Retrospect

In Vain, My Love

In vain you swear,
my love;
where do you drop
your earnest promises
and why?

For even without the oath
I’d believe your pain:
that the moon’s dazed light
does not let you sleep,
that your hushed voice
only knows my name,
that without desire
there’s nothing the world
has to give

You repeat the words
in vain, my love –
I know,
you are pulled towards
and away from me,
under the dazed light.
My mouth
will never receive
my hushed name
from yours,
we have strained out
the desire,
and left the world empty.

(Translated into English from Paruyr Sevak’s original Armenian)

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Retrospect

Meridian

Seek me out:
creeping through your clouds
like the dark moon;
you find me
by clenching the fat
of my pale limbs, my eyes
glimmering,
stars in a vernal pool.

My rough tongue:
paper-dry, drinks up the blood
from your shoulder;
you pull me closer,
draw me into milk and honey,
your lips butter
on warm silk
as I tear, I yield.

Baring my belly:
reminded of my rawness,
my fury tamed;
and you suck up the fruit,
peaches and pears,
through the fire and the pain,
leave the juice dripping
in my mouth.

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Retrospect

As Above So Below

you bid me enter
a clean temple,
where
the new stones gleam
bloodless;
I wait for the death
while garlands
are tossed to my feet.

and the wine
offends me, the sourness
filling the air in a rush
of ghostly promise,
but I follow
through the walkways,
celebrating
without the sacrifice.

I am uneasy
without the challenge
of surrender,
my body half-asleep in its
dark circadian rhythm
as you obey the Sun,
and I learn
to obey you

(I think
we surprised each other:
my clothes
falling away not to marble but
a hot stream,
mouth
falling open; not a shriek but
a whisper,
me
falling
into step
with the hunter.)

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Retrospect

Oceans Do Not Ask Permission

there is an ocean
opening
between my ribs,

the whisper of
arrival drumming
my heart

I have let the ocean
open
inside me,

&

flowers
bloom through the pores
of my skin.

your touch is magma
to my freshwater
veins

gladly
I surrender my well
to the current

you a memory
pressed
to the earth

fire crackling through
the vertebrae,
hiss, smoke, laughter

my ocean admits you
and
crests

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Retrospect

For You

I want to break myself open for you,
your arms sick with love,
curate my terror and display
it to you
safely
behind a glass case

me on the inside crushed together,
post-car-crash, pre-funeral
I want
to mangle myself for you,
slam my name
into the ground

for you

gods don’t do this. friends don’t do this,
shying away
from stability to launch
my own personal
anti-battle.

I want to rip
myself off the pedestal
for you,
I want to help you
burn me off your too-pure skin,

(bury me
in a graveyard
on another planet)

I’ve never loved anyone
more than
I hate myself

for you

(bury me)

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Retrospect

When Loving Death / When Loving Life

we hold onto
our new loves
while the trees give their breath
to the wind.
while the world around us sighs,
lets go of life,
we hold on,
we cling,
feel the pain of ending
blooming in our growing love.
we mourn the green,
anoint ourselves in amber sap
kindling our lonely fire,
thriving
in the heat.

but in the spring,
the world around us wakes
and the air traps
the growing freshness
and the new buds,
bumping against each other
as butterflies,
as the flowers in the rain.
love is boundless
when the world is young,
and yet
the promise of winter
finds the bed
empty
when the hearth is cold.

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Portraits, Retrospect

Soapstone & Mortar

We’ve been born again
into a lime-green December;
my oracle soul
vows in riddles
to the suburban monarchy.

I cheat.

The lie rises like the mist
in a city you call mine,
but
I know the darkness between your teeth
better than the cracks in the pavement
outside my home.

I have traded my thief’s smile
for wolf-fangs and a mouth
that sets fire with the cold.

You catch me in the corner,
failing to live,
clutching a beer with my octave-and-ones.
I only survive,
off the flavoured smoke,
the heady scent of lavender
masking the offal
and the grit.

You hold me.

. . . me?
I am soapstone and mortar.
me?
my fingers fast
in my soft hair,
fists
just hard enough to tear paper.

(me?)

It is hard, you know,
planning out the pulp in chains,
stockings in your lap. It is hard,
my dreamily possessive hands
slow in your rough hair,
my tongue swelling;
bloom.

It is hard,
and I am soft,
while you are stronger still:
when the heart is strong
the hands are weak,
and flutter against the time.

I take the coward’s way out,
framed in chocolate-lavender,
mild as May and far less temperate,
tracing through the rooftops
of the city you will take,
me,
slipping out the back door
like a rat.

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Retrospect

Not The Time

looking forward
flying back, he meets your
wild-eyed gaze across
the crowded circuits
through
the agony of electricity.
I
lose you

spinning hourglass
and quantum realms,
magnetic waves, she loses
him.
dreary infantrymen and
pyramids,
she loses you,
loses you like the clouds
spinning galaxies in the midst
of zero,
loses you in the horizon,
leaves your trail
in a foggy breath,
somewhere,
half-between the mist and sky

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