they stop and fight. just along the point. the sidewalk. about her side of the bed. tonight. and i remember. just enough. through the foreign tongue. the cold. the porch dark lamp. to understand when she says that the dog chewed up the sheets. tonight. and i'm not doing this anymore. but there i sit. and stare. under the accusing glance of an unknown wattage bulb and. she pretends. that she did not hear them as they walk. imagines that they were me and you. us. them. then. in spanish. just enough to guild the page. nobody move. she says to the screens. the light. if i had a camera. for this. fuck. she thinks. nobody move.

this is perfect.

manky toothbrush

no one was trying to hide the fact that i was pregnant

i've taken to buying soft packet cigarettes and writing love letters on aluminum foil like it was 1987, again.

no. and i swear i read the book. prowling these midnight patches. of snow. the strange. the light. held it in my hand like colossal criminals. crouched into the pocket the bathroom door makes between the word and the shelves. how can it be still plastic wrapped. unopened. the cosmos. the ecosystem. the art. of.the.fucking.american.poem. take you out. put me in. shove my fingers down your neck and spine. to search the common courtesies of your one hundred and fifty nine memories. your pages. like spies. barthes. baldwin. secrettipstobaketheperfectpie. stop. the fingers. wind. how many years did i hold onto these socks. holes in the heels. the sockets. unwearable. unwearable. unswearable. last night i just put them on over another pair. how many years. how stupid. to wear. the stop. baldwin. bloom. bone deep. in landscape. blew. there. just there. on the shelf. in the ache between shoulders and blades. swear. search. cling. form. words. of deep bone landscapes.

knows she does not like:

mini cherry-mash
boxed (red) wine and
marshmallow fluff

knows she does like:

eating off your plate
shiny things
pontiki(s) and

asia dreams of late night animated conversations. and cheese. she's not looking for bad-dream conduits after eight pm. or the way the phone blinks numb when she knows where you've gone. to bed. but she still can't stop. the provolone. the tone. pushing her persuaded into fingering the fridge. the late night voice of your head in her head. the thing about dreams and zip-topped packages. of arms. and things stayed and pulled. late nights. no. no, asia dreams of red-aspirin tablets tired and dropped into the fridge. of bitter tongues. and all these wet. dark. forgiving. spaces. that might be left for love.

asia dreams of paper boats. and names. stalks the zero streets with the taste of your name in her mouth. proximity creeps in the curves of her thighs. sneaks the sound and the sense to the glint of the ground under feet. where life reduces itself to logic. if then. textbook. where you swallowed the memory of the burnt tree, and she gave it away to someone who wouldn't want it just to bring it all back to even. she knows you're a big fan of equations. asia dreams of paper boats. and fire. dances like locusts to invisible castanets. in drifts. and says the name of your name on her no-name over and over again until her you and you her become named. asia dreams of snow. and fire. on paper boats. sailing.

asia dreams of foreign import bootlegs and guns. sharks' teeth and the

she know s that real people. reel. go on becoming and that life isn't
strictly about pixelations
like hair styles
over lines
but the way life moves
the geography of meaning

oh now that's good
s something we all regret the point and shoot of our lives
to fill picture books with
that won't hold the still that we worked out 10 years later
onto sticky pages
to ruin the print
but not the memory of the fumes
that made it all
make sense inside your

is currently reading an article called "New Millennium Folding." doing this makes her incredibly happy. and she keeps saying ooooo, i like that. every so often into the stillness of her apartment. where she sits with stacks of clean white paper. just purchased. the thousands of sheets waiting to be cut and creased make imogen's fingers ache. mmmmm, her throat goes. she is pressed to please.

dear unknown-named boy sitting next to me at work.

i am currently insanely coveting your caffeinated beverage. and if i were a betting man. (and also a cannibal.) i'd be positive that if i were you. i'd run.

