of course

a white man’s perverted tea garden,
a representation of nature with roads
and a mission, to swat ball in hole:
conquerable, driver-friendly nature.

bring your visors,
and your khaki shorts,
leave your women.
they chortle as one old fellow putts it in.

central dusk

low disc sun
burns across the cornfields
This is America’s flat belly.
Americans - fat bellied
jumble for a pop
a granary gleams
cornstalks grow high
as the fructose

white fear


white fear is white evil seeing itself
when it knows what it raped and enslaved for its wealth,
can’t but project vengeful and violent plans
on the body and mind of the victimized man.
Philando, Oscar, Alton, and Tamir
caught in the crosshairs of violent white fear.
white fear is a coward, it shoots in the back,
it crushed thousands of innocent lives in Iraq.
white fear is the sermon that sanctifies greed
to serve banquets of corpseflesh we can't even eat.

Dream of Thrones

The undead are a frustrated bunch. They want to let their weary souls rest, and yet the current administration of King’s Landing is bent on preventing them from reaching the magical pool in the depths of the Red Keep where they can drown their misery permanently.

Lucky for these tortured, half rotten lot, the new king Tommen has resolved that he will read an incantation at waters edge which will allow the zombies to dissolve themselves in the dark water. Cersei takes issue with this, and sliding down the catacomb stairs at an alarming rate, she tries to knock the book from Tommen's hand. Instead she ends up falling into the water where there razor lined tentacles of strange squids whip about hungrily. 

As legions of zombies begin willfully plunging themselves into the waters to be nullified, Cersei looks on for a horrified, reluctant moment before being consumed by the nearest hell-squid.

The Spider

I saw a spider, greenish black
and purple in her sheen
she scuttled quickly into cracks
in walls and in between
the universe and two-niverse
yet catch her as I tried
she always found the creviest
of corners where to hide
I passed my hand through swaths of web
they danced out from my fingers
still somewhere at the garden's edge
my friend, the spider, lingers.

Reading Yourself to Sleep

This essay presents a technique that can be helpful for those with trouble falling asleep, or those who would like to advance their dream practice by achieving an increased awareness of the transition from wakefulness to sleep.  

Falling asleep has never been easy for me. My parents were well aware of this fact as my childhood self would make frequent late night trips into their room, looking towards the comfort of their presence as a salve for my fear and insomnia. 

My mom is herself a lifelong warrior in the struggle against unwanted wakefulness, and my constant arrival in her and my father’s bedroom at odd hours of the night was a huge nuisance. She was quick to give me a piece of advice that I have been using ever since to help myself fall asleep. 

Read.

Grab a good book, slip under the covers, start reading, and before you know it, find yourself reading right off the side of page, your mind drifting into a funky creative territory as your eyes start to droop and your head goes limp. 

You snap out of it, determined to consume another page, but you know that for better or worse, sleep is on the way. These little blips in the flow of normal waking thought are called hypnogogia. For someone with problems falling asleep they are a welcome arrival. 

As I’m reading my way to sleep, I continue until these hallucinations become overwhelming enough to put my book aside and turn off the light.

This is where my tried and true strategy hits a major road bump - one that I only just recently discovered a solution to. As soon as I set aside my book, my mind goes back into internal dialogue mode. I start thinking about a recent conversation or a trip I want to plan. In this state of mind, the hypnogogia often recedes, and I find myself once again laying awake unable to sleep. 

The solution came to me as I started considering what it is about the state your mind goes into while reading that makes it easier for hypnogogia to manifest compared to when you are thinking. When you are reading, your mind is an open, receptive state - observing and consuming information. Thinking by contrast, is a creative activity. You are planning, responding to your own thoughts, and actively generating the next line of internal dialogue.

Thinking aligns the conscious mind with creation. Reading aligns the conscious mind with consumption. 

Sleeping and dreaming correspond more closely with reading in this sense. In these states, the subconscious takes the reins of the mind’s creative engine, while the conscious mind sits back and observes. This is explains why it’s easier for the experiential logic of dreams to manifest in the mind of a reading person than a thoughtful one. 

This train of logic lead me to a thought(less) experiment which I recommend trying. After you set aside your book for the night and turn off the light - keep reading. 

Refuse to let the mind drift into a train of internal dialogue and instead look for the words etched in light onto the blankness of your mental blackboard. If there were anything there to read, what would it be? Once you have read one line or phrase, look for that next word instead of thinking it.

