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.
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.
the lilt of quiet voices in the morning hush, breaths misting over hot tea, flushed skin cooling in the pre- morning dawn, the creak of hammocks: soft, and uncertain ‘til wakefulness hit, stories in the moonlight, warm palms slipping beneath your back on the edge of sleep, all the spaces in between, all the promise on my lips, all the calm of fluttering pages with my fingers in your hair— but you were afraid. K.N.O.W. 5.02.2017-5.31.2017 6.46 A.M.
Note: This shares a name with an older one-line piece.
Additional Note: (I am about to begin back-posting pieces from NaPoWriMo–which I will post in order, meaning they will probably not show up after this one, but rather between Capture. and Rising Birds Reminds Me of Home. I will also most likely push out one essay to cover what the last year/two of poems don’t)–so if you need to, do mute/adjust your notifications. Although, as fair warning, I almost always write in spurts (of 2-3 poems), so…)