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Inspired by this year’s 400th anniversary Shakespeare celebrations, #wordswelivein explores the words we encounter every day and the stories they tell about our lives and communities. The initiative comes to life through live events, social media and text-and-image works by writers from around the world.

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Day 24: Day of Rest

H.M.S. arrives on a too-moderate late squall, asking after Harvest Moon. Not far from hump mountain, so many gone absent. Survivors shrug and keep search for pretty white egg. Rifle through wood cabinet. Sprinkle silt from incinerator. Snack traitors set up feed around scatter city plateau. Many alpaca relying on nothing big predator, dry climate, the kind of social fresh curiosity. We left delicate systems of red sticks, plastics, ramshackle teddybears to manufactured open-minded flags still tending gray senior building. Still dreaming cosy dwelling. H.M.S. lure hiders through mythical dessert and long departure spaghetti promises. Says everywhere I go I bring the flood.

Maybe winter passed. Maybe someone near raise many faces to visit, introduce breeding to northern part of week. This is not that next big thing which follow from past.

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I prefer to watch the poster

I prefer the poster extirpated from that fucking wall
—one torn to shreds, possibly by a wild little kid or,
I imagine, by a deranged schizophrenic— Each torn piece
less capable of expressing context. A torn poster such as this is a vomit of impunity;
although, it seems a map of a world unwanted made visible by NASA
to neoliberalize this repugnant vacancy. It seems to the rivers,
and to the deepest seas from a satellite view of the earth
that neither you nor I are the masters of our dreams, we owe them
to neoliberalism for we happened to have been born here, we came
to blame everything known, or if you want, better open your eyes
and slather the lids with glue, so they stay open while we wait for the train to deliver us for slaughter. I prefer to see that ripped poster, deconstructed layers
on the wall of the train station than jump across the third rail
to pick up my cell phone and die in a dishonorable way.

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When you tell me at night no [bird] I still want

I asked the broker where is want and she took me to the trees.
I could afford: Tree of Heaven, tree of invasion, tree of filling space.
And so, Ailanthus altissima, starling of trees, petted my bedroom window
each night. New York has a million hungers working like gravities.
Say you disembark, a mosaic of light grabs at your fractured self—
your arm, your knee—and says (oh, jealousy) AT LONG LAST.  At my back
a widow waits a decade. Yearly, she lays out the grief, the gun, the locks,
the candles, the cuffs and calls to her husband, “You must answer to get help.”
From an empty place our hands touch an empty sign that says Take
One. Oh please, put your hands on any none. A hundred years ago the mastodon
lay still, inhumed under Inwood. You can see the bones now (every looted tooth
returned) in the museum, that lockbox of the untouchable touched.

At the start, when we first talked of nightfall, we meant that on the land
a physical darkness physically fell. Want is in the fall risk and I want it in my hands.

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SASSILICIOUS is a word found in my Homeland

Born a kaleidoscope of catastrophes
mother spoke me future, I, a commandment – lived.

My heart beat is a millionaire. Question
are we the riches Christ would apologize for?

Money like daydreams is a place of worship. O Come
holy bank account, please dress me appropriately
for the sins I cannot afford. I am flying economy
to a third world country where my ancestor’s
unstitched the fabric of slave trade with machete.

I am in awe of the cloud gallery we flew past.
Hallowed rain-museums big as an island. Everything
in this sky has been alive longer than we invented music.

I'm a calypso of living, joyous as a whispered prayer
we all say when a plane sings its wheels to the ground.

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Signs She is Made of Ice

She doesn’t bleed. Years ago, he made himself at home in her mind. To adjust, she shifted, only several degrees, but look how far her vector has gone astray. He claimed he could smell it when girls were on their periods, he knows when her period is coming. She, too, is desperate to be a hunter. Instead she received only an invitation to join the Mad Girls Club. She tore up the card, stood in front of the mirror, sliced her image to ribbons. So many acute angles, sharp like stars. One eye remained, a Chinese eye.

She would always be watched by that eye, rolling like a loose marble inside her, down her tongue, perched at the tip. The wet pink muscle, lying in wait. Like stars, like islands, like dreams of a parallel world. China doll world was hardly a vacation. Report all Chinese activity in the daily newspaper. Surveillance at all times. Yet my tongue reports nothing. Somewhere, there may have been movement, but that story is in cold storage. Freeze your eggs, and also those years. Encase all bodies still left in your mind in ice too. Blood slows. Pain cannot register. The most humane way to kill cold-blooded creatures, the newspaper reports.

If he gives chase, it’s hard not to run, I know. Once, they froze her feet in blocks of ice. Mad girl, standstill. Signs of blood, signs of ice, signs of girl, those will all fall away. If you don’t move.


What good is an ocean if not a ready suicide?
An island for an island, we dream of water
even when escaping and so we too die
for anything gold plated and washed,
our name on our chest. The rich port
sinks into our breath, a ship sails
with each soft wepa. We know
there are no soft wepas, only the Gag
Law after the yell, the unconscious
memory of la bandera, its original blue.

Here both the concrete y la arena
converse and break each other
ni de aquí ni de allá, bartering  
as we all float away.