I call his cellular phone. Wait for the part where he says his name. He tells me to 'go ahead and leave a message.' I wait. Whisper in my scared girl voice. i can hear the dead pumpkin's heart beating. it goes whoosh. gush. and pulse pulse. the way bad cds do in the drive. i'm afraid of the kitchen. come home soon. i need your fingers in my ears.

nice dress , he says
I say, huh?
i’ve been chasing those polka-dots for a block and a half, he says
i say, oh?

the summer dress
my pig-tails
this lollipop

what flavor is that? he asks, stupidly matching his own steps to mine down the street past the stadium and heading toward the overpass that will take me home.
i pull the sucker out of my mouth; make a sound with my lips, and say plainly, flatly, orange.

sun makes people stupid

the ball of sugar sweet candy screams bright under the sun
it’s the same color as my hair

no it isn’t, he smiles, wryly, shaking his head.

he thinks i’m flirting. i’m not.

why is your mouth blue then?

i’ve never taken out my head phones: if i tell you will you go away?

he laughs and it sounds like that background noise on animal shows when they’re in the midst of way too many monkeys closed behind too many glass partitions.

i say, because i’m an alien?

why did you say it was orange?

and i’ve no idea why i’ve said what i have, instead i’m thinking about the word wildfire and all the stupid things i’ve ever done in my life. i think about the way i'm in love with the curves of my calves. i wonder if i’m combustible and if i’m only one match short of proving the point.

i say, orange is the color of encouragement and the stimulation of knowledge. it’s the color of the brave. it’s the sun. power. life.

no mention of destruction.

where are you rushing off to? he asks inappropriately as a stranger encroaching on my solitary walk after a long day.
i say, my boyfriend is waiting for me at home.

it’s not really a lie. not one i’ll ever feel guilty over.

we step still and i say, raspberry?
but why did you say it was orange?
i pause and take the hard end out of my mouth, hold it out to him and say, i was hoping the contradiction would make you go away.

and he does.

I used to shout at the ocean with words on paper. Lines of boxy letters trying to map out the distance between then and then. In the spaces of time that exist only between the variant forms of salt. I'd sit for hours perched on top of a stone retaining wall watching the tide. Contemplate everything. I wanted to rip down all the walls. Wrench every door from the hinges. Figure out what was behind it all. Like the pink and red fleshy works under this fine delicate layer of skin. Instead, I threw polished stones into the water. Practiced writing in squared off capital letters like comics. And dreamed about fire. I smoked cigarettes and drank coffee. Sure that if I cried I might throw off the balance of the universe. Mostly I tried never to make sound. Only the faint scratch tap rubbing ink onto the wide expanses of notebooks. The more I wrote the more I knew I didn't know anything. Except that I couldn't stop the pressure behind my eyes or the burning ache in my shoulders. So I kept spilling guts. Looking for something. Some day I would burn all those words into oblivion. Knowing that I'd lost my sights. The ocean was the edge that stopped me from running.

i'd call just to tell you that i love you, but i've forgotten how to make words find your ears.

instead, i'd say into his answerphone: i'm being attacked by gigantic spiders and throwing up every half hour, or so. reading really bad lesbian pornography. let's go get some coffees and fuck. i need your fingers in my eyes. and some groceries.

there's that thing, she says, that thing that makes bats fly sideways and that makes train whistles blow late into the night. things that make the world seem less like swimming through a constant stream of turpentine and the memory of shark's fins against toe nails. i've spent the night with a butterfly in the stomach of a great white making daisy chains. tapping out songs on soft insides of a belly wall. this won't be the last time i outline the shape of your face with fire against the side of an abandoned building. or scream your name from the 9th street bridge. to the tune of the trains running on rails and the flash of the flame when it's hot. that thing, she says, slowly audible like the am radio station in your adolescent parent's car, something about a horse with no name, that thing. she wants to scream. above the wheels against iron and the infinite abyss. but even if she scrambled and fell. that thing. that thing. would around your ears soundless fall. to crack and strain like a voice full up on sickness. you couldn't ever see.

because she said she was nothing or that it might just be better to be nothing but it isn't the truth it's like the old punctuation trick like the thing i wrote awhile back about being able to hear my neighbors having sex in their shower no it isn't about sex it's about something else but i'm too tired to figure out the point to grab hold of both ends of the narrative string and push or tie them into a neat knot and leave the mess for you to figure out woman without her man is nothing like she said before me from the mouth of a man writing for a woman played by a man pretending to be a woman i saw her in cream silk pajamas i'm adding the punctuation now shoving it in maybe where it doesn't belong i don't care sometimes are you listening?

