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Feb 2014 · 601
annie died today
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
Feb 2013 · 3.3k
to the piano player
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
Jan 2013 · 1.3k
for a lonely body
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
Jan 2013 · 683
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
Jan 2013 · 874
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
Jan 2013 · 1.1k
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*
roanne Q Jan 2013
listen, the world has changed plenty since you've last shown your face around here. nowadays, a name is the last thing we learn, if we ever do learn it. flirting is boring, death is a dinner topic, happiness is strange. pain is good. things taste backwards -- but oh, do they feel sweet. love and crime no longer compete for the gold: guess what sweetheart, they've got it, and they're sleeping together.

oh come on, don't look at me like that.

you've always underestimated your own heart, you know. and mine, for that matter. you can get away with a lot of things with a heart now -- i suppose that's another thing that's changed. remember how we used to be under its mercy? remember how we couldn't cope with the traffic of our bodies until it finally sighed some soft, silly sentence?

how long have you been gone, anyway?

no, no, that's not how it works. it isn't really a question of whether i missed you or not. that word doesn't mean anything anymore. it's become quite the popular prop. i don't have a word for what it's been like while you were--

what? what do you mean i've changed? if there's anyone who's changed it's you! i haven't changed for the sake of entering this world: look, darling, we're all thieves of space and time, and i'm just one of many trying to survive.

but...yes, i do suppose those days were nice. in their own way. when we were buried treasure. when closeness was something you had to earn first.

hey, you're smiling.

i'm not kidding -- you really are. should i stop?

well, i can't say i imagined you'd be back here again.

you want to know something, though? alright, i'll tell you.

if there's one thing i'm glad hasn't changed at all, it's how we wake up. it doesn't matter what happened hours ago. forget about what your skin remembers. can you believe it, we still manage to wake up! after all this!

i think a lot of it has to do with how competitive, how scared everyone feels. because after that, even after that, there's still that pleasant feeling of shared space. and then the silent sunrise. and then the beautiful morning.

i know.

i know, i know.

and yeah, you're still smiling.
oct 2012

part two:
the title "kissing sally in the smoking-room" (c) virginia woolf, *mrs dalloway*
roanne Q Jan 2013
how strange, the cloudy kindness
of the graveyard and its limbs,

and how different, earth
and any room must be,

darkened with the lust
and cheerless shapes

of people, who believe
everything they think.

so we sleep in hope, for a place
of hours flushed with health,

when new seasons mean
remembering, those seasons

when you no longer
missed home all the time

and wondered
where it went.
sep 2012
Jan 2013 · 998
lessons from that summer
roanne Q Jan 2013
Evil sleeps in an orchard
not far from here.
The apples sweat him out.
Dressed as god, the Sun
watches and nods.
He bleeds for them
out of his own mouth.

A god's mask
means protection.
But in time,
he will **** them dry.

And autumn will fall.
Postures will fall.
Pulses will fall,
like pills,
like poison.

A cloud forest
signals the first
of the shadows.

Summer is nocturnal.

A buttery Moon
leaves the world
warm and breathing.

The trees stir,
the stars hiccup,
and Nighttime climbs onto the birdbath
where it tells you all its tricks.

Evil blinks from a tree
where the apple skulls
The garden combs you
through its arteries,
your midsummer grave.

A beautiful accident
closes in on itself.

And then a light like milk.
And then the whistling.

Summer whistles in the dark:
The sound of Evil kneeling
to the imagination
undoing him.

A deadly glow
a romance
on the white fences.

Nighttime draws dust
away from your shoulders,
translates Summer sound
and says,

You are your own harvest.

Your madness is only there
when you want it to be.
aug 2012
roanne Q Jan 2013
This is not an accident. I used to call him
a lazy criminal. Scooping hearts and spilling blood,
leaving footprints, fingerprints. Stains.
Eyes folding over -- the blindman or the beggar?
Lips that blossomed into blueprints.
Hands that rhymed with dreams, instead.

The weeknights, dark and warm
in a season of curled paper.
No speaking -- guilt only follows
past the second trip through the door.  
And then the mornings.
More sun in him than the greenhouse
where we watched dragonfly wings.
A pattern about him
like dragonfly wings.

