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roanne Q Feb 2014
it depended on the week.
the clocks fell limp—for once
we felt no need in being

anchored to the planet.
space made more sense. leaving
patterns and trails so marvelous

a comet would blush.
but this is no heaven. angels do not wander
past our own dimensions:

                          all those miles may never go back.

we suckled nature’s poison in mouthfuls.
we dreamt in the gloom of wood. where
silence framed the heart

in every colour.
the sun craved soft oblivion, too. flirting
with caution signs and traffic cones

and finally, blood.
the colour of sunday evening. those darker holidays
i’d watch her study death:

                               for is not time the study of death?

a childhood spread early, easily, a lifeline like butter.
peter pan mastered dreams—and daggers. if you’re lucky
the devil might leave you

roses at your doorstep.
shoes off, what more did you hope to shed? at home
you learned to love yourself

from across the avenue.
so try again tomorrow, try again. try “Tomorrow--
everyone’s favourite one night stand!”:

                        because loneliness is more loyal than they will ever be.

then came the hour you yawned.
the sandman wept, too. stealing life away in sleep
but never knowing

what it meant to handle.
i heard you then, i listened after. during
those sad afternoons we spent

watching the light change.
a change so soft, a change seldom subtle. we learned
life was no slender hope:

                            to never apologize for feeling.

and that was the way you won.
you beat the traffic of our bodies. a heart that wore
a cape of good hope

echoing past the sea.
in a world as big as this one! i felt it
whispering, whispering

“yes, yes, yes!”—oh, i remember that day.
the graveyard, almost sick with flowers. for the loudest heart
only ever needed two words:

                           “you matter.”
november 2012
roanne Q Feb 2013
there’s a piano player
on the highest floor
who lends a different genre
to the san francisco fog,

the same piano player
whose lonely sound
deepens and blossoms
while everyone’s busy listening
to their own sad luxury.

this is for the piano player
who carves the chore
out of all those stairs
so the burn in our legs
can finally yield to our heartbeats,

the piano player
whose fingers we feel
but cannot see.
feb 2013
roanne Q Jan 2013
when i taste,
i am alone.
i am alone in this moment.
warm wind making love
to the candy green grass
and nearby, my open mouth:
a summer of oranges and chlorine
and the idea of someone else’s lips.

a curious lightness of the heart —
but i come back to my tongue
and my tongue only.

a million aftertastes
in the autumn that followed:
pomegranates bleeding in the kitchen
while the swimming pools
began to close
and those lips:
only a moment.
only an idea.

with taste i was alone.

with Sound
came restlessness:
a fresh morning
crowded and sweet
by the noise of the sun
that chose us.
that chooses us, still.

the sound of the bathroom sink
beating the alarm clock.
doors opening before eyes.
the sound of a strange tense,
of love in its past tense.

love craving a letter to wear on its tail,
and borrowing Death’s first —
how it leaves your teeth differently,
how it will come to remind you of this gift.

even the shy ones,
the sounds that happened while we were sleeping,
even those sounds from underwater,
where your voice returns to you
heavy and misshapen —

even there
when i listen
i don’t have to be alone.
jan 2013
roanne Q Jan 2013
in the event of loving someone
i learned it best from the flowers
on the corner of 19th and Diamond:
Remember your space, too.
dec 2012
roanne Q Jan 2013
to me, winter is cinnamon.
dotted ceilings make me itch.
5pm tells me "sleep" -- then
yellow fills me with "home".

there is something about you
that smells a lot like January.
a lot like blinking and train tickets.
sometimes i look at you and think
about the lazy curls of y's and g's
after they've been sleeping so long on
December's hardwood floors.  

and i don't know how else to say it.
is there a word for "waking up
with bruises by a lover
who was never

what about that kaleidoscope feeling?
how you unfold all over the place
when i turn inward.
at times nonsense.
at times ugly.

a lot like sea salt on dry land,
and fireworks that bloom
in the middle of the day.
dec 2012
roanne Q Jan 2013

for a fifth season:

a season unlike
the feeling of somebody,
synonymous to no one
but the trees, and how
they might be feeling

and an apology:

to the other four
i cannot undo.
dec 2012
roanne Q Jan 2013
you were never one for a proper greeting, were you? always paying attention to what was going on with the person in front of you, without recognizing the fact that you were next. life wasn't a one-man show then, and it certainly isn't now. but your drowsiness has long gone -- i almost didn't recognize you. and your carefulness -- i can see that's gone, too. you know what C whispered to me when i first saw you across this room? "there he goes, handling his women like he does his guns." i believed that. so don't talk to me about love and crime and money. the world has always tasted backwards to me.

oh please, i've been looking at you this way for years. only this time i don't have the excuse of it being spring. i haven't felt a proper spring since. i haven't -- [fingers drum in hesitation.]  i haven't felt anything since.

i said i haven't felt anything since -- i still remember everything that happened. and you're right, i'm getting away with it just fine. how nice, to finally be able to look at someone without all that gravity happening in you!

looking outside, it feels like i've been gone for far too long, but being in here -- i don't think i've been gone long enough. [clears throat.] did you miss me, darling?

you've changed.

i know. we're both thieves -- we can only ever be thieves, don't you understand? i'm not afraid of what you've done or what you've stolen to still be here. to be speaking to me, to be breathing before me. to be like -- like this. [right hand reaches toward sleeve but wilts on the countertop, a few inches away.] i want to know what you've hidden. it happens every year. think about it: it's almost winter. it's almost time for you to start distancing yourself from everyone around you. those sad things you do, those sad things we both do, they never happen in  the spring...spring is when winter surrenders it all. spring is when the bodies start to show up. autumn is dying, winter is dead, spring is when we have to clean it all up. but spring is when the light hits them just right and they look almost -- almost beautiful. not beautiful in what they were, but beautiful in their decay. beautiful that they're on their way to becoming...well, becoming no longer. ah, wasn't spring such a nice feeling?

that's precisely what i mean. so what is it you're burying from me now? why not tell me now? i'll never be younger than i am at this moment. what about now? i might just drive into the winter with you. [smiling.]

what? [stops smiling.]

i...i don't have time for this. he's waiting for me outside.

i can't say i imagined this, either.

[leans closer in silence.]

sounds to me like you still might be asleep there, yourself. [leans away, smiling.]

oh, what would you know about beautiful mornings? you were never awake to appreciate them! no matter how hard i nudged you.

you were always so tired then.

terrible. [turns away.] and so warm. [smiling.]

...i know. we both are.
oct 2012

part one:
the title "kissing sally in the smoking-room" (c) virginia woolf, *mrs dalloway*
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