On Working Remotely & No Longer Commuting with Chronic Pain

the train leaves the station without me / so does the bus / the sidewalks stay empty of my steps—the rushed ones, the ones pierced with pain, the its-too-late-at-night to still be walking ones / i keep my cash / it doesn’t load my metro card and then another card when the first one’s lost / i don’t panic in the car about leaving late—least not as much / when winter comes, i don’t sit on the cold, cold bench waiting and waiting, clutching a pair of my stockpiled hand warmers / i don’t bundle myself up in oppressive layers / or unravel in the late night, releasing the day’s pressure like a punctured balloon / instead i sit / and continue to sit / in this chair then that one / look out the window to escape the screen’s demands / wonder how i ever had fuel for those past travels / i rest / and i rise / and listen to the body that’s carried me here as it whispers the way forward

Ode to My Hearing Aids

Then God said
let there be sound
and divided the silence
wide enough for music 
to be let in and it was a good groove 
 
And God said
let there be overflow
sent sound in all directions
pin drops & children's laughter
phones ringing & plates clattering
and it was kind of good but too much at times
 
So God said
let there be volume control
let there be choice how loud life should be 
and there came the power to fade
the voices, the annoyances, the noise
and that was mighty good for all the unnecessary drama
 
Then God said let there be surprise, startle even
at the bird's chirp, the ice maker, 
the cabinet slammed shut
let there be delight
at the first calls in months
to father & best friend
and these were such good reasons for choking back tears 
that God saw
the dark & the light
dangling brilliantly from each ear
and God whispered amen
then smiled when it was heard.
 

Disclosure

I’m sorry, could you repeat that. I’m hard of hearing.
To the cashier
To the receptionist
To the insistent man asking directions on the street

I’m sorry, I’m hard of hearing. Could you repeat that?
At the business meeting
In the writing workshop
On the phone to make a doctor’s appointment

I’m-sorry-I’m-sorry-I’m-so-sorry-I’m-hard-for-the-hearing

Repeat.

           Repeat.

Hello, my name is Sorry
To full rooms of strangers
I’m hard to hear

I vomit apologies everywhere
They fly on bat wings
towards whatever sound beckons

I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I am so, so sorry
           and repeating
                       and not hearing

Dear (again)
I regret to inform you

I       am

here

 

Accommodation

The law wants my body reasonable
My body won't fence in its demands
Expects the world to stop
Whenever it wants to lay down
Throws up its middle finger
At deadlines, task lists,
Long awaited meetings
It ain't open to negotiation
Wants you to stop telling it to
Calm down
It has three settings: rest, spark, flare
All that talk about your inconvenience & your hardship
It calls that Bullshit
It will not wait in line
It will not be polite
It will not use its inside voice
It wants all the space
In every room of the house
The entire sky & the full lawn of grass
It wants to set it all aflame
My body is a pyromaniac
My body is the art 
Of Angela Bassett's right hand
Letting reason go up in smoke

Related Poems

Journey

Translated from the Macedonian by Ljubica Arsovska and edited by Patricia Marsh Stefanovska

Time trampled on you the moment you set out.
In the coach across the border
the conductor wiped the seats
with a brochure on human rights someone left behind.
Rain didn’t beat against the windows of the other passengers,
it was only yours that the raindrops hit like stones,
just like at the exit from a metro station you know
where it’s always raining
and the little orphans sniff glue from plastic bags
sprawled on the escalators.
Your soul shivered in the buffer zone,
your body gaped like a cupboard emptied before moving out,
the night was the senselessness of the daytime sense.
You dreamt in snatches an unending dream of how
the nineteenth century travels around with a beard
like a drunk loser,
how the twentieth century has a haircut and a shave
at the town barber’s,
and how the twenty-first runs frantically between the two.
In the first city the Politkovskaya Club awaits you
in the second—the Joyce Irish Pub,
in the third—white houses with lace curtains
and a notice: Today is Dr. Roberto’s funeral.
White underwear hung
from the balconies of Hell.
But Heaven’s balconies
have long run out of clotheslines and pegs
to hang washed brains out to dry.
Grannies in the corners of the neighbourhood
didn’t even hold out a hand any more.
On the table in the small room of your fellow countryman:
two volumes of Das Kapital and a key for the toilet.
An empty noose dangled from the ceiling light.
If everything is all right, one day
you too will become a postman here.
You’ll unlock the town’s cemetery
with a key from a big keyring
and read to the dead women
the letters from their dead husbands.
And then the neighbourhood boys
in their long black coats
will come upon you
and afterwards no one will
remember you any more,
not that you were here nor that you were born somewhere else.

 


 

Патување

Времето те прегази во мигот кога тргна.
Во автобусот преку границата
кондуктерот ги избриша седиштата
со заборавена брошура за човековите права.
Врз прозорците на другите патници не врнеше,
само врз твојот капките удираа како камења,
исто како на излезот од едно познато метро
кај што врне без престан
и малите сирачиња дуваат лепак во пластични ќесиња
исполегнати на подвижните скали.
Душата ти трепереше во тампон зоната,
телото ти зјаеше како испразнет шкаф пред селидба,
ноќта беше бесмислата на денската смисла.
Со прекини сонуваше нераскинлив сон:
како деветнаесеттиот век патува наоколу брадосан
божем пијан губитник,
како дваесеттиот век се стрижи и бричи во градска берберница,
а дваесет и првиот безглаво трча помеѓу нив.
Во првиот град те пречека Клубот Политковскаја,
во вториот - ирскиот паб Џојс,
во третиот - бели куќи со завеси од тантели
и со некролог: денес ќе го погребеме д-р Роберто.
Од балконите на пеколот
висеше долна бела облека.
На балконите во рајот, пак,
одамна снема јажиња и штипки
за сушење испрани мозоци.
Бабичките во ќошињата на квартот
не пружаа повеќе ни рака.
На масата во сопчето на твојот сонародник:
два тома од Капиталот и клуч за тоалетот.
Од лустерот се нишаше слободна јамка.
Ако биде сѐ добро, еден ден овде
ќе станеш и ти поштар
кој со врзопче клучеви
ќе ги отклучува градските гробишта
и на мртвите жени ќе им ги чита
писмата од мртвите мажи.
И тогаш ќе те пресретнат
маалските момчиња
во долги црни капути
и потоа никој повеќе
нема да се сеќава на тебе

ни дека си бил тука ни дека си се родил некаде.

Baudelaire in Airports

Will my arm be enough to reach you?
On whose side is indecision?
You are the mother of material travel,
even in the form of a shoeless child.
It is difficult to place time—especially here.
You aren’t now, and you don’t come here.
The other sameness, an other of the same
in the window before take off.
So she learned past such things the echo.
With the same eye from windows one watches
a person with umbrella, sleek and pointed,
seek sky from its wet roof. As if the bitter low
would be a woman with whiskers,
her eyes desperate, street-view, alone.
How does this view of everything arc the moon?
If a mosquito lands, what happens to the one who flew?
She gives over to the site of red,
another selfless pooling. A hungry pond.
The painting of the person also wears mobile eggs,
and the woman returns to wheat fields
to drink goat’s milk for her meal and bath.
That the body harbors more than combination,
that we are more than alchemy’s process,
that they are agents and actors incognito,
is visible only to those strolling on avenues on lost
streets Parisian, no longer able to be found.