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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

Turned-over, gabbling

Currents and return all

Brackish, questioning.

Los Angeles, 2014


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.

Munich, 2003

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.

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