In those days we knew
what it meant to point
without wounding.
We knew how to need someone
without wanting,
without loving.
jul 2012
Jan 2013 · 738
half past nine
roanne Q Jan 2013
Tonight at half past nine, meet me
in the olive grove. Deconstruct your sweetness:
I like it when you steep your voice in venom.
Tell me the names of graveyard flowers, and pluck,
pluck them clean, pluck them
at your knees,
pretend they aren't for me.
Bring me stories of caves in their nakedness,
 bring me my Atlantis.
And under this mustard streetlight,
remind me of your secret,
for tonight at half past nine,
only the moon is culprit.
jul 2012
Jan 2013 · 1.1k
neptune continues
roanne Q Jan 2013
July saw you drinking mimosas
underneath a tree that wept shadows.
You were never one for cloudless days
by the sea. Silver wax over golden dust.
You are beginning to realize
blue might be the loneliest colour
when caught without the sun.

Yet only the ocean can speak of love in any tense.
Look at how it creates and destroys
at the same time.
Look at how
it carries on.
jul 2012
Jan 2013 · 1.4k
raspberry blood
roanne Q Jan 2013
her hands: blooming. sugar, hot
and humming. those wrists, sweet,
no longer sticky. yet stubborn,
reigning the laughter of two years ago.

her lips: fruit. ripe, or rotten, you
no longer remember. still, they remind you.
sin is where your body overruns your soul.
let nature trespass you once in a while.

all she wanted, to be left alone
with sky and sea. something you,
not even you, could give her. life
began to leak away in her voice,

“if the world does not stop, darling,
i just might.” and you could taste
the blood in her sigh, all those
leftovers from two years ago.

her body: gardens. the former home
of such a lovely pulse. you liked to visit
her a lot. she was once a prison of colour
in your foggy seaside town.

but the air that day: salty. streetcars unfolded
in faces you did not know. you felt the world in
past tense. “it is not only the city you have left
behind.” and your message did not reach her.
jun 2012
Jan 2013 · 510
roanne Q Jan 2013
we were
on the fault lines
of our ugly shadows 

and whispering
heat and dust

we remembered,


it is okay
to scream.

we might
be cursed with
ugly shadows

just think

of how
the sun

jun 2012
Jan 2013 · 734
luna & the tides
roanne Q Jan 2013
you are here because
you come and go.
like a tide pool, she said.
the waterbottles have gone warm
and you don’t mind.
by the ocean you already understand
that you cannot know everything.
there will always be people
who decorate sidewalks
in a sleepy slaughter,
stepping on berries
they don’t even know
the name of.

and you remember that program
you stopped on while she was out
fetching the mail. the camera locked on
to people painting their bodies
with the seeds of fruit.

the moon and your candles,
that night.
washing you both
in a pineapple glow.

you are here because
you come and go.
it must hurt, to have a body
nineteen years young, she said.
crawl out of the cave
and listen closely, now.
the ghosts on the shore
are here to tell you
a sad thing.

love is no longer
the summer solstice
you dreamt of once.
jun 2012
Jan 2013 · 607
(2 of 2)
roanne Q Jan 2013
a man,
in a slow dream

in the last light
of who left before him

a lost youth, where
the air is still sweet,

the shade, wild
as the flowers

who carved them
on her shoulders:
the very same ones

all over the world
ache for.

the lazy labyrinth
of fingerprints,

the spring dust
settling atop

the sun
hiding under
her half-moon eyelids,

his fluency
returns to him
in her taste.

to be stung

where all are wise
but he.

for the man
who walks
in a slow dream

of she

put him
may 2012

the line "a man walking in a slow dream" (c) f. scott fitzgerald, *tender is the night*
Jan 2013 · 688
roanne Q Jan 2013
moss outgrowing angels
in the baby fog
of dawn.

the place
peeling stories
out of you,
the pretty face
invading you,
making you want
to talk to someone,

he calls it eden.

here, the fingernail moon
is playing modest.

