And when they bombed other people’s houses, we
but not enough, we opposed them but not
enough. I was
in my bed, around my bed America
was falling: invisible house by invisible house by invisible house.
I took a chair outside and watched the sun.
In the sixth month
of a disastrous reign in the house of money
in the street of money in the city of money in the country of money,
our great country of money, we (forgive us)
lived happily during the war.
From Deaf Republic. Copyright © 2019 by Ilya Kaminsky. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of Graywolf Press.
Descartes in Love
Love, accepting that we are not pure and lucent hearts, ricocheting towards each other like unlatched stars—no, we are tainted with self. We sometimes believe the self is an invisible glass, just as we believe the body is a suit made of meat. Doubt all things invisible. Doubt all things visible.
Not to be a tragic person. What is a tragic person? The victim of a crime who does not realize the criminal is himself.
Adonis Prettyboy in Hell And then her son with love-gun and a quiver snatched a love-shaft and delivered—a twiggy arrow in her nipple like a nasty sliver... A big pig stuck me with his tusk, but it's life that's the bore, silly! I never got desire, I always got what I wanted And in this hallway incredulous of lights, I want wild pears, firm booblike fruit—Daffodils! Clovers! And the trill of starlings why not! We could grow apples here... Apples? So, I suppose I do miss her —You know when I fell out of life I grabbed her heart like a rope;
The target audience of my secrets is not my friends, but my journals and the strangers who will read them in the future.
Child of Immigrants
I used to pretend I was American.
This was until I realized I was American.
What is forgiveness? When someone else's sin becomes merely an action we ourselves might plausibly commit. The virtue of hypocrisy—we temporarily become people other than ourselves and can notice our actions from the other side, as saintly as no one.
Io Symbol is abridgement. I am not a cow and Argus not omniscience. We are clockfraught beings. The man I love stopped my heart when he froze the world to night. My heart being part of the world.
Copyright © 2011 by Ken Chen. Used with permission of the author.