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.


try to talk about it

This line was forced.
This line, I took through the eyes.
This line, the collected dark patches of 2015, yearns to be recalled.
This line is the relationship that led the tip of my pinky toe over the edge of a ledge.
This line lullabied and leashed my thumb, yanked me back.
This line sobbed,
“I’m sorry I almost lost you.
I’m sorry I almost lost you.
I’m sorry I almost lost you.”
This line almost lost me.

This line is made of tiny repeated mistakes, stuck close together.
This line is dressed in it’s Sunday best shame.
This line is a lying hypocrite and gets saved, anyhow.
This line has no real reason to do any better.

This line tried to swallow itself into non-existence.
This line almost liberated the entirety of its blood for the sake of another’s ascension.
This line is not a martyr.

This line kissed a woman and birthed itself.
This line is phallic and sapphic.
This line wants to forget.
This line wants to forget.
This line only knows how to be forgotten.

This line has sex.
This line can’t have sex.
This line can’t have sex.
This line can’t have sex.
This line can’t have sex.
This line wants to know what this line will be.

Once fast, now with fear of fornication,
this line only knows how to be forgotten.
This line was forced.

even when i didn’t ask, they did it for me

What do we do after we march?”

rub rubble from their eyes, (that’s
actually skin, bombed-blasted empty to seek
salvation beneath 6-year old lids.

actually, a thinly cracked, reddened goodbye
from a mother’s splintered throat,

actually the blackening power of a knuckle
to temple, in temple, tempted to sin by bared skin

actually, hope, chipped off by the slammed
cover of Pandora’s box)

how did humans access
what she never dared let escape?

Hope was an undocumented entity
caught in a box pumped with anti-psychotics,
satiated to stillness by the rhythm of their own tears

hope was not what crawled
out from the base of my spine,
my feet scraped across the veiled-
with-forgetfulness karmic time-warp
begotten by the multifaceted figure
of genocide. lungs raw, i know i’ve
been here before, before i died a man,
arrow to the left lung, before i died a woman,
brown Mary ravaged to rubble to lend passage to
lighter-skinned generations and migrants,
before i died as a boy

who got English crammed into his teeth
until his gums bled and he was called

I am
“woke”, eyes bloodshot and
begs to the sky for mercy (where
are the children?) in the same
tissue-shattering language, i call
for freedom with sounds pregnant
with century long justifications
for murder, gums fully bled.

Still, the crowd behind me echoes.
Still, there are chants and repeats.
Still, they see me not dis-eased.

-Stevie Ambroise


the end of a thing unfinished

where does this poem go?
jagged unalliterated edge of phrases
with no rhythm/ forces tongues
into offbeat dancers, hollerers
of visual falsehoods from poetry
beneath overly sharpened pencils,
unfinished as potential pregnancy/ uterine
wall without a sperm cell
to house burst into a cave of
cramped forgetfulness and choice.

-Stevie Ambroise

*i literally have no idea what this piece is about.
maybe it’s about myself. i have no idea where i or
this piece is going.

poker chip

pushed peace towards you
like a poker chip,
counted the heart flutters between
your left brows liftoff
from baseline to peak, risk-
assessing my mouth-
opened gamble

then you, touching the chip, laughed
my crossed legs onto the ground,
too knocked by the hard shove of your
own amusement
to see my stand.

“that all you have left
to offer?”

but i had already taken myself,
and walked away.

-Stevie Ambroise

sheer tights

she wrote a song/
about death, death was sheer tights/
decorated with tears she pulled/
to birth holes on the sides/
of her calves. tights/
she still wore, wore, wore/
downtown to spin around in,/
among stares/




songs about death.
to the harmony of the incessant
ringing in her ears,
the never-ending melody
that is the after-echo
of goodbyes.

-Stevie Ambroise

All Because I Thought You Looked Like Wisdom

You’re the latest love to turn me to a poem,
after time and trauma stoppered Understanding

too weak to lift rhythm
from the the waving hands of the word
“waist” (or was it waste), which
type of time tripped me up and caught me

like a baby, shrunken too small
by rebirth to comprehend prison
for the sake of precaution, as I watch words,
mobile, fall from the ceiling before I sleep?

they never land on me
i never taste them

for when I dream I chase
because I am a grown man
who is an elderly woman
who feels like a teenager

and you are a pickup
(or a dump) trucking along

and my heart is a filling moon-sliver of a
fingernail, drawing blood from bumper,
destined to never rip, even
as the force and direction of your speed
and the gravelly inertia of your “no”,
leaves me to flap in the wind,
skinned raw swaddled in tears

all because I thought you looked like wisdom.