i respect you like i respect
a gun on the table
even if i can see its magazine
i know the harm that can come
from one small
fall. i approach you with the caution
of toes beyond the yellow subway line
or an arch of concrete blocks strung overhead. extra pipes
on the flatbead truck on the highway. loose tarp flapping
over 2x4s. you are the bullyfriend. (a clumsy grenade)
i hesitate to turn my back on you, the one who might
put their hands on my head when i am trying to come up for air.
call it a joke. call it fake. think not your name lest you appear
thumbing my thoughts for deeper fears.
you are the power of that gun, loaded or not
a reminder of the danger, all bomb & all threat
in my palm
the riverstone tells me:
"i have been worn down
from the heart of a mountain,
slept long and cold during the ice ages
held my breath under millenium oceans
and out from the heart of mother earth
i was born
now i lay here in the pristine creek
washing over with water so clear
you could see me during the day --
confuse me for the moon's reflection.
as you hold me to your chest,
you cannot wear me down
i was made for you.
left to sit,
i cool to refresh you as i press against your skin
and in passing,
you lay me down
and i am warm with your heart.
an earth dragon
born of the thunder clan
islander at heart.
i live for the wind
hair of abandon
the coo of a moth.
one sun, one moon, all stars
i’ll be the first
i don't know how my ancestors walked to canada
over the miles of roads meant for travel faster than foot:
wagon paths of stone and mud with 10 chickens on their back,
there's a reason there are a billion bicycles in China,
great great grandfather must have had to file and sand his own knees
to bend them into perfect circles. how else could these roads be traversed?
meanwhile great great grandmother must have died of worry --
the worst sickness
unknown to the family
because telegraphs didn't span the pacific ocean.
and paper was expensive.
those chickens weren't yet money to buy rice,
and they were too skinny for eggs, not that we could eat shells, anyway.
but maybe we'll try.
did i forget?
how did he get to hong kong?
always the outer skirt of lady britain's domain,
never quite city familiar.
because money's hard to spend,
when its locked in the white banker's savings.
i hear that the bridge lies beneath the waters,
foundations in ruins.
and someday i'll walk it
and meet grandma
on the other side.
we act like that won't happen to us
like our lands haven't too been ravished
because we gave that up
for the safety
we rejoice at nightmarkets
festivals that dot the landscape
like stars in the sky
but we forget
that fireworks quickly turned into fires
and when we deny the violence that happens abroad
we inch our way further from home.
but the people who make our clothes
but the people who grow our food
they look just like