Story: Message in a Bottle (Part 1)



haiku #123

had we been honest
from the start, we would not be
in this damn mess now

You broke my heart

You broke my heart and I never want to talk about it again.
I would rather learn a new language so I can hobble along in linguistic ignorance.
Without the words, the pain is vague, an unidentified tangle of seaweed washed ashore, to be stepped around like a jellyfish or a broken whisky bottle.

I refuse to use the dictionary. Will never need the words 断腸 or 愛人 so I will exclude them from my study, have forgotten them already.

You broke my heart and I never want to think about it again.
I was foolish to let you in and yet I thought there was nothing to be found.
A junk shop with a broken lock that never needed repair.

You broke my heart and I never want to write about it again.


We were not gardeners when we envisioned our harvest.
We were starving and could think only of relief.

We tried to grow our hearts in the shadows
and now they are malformed and shriveled.
It is better we found out before the transplant.

I buried mine in the garden under the lilac bush.
There is space for yours under the rosemary, if you like.

After summer, we can collect the seeds and find a sunny spot of soil.
We can take turns filling up the watering can,
digging holes with our fingers in the black dirt.

So return here come autumn, when the blooms wither and fall.
There will be no fruit for us to feast on but as
many seeds as we can pack in our fists.


Poems found on my phone

August 27, 2017 8:14 AM

My love sends me his ghost but
never his flesh
He’s holed up in a cavern far from
everything you see, working on a
formula that will set the whole lot
of us free

I tried to send him word that he
could come out, that I have the
equation and it is one and one
makes one

When wouldn’t listen to that I
sent more words, a flood of syntax
and lexicon that filled up the valleys,
caused tsunamis on the mountain tops
and yet somehow never crossed the
cavern’s threshold, except as echo

I thought surely we would drown,
that I would see neither spirit nor
man again, but as the water
receded another world emerged,
one that vibrated joy and sang beauty,
a world where thoughts hung on vines
like red mangoes and worries burrowed
deep underground

Was it my words or his secret recipe that gave birth
to this place?
Waiting here at the mouth of his cavern,
the answer seems obvious
even if I fail to believe it


I can love and I
can love and I can love and
I can love and love


No. 1 (From the Qs series)

Three times left alone with myself, I turned murderous
You said you never felt the inclination,
I wish you were lying
I can’t trust someone who has always wanted to live
At the beach, the same sand but different sharks
Our children, holding hands and shouting from tidal pools
You couldn’t even look at me while you explained
how you once kneeled, fingers intertwined
I thought you were ashamed because I would have been
My mistake, like always
I meant to tell you about laying on the floor and watching
myself slip away, how easy it was
Such power, knowing our great frailty
Would you have listened? Are you listening?
I don’t know why I bother.
Maybe because there is nothing left to do.

Sunday Morning Dream

(a true transcript of my early morning dream, without embellishments)

The goldfish were out of their tank but they seemed okay,
upright and breathing on the mess in the spare room.
I noticed them but left them there as I was busy, there was something
loose, something in the woods that had escaped and we were
all on edge, looking for this shadowy beast.
I went looking for you, which is rare these days even in my dreams,
(how miserable it makes me, to think you might feel
given up on, as if I am just confirming what you have been trying to say:
that you are not worth it, worth anything)
and thought maybe you were not there but then I found you
in what I thought was a back storage room, full of boxes and a brass bed.
You were sitting in a dusty blue upright armchair by the window.
I knew it was you because I could not see your face, could not make eye contact.
I stood beside the window you were looking out and saw that
the backyard was a lush ravine, dripping with leftover raindrops and
minor waterfalls that filled the misty silence with their insistent escape.
I commented how the neighbors in their tiny houses might spy us,
and you said that they all had their curtains drawn tight.
I had only a men’s shirt on and when you pulled me to you,
I was conscious of my white thighs and bare feet.
This is how it should always be, you said, and I nodded.
Then we heard the signal for the small persistent freight train
that was making its afternoon run through your room.
I opened the side door and saw the engine’s light filling the black tunnel.
And the silhouette of a photographer, dressed like he was on safari
walking right before the train, a stranger wanting to understand our ways.
I lifted the crossing gate arm and went out to take care of the goldfish,
knowing that the train would take a while as it eased through your room.
They were still alive, gills fanning, so I put a bowl of water on the ground.
The largest fish hopped down and started picking up all the tiny fish and
tossing them into the bowl before climbing in itself and drinking all the water.
I picked up the bowl and carried them to the tank, the water a dingy green,
and slid them back home; immediately they began swimming in a furious circle.
I went back to your room and closed the door behind me,
making sure to turn the key in the lock.

Blog at

Up ↑