Contributors * more photos to appear soon

Contributors * more photos to appear soon
Christy Namee Eriksen, kim thompson, Jon Schill

Sunday, July 27, 2014

She says that these skeletons, were reanimated corpses, wrapped together in  bloody bandages, that these were living, breathing, bloodthirsty, sharp clawed big teeth, make you want to run for your life, monsters
With a whisper she claimed that I was the only one that didn't scare her
We walked across the bridge, looking down at the highway, pointed out to where the sun hugs the earth and promised that with nothing more then the clothes on our backs, the change in our pockets, our hands locked together, and a full tank of gas, we'd write our own book
I still sit on that same lawn, where we use to grab ice cream, she always got strawberry, because it always reminded her of how my cheeks would light up when she was close to me
I open and close my closet door while I'm inside hoping that I'll somehow open up to be in her room
I don't look at the highway anymore, these concrete veins of mine can no longer be filled with this pink berry bloodstream
Our love was a nightmare, but it was the only thing I thought about while dreaming

We hold hands and I can’t help but to say
“Is it weird that this feels normal?”
Through summers
we laugh and smile, between my broken R’s and her refurbished metallic shining grin we thought we were invincible
Her locket she called her heart was almost as tight as our fingers were
entwined with each others as if we were making a beautiful concerto with sign language
our rhythm were our hearts beating faster than the sun when I looked at her slightly slanted sweetened eyes
 the notes were the syllables we tapped out of our fingers whenever we gave little kid back rubs to each other,
you were the conductor and I was your score and together we made everyone smile in awe at how cute of a couple we could be at such a young age, thinking we knew what these butterflies in our stomachs were
Sunny days were replaced with cold nights
we grew
I didn’t want to but I knew I had to
You came back one day with amazing news
I just wish I was a part of it
It was going to be difficult, scary even, and we both knew it
I just never confronted it
I blinked and life changed instantly
One call gave so much meaning, but this was like fingers snapping
Locks rusting
music burning
teeth breaking
a genocide of monarchs
I sit in a pew
there's no casket, just an empty space of room
I wish you were here
our hands hugging
“This isn't weird.”

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Here are two poems about a relationship falling apart

As a pair, I call them "Shut Up, Idiot; No One Cares About Your Shitty Break-up Poems." 

1. (Embrace)

She likes it best when he 
holds her tight, sleeping, 
holds her to him like
she’s a handle in a storm, a
tree rooted in soil and history. 
She likes it best when he 
breathes her in, inhales
her scent and murmurs
prayers spoken in tongues of slumber,
holds her close again. 
Rain plays rhythmic on the window pane only sometimes,
she wonders what he dreams about. 
He hides it best when he
sleeps, mind at rest, words 
form and he smiles, thinking: 
“I’ll squeeze the life from you.
I’ll squeeze the life from you and eat it.” 

2. (Embraced)

She likes to kiss him right away,

right when he picks her up
as an I love you greeting
but also, moreso, when he picks her up he’s sure to be sober.
Ever since that scare two summers ago,
he’s sure to be sober when he picks her up
and she misses, now, the taste of him
not tainted by liquor. 
Holds him close, tries to squeeze what she fell in love with to the surface,
cling to whatever is left,
she kisses him again
“remember this feeling now. you have to.” 
He kisses back this time
out of boredom or manners. 

Silence plays third wheel at dinner now,
but knows to leave when the party really gets started, 
when empty words begin to flow and every statement is a toast
to youthful idealism deferred but not deflated yet
to the circular “remember whens” that relate back to relate back to
this same thing here, tonight,
to the places they thought they would be tonight but aren’t
to how, deep down, no one is really happy
to let’s trade one more night together for fleeting moments of we almost could
to staving off silence for a few more hours until morning.

They don’t hold each other close anymore, in sleep.
She likes to think this is a sign of contentment.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Travel Journal (draft)

I don’t like traveling.
Foreign domestic eyes twitch when it occurs
again that I’m always going to look like a tourist,
that maybe I should just embrace it and wear a fanny-pack
everywhere, pause to photograph the
odd numbering on busses I ride every day.
At my destination,
realize I’ve brought along more than I meant to pack,
things I didn’t even know I owned.
Beneath a pair of shower shoes is a pervasive sense of longing,
my plastic vitamin bottle holds staccato bursts of birthing pains,
folded into my sweater is a tongue that will not fold
to pronounce the name no longer on my luggage tag,
and by my toothbrush is a growing sense of doubt that that was even my name to begin with.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Too many locks for one door

