[there must be one thing you can’t have in order to be alive]

there must be one thing you can’t have in order to be alive 

watching flowers open on youtube 

I mean, my life is wasted on my life

requirement is simple 

it takes a wound to

return to yourself 

the new sky 

is the same as the old one

its achy maw 

its barbwire grip 

people are whatever they are next to

that won’t remember them

a dumb desert 

a broken open sign

whatever I love best

reminds me of something else

Related Poems

Is It Better Where You Are?

The bakery’s graffiti either spells HOPE
or NOPE. But hope and results
are different, said Fanny Brawne to her Keats
voiding his unreasonable lung.
Getting off the medicine
completely means light again
blinking to light. Device returned
to its factory settings. The complete black
of before the meteor shower
above the bakery. If you lose the smell
of leather, lemon, or rose,
studies show you will fail at being,
like Keats. I keep watching the same meteor
shower videos on YouTube
where awe is always a question of scale.
Night can be moths or weather, pulled in the dark.
The bakery, now, is beginning to close.
My arrhythmic heart
aches for the kind of dramatic arc
one can’t shop for. Or else to lease
what’s real for a while—
is this the good kind of consumption?
I wonder over the weight
of meaning. The difference between
hull and seed. The sugary
donut and its graceful hole. The greasy
bags that everyone leaves
in the alley leading to my door.
These scraps I work at like a crow.

[Sometimes I don't know if I'm having a feeling]

Sometimes I don’t know if I’m having a feeling
so I check my phone or squint at the window
with a serious look, like someone in a movie
or a mother thinking about how time passes.
Sometimes I’m not sure how to feel so I think
about a lot of things until I get an allergy attack.
I take my antihistamine with beer, thank you very much,
sleep like a cut under a band aid, wake up
on the stairs having missed the entire party.
It was a real blast, I can tell, for all the vases
are broken, the flowers twisted into crowns
for the young, drunk, and beautiful. I put one on
and salute the moon, the lone face over me
shining through the grates on the front door window.
You have seen me like this before, such a strange
version of the person you thought you knew.
Guess what, I’m strange to us both. It’s like
I’m not even me sometimes. Who am I? A question
for the Lord only to decide as She looks over
my résumé. Everything is different sometimes.
Sometimes there is no hand on my shoulder
but my room, my apartment, my body are containers
and I am thusly contained. How easy to forget
the obvious. The walls, blankets, sunlight, your love.


Translated from the Vietnamese by Kaitlin Rees

I liberate the captive herd within me
I summon back the fossilized kisses

If things have souls then things bear static souls

Hungry birds are building nests in space
Affliction gathers in the handkerchief of a bride on her wedding day

We kidnap fear by the sharp-edged tongue of a knife

The sound of your crying purifies the darkness
A sacred place is where I begin an entrance

Each grain of sand is the carcass of a dried star
Distilled in the deep pool of tears

Dissonant music lingers in the bodiless ear of the present tense

Truth is the wafting shadowy zone of doubt

The night deepened
The toiling laborers continued beating moon rock

In the rat-hole quarters
Cheap dreams have no anchor to hold
They float together straight down pipes after an unseasonable rain

If the sheep become authors
They will write about their innocence being lost

Evolved animals
Excessively preoccupied with petty calculation
While in trees with a tribe of orangutans
Naturally admiring the moon in ascent behind mountain tops

The loneliness in a dark corner contorts a self-constructed pain
I welcomeparty a friend from afar at the first break of light
The wind blows across the sky of Brothersisterhood

Buddha never speaks precisely about Truth except for when the Sir is protecting silence

The lunchtime napping people are evolving a dreamy fountain of energy

Buddha is assembling a labyrinth of love exclusively reserved for evil

Your heart infuses my heart with a consoling word packed with spring bounty
Not a fresh flower remains on the Sunday morning eating table
Dusty rain beyond the garden makes a pair of hands far exceed cerulean

Pass me along to the lighthouse and burn me bright like fire
Let me become the jagged underground rocks that rupture a boat in the night
Let me grow like the flecks of light breeding in the deranged brain of a man
Let me chant while watching my standing legs battered and buried in the hurricane

The mutual affection in a couple of supine beings asleep beneath a shadowy patch of orange trees
Amorous feelings in repose and a summer of increasing heat
In the cluttered tunnels of stacked sensual flesh
They search for each other beneath scalding bellows of a ruminating ox with broken horns

Indulge yourself in the food of breasts teeming with life
Netting hope throughout the jungle with a web of sound
Carry the wandering songs of those romancing strollers within
Entangled fresh flowers climb up the roof where the spring rain flutters

In a midnight dream this spring
The East was a river skin of visionary sleep
I sense I am a lethargic carp lost in thought
Drifting with the stream and gulping stars as they take shape

The universe can be constructed out of the dried skeleton of a mythical deity
This morning a steamroller’s pulverized dust billowblurrs every place
As hundreds of planets open their delirious eyes plunging head first into each other
The bloated vigor in every desiccated vein of the late harvest flowers

Everything around us is blindingly present
A rose a gripped cinder a hand a scythe
A clenched diamond can be launched into each corner edge of the present
Time putrefies with its abiding richness!

All people should self-immolate their faces and on them search for light

Humans will be mutually set free upon entering the final judgment day
All saints should be too

If people could live one thousand years then there would remain neither guilds of saints nor of the woeful

The conscience is a grain of sand in the shoe of Consciousness

Only those with true digression step in hoping search for home