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touka Sep 25
It was winter
I sat there waiting for you
when I knew I shouldn’t be

in the passenger seat of that
blue and silver volkswagen

the grey of the dashboard
stretching out
into the pale dusk of the road
the scene was monochrome

not flat, not nondescript
the clouds just before snow
the grass just before ice
the time for color to drain away
and come back fuller in spring
it seemed just right

I knew it shouldn’t

I wake and remark
the cold in my bundled clothes
the cheerlessness of winter
every shade of grey
bleeding into one another

looking beyond that dashboard
from inside your empty car

I wonder why it seems so beautiful

I think that it was
my winter clothes
and your car
and the pre-snow

a scene
that held your memory
a scene that could still hope for who you’d be

a scene that you weren’t in
a scene that was all me
gloved and hatted in
the fabrics of Corinthians 13


I wonder why it seems so beautiful

I think that it was me
touka Sep 25
there’s never any woman
who is more unfortunate to be a woman
than the woman
who is near you

now, I’ve got no idea of beauty
but when you said “I love your femininity,”
I can coalesce what you meant


soft, accessible, permissible
the earthly mans ego-stroking
of what it means to be
“A Proverbs 31 woman”

a beauty, meaning

something to reflect you
a mirror with a nice rack
a way to hear yourself talk
again and again and again and again
stripped bare for you
mouthing it all back

“you’re beautiful,”

it sounds
so very, very, very ugly
when I know just what you mean

how dare you make
sound like something like that

I’ve got no idea of beauty
still reconciling femininity
my womanhood
still reconciling me

but I’ll never fit your narrative
or engage with your empty analects
of what it means to be

because you don’t know how to

and you certainly don’t know beauty
  Sep 22 touka
it’s hard to imagine a life
without jumping on countertops
pipe hazardously balanced
between our eager hands
exchanging smoke in between kisses
and kneeling over with
squinty eyes and cheeky laughter
  Mar 3 touka
Thomas W Case
When I was  
I had to learn
sit and wait to  
I  would get
impatient and force it.
If you read it,
you could tell.
Now I’m quite a bit older, and
I quit trying.
Fodder seems to be  
I can write about
the most mundane
Today I’m at the  
library waiting for my
girlfriend to
finish up at the dentist.
She’s getting her  
teeth cleaned.
All my drinking ruined  
my teeth.
When I got them  
pulled a year ago,
there wasn’t a  
good tooth in my head.
I have dentures now, so
I don’t have to  
worry about how much I drink.
I know this isn’t a
very good poem, but
there she is
all shiny and bright…  
and sober.
  Jan 3 touka
Stay here
when everything says run.
Stay here
when the jaw grinds shut.
Stay here
when the breath runs thin.
Stay here
when you're out of your skin.
Stay here
when the drink calls quietly.
Stay here
when the voice says spitefully,
"you're not enough"
when it comes to this stuff,
running feeds the fire
and true healing requires
staying here.
touka Dec 2022
I am fixed
to the walls of this house

so tightly joined to it,
this bed
through sinew and bone

thread, thread, thread

another plait into me

the night, the breed she is
with that ****** needle
and thread, thread, thread

knows I can’t stand within it
the vignette
the solitude

the white coats,
the men of the word
those in the mire of the clay
all prescribing the same thing

a hit of perseverance

“Oh, okay,”

“oh, okay,”

“oh, okay.”

I lick, lap at
the slow drip
so tightly fixed to where I always have been

don’t come in,
don’t go out

“I’m sorry,”

in the pooling of spit
one hand in the *****
reaching into the pit

the *******
I don’t say in vain


she waits
loosens my thread
slips those little tethers
so much good slack

I run
take my hit of perseverance
I burn
burn, burn, burn
right up in the fire of day

she waits for the ash

the sun rises and sets
on the same thing, always


they don’t understand
those free feet, walking the narrows
I watch them all go
no wince, no limp

no thread, no spit

the way that it seems,
from my portion of shadow,

“Oh, okay,”

so easy
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