Nov 28


does it anger you, i wonder, 
when i do not write of prejudice? 

I think perhaps you love devouring my words, 
but only when they are about you, 

what is american culture but masochism, 
after all, we are rife with pain. 

does it please you, when you see your aging portrait 
hanging in the back of my poems? 

this is not a reenactment of dorian gray, 
or at least i hope it isn't, i hope you won't turn around 

and stab me when your portrait gets too ugly 
for even your own love of ugliness, 

you sins to monstrous for even 
the most devoted of lovers. 

but the knife is already buried, and at this point, 
you just enjoy watching us scrabble at it, 

so true, you nod, while we scream about the pain of it.
so heartwrenching, you say, while we're curled up on the floor. 

does it bore you, i wonder, 
things that are not graphic pain? 

Plato called it curiositas, 
that perverse desire to know. 

does the spectacle of this mess that you've created 
captivate you? 

do you consider us wretched,
eagerly grabbing for our experiences, 

fully available on bookshelves, 
and then leaving that pain as soon as you've finished it,

i do hope that my pain captured into prose
can satisfy you enough to call me eloquent, 

to call me honest. 

does it estrange you, 
when you find a woman writing of safety, 

or of an immigrant writing of home? 
no, you cry, but 

does it not puzzle you, when instead of the boat,
a refugee writes of a field full of daisies? 

you would not be able to feast your eyes on our wounds 
if you took the knife out. 

after all, our stories are only worth reading if 
they are centered around our struggles. 

would it bore you, 
if i wrote of the beauty of the night sky, 

of the way ice cracks in the winter 
instead of this self-mutilation? 

america is a narcissus about to 
fall into the pond, 

addicted to the distortion 
in the ripples. 

they told me as a small child 
that joy is the greatest form of rebellion 

and i didn't understand 'til now, 
i hope i bore you with this shining smile, 
i hope i anger you with ordinariness. 

i will join my peers in a field of flowers somewhere, 
without you,
and we will start to heal the pain of the daggers together.