Resisting native idioms
Till swooning, dropping
Bare arms, bare-chested,
I trawl my clay-red hands
In muck and pull trenches
In mouthing shapes loading
The thudded depths with
Wavering, sonic pulses
Dammed in voiceless rhythm
Lost in the rocks, syllables
Sounding wordless pipes
Amid the sighing pepper
Trees aground, frothing
Mist like the breathing
Children and carry the fast
Eddying current, while
Holding sun-bits lofted
With lifting dimple tips
Reflecting folds in my
Currents and return all
Los Angeles, 2014
TINY GODS OF CHANCE
Her lips were the perfect place
To take a chance and everything
Was shaped like hearts. The windows.
My teeth. I bit the diamond in her mouth
And cracked it. Pop.
There were early stars in my vodka
And I ate them too. Then I rose all airy.
Here was red unlike blood. Like love.
A younger red. Nothing staining.
No paint. Her lips shiver
And the words rub like pictures.
We find a corner of the room we didn’t see
Before behind boxes. She breathes.
Now there’s confusion.
I didn’t try to kiss her.
Like a vapor in the air, this other heart-shape,
Like a human heart, a bloody fist.
She kissed me then hard enough to sting, asking
If this was the perfect place for rolling dice. It was.
She loved dice. She would roll and roll them
And laugh at some multiplication or inner geometry
At a joke in conversation with something, someone,
Something. She whistled at me, twee-hee and
I laughed. Smoke hung fingers on our faces.
The car windows were shaped like windows. Or
Nothing at all. It made me nervous.
The day grew stars and the shadows were unstable
And undeniable. We cast spells at each other like witches
Until it got dark again and neither of us naked though we tried.
But it was all new. Then we followed the old wolf trail
Behind the HOLLYWOOD sign until it gave out
Somewhere in the desert near the mouth of the mountain,
With the sound of animals, there was fire and movement and
There we learned the secret language of night, a cant
Of fast garbled moans and warbling lip sounds.
She was like the weather, coming always.
All I could do was see myself through her eyes
As she zilched like a plug-bug, electric neon doom
I fall asleep in and we’re all tumbled. My feet kept
Off the ground like she had my shirt in her fist
And she was bigger than the eye of the mountain,
And the end came. We didn’t fight our way back.
The stars pinked out, vanished, blink-blink-blink!
Then a thousand went black. And no stars, at last.
No north, no Orion. Something else magical would
Return us to our home we thought. But it wouldn’t.
I weep now for making you vulnerable to me.
Adam Ai is a staff editor for Second Revolution Literary Magazine. His poems have been published in many print and online publications, including Chiron Review, Kanstellation, Thorn Literary Magazine, South Florida Poetry Journal, and Art Times Journal. He lives in Los Angeles, CA.