on sentences stacked into paragraphs, pyramids balancing tension and beauty
and yet
you ask for another tower, but with
a sounding bell and a song

and I leave in a fade of thunder


I want to talk about the unspoken lines,
the pages ripped out of the book even before showing
the first draft to the first few initiates outside
the brain that conceived the perceptions noted
and burnt
but reconstructing the ashes would mean creating ink that stains
fingers and all the following pages
so there is silence
and white-out tape wound around a barbed tongue
securing all the omissions to prolonged oblivion
until one day it might dissolve
and words will scratch the itching blankness
leaving supposedly haphazard marks on paper
a palimpsest, in hindsight


And there are stories stuck
under your skin
wrapped around your spinal column
in tender, haunted tendrils
of nine-tailed jellyfish trailing
across your arms mystical words
uttered in underwater caves
between the clenched teeth
of stalagmite salamanders
and the stalactite eyes of the universe,
where fire mountain meets black hole
and permafrost seeps into your core,
making you part of a landscape
unmapped, unmoored, unshared
save for the fragment you manage to break off and carry out
hidden and warmed under your tongue.