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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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
diseased.

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

 

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

what do we name the space between two goodbyes?

did anyone even hear you open the door?

i love the click-quiet fact that you never left,
a halted breath, non-existently still
in the choice to neither stay nor go

(but to be alive is in the dance,
a sacred risk of movement
)

you want to remain to me this miraculous
transcendence of death
(i can tell you do
because i stopped waiting
for the sorrow to come/

and air split
skirts around you,
stuck in the back of my throat,
an overdressed
under expressed farewell)

i am alive. you are
swallowed by light, pale, sculpted
beautifully still
we stare,

caught
in the liminal,
between a move forward and
a step back.

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

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.

-Stevie

I don’t (a breakout series)

i don’t
have any advice, i’m still

glued to the sight of my beauty
arrested in the wind, a shaky brown
desperate

for escape from a hungry nature (
I’m sure it doesn’t want to be seen like this
)

i’ve never sensed simplicity
to be so complex, or had a thing
as dense

be so elusive as to be caught by a passing
breeze, but never
an eye

that wanders, never
legs

that search, and I’m lost
at this sudden need
to look

before it turns to look back.

– Stevie