For this to work, I say, you're going to have to be very quiet. But nothing ever really stops. Not the voices. Not the turning of the universe. The Fibonacci sequence rolling like ancient vowels. Like palms at the bends of knees. Not leaves. And if I stood up right this minute and screamed. Wrote you that letter I've been meaning to send in blood and bones about the way life goes funny sometimes. About dying young. When I was little the whole world got pushed into one small dark room. Let me out. I'd like to leave now. These nightmare moments when I'm shaking and you're shaking me awake. No. No. Please, just be quiet. Then roll numbers and vowel sounds into songs without words. Listen. When I am eye. I am not your hybrid construction. I am not a half-life substantiated on synthetics. On medications. I am a real girl. With a name. A sexless purpose. I didn't need you before I met you. This is the dream Aye. The strong worded one who never gets the chill up her spine. Looks over her shoulder. And I don't need you now. She says. But this me hears her and closes one eye. Cocks her head like a puppy transfixed by the sun. Waits. Stop it. No. Please. I am not this girl. Stayed and linked on your chain. I do not run wildly round you like some poorly trained dog. Tricking for your affections. Bow. Wow. Still. I am just one woman. With perfect measurements and a goofy smile. Who isn't quite tall enough to be more than average. Who is too smart for her own good. Eye. Aye. I. There has been trouble. With my days.

Endless cups of hot strong coffee. Then luke warm. Cold. Joe. Cudjoe. Wrapping myself in Wideman's words like blankets. Like nets meant for safety. The corporeality of history and the exteriority of time. Space. Spaces. Between text and sound. Of Damien Rice's soft utterances on B-sides. About Dicks made of Wood. And the constancy of being let down. And never knowing the way home. Homewood. Everything burns. Becomes ashes. Even this flame that aches between my legs. Tugging at my frenum. That wants you there and the absence of you there at the same time. To feel it or remember it is the same thing. The mystery of remembering and forgetting in simultaneous instances of time. Some garden of eden when our minds figure out how to understand both. Like sipping at the broth left at the bottom of the bowl of Asian noodles. Sacraments found in eating the definition of the word coalesce. There are always the proffers of bad reality television. Punctuation to a night less well spent. And new boots worn all day long that still feel comfortable by the comparison of being without. Like shedding skins that you aren't yet ready to slough off. To let go of. The way the leather breaks tight against the ankle on the up steps of stairs. As if your hands grasp at gripping and remain there. Like children's fists on strings of balloons. To keep me from floating clean away.

No that isn't what I meant to say. Mean. It was something simpler.

Like. I'm tired.

Or how pounding the souls of these useless feet against the refracting asphalt of this useless city in which I hate to live rings shiny and sparkling like your cheeks do when I've pressed my shadowed eyes against your face and the result of the moments of embrace linger and catch whatever light bright pulses them into fruition.

No, it's still that I am. God. So. Fucking. Tired.

If wishes were kisses, then we'd both be floating easy in oceans of ecstasy.

i am the hollow sound of a cork undone. watching your virtual fish tank.
all night long.

in french he says what i can only translate enough to sound like your hair smells like silk sometimes and while we have sloppy sex on the kitchen counter i'm more interested in trying to decipher the ingredients sideways and through only one open left eye under the unflattering bright lights of the sugar free vanilla syrup bottle that appears rarely if ever used. and i know he's not greedy. so i try to concentrate. i purr. coo. press my forehead into his adam's apple. dead valves of pressure filled lost in the viscous syrup words. i can't fake my way through this one. i fill my head with clothes. knee high black heeled boots. the new skirt i bought and still haven't worn. fish net stockings. sex with you. sex with you. sex with you. until in another world i scream the contents of the counter onto the floor and we break the sugar bowl. it's enough. then. for him to go.

