‘Eboshi’s Sick’ makes mention of gun violence and war.

Eboshi’s Sick

          Prodigal hearth

                     the old          the elder

bayog encasement         metals encasement

expectoration evidencing ailment       against bandage

                               upon bandage

          offering oracular the restful           antedated sick.

    Salt ode abrasions          sulphur and carbonous abrasions

                      careful the choreography of hands

                               making bargain with blacksmithing

                                         kiss of round barrel

                     and the game of sweet targetry

                                         the sanguinary investment

    the begging of slow questions

                     What makes the accursed sick?

                     What wounding emerges from woundedness

                                                   to render illness

                                         the militant means

          the packaged bruisings

    sequestered absolutions    and exculpated ends

To each a gunmanship eir weaponry.

To each eir weaponry a dissolute ownership.

      to each gun emptied

                                         into phosphorous night

                     a floundering arms-     and-     legs dissolution

          spirit and brokenbone dissolution

war a machinery of making sick    the sick

the sick heavy palpitation of dolorous practice

          the clockwork mechanism  the minute adjustments

the inching towards

the woundful whispers                  fatal fracturing

                     the familiar aches

and the killing of old gods            dispersing the shrapnel


“What is a nation? Show me one. I don’t want to be killed by an abstraction.”
                      —Nagisa Oshima, ‘Death by Hanging’ (1968)

Stranger deer

twin ringlets magnificent and 

Originary, the roots that birthed me.

Where have you come from?

Who do you belong to?     

Witness to

analgesic elsewheres

the steady drumbeat I belong to

trading ancient    

consanguine grasses  

There is a loneliness for the ones     

dreams the dawning         

There is a naming

of a language in remembrance

In setting out

my colour, brilliant

this bond

so I must be forgotten, home

singular kin of an only species

to revive recollection


and leaving

grand antlers as branches

untethered from tethering.

A heart’s territory my vernacular answer.

A memory of ancestor.

Time in memoriam.

possessive declaration

rendering loneliness lonelier

time in its corridors

folklores of wellsprings

my untrodden, inexhaustible pastures.

whose cardinal direction

of a hearthland.

for the loneliness

of sibling spirit.

my forgettings were not multiple

my back, willing


a place begging to be forgotten

haven’t I tasted my companion waterways

of a loved country

but left

left longing

                                    and longing

                                    and longing

on holding a heart open

And though from the outset I knew it would cause pain to me
I’d never played an instrument with limbs wrapped around limbs
just so
                   with feet on the ground and ears open to the egress
of sound from symmetry, as if music was a practice of making love
with what failed to containerise it.

                                                                 And the small
marsupial noises made when called girlfriend.      
                                                                        Not my girlfriend.
Just a girlfriend, as if love wasn’t in competition with the singularity
of my heart’s ownership, but loosened its wings to the call of a kinship
everywhere, many, like a map unfurled over the fastnesses of flight paths
I had not known except by the contours of their desire to trace statelessness.

                      And the awkward gestures of having asked to touch, slowly,
and then the touch, less slow, dissolving the questions in those first gestures,
transmuting into another language that respected less what nervousness
held up to

          and the nervousness

                     protection     the panic

the shared loves that suspended a life briefly until aloneness was animated
with the hum of what was made in concert             the timbre of skin against skin
which craved a closeness against the evidence of hips pressed together
closer than reason found sustainable

I held them for a moment and they were not for me to hold.

So many things pass through possession this way.

          To tell them I loved them and to have meant that, against history,
I surrendered to the threat of having been made intelligible. And afterwards
to have surpassed their every horizon until the after-love meant to endure
a world-ending that was survivable.

          I left their life the way I entered it.

          Love, I kept your life in the way I wanted my life to be kept.

Like the convergence of lone reefs in an era beyond ancient imagination
that remembrance of crossed rhythms                chest against chest
each drumhead modulation decanting into forgotten frequencies
          until barely audible

                              this, not my heart anymore

          just a heart now                 

                               once briefly, brilliantly mine.