09: The Cloak of My Voice

My friend wears my scarf at his waist

I give him moonstones

He gives me shell & seaweeds

He comes from a distant city & I meet him

We will plant eggplants & celery together

He weaves me cloth

                   Many have brought the gifts

                   I use for his pleasure

                   silk, & green hills

                   & heron the color of dawn

My friend walks soft as a weaving on the wind

He backlights my dreams

He has built altars beside my bed

I awake in the smell of his hair & cannot remember

his name, or my own.

“An Exercise in love” by diana di prima (for jackson allen)

Life is short, though I keep this from my children.

Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine

in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,

a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways

I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least

fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative

estimate, though I keep this from my children.

For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.

For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,

sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world

is at least half terrible, and for every kind

stranger, there is one who would break you,

though I keep this from my children. I am trying

to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,

walking you through a real shithole, chirps on

about good bones: This place could be beautiful,

right? You could make this place beautiful.

“Good Bones” by maggie smith

1. THE MOST EXCITING THING ABOUT DESIRE IS NOT THE SUCCESSFUL FULFILLMENT OF IT. ACTUALLY, IT IS THE MOMENTUM AND DIRECTION IT TAKES YOU ON, AND HOW FORWARD MOVEMENT ALCHEMIZES EVERY MOLECULE OF YOUR BEING INTO A MORE ALIVE VERSION OF YOURSELF AS YOU STEP FORWARD AWAY FROM FAMILIARITY AND TOWARDS THE UNKNOWN.

2. AND EVEN THE HEARTBREAK OF THWARTED DESIRE IS STILL WORTH IT BECAUSE THE PURSUIT STILL AWAKENED THESE DORMAN PARTS OF YOU, REVEALED A STRANGE BEAUTY AND LOVELINESS WIHIN YOURSELF YOU NEVER KNEW COULD EXIST WITHIN YOU.

3. AND IN THIS RUPTURE THAT EXTENDS TO DEEPER PARTS OF THAT WHICH YOU NEVER KNEW BEFORE EXISTED, YOU GET TO PLANT NEW SEEDS. THE ACIDITY AND TEXTURE OF THE SOIL WITHIN YOU IS DIFFERENT BECAUSE THANKS TO YOUR DESIRE, IT HAS EXPERIENCE NEW WEATHER PATTERNS, NEW NATURAL PHENOMENA, NEW WAYS OF BEING. YOU WILL BLOOM WILDER AND STRONGER. ALWAYS THANK YOUR LUCKY SARS FOR YOUR DESIRES. EVEN IN HEARTBREAK THEY NEVER LEAD YOU WRONG, THEY ALWAYS LEAD YOU TO A MORE YOU VERSION OF YOU.

“DESIRE” BY YUMI SAKUGAWA

Give me a church

made entirely of salt.

Let the walls hiss

and smoke when

I return to shore.

I ask for the grace

of a new freckle

on my cheek, the lift

of blue and my mother’s

soapy skin to greet me.

Hide me in a room

with no windows.

Never let me see

the dolphins leaping

into commas

for this water-prayer

rising like a host

of sky lanterns into

the inky evening.

Let them hang

in the sky until

they vanish at the edge

of the constellations — 

the heroes and animals

too busy and bright to notice.

“Sea church” by AIMEE NEZHUKUMATATHIL

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