here, the stars
have room to think,
and because they think

they also want to know

about why words tremble
under the tongue, how
body beats brain,
and they beg, but

how do i tell them
about the man

with the laugh like confetti
breaking the sun into fire,
that sweet, sweet fire
of constellations that bite
my nerves, about the man
forging the sky on his chest,
the lightning in my legs?

he was there, you see,
from the first handshake
to the fatal heartbeat
at the other end
of the vein.

blood thinning under
quick kisses of glass,

the words fidgeting
out of our wounds
mean nothing,

the mouth spreads
like butter.

ankles protest
and i float to you,

but it looks like
you're leaving
for that world,

back to that world,
where we smile at screens
instead of at each other.
may 2012
Jan 2013 · 747
Solitude, by her hands
roanne Q Jan 2013
i take Solitude by her hands
and tell her, i'm in love.

fingers ripened by
moonlight, milky
and cold, like stones.

my skin changes colour
when she touches me.
it hurts, lately.
i wilt, i pray
she doesn't see.

but the dark, heavy
gloss that becomes
her eyes.

i distract her, sometimes
the truth works, too.

i take Solitude by her hands
and tell her please stay.
i tell her don't leave me,
i tell her i need you.

she calls me a liar, she says
there's no more room
for me in your heart.

it's the way you look at trains
until they are no longer.
you wait for the tunnel
to swallow.  

i've never taught you that.

you think i can't tell?

how you watch the marquee
for anyone else but you.
god, i can hear you so clearly.
"that's the one you want, sir.
it leaves in four minutes."
but please, won't you stay
a little longer, and
speak with me?

it's the way your body responds
to the doorbell, she says so
quickly, too quickly, it gives you
away, even if it were the devil
himself, you would not hesitate.
but please, won't you stay
a little longer, and
speak with me?

i take Loneliness by his lips
and tell him, this should be
done slowly, i tell him
to be careful with her
colours and lovely guts
and creeks, that lazy water
happening, happening
when we sleep, i tell him
that i need her but
i don't know how
to need without
wanting any more

i take Solitude by her hands
and tell her, i'm in love.

teeth get in the way and
her eyes close, she says
i cannot feel you.
you've already left.

i take Loneliness by his lips
and welcome him, inside me
a storm steeps, cloudy
and somewhere else,
a fire, snapping.
may 2012
Jan 2013 · 795
roanne Q Jan 2013
one day, a name
will escape the body.
the lungs, the mouth,
the minute hand

shelter has changed,
no longer being
disguised in you--i
disappear. your shadow,
too, no longer shade.
it feels like smoke.

(such sweet smoke.
darkness, **** on
the tongue, sweet
down the throat.)

and while all this was
happening somewhere
inside me, the nectar
dissolving, the poison
becoming--i bet
you could not ignore
the sorry taste of hallelujah
apr 2012
Jan 2013 · 493
distance suits you
roanne Q Jan 2013
the view out the window from
the night stand. not as colourful
as they make it seem. more like
an accidental
discovery. more like
the last traces
of winter.
clouds that look like
chalk. communication
in a coma. i am overflowing
with empty words.
i am being
extinguished. by
feelings that
are not there. by
feelings that
should be there.

i had a nightmare about you
afterwards. and even there
i only thought one thing:
this isn’t what i pictured.
this isn’t what i pictured
at all.

someone once told me,
“distance suits you.” i think
i finally understand them.

wouldn’t you agree?

after all, no one can
pull off the look
of two strangers
better than we can.
apr 2012
Jan 2013 · 544
a silent interview
roanne Q Jan 2013
daffodils creep at the cusp of May
and your shadow glides beside them.
they want to know
why i do the things i do,
who casts the spell behind these symptoms.
they arouse with the purr of questions
and derail with the burn of exposure.
why do you leave through the front door
of even the most crowded bus
just to say "thank you" to the driver?
why are you crammed with receipts
when you are so afraid to spend?
why do you still drown in the cascades
of the one who did this to you?

why? i don't know why.
if i long for those places
punctuated with laughter,
why do i choose the last train car?