They said my hands were fire and I didn’t know what they meant, that is until I made your heart my home and you got burned. Now you have a constant numb washing over you and a house of ashes for rent. They said my eyes were torture because they screamed for help and drew in lost souls, and kept prisoners shivering and shaking and trembling in fear, and because they didn’t know my chest had become desolate with no heart to hold. She said my lips burned kisses into welts meant to be left on the necks of women, but her hands were always wrapped around the necks of wine and whiskey bottles and even a few men, so I payed her no attention. He, her brother, said my lips were nothing more than tools to seduce women into lovers, claiming I never loved her, but he knew not me nor her so how could he claim to really love her? At her funeral I sang a song and they said my voice burned like her whiskey down the backs of their throats, and they couldn’t hold back the tears after hearing bittersweet notes sang about a woman who fell victim to a man who created fires starting with his pen hitting his paper as he wrote. I won’t hold it against them though, they didn’t know. I put on my necklace and my shades, and I almost never smile anymore because at least now I know.

$3,780 Is Priceless

"But that is exactly why the Chin case continues to haunt Asian Americans. It is archetypal. I am less anxious about the threat from the Ku Klux Klan and skinheads than I am the possibility that an ordinary guy across the bar, with economic unease and too much booze, turn outs to be savage enough for violence." "The Case Against Vincent Chin," Frank H. Wu

Dear Vince,
I whisper, “rest in peace” to you every year but I know you’re not;
I know you’re here, with me—a whisper’s length away;
I can feel you in my bones, resonating, tarnishing golden skin,
we both decay: you decompose while I fall apart every time I hear your story.
Manhood defined only my slaughter, bought off on bad credit—
Ron Ebens says he lives paycheck to paycheck now, off of social security I pay into from fitting in.
Begs the question why I pay for his life, why you paid with yours,
why we all pay for the murderer who thought you were the Japanese threat to livelihood,
thought you were looking at him funny,
thought you were returning his abuse just a little too much,
thought you didn’t bleed red or fear God like he did,
thought you were anything but
just Vince.
I bought a baseball bat today
to keep in my car so the next time I get called “chink” in traffic,
blamed for Pearl Harbor by some ironic hipster,
or just side-eyed from different eyes that “think I am,”
we can bypass the teaching moment;
sputter hurt against hurt
against out of work auto workers shape-shifted to
thick framed glasses with bachelor’s degrees and too much time,
shape-shifted to color blindness negating history
shape-shifted to badge excuses and stolen ground stood
shape-shifted to maybe just this once, I can hit back for us and win,
maybe just this once, I’m not all of us
maybe just this once, we’ll sleep tonight.
They’ll hose my guts out of the gutter, call it “manslaughter,”
we’ll call it a lullaby, Vince,
you and me,
we’ll call it a lullaby.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

[title redacted]

Once a year, No Last Name Given thinks about setting an extra place at her small table;
even in the echoing closeness of her studio off Park, the extra place setting she never follows through on,
never followed through on, 
rings alternate histories and any future away from that studio off Park. 
Sirens in the night don’t wake her anymore like memories of two cries wake her,
hands shaking from poor decisions from circumstance and not enough heat this winter aren’t what keeps her from writing him a letter.
A tasteless microwave meal, eaten alone to the hum of pipes and muffled conversation;
really this day is no different than yesterday. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Really Rough Draft #573

Poem for M. 

And it’s not like we ever met, even in passing,
maybe you’d have annoyed the shit out of me
maybe you were rude to servers,
maybe you only saw the world revolving only around you,
didn’t even view yourself as Asian, really,
but, you, 
you were my sister, 
with stories intertwined that spoke to one another, 
begun with goodbyes, ended alone
(at least for you), alone and searching. 
Laying there, bleeding, I hope you felt no regret, 
felt any peace in passing;
that we were all sent here for something better and got it--
not bleeding out, alone, in a car.
No, we were sent here to--
it’s not like we ever met but
just in passing, I’d have stopped to listen to your last words,
made up a prayer or a song
kept tempo by your heartbeat but this one wouldn’t end. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Puppy Love

NaPoWriMo Draft, Lightly Revised:
"Puppy Love"

It’s in the news again, always a few articles down,
Another kid, another adopted kid neglected to death—
This time, chained like a dog, starved for months.
If this kid had been bullied by other kids, chosen to take his own life,
mouths would foam for quantifiable laws to protect the innocent
and if this kid had gotten shot at school, there would be uproar over gun control,
more frenzied coverage of our collective failings weighed against collective blame
but this kid’s bullies were his protectors and
the only arms dealer today is the one that dealt me, dealt my brother:
divergent testaments to how good things can be, sometimes.
Across an ocean, someone feels a familiar sense of loss but can’t say why.
A small golden hand is just visible in the half-zipped black bag.