You’re a colonizer.
I want my life back.
I want you to be your secret agent, not mine.
Here’s what I think about what you think people think about our pet names: fuck off.
This is my password, pay attention,
The way your family welcomed me.
The way it felt so calm to be with mine.
There is such a thing as time travel,
it happens every day. They want to know your religion, why does it matter if you’re good?
I guess after a period of intense silence (not necessarily vocally, but also as ink on paper)
one may experience a gushing of pain that is enough.
The way life looked at you.
It was like a song.
It was like a movie you cried in.
It was like sitting on the couch behind your loved ones playing a board game, everyone
apart from you but so near you.
It was like bread rising through a window. But not quaint.
I love those days.
When perfection was the lost symbol of our childhood, and pain and rain and shame,
I could look upon a lover with exacting discipline.
To be a disciple however, it could only be for what is inhumane.
We can scope it out.
Then I’ll let you know.
I predict though that it will feel as bent as trees in the wind.
It’s no longer elegant to keep constant attention in conversation.
The trick is to do you.
But if you aren’t genuine, if you aren’t legitimately compassionate,
we’ll see through you,
and you’ll just be a pawn, you.
MY FAVORITE NUMBER.
STRAWDUST. IDLE FULFILLMENT.
BENEATH YOU. ESCAPING TOGETHER. BECAUSE.
VINYL RECORD PLAYER CABLE CLUB
KISS ME NOW, YOU SPHINX.
KISS ME NOW, MR. WONDERFUL.
KISS ME NOW, KISSING TREE.
KISS ME NOW, KISSING BOOTH GIRL.
I WAS ALWAYS FAITHFUL TO YOU.
WITH DRIPPINGS AND BLUE, BLUE LUNGS
WE SHALL MARK OUR GONE
WITH LOVE OR DEATH, YOU BEGIN TO SEE THE END OF ALL THINGS
YOU SAY YOU’RE THE STOLEN ONE—
WHATEVER KEEPS YOU UP AT NIGHT
TO TAKE CARE OF THE CHILD
I AM YOUR FRIEND
AS SUCH, I BORROW FROM YOU IRRECOVERABLY—
AND SO I ADMIT MY FALLACY TO BEAR
MY FALLACY IN THE WOODS LIKE A CHARD,
SO INDISCREETLY YOU INVOKE
BLOOD RISING THROUGH THE BROW OF THE FINGERTIPS, LIKE ASPIRIN—
YOU CROSS TO ME NOW SO SWEETLY
YOU MUST BE THE GREATEST GOOD I’VE SEEN
I THANK THE MOTHER
OF THIS EARTH FOR SUCH A BRILLIANT MOSS, YOUR GLANDS, AND
EXUBERANCE, YOU ARE MY MOTHER EARTH
I WANT TO SING YOUR NAME TO THE DEPTHS OF LONELINESS
COMMUNITY IS WHAT I’VE FOUND IN THOSE
WOODS AND NEED I SAY IT YOU HAD A WAY OF MAGIC
YOU HAD A WAY OF UNLEASHING ME FROM A THOUSAND PRISONS
YOU HAD A WAY OF SWEET, SWEET MAGIC!
Valerie Hsiung is the author of three full-length poetry collections: efg (exchange following and gene flow): a trilogy (Action Books, forthcoming 2016), incantation inarticulate (O Balthazar Press, 2013), and under your face (O Balthazar Press, 2013). Her writing can be found or is forthcoming in places such as American Letters & Commentary, Denver Quarterly, New Delta Review, PEN Poetry Series, Prelude, RealPoetik, and VOLT, among elsewhere. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Hsiung spent significant portions of her childhood in Las Vegas, received a BA from Brown University, and is now based out of Brooklyn, New York, where she works as a love detective and matchmaker. She is also an editor for Poor Claudia.