we meet at a stairwell littered in the signs of a dying hour.
you manufacture mysteries at the blinking of your eyes,
you unfold in sunny patterns at the dancing of your lips,
dangerous, but nurturing. yet still,
i want to say that you are like a dream,
an assemblage of cells and concerns
into something more than what my reality can afford.
but instead, i only sigh, and you start to leave,
and you take your shadow with you,
your sleeve indulging in the gap swallowing mine.
love, lust, loneliness--they are nothing
but the language of the human sigh.
the daffodils are nothing
but the symmetry i don't have access to.
May is nothing
but a crater behind April curtains.
and we are nothing but Pandora's pet,
the last on the list
of Aphrodite's errands --
a still life study of human beings.
apr 2012
Jan 2013 · 661
a nameless thought
roanne Q Jan 2013
light littering a space in which i wish to sleep.
April-eyed chance, February-born desire,
failure spun by March.
fragrant trees on a campus weekend,
no one there to enjoy them.
walking slowly, and overestimating.
you can always count on reality to rush.
multiple copies of a book, only one in use.
truth rounded with the smog of manners,
where risk and restriction struggle.
foretaste of feelings on Wednesday,
and all too soon, your Thursday words
bleached with Friday morning.

i suppose death, too, is painful,
but then i remember
what it means
to sustain.

to know what you never will.

to know envy for the pages fluent
in the warmth of your fingers.
never knowing, what it must be like
to interrupt the coolness of your glasses
against the silent flame of your skin.
to know about the hidden avenues in your hair,
my hands have dreams about crossing.

i suppose knowing is painful,
as it is to know
these breaths i withdraw
to lock you
in my language:

they are all so terribly useless.
mar 2012
Jan 2013 · 515
roanne Q Jan 2013
your reflection joins mine in the window.
the world is sunbathing.
languid, glowing, lovely.

and i seem to have forgotten
it is already nighttime.
mar 2012
Jan 2013 · 395
roanne Q Jan 2013
tuesday. the sky, a violent blue:
even the clouds begin to sigh.

a grim sort of heaven cascading—
uninvited, expected—into our negative space.

it says, youth is poison.

youth is the colour of a forest fire.

the small of my back retains the warmth from before
and i am thinking, for us both: the misery of a body.

the late afternoon exudes with such tragedy
that our words can hardly contain them.
feb 2012
Jan 2013 · 405
a memory, by a memory.
roanne Q Jan 2013
in daylight
i consume,
by nighttime
am consumed.
jan 2012
Jan 2013 · 573
glass ocean
roanne Q Jan 2013
on the cliff, breathing the nighttime fog coating last
february, where the world was upside down, all
those stars collected under our shoes: there the gravity
around you began to change shape. the moon
already knew this would happen, yet she warned me
of nothing and instead she wept. it was not the stars
who shamed her crescent, but the smile i wore beside you.

in her waxing and waning, i told her many things
about you, the moon listened and later forgave
as my smiles were shadowed by heartache. oh, but
had she been the sun watching the warm pool
of mornings where you were there with me,
i would have been left especially lonely.

the moon repeats you, i cannot see her right now.
we have spoken little in winter, still i look up, i am
at a place where the world is upside down: here
the stars are as uncommon as she is, instead i explore
her glass ocean. i cannot see her right now, but at
last her voice is here to shield me from drowning. she
says, “it has been many a month since i have last seen
that shadowed smile you are wearing, but it is for your sake,
and for the sake of the stars, that i hope it is your last.”
jan 2012
Jan 2013 · 609
roanne Q Jan 2013
we’re not too sure about these people
we’ve become, minimalists in deliverance
but gluttons in our feeling—protecting our
belongings but not really protecting them
at all, while yielding ourselves to those
people who join us on our train home.
though we might confess, in hesitance, how we were
moved to tears by the man in the window seat
who ignored his reflection as we rode through
a tunnel, how we suddenly began to crave
bare flesh when the hood of her jacket barely
blessed our shoulder, and even how we swore
we saw the outcome of our lives as we were
stung by the eyes of a stranger—we quietly crave
this power to distort somebody. it is a language
we are already fluent in, yet we all dream about
how great it must be, to be able to adjust
sentiment purely by thinking or touching.
jan 2012

— The End —