Someone Died Today

Someone died today, and there were no surprises— 
not to those of us who’d seen it before, who live 
with our faces to glass panes, unable to look away 
because there is no ‘away’; we have never known a 
holiday from these things, there are no moments in 
which we are truly unaware, unconscious, blinded to 
it; it sits in our stomachs from the moment our parents, 
and forbearers warned us not to trust ‘them’—those things 
that come easy, and soft to others: like a love in which 
there is no ticking bomb; a friendship in which there is no 
shoe raised, and poised, no dropping, or crushing to avoid; 
like the pages in which your history is one of kingdoms, and 
conquering, not of subjugation, and loss (a loss you are 
still deeply intimate with, that marks your skin, and your face, 
leaves a stench down to the roots of the trees that bore you, 
a stench that you have not yet learned to wash away); because 
even the fantasies they sell us, leave only a bitter trail of tears, 
they rest on our shoulders beneath the skulls of heavy matter 
that rip even the most arcane dreams to shreds, for we have 
never known fairies, lost even the little magic some of us crossed 
the waters with, while others had the very graves of their ancestors’ 
bones, washed away in black rivers, had their tongues cut from them 
so the magic could not pass on; it is not that we have lost ourselves, 
or the bits of us that could flinch in surprise at another body dropping, 
but rather it is that we have grown suckling on the margins of death, 
have held its teat while we learned to walk skirting its robe, were taught 
which of us might go next so we knew not to accidentally cross its path 
on wounded knee, and so, we find it—this tragedy that unfolded before 
us—not a moment of surprise (for we have been stomaching the disregard 
for human life from the instant we were displaced from the womb, skulls 
cracked open on auction blocks sometimes, other times ripped from 
the land in flickering torchlight, or by white savages, holding scriptures in 
one hand, and the threat of end in the other), but of grim forbearance, 
as we looked to our cousins in genocide, and nodded in resignation at the 
intersections where some of us held hands in relations closer than ancestry, 
because we were tired, and angry, and hurt, that it took one of your own to 
force your faces to the glass pane, too—someone died today, and yesterday, 
and the day before that, and the century before that, and the tragedy in this, 
is that there were no surprises, only another terrible death we warned you of, 
another terrible thing that could have been avoided if you had listened to us. 
K.N.O.W. Saturday, August 12, 2017. 

Smoke and Ashes

You sit on a rooftop, watching the smoke curl 
above your head—a cloud of pretty ashes, grey 
against the moonlight, perhaps the one they are 
convinced lingers above your head—and you taste 
destruction in your mouth, savour the way blood drips 
from between your shredded gums, grin—fiendish, 
feral, empty(?)—decorated by the glass half-glinting in 
the moon, bright where it stuck when your jaw began to 
clamp down on a mouthful of things too sharp for you to 
chew on, and it tastes normal, this thing, as normal as the 
flames licking the inside of your ravaged mouth, too un- 
noticeable beneath the fire in your stomach from the thing 
in your hand you always dream of sipping from when every- 
thing feels too vast, when it feels like the only way to narrow 
it all down to a thing you can handle, is to do ‘it’—stand up, 
and walk off the roof of the building, instead of only ever 
standing close enough to court vertigo; and you wonder why 
it always comes down to this for you, why the thing that stills 
the clawing, is this dream of smoke curling above your head, 
drifting from your mouth, and the butt of the glowing cancer 
in your hand, whetted by the echo of liqueur you don’t even 
feel, have never liked the taste of (it all tastes the same you 
say), while you lay on your back, soothed by the sensation 
of feeling tiny, and gaping, a lone figure wanting the stars 
within reach, content to raise your palm against them, and 
watch it fade into the dark, while they glitter reassuringly, 
telling of how vast the world is, and how much more there is 
to see of it, even if you ache in knowing you will probably touch 
so little of it—but you did always like the feel of flames too close 
to your skin, and the sensation of drifting, stars too far away to 
cling to; you’ve always been more grounded unanchored. 
K.N.O.W. Friday, August 11 – Monday, August 14, 2017. 


I have this desire to sit with a conclave of writers,

drinking my warm beverage of the hour,

just speaking of books, poetry, prose, music, words.

I want to be somewhere warm,

Where the sun kisses my skin

and the leaves tremor on their branches,

while we share the magic of sky and clouds;

And while I stare whimsically at the sun,

blinded by its rays of brilliant vision,

I want nothing more than for the words of beauty to soar;

And in their soaring,

freed on wings of delight,

I’ll glide,

and perhaps I’ll smile,

airy and light,

unfettered and bright,


Gleaming rays touching despondency,

and offering “radiancy”.


the irony of today

is not lost on me

from my seat beneath cloud-hidden sun.

Kadeen Nichelle Oksana Waldron.

October 3, 3013.

October 3, 2013.