In the mellow argot of our pillow talk,
my sloe eyes destory you. You feed me
a pabulum of day-stuffs, recount our walk—
the bit of blue ribbon we saw, matte in the gutter
near our flat, and the magpies, enough for a secret
never told, telling it to the passersby
who do not speak magpie, unfortunately.

I remind you of the cloy of hops and malt
which fills our part of the city, especially at midday—
a smell you can no longer smell,
as one cannot smell the aroma of his own home
but knows it.

Our report dissolves into echolalia:
“You were a poet hemming pantlegs,” you say,
a spume of snore, I say, “hemming pantlegs.”

Sleep, first in Tontine, STUDENT Newspaper’s creative writing supplement,Week 9, 11/19/08



There are pigeons everywhere.

Pigeons on the stoop, doing the Egyptian.
Pigeons in groups, in rain troughs, bathing.
Pigeons who own the place & know it.
Know that this is the ledge of the window
On which the previous tenant has written “Do not Open, Broken”.
Pigeons who sit there, and stare, as I write pigeon poems:

      City Doves, punk Rock Pigeons,
     Shit on the heads of great dead men
     Immortalized in stone.

Pigeons in the courtyard, pigeons in the square,
Pigeons in swarms, taking aim in mid-air.
Pigeons who could not care less whether
I am trying to get somewhere
In a hurry,
And go on bobbing and weaving,
Puffing their neck feathers and cooing,
And making romantic advances
At inviting lady pigeons,
Taking up the whole damn sidewalk.

Pigeons, first in Tontine, STUDENT Newspaper’s creative writing supplement,Week 7, 11/04/08
Also for DUO collaboration project with Lucy Roscoe, of Edinburgh College of Art, 2009. (art by Lucy Roscoe)

Aiko, Do You Love Me?

Aiko, Do You Love Me?

After 30 years of grooming
She still cannot say “strawberry”

She is like an orchid in bloom
In how they do not blossom,
But grow slowly into themselves
Quiet -then sudden- and stay.

On our walks:
“Aiko, do you love me?”
She does not wait for answer—
“Look at that one! Good pink color. Magnolia tree:
It is in my garden at home.”

With plants, she sings English.
She grows the things, a careful scientist.
All prune and feed. Guess and test.

I water the orchid I bought.
“It will grow best outside, Aiko.
Orchid likes the wind.”
The pot moss is moldy, white with fuzz.
I water it anyhow. My hands are not her hands.

I murdered the shame plant.
Mimosa. She calls it in Japanese, “Ojigiso”.
I touched it and prodded it
To watch it bow its head and rise again,
My tiny minion.
Until one day it simply did not move.

So I have only this orchid, here,
And my memory of her science—
Naming them, my Adam of botany.

Aiko, Do You Love Me?, first in Read This Magazine, #12, 11/2008