After ‘Mud man’ by Chikako Yamashiro

 the word spread across the town like

rain. we lie, waiting to be exposed

to wisdom from the heavens. we let

the word blot us out, cake us in dirt;

your hands, blooming from the earth

like mangroves. we are tethered here,

grasping at raindrop, leak, and tear.

somewhere behind one of those clouds

god is watching his children, laying

themselves out like clothes to dry.

this poem is not about you, but that’s up to you

Photo by Ron McClenny on Unsplash

I start off every poem by changing

the font to Hoefler. Makes me feel

a bit more … dignified …

as though I have earned my right to say

dear world I am a confessional poet

when I never really do fess up

and do I really write any poetry

and this too is another attempt.

I want you to imagine the ellipses

as pauses in my typing. Maybe

you could picture this:

I’m … cracking a knuckle …

or two… staring out the window.

Which knuckle is up to you.

Which window too …

Got it? Great. Video by text.

Anyway …

I wanted to tell you that I love you.

Wasn’t any big secret really.

Let’s just say … I would

let you decide

what paint we’d use …

or which leg to cut first if I were caught in a bear trap.

at the height of my fever

I imagined you down at the pound

picking out a stray mutt

and robbing me of part of my affection…

And in another breath I want to tell you I don’t.

Maybe this is the world’s ugliest dog.

Maybe you cut both legs and I die of blood loss.

Maybe this is desperation

pulling … me by the … wrist

like I’m a dart. Is this love?

Most of my life I imagined it

as the inertia of fucking

spilling over into society

because it sure never happened to me now did it homeboy

and maybe it’s a feedback loop

of negative energy … and I’m wrestling

myself in a cage match … I’m working

myself into a chokehold …

… if I were to see you tomorrow

I would have no idea what to say.


In this dream, you shed your skin
and cast away your leather wings;
from your pockets, spill these things –
antiplatelet medicines,

Clopidogrel, Aspirin.
Warfarin, for battles within.
In another, I hold your chin
and nothing else. Come, unspin

this long dream of safety pins
and other stories, wherein
the might of the might-have-been
becomes the force that underpins

the breath of your life worn thin.
In my dream: we swap our skins
you and I, identical twins,
draped in the light of Kuan Yin,

lost in the mist of has-beens
and has-nots, the lines blurring
like your life – now, a tailspin.
I memorise your next-of-kin,

my final act of discipline.
In this dream, we both begin
realizing: that being
alive’s the holiest sin –

prisoners, of human skin.

Spwm day 14

The Conjuror’s Closet

“Tomorrow wears yesterday’s face.” – Flavour text from ‘Conjurer’s Closet’, Magic The Gathering

Warily the doors creak as

I am reaching into the ether

again my hands are billowing

in the current of adrenaline and

shivering like kites caught in trees

I am reaching in to bring out magic

trickery (n.) the practice of deception

but can I be cunning while being honest

I ask into the closet doors where the dark

hangs still, I push past the foliage of outfits

my assistant is told to extract the corporeal

form, the wisp of alabaster moving past her

for she is a dancer in the sky and in spotlight air

for she is a dancer in the sky and in spotlight air

the light sieving through her, the light sieving

the gentlemen in the back faint but comes

again and she and I and she all take a bow

and the show ends and soon the applause

resounds dully as if thrown onto wooden

capsule cast chest casket coffin chamber

where we stored our glitter rabbit magic

secrets (n.) age-old practice of deception

but can I be honest about this cunning

the art of reviving the dead for coins

and after I called you out – here I am

reaching out if only to pull you back

like kites caught in shivering trees

and in the rush of the current

my hands billow again, reach

-ing into the ether forever

– before I lock the doors.

the sharpness of theses at 2am

pause for thought – one mistake begets another. A treatise
on compulsive lying: how one wears long sleeves even in
summer, how one nods along to the rhythmic ritual of “yes,
I am fine.” No. Break the glass – this is not just an emergency
this is real life. Real in the sense that there are no take-backs. No
individual feedback sessions where God sits you down and tells you
“Valen, you’ve done well; just well enough.” Not where he says
“everything will be fine, but you must suffer now, or it will all be for

naught.” And I know this now. Yes, I want to be better. Yes, I know:
everything that will be, will be. That time with the rusty penknife
gets played over and over in my head like a film reel, static
and emotionless feedback looping on a blank TV stuck on CH8.
Treatise Two: I know – I must be better. I am better. I am no longer who
I was that day. I want to sit down next to naked me of yesteryear and say
“Valen, you’ve done well enough. But you must do better.” I know now –
everyone suffers, but not everyone has to die. And certainly, not me, not yet.

SPWM Day 5.

triptych #6


where was the world promised?
where was that guiding hand
to lead me astray? the child
I was years ago seems a
stalker; he watches me
and I watch him back.
I cannot and don’t let go.
We are beside ourselves.
I am a boy and not a boy.
I am that bamboo fountain
in the garden, endlessly
filling itself up with itself.



I am a conflict.
I am the spider, who
for fear of a thread undone,
gingerly treads on its own feet.
I am the paradoxical predator, a
wretched anomaly, feeling’s mess.
when the curtain comes falling
you already know what I’d do:
take every fibre of my being-
make a net to catch you.
unravel doubtful webs
into simple lines.
time, rewind,



Infinite reoccurring dream sequence.
I am walking down an endless hallway,
one where you’re lurking behind every door,
where you’re always, just slightly, out of reach.
The spider spins its silk, the bamboo tips over.
Let it all flow back: let all the doors slam shut
and every step made backwards in time.

been a while since I wrote a triptych poem. Also, just got a domain name!(after such a long time. ) Will probably revisit and rewrite this some time in the future.