Human Racing

Surviving is a verb
Living is too
Breathing, smelling, touching
Words that imply movement
I’ve not stopped moving
Since yesterday
Whenever that was.

Wish I could stop time
The rat race

Memento mori, Latin
‘Remember you will die’
Keep that hubris in check
We’re all born to die
A monied death
If you didn’t buy it,
you’re the product.

Can’t stop, won’t stop
We don’t even know how to stop
Stop the ride – the human race –
Please exit through the gift shop.


You actually have Prince on vinyl
Must be a sign of the times
His voice washes over me
Moaning and groaning in my ear
Saunter over the rainbow bridge
I’m not there yet
Your lips are cold
Vestiges of Merlot
Electric connection
Sensations I didn’t know
I could possess
Wearing diamonds and pearls
Puzzle pieces in the dark
Purple rain trickles down the window
I move, you move
Primal instincts
Collective moments on pause
Tongue level on expert
Make me a controversy
You don’t deserve me
But I deserve you
Volcano of my core
Exacerbated by your machinations
Leave me, like they all do
Forget me, I want you too
You can tell me otherwise
Around the world in a day.

Distant, echoes of my heart unbreak

March was a blur to me. I lucked out and got 2 weeks off. 1 was spring break, so that was a given. In lieu of class meeting the week after, we had one-on-one meetings with my workshop teacher. I managed to swing it so that I went to the meeting, and then attended a poetry Q&A and reading with Louise Glück, my spirit animal. But it was also a random little Easter break, so my poetry class ended up not meeting again. The last week in March, I had 1 class meeting and then it was AWP.

I was afraid of traffic kicking my ass so before the one-on-one meeting, I used my annual pass for the Walt Disney Family Museum and watched the Parent Trap. I love that place. I love that movie. That is all.

Louise Glück has numerous accolades to her name, I would run out of space if I listed them all. She was so cool. I had a question I was going to ask her but someone else asked it before me. Isn’t that always how it is? She read “Mock Orange” from her “Wild Iris” book at the reading and that was probably one of my favorite poems of hers. I bought her anthology, which I haven’t gotten around to start reading yet, but I will!
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Page 337

In response to Lâm Thị Mỹ Dạ’s Bomb Crater Sky.

Dad served two tours in the war,
a media circus of Ohio hippies and escapes from Saigon via helicopter
Lit by the fireworks on the nightly news,
gilded in the blood of the conscripts,
photographed by Leica.

Building roads as a Seabee,
cleaning the mud caked on his boots with gasoline
The kids around the airfield would bring active landmines
Held tight like teddy bears to their chests
Goofy grins on their toothless mouths
Knowing the GIs would give them chocolate

Your anxious, wakeful sky sends shivers down my spine
My footfalls want to echo your restraint,
Tuned to a radio station only we can hear

Dad’s diabetes eats away at his vision,
Takes away his license to live
Ate said the diabetes was aggravated by his exposure to Agent Orange
‘Cause he served under the man who first deployed it.

I love the smell of napalm in the morning,
A day you will never see,
Inside your earthen crater.

For My Number One Son, Who Obeys Me

I disavowed the existence
of your sister
To harden your hearts.
A lasso of truth
Imprisons poison thoughts
Like her mother
Leave them to weep alone

You were released
from my loins
Into a world that despises
the mere implication
of her presence
I freed you, my dearest boy
To wear the shield of
My clandestine war

They will love you
Because you’re a man
They will not question
A thing you say
Even when you inquire
If the thing is real or not.

Don’t bring home
– a black woman
– a black man
– a white woman
– a red man
Don’t marry at all
Give me grandchildren
Take care of me
When my wrinkles outnumber my age
I’ll remember you in Heaven
When you do.

To My Daughter, Who Will Not Be Born

Feeling inspired. 

I admire your innocence
I was like you
once upon a time
An unforgiving galaxy
Noli me tangere
Allow me to apologize

Vanguard of an unwritten tale
Cradling your sweet face
Dense fog off the Bay
Perhaps I put too much faith

In you, in me
The bittersweet reality
Is the legacy I leave
To flow through your veins
Marching off a cliff
Like silly little lemmings

I fear the world
which you will be borne
To carry my scars
Worn like medals
On dress whites
Duck pants
Jaunty cap

A chance relinquished
One in a million
Unexperienced memories
A single shard of regret

That must make you
The last one inflicted
Within my glacial heart.