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Andrew T May 2018
You measure time by smoking cigarettes,
out on balcony where sunlight strokes
the wooden panels soaked from the rain
cast down from skies that are shades of blue
too beautiful to paint on a borrowed canvas,
once belonging to your mother
who brought it over while on a voyage
through endless waters, cumbersome,
an eternity to get through.
You are in Cartagena. And he is in Virginia.
You and him face-time, looking into screens,
to see if you’ve both aged, to see why
you both no longer smile at sarcasm and punchlines.
You look for jobs on your laptop,
while piano melodies flutter in the background,
nothing coming up in your search,
worth wasting time for. You read books
by Viet Thanh Ngyuen, talk to strangers in bars,
and sleep in until noon in a plush bed built
from hands you’ve never touched.
The clock, ticking on the wall,
a heart still beating under a cage of ribs,
and you don’t want to step foot
on a cold floor where dust refuses to collect,
a path laid out to the balcony
where you stand over the railing,
a dream in your muddied mind, a hangover
perhaps, a change in mood,
a wrist being bent, in an angle
that is in the direction of a journey
you will never take without a hand,
a guide, a push to get you going.
You take a photograph with your phone
of the place where Gabo used to sit and eat,
and drink and write. And you tell yourself,
“What a pretty desk, look how it stands upright.”
Andrew T Apr 2018
Hire me before I go off the deep-end
of this swimming pool at a rec-center,

bury me in designer clothes, packets
of sugar, make me something pretty.

I am tired. Debt has me shivering,
the heating bill needs to be paid,

I need to **** this coffee grinder,
in order to produce warmth.
Andrew T Jan 2018
A band played tonight
The first person walked inside
He saw things in black and white
He shook his head, and left.

A band played tonight
The second person danced inside
She saw the love and peace
She nodded her head to the beat.
Andrew T Nov 2017
We covered our bodies in blankets, in the shadows of each other, not wanting to admit feelings, that may have bloomed from an excess of drinking jack and smoking *****. We met each other in January, and you offered me a glass of red wine. I drank it and floated in your eyes, like laying in a bathtub full of warm water, just soaking in the heat. You played me your cello, gliding the bow across the strings, chuckling lightly when you made a mistake with your fingers. Maybe this isn’t love, maybe this is infatuation, and maybe I shouldn’t get ****** up when I’m hanging out with you. Because the moment I reveal how I truly feel about you, is the moment you can choose whether to hold onto my hand tighter, or push me away. Distance—a total of three months—made me contemplate our status together. I guess I never felt I was really good enough for you, and that’s what made me try that much harder to impress you. I thought impressing you, would drive you towards me. However, it’s not January anymore, it’s November, and my feelings for you still haven’t changed. I’ve waited for you, staring at my phone, hoping it would blink with a text. Last night, I’ll always remember. When the text popped up on my phone, I almost drove my car into the median. I shouldn’t be texting and driving. Maybe I shouldn’t be drinking and writing. I love how you poke your fingers up my nose, and laugh, and how you don’t mind when I do the same. I don’t know how to describe it, but when your body is pressed up against mine, I feel less dead inside. You make me feel happy. I wished I didn’t snore, so that I could lay next to you all night, without waking you up. Let’s agree not to argue, let’s agree not to fight. I don’t know how much longer you’ll be living in the city. And I’m not going to prevent you from getting on the next stop to your journey. Sometimes, I don’t know why I waited for you in the first place. But I’m sitting in this chair, smokes in hand, and I have this window to look out at. And I’m looking into the distance and realizing you’re not so far from me this time. You could be right; usually you’re always right. But I hope you’re wrong this time, I really do. I can’t promise you that I’ll never have feelings for you. It’s the way you look at me, as though you can see through my ******* and my façade, and still allow me to be vulnerable. And don’t even get me started on the kissing; because, when we touch lips, I feel we have enough electricity to recover the beat back into a resting heart. This is all still so surreal for me. Last night, didn’t feel normal. It felt better than normal. Just let it happen, you told me under your breath. I’m probably too honest with you. But at least you know how I feel.
Andrew T Jul 2017
Poets pray at the altar of their bed
for a chance to have one of their verses go viral.
If I snore during my prayers,
I've been spending my free time
trying to write you a letter.
You may read it like a voicemail,
and that's fine because I'm still a millennial.

For ex: I bought you this carton of Parliaments,
with the money I earned from changing diapers
at a daycare. We don't have to talk about the future,
because all that does is make me beg for a beer.

I caught feelings for you and you knew that.
because this rain pours from clouds high
in a white sky. It looks like a half-cut marble.
Jay told me to listen to his audio cassette tape,
and now I'm going to wait for you on this balcony.
Don't worry it's a story-high,
and I'm scared of blood.
Worse, I fear being mortal
in a world without you.
Andrew T Jun 2017
Walk the nature trail when it's dark outside and the children are fast asleep, tucked under blankets stitched by their immigrant grandfathers. Let your shoes soak in the muddy ground, collecting dirt and crushed leaves, as you walk deeper into the forest. The birds weep as their lullabies get lost and twisted in the shadows. A deer or is it a gazelle hurries across the dirt-trodden trail, leaping into the a patch of ancient shrubs. Somewhere, miles away from civilization, is a city running on the labor of your Vietnamese father, his hands caked in red brick dust and pollen. Currently, all that matters is that the tab of acid you've taken has settled in your belly, as you cross the corroded wooden bridge to the other side of the trail, where the young adults are playing the ukulele and drinking Heineken.

I am empty like the pill bottle on my brother’s nightstand.
Andrew T May 2017
Thu used to live in Saigon. When the war ended,
she had fallen in love with a boy who lived next door to her.
He was her first love. He would write love poems to her.
Sometimes they would hold hands.
Once they shared a kiss.
They were young and deeply in love.
But as the war finished, they moved on from each other.
The boy went to live with his family in Australia, while she moved to America.
After they broke up, Thu would still think about him.
He was the one who dumped her.
The breakup crushed her heart.
But she didn’t let it mar her dignity.
Time passed, Thu moved to Virginia
and she went to high school in Fairfax County.
The letters started pouring in from the boy.
But she had too much pride and she didn’t respond until one day.
That was the day that John Lennon was murdered
in cold blood.
She was heartbroken like every other person in the world.
Yet, she also thought of the boy and how much he loved John Lennon.
Thu remembers reading the newspaper, seeing John Lennon’s face
on the front page of the paper.
She took a pair of scissors
and cut a square around John’s face.
Then she wrote a letter to the boy.
And then she sealed the newspaper clipping and the letter in an envelope.
Begged her mom over the phone to send the letter to the boy.
Her mom was still in Saigon and somehow she made contact with the boy.
And she gave the letter to him.
A month later, she opened the mail and there was a letter from the boy.
She read the letter, stifled a cry, and then proceeded to write.
The next day she sent the letter.
Thu was happy to read his words.
It was as though she could hear his voice through his sentences.
Like he was there next to her, looking at her,
speaking to her spirit.
Days passed.
Weeks passed.
And then after a month, she realized he wasn’t going to respond back to her letter.
She couldn’t believe that he didn’t give her a response.

“And that’s the end of the story,” Thu said to her son.
“What do you mean that’s the end of the story? That can’t be the end!”
“Well you’re the writer, right? Think of an ending.”
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