Jelly has a boyfriend with invisible legs. They live in a black and white house that has a red staircase with their invisible headed rooster called Quarters. Jelly fell in love with Temulent after he won a fried fish heads eating contest. She wasn't phased by the fact that he was the only participant. Sometimes, she enjoys singing him a song that she wrote. It goes: "My boy-friend -- ain't go' no legs. My boy-frieeeeend has in-vi-si-ble legs." Jelly craves adventure, and she often draws maps of places she imagines inside the front covers of the books they keep on the shelf in their office. She's afraid of the television and the color yellow and of having to spell the word restaurant. Temulent uses a white eraser to rub out the maps when Jelly is away running errands or is taking a shower. When she discovers them gone, she believes the lines became invisible like Tem's legs and the rooster's head. And she smiles big and presses her face into the blank book that ate her dreams. Pulls air into her nose hard and smells the powdered sugary scent that always reminds her of Temulent's fingertips.

"Happy New Year!!" Jelly shouts into the September air of her flat. Determined and anxious to start again.

he cut himself shaving. the morning he got lost on the way to waterloo station. they met at the fish and chips shop.
the best fish and chips she'd ever had. she'd said.
but not that afternoon. she asked him to write her a love letter. and he took the rock from his mouth. to lay glinting like a dog's eye in the palm of her hand.
but how is this a love letter?
and he asked her how love feels. but didn't say anything about the solid space. the unique pattern. scape. the weight of the stone in the palm of the hand. on the tongue. the cool forgiveness. the way the shape and sense can be memorized and recalled in the mind. on the skin. the non-verbal. the fact that he'd wrenched exactly that one from the thousands of others. claimed it from the rest of the world as an exchange between. hers. his. impenetrable and theirs.
this is just a rock she said.
bored and resigned.
where did you get it? she asked.
and he said from out of the empty pocket of my mouth. where she touched her fingertips to his lips. then to the rock. and said the word rock and lips out of her mouth into the empty afternoon sunshine. she threw the rock into her purse, said goodbye, and went home. he caught the train to neasden. sat in the garden and watched the cat chase moths into dusk. made dinner and watched the television until it was time for bed. between the sheets he rolled his wrists in counterclockwise motions. twice each. and was sure that, with a little courage and time, some day she would make someone a very fine paperweight.

just like noon day wood chippers and dry heaving asphalt for best friends

meditations in chalk
and bones
grind me through your teeth
let limbs drop numb and
discus into the metal bucket
remains severed
no microscopic specimen
hot wet blood and guts pavement
dime sliced sinews show passages of time
render voice boxes and bowels redundant
i won't ask you again
gear me

"depending on my mood, jaffa cakes or masturbation"

i want to be an amiri baraka poem. filled with fire and intensity of vision and the power of understanding history. the exigency of the economy of words. i want to soak myself in gin and play with matches until the whole world fills with the scent of burning hair and i am rendered timeless in bones. i want to be more than a photograph or a memory or those fucking wishes you spew that make me want to scratch off my skin with butter knives. i want to be an untranslatable answer phone message and Jean Toomer's (un)broken arcs.

asia doesn't dream of true love or the bottoms of bottles. or other unlimitless uknown things she used to fear. like the unknowable edges of the ocean. or the unmeaning of words. instead, she just pads around her flat in stained slippers. and hums along to unspun made up love songs. in her crazy-could-never-say-it-quite-yet-love-soaked-head. asia dreams of boots and the best fear she's ever known and the limitlessness of the ocean. and using too many esses and f-words and too much sex whenever time presents itself.

asia can't believe you care. and wants to sink skin into headphones until she realizes that it's exactly right, that until now, she didn't know at all what it felt like be alive.

asia dreams of paper boats. and names. stalks the zero streets with the taste of your name in her mouth. proximity creeps in the curves of her thighs. sneaks the sound and the sense to the glint of the ground under feet. where life reduces itself to logic. if then. textbook. where you swallowed the memory of the burnt tree, and she gave it away to someone who wouldn't want it just to bring it all back to even. she knows you're a big fan of equations. asia dreams of paper boats. and fire. dances like locusts to invisible castanets. in drifts. and says the name of your name on her no-name over and over again until her you and you her become named. asia dreams of snow. and fire. on paper boats. sailing.