Off Topic: Today’s Verse 80



A slit, just a cough of a slit
goes between your skin and your subcutaneous fat.
And in goes a shoe-horn to lift
flakes and drapes of your slacken jaw
which rests against the crook of my thigh.

I stand, sit, twirl like a puppet
with or without strings, the throes of politeness
are not my own.
Take three steps to the left, make a desperate dash to the right edge of the chapter
but don’t you dare reel me back inside your bonfire of fallacies.

Love is not a baked potato loaded with fat-free this and low-sodium that.
Love isn’t even a dignified, alcohol-free beer tasting.

Love is the abyss I looked into that did not look back.

— yiqi 2 march 2015 1:42 pm

Hopefully Sad, Sadly Hopeful

I left the ghost of revelations past standing on the doorstep of the bowling alley. His cufflinks reflected a fierce precipice, off of which I stepped into caverns of the ghost of revelations future. Jostled and cradled, I finally landed right-side up in a potato wedge of fireflies, each brighter than the last.




Regarding My Loving You – Deserts Xuan

Your love has all already gone.
You’ve asked yourself countless times, what you want to abandon
is here wholly in front of your eyes
Detachment and pursuit are often forced together.

What you embrace doesn’t necessarily embrace you too
Yet what I’d like to say, nobody would pity
To squander and treasure are the same things

Why does all of my harm repeat itself with pleasure?

Before having to realize that we’ll eventually have nothing
at least you can say,
“I understand that which is loneliest about living,
What I have forever is all luck,
What I lose is all the human condition,
As you don’t forget or think about the past
I love you.”

Before having to feel that we’ll eventually have nothing
what you do permits you to say,
“Yes, I have seen my dreams,
What I have forever is all luck,
What I lose is all the human condition.”

Because what you worry about is yourself.
I love you, I love you.


Because I Don’t Like Holding Cold, Wet Things

She dragged the milky way down with her,
every light-year imaginable from Mercury to Neptune
fit into the strands of her amethyst tresses.

I called upon her nettles
to punish the vagrant who resides within me;
She flicked her eyes above my head
but would not grant my wish.

Instead, she drew up a cloak of perpetual evening
to blind the cruelty in my veins
so that my innocence may have a chance to escape.

— yiqi 15 February 2015 3:44 pm

Originally posted here.

Adjacent Topic: Campfire Tales 17

Hovering in from the sixteenth canopy and buttressed by real personages.


The man with the rifle remembered the girl with the argyle socks holding his hands and telling a story about satyrs, centaurs, and cowardly demons.  He also remembered being immersed in darkness and falling down into a cavern so deep the bottom was beyond seeing.  He did not remember landing on a cushion of feathers and animal pelts.  He did not remember the removal of his clothes, the bathing of his body, or the tucking in of his enervated body into an alcove of silk and buffalo hides.  After waking up from what felt like a week-long sleep, the man with the rifle took to his new surroundings like a jackal that emerges from a tranquilizer-dart-induced slumber and finds itself in a vat of cheese.  Incredulity and panic clutched at his mind.  He surveyed the “room” for his personal belongings, mainly his rifle and notebook.

“Oh good, you’re awake,” a voice called out from a nearby place.

The man with the rifle knew this voice; he’d heard it before many times.  It was the same voice that told the story about mythological creatures — it was the same one that coaxed him into leaping off of the top of a cliff.  He was about to climb out from under the bedding when he realized he wasn’t wearing anything.  He cleared his throat, hoping the still disembodied voice would appear and tell him what had happened and the whereabouts of his clothes.

A pair of hands parted the pale green curtains.  A triangular face with near-black eyes poked through, widening the gap between the curtains.  The girl with the argyle socks.

“Don’t worry, your weapons and diary are in a safe place.”

“What diary?  I don’t have a diary.”

The girl with the argyle socks pushed the curtains aside and stepped into the alcove.

“Where I come from, when a man writes, ‘Dear A-Woman’s-Name’ on the top of a piece of paper in a bound notebook, it’s a diary.”

The man with the rifle retreated back under the silk and buffalo skins when the girl with the argyle socks approached him.  Before he could ask for information regarding his clothes, the girl slipped in along with him, and then said that she hoped he didn’t mind.  Silk and buffalo were reserved for guests and she didn’t want to pass up an opportunity to experience them.

“Your clothes are being washed and mended.  We’ve been here for nearly five days.”

“Where is here?” the man with the rifle pressed his back against the back wall of the alcove.

“My home.”

Panic replaced incredulity.

“Relax.  Nobody is going to be feasting on your well-traveled body.”

“How can you be sure?”

“I made them promise.”

The man with the rifle may have heard a few stories about the girl with the argyle socks’ people, but whether or not they were a tribe of integrity and trustworthiness was unconfirmed.  That he was still alive and cared for was no guarantee that they would let him go unscathed.   He asked her exactly what happened between the storytelling and the present moment.

The girl with the argyle socks turned towards the man with the rifle and then lay flat on her stomach.  She propped herself up with her forearms and detailed the last three days.  The young man who was placed in the care of the man with the rifle was indeed precious cargo.   The story that the girl with the argyle socks began telling caused the young man to vibrate with blinding amber light.

