kireji*: sometimes used as a cutting tool

index finger glides
over large desk, cool to touch
city lake in view

sweet sources soured
numbers jump, fill pocket lines
smiles spot the air

body, slow submerged
embraced well in waters, clear
floats on matter, light

rushing beige column
a spigot regurgitates
splish splash, patted hands

moistened mother’s lids
daughter, barked from water source
lips roughened in fear

pearl drops down hair strands
red scalp rawed, frantic rubbing
neglect scratched on skin

two-hour thumb stuffed ears
baby suckles cracked nipples
beneath a lolled head

whitened, clammy skin
daughter’s hand touch racing chills
largening chocolate stain

steady silence hangs
time-barred child’s sudden screams
fall o’er boiling pot

lead water sits on
politician’s twitching tongue
bulged blue with despair

body, slow submerged,
embraced well in grounds dug deep,
sink in matter, dark

heads bob, dot the sky
numbers jump, fill sidewalk lines
air studded with teeth

city lake in view
beyond large desk, cool to touch,
condemnation hides

*kireji is a part of a haiku that cuts two fragments. Flint is a fragment of minerals that was used as a cutting tool. This is a haiku of haikus. 3 stanzas/7 stanza/3 stanzas.

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symbiosis

blue butterflies land on my chest

there had been a hiatus, a break/
newly made log rot where insects
searched for and found lodging. some-
times what begets a crack in the skin/
(or the heart)/ begets refuge for another being.

stop time,
blood flow and CO2

blue butterflies land on my chest

you can do what needs to be accomplished
and still sustain scarring: this is the spiritual war,
one that breathes amongst other warriors,
blue butterflies land on my chest
where the blood-letting is a soft wind that
sways branches,
blue butterflies land on my chest
where the blood-letting is sand grabbed by
a timid wave’s crest, passively submerged,
blue butterflies land on my chest
where the blood-letting is dust motes caught
unaware in a column of light, exposed
blue butterflies land on my chest
where the blood-letting is sun-wheeled burns/
on sensitive shoulders
everything is necessary.

blue butterflies land on my chest,
symbiosis and sufferance

-Stevie Ambroise

The Unheard Pain You Know

you know you didn’t birth the yolk
of growth to a flower’s bloom, and
you can’t wind-shake the thought
of the plagiarization of scars from your skin

this wound is copyrighted, but the world
named me as velvet-tongued martyr

these wind-whispers that touch
but cannot be have no interest to
the bristle-tongued burrowers beneath
rain they summon again and again
to create reasons for alliteration chains
to be swung, then hooked into a groove
for easy climbs and sudden drops.

these rugged scabs are not your land-
scapes, please leave me dry

yet, lasers of enlightenment swept onto dark
holes -irises- to stimulate a mass ejaculation
of breath at the nonconceptual,
the after sound of a gasp, a privileged disbelief

i hope you get lost in the dust
particles’ evanescence

as you kneel
at my healing,
deciphering
what you think as ancient wisdom

i pray this poem implodes.
i pray you get buried
where the words
never know
to find you.

-Stephanie Ambroise

“I don’t know”

I know the truth, on the hazy summer days
when heat squeezes the odour out of breeze
caught flowers, sweaty inner thighs, and chlorine pools.
I know the truth of the sky in mid-turn, mid-hack
in a cloudless space, dazed by the shimmer
of sunlight that dresses it blue even if it’s
colorblind and won’t see it, I know

the truth when brownish-red popsicle syrup drips
onto a favorite white shirt, and the young girl
catches a wagged finger from the corner of her
eye, and raises the corner of her lips in glee, because
symbols can sometimes happen in pieces.
Bad, don’t, you should have known better,
look what you’ve done now, and the pleasure
of a life lived up to expectations,
I.
know.
The.
Truth.

The wagged tail of a dog up and down, off beat
with the tennis ball, and the desire to catch it sonically,
woof woof woof, the comfortable swoof of the
pads of feet pushed off concrete and the clap
of baby hands whose fingers tasted green felt last,
caught in her own wave of giggles, certain it can ride
it uninjured to a comfortable adult livelihood.
I know the truth.

The echoed screech of pain as bullets penetrate brown skin, off
key to the abrupt baritone of gunshots, sonically measured to
match the abrupt stop of a heart. I know the truth of green bills
corners lifted in glee, given to colorblind white murderers
with the pleasure of a life lived up to expectations. I
know the truth of a pointless chase, of justice ripped from
the bloody teeth of brown bodies hungry for a simple taste,
always told to drop it. The truth of a summer sun-pushed scent
of death from body like the odour of dying grass, a soundless
avatar of a scream, and responsible onlookers who fail to gather
I.
know.
The.
Truth.

Of a collected gathering of grief, hard at work to stand unshaken
in a crowd ringed by chaos, yet always named as such.

-Stephanie Ambroise

earthquake

gas masks, metal rods cowered
underneath the pressure of overabundant
friction. my brother left old skin
behind, in the rubble.

the tremor of neurons, or hands, or lands
is cause for alarm (which is a tremor of neurons),
(which is the reverberation of slammed gates)
(which is the shiver of throat borne from a white, chalky epicenter)
(which is a shaky aorta the doesn’t affect him none)
(which is a shriek burst from quivering chords)

were there any casualties? Was anyone
stood beneath the frame of this felled house?
Even now, echoes escape esophagus
in the dark of night to meet a cold door
with slits that can do naught but disregard him.

no one bothers about the casualty that’s the disaster
hearts don’t reply “yes” when twitchy fingers knock
the blood from the wound that speaks does not get wiped
away. you’re simply left a statistic, with a name

and alone at night, the soundless crunch of toss
and turns, a body begging a bed for comfort.

-Stephanie Ambroise

Waiting for Prince

after-rain prism puddles to pull Prince
from, and my girlfriend used to call me
worthless. this bruja, i know!
this word-
smith who punched out teeth to make
keys, who burned vagina
to keyholes

in front of my house is something distinct,
but i don’t remember it. houses are
built onto conveyor belts built into my amygdala,
red flashes of rage and there’s a new front door
1295, 123, 5, 57, 104-70, 102, 58

flip them, and i’ll tell you my fortune (in bed)
“good things come to those who wait”
“forget who you were, embrace who you will become”
“Love”,

i made a misstep, and dropped the white slip
from my hands, softened by the baby blue
words that are actually clouds our minds fix
into something safer to look at, no one wants rain
in the time of witches
, words are spells
that break bones, soften stool before its time,
turns Princes to frogs, gives you something to hope
for

i used to be decrepit, used to need a cane
(the sugar one white people know little about)
to suck on so my legs wouldn’t wobble and i’d
be left to fall onto the tar terrible truth
that a relationship with mother is a lie,
is green, is soft baby blue under the harsh yellow
light of truth: truth is

i am a lesbian woman who once wore
a conservative Christian as a necklace
and sweater, necklace last. see, even then
i would have died by the pussy!

i wore her, sucked her, grew as her biggest shame
i am Lying Leech Lesbian in an orange cape
my father made for me, whose father made for him,
whose father made for him, whose master raped
into his grandmother’s skin.

i once fell asleep lost in count of sugar
groups, into DNA, into trauma
and woke up thirsty and diabetic. it was 3am
and raining, and the last thing i remembered
was me and attempts to spell myself,
“i am a gift, i am a gift, i am a gift”

where’s
Prince?

-Stephanie Ambroise