You might find that as you read in the darkness, hypnogogia greets you even more effortlessly than it does during normal reading. It is easier to hold the images, content and sensations of these hallucinations in awareness, observing them and surrendering to them as they shuttle you into the land of dreams.

singapore

poets see lines in their minds
as they strive to be scribes at the
start of the page

what I’m “writing" for her's not a 
poem then, since I’m moved not by
words, but image

a portrait of peacefulness etched in the sky
framed by contrails of jets and yet,
in my minds eye

as real as an architect’s opus in steel
as the slow turning cars on the big ferris wheel
as olors of 稀飯, 烤鸭, and goreng
as the orchid’s speckles, bromeliad’s fangs
as these smooth lettered keys that I tap with my hand
as my journal, which mentions her, on the nightstand

things concrete, molecular - yes, they exist
but when I glance up just one 
image persists

eyes I can smile at for hours and days
a bonfire of warmth I can 
trust with my gaze

so when my friends ask, “why are you off in space?”
this city’s a notebook, I’m
writing her face.

If you're reading this, I'm going to assume you're not reading this

I was talking with a friend over some street food on a sticky night in Northern Thailand. He described something he had been through which was all too familiar to me as a writer.

He had reach a point where he was creating ferociously - writing every day and coming up with seemingly endless content, all of which he kept in a private folder on his laptop. So great was his creativity that he decided he wanted to share his work.

So, he started posting his writings up onto Facebook. At first it was a great success. He posted up one article from his private folder each day and continued producing more content.

Then, after a few days had gone on like this he started looking at the reactions to his posts. He noticed familiar names popping up in the list of people who had liked his post - a friend from high school, a woman who he admired, a mentor whose opinion he valued. He was initially excited to see that his work was getting all this attention.

But the next day, as he approached the page to lay down a sentence, doubts filled his mind. What will my mentor think if I write this? Is my crush going to realize this is about my ex? Does it matter?

The same laptop screen where he’d succeeded as a solitary scribe had transformed into a terrifying soapbox from which each word had rippling implications stifling their own expression. Most importantly - he now felt pressure to be good. There was no longer room for crufty passages or awkward phrasing. 

For a month, the creative faucet ran dry. The words accumulating on his laptop felt forced and stunted. Nothing was reaching a finished form, and nothing was shared.

Frustrated with the creative block, he finally resolved that he wouldn’t write with the intention of sharing. It was just going to be for him. He sipped strong coffee and found his voice again, filing away thoughtful anecdotes to the private folder on his laptop. 

___________

Audiences are not the enemy of the writer - but they must be understood. It’s important for us as writers to own how our audiences can coax the best from us - rather than letting the expectations of our audience own our creative process.

We have a bit of a mental trick to play on ourselves. If we can separate the intended audience during the creation stage from the eventual exposure audience, we might actually get that wonderfully imperfect piece out to our readers. 

We toil over a heartfelt love poem for the person we’ve been dreaming about. When we find out they got back together with their ex before we had a chance to press send, we use it as the “about me" text in our OkCupid profile.

Pinnacle

A nervous circle
fragrant room
our raft a bed
tub jet rapids lie ahead
intentions, attention to details
exhales… inhales… 
what to expect?
a tender tricep.

yoga poses, meditations
should we have the lights on?
are you feeling it?
who is feeling it. 
bitter water.
our time is standing
still with arms outstretched
rubbed by a hundred hands

sensations escalate
empathy blooms
scatter brained crazy love head kids 
rolling funny on the floor
cuddling baby bunnies
collapse into feelings

shavasana
for the ringing of the bowls

bathing in resonance
a bowl on your belly
a bowl on her hip
our bowls are full tonight
overflowing with loving vibration
souls syncing sweetly
in frequency
let’s bathe again!
all in the shower
before we fully immerse
chilly tikes tottering down 
skipping a broken stair
are we there yet
are we there yet?

oh my god. 
hot water feels amazing.
the word “temperature-gasm” 
is experienced fully by each
penguin in the flock 
as they dunk into the steam
locked in our invincible paradise
what’s next? another wash - our souls
open
open hearts shattering into
shameless open strength

poets lock hands
An orange falls from a stand
a shopkeep looks on as a little boy
picks it up
rips the skin off with his teeth
licks the sticky juice as it rolls down 
the corners of his mouth
poets breath. 

soothing a dozen lubed calf tensions
basking in beauty beyond comprehension
beyond going back
in this world magic sap
oozes from each of the crinkles and creases
of grins that’ll never wipe off of our faces

in this sap, there’s a mineral
ancient and wise
we can smear on our palms
and rub into our thighs

in other words:
I love you guys.

Alamother's Day

sunlit iridescent hair
adventure bread that isn’t there
songs we almost learned to sing
a grass stained knee to lift a ring

Converse momma bleaches white, 
conversing lightly, since last night
what’s left to say? Let’s say we trade
an embrace for a serenade.