poetry, photography, etc.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


The Chinese are always very frightened of the drowned one, whose weeping ghost, wet hair hanging and skin bloated, waits silently by the water to pull down a substitue.

—Maxine Hong Kingston

My uncle haunts me
stands on the toilet while I shower
eyes ringed with shadow
looks down over the curtain.

Fog clears on the mirror
reveals his bloated face
skin tight and shiny
jaw slack, pale open
lips with turned up corners
his eyes follow me as I
dry my hair, but he
can’t blink.

When I lay in bed at night
his knock is hollow on my door
mom said not to answer
not to let him in.

They never speak his name aloud
a ghost; it lingers on the edge of lips
unsaid. I break the silence
whisper Tim
turn the doorknob,
let him in.

The Fairy Ring

This cassette tape celebrated my birth
has played as many years
its gentle whisper of piano
synth and strings the Fairy Ring
as I read myself to sleep
in the darkest hours it keeps me under
one side crawls to its end I rise
eject and turn the tape
then back again to listen
moonlight moves across the floor

Now I see where fingers eroded
text on either side the composer faded
sings unsteady the sound
it aches my lungs and wavers
weakened short of breath
magnetic tape worn thin
wails hollow loss pitch warped
my voice is hoarse

I listen but can do nothing
sleep or turn back time
eject and turn the tape
at night I can do nothing
but hold the ruined song
hum what I remember