“We didn’t think there were any more like him left; and don’t worry, he is safe too.  His body carries within it the ability to fold space and time…like making a shortcut between two places.  Right before he turned too bright for me to keep my eyes open, I let go of one of your hands and reached for his foot.  I, uh, might have thought of home right as I touched him because we appeared on top of a cliff with a backdoor to my world.”

“And so you pushed me–”

No, I did not push you.  I had to give that man a good shove but you…you came willingly.  You followed me.”

The man with the rifle wanted to believe the girl with the argyle socks, but he couldn’t remember diving head-first into a dark hole.  He was taught never to venture into an environment in which you didn’t have an escape route.

“I gave you a choice.  I said, ‘I could get out of your hair right now and you’d never have to put up with me again, or you can follow me down there and have a rest.  You know you need it’.”

50-50.  Either he went of his own accord or she compelled him.  It almost didn’t seem to matter anymore because he had been tired for so long he’d forgotten what mental strength felt like. The girl with the argyle socks then continued with the sequence of events.

“I told my uncle and brother that you saved my life and in exchange, they were to spare yours.  I said we both needed a bath, food, and rest.”

He was clean, he was warm, he was dry, and two large eyes were imploring him to give their owner the benefit of the doubt.

“Who is Alexandra?”  the girl with the argyle socks turned onto her right side and rested her head on the palm of her right hand.


The girl with the argyle socks grumbled and sat up.

“Dear Alexandra, 

I don’t know if this letter will reach you or if it’ll sit crumbled up in the bottom of the wishing well.  Maybe you are still alive, maybe you’re not.  Maybe you had time to go underground, maybe you got lost.  The last thing I ever wanted to say to you is the last thing I would want to say to anyone.  You never needed me.  You were always the stronger one, the prouder one.  I could never be enough for you — you were always a step ahead, a lifetime ahead.  So don’t carry around any guilt or shame on my behalf.  If we meet again, I hope you had the life you wanted.  And maybe I will have found a small corner of the world for myself.”

The man with the rifle was silent.  He felt the girl with the argyle socks nudge his left calf with her foot–her bare-skin foot.  She wasn’t wearing the socks.  He turned his head to the left at the same time she turned to look at him.  He wasn’t the only one who had been bathed.  The girl who currently wasn’t wearing argyle socks had received a similar treatment as he could see that her skin was the color of light honey.  Her brown hair was still as long as her rib cage but it no longer looked like a wolverine had curled atop her head.

“Well?  First love, last rites?”

“First fairy tale, last romantic hero.”



Au Vent

I went walking towards the wind, leaning forward against the brunt of a bewitching speech.

~ Our pulses raged on like the Rockies aflame ~

I went dreaming towards the tree line, following the four-leggeds into a dense forest,

~ Our overlapping awakening caked on the walls like a book-burning ~

I went sledding down a hill towards my ancestors, spilling joy from snow drift to snow drift,

~ Our intersecting streets diverge, running parallel into infinity ~

I went careening into the breath of Kuan-Yin, a cup of tea for prosperity

~ Our last dance disintegrated into a hypothetical balanced beam ~

I went running with the voices of a millennium, her padded feet ever-ready
for my hungry, saving grace,

~ Your magnetic pole will no more enrapture, no more burn this traveler into a memory ~

I went under the earth of me, into the core of my own longing,
crates upon crates, all broken and superfluous,
I will take a broom to the dust, clear out a corner of the vintage printing press
for your tired soul.

And there will be no lingering,
for I go where the wind takes me, pulling and soaring, stumbling,
into the winds I project myself,
into the sands I bleed,
into the bands of brethren, I am enfolded
into the steady glow of a literary empire…

a work in progress, methinks.  Because sometimes you listen to the live version of an uplifting Chinese song followed by a bittersweet, sad Chinese song and the above words happen.


Limbo of Remembrance – Wang Feng

Suddenly I think of your face again,
Suddenly I think of the urge you had that day again
Clearly extinguishing starlight in the night,
In a trance, I saw your face again
A bit of sentimentality to the eye,
Seeking, I’ve returned to your side again
Bitterly settled comforting memory
Immediately scatters into shattered pieces of a starry sky

In the midst of a past winter’s night, I secretly turn back,
climb the far bank of an increasingly silver lake
You’re by the moon, a lightly shallow smile
You accompany me across the sheet of stars
In an intoxicated night, in the midst of wind,
I’m unwilling to turn my head around,
Unwilling to throw away
Don’t forget, unforgettable

One look, one time, a sudden pain in the core of the heart
Old friends, story, old affection only fall into emptiness
Before memory, vast in an awakened dream;
After forgetting, there are dreams within dreams

In the midst of a past winter’s night, wavering in the space between stars
Walk until the silver lake has no path
You’re by segmented clouds, lightly consoling
You wipe away that sheet of stars for me
In the midst of the billowing wind,
My heart is ruined and numb, a foot into empty

In the midst of piled memories
I suddenly think of your face again
I suddenly think of the urge you had that day again.