the things I want

The things I want
Nokyoung Xayasane

There are sunsets
that I want to see,
the morning light
over the Mekong river.

There are sounds
that I want to hear,
the chanting of
Buddhist monks
kneeling and praying.

There are textures
that I would like to feel,
the giving in of flesh,
the weakening of skin.

Yet what I hear
is the rush of the ocean,
the water entering,
calm and serene.

I know I’m drawn
to weakness
and to defect.
It makes me feel stronger,
like someone I’m not.

And I want to write
these words to you
so that you may turn away
from the brink of sorrow
and make your way
back to me.

But I’ve lost the map
and there are no
visible landmarks
as a guide for
you and me.

There is only the light
from the Mekong river,
and the hushed prayers
of Buddhist monks,

the giving in of flesh
and the weakening of skin
when I lie next to you,
and you lie next to me.

giving in slowly

On Sunday
Nokyoung Xayasane

On Sunday, we wake up early.
I’ll make coffee from the beans
from that hipster café
near my apartment.
We’ll make our way
to the closest diner
for brunch.
You walk at a snail’s pace
and I slow down threefold
to keep abreast with you.
Spring seems to be
giving in slowly
letting in the light
without that bitter chill.
It’s no longer playing pretend.
We both order omelettes
and talk about Socrates and Plato
and Aristotle.
Who was it who pointed up
and who was it that pointed down?
Who taught who
and who was the student?
We try and think of a mnemonic
to help us remember.
Strawberry pancake agenda.
That will be the name of our album,
you say.
What will be the name of the band then?
We won’t have a name.
Nameless, I say.
Nameless, you say.
We finish our meal
and I stand to pay
with you behind me.
You kiss the top of my head
near my temple
as if you’ve done this
a million times before,
as if you’ll do this
a million times after,
as if this is not the first time
and perhaps
it won’t be the last.

this concrete jungle

concrete jungle
Nokyoung Xayasane

Every day the sun
hits the trees
in this concrete jungle.
The birds
fly into the sky
into the blue
stretching out
along panes of glass
and rafters of steel.
Cranes loom
their metallic calls,
a flapping of winged
newspapers flutter along
the sidewalk.

The city,
it pulses with
the sound of electric guitar
and voices singing
in the subway.
The fields of gold part,
the long stalks separate
and I am walking through
and the subway doors.

I am in the middle
of a stream somewhere,
the sky above me
and two people pressed up
against me in the subway car.
I have made my way
into the middle of the stream
where a flat boulder lies
in defiance of the current.
I lie my body down
on its cool surface
and I lie my head back
against the subway seat.

I watch as
the blur of colour and light
outside the doors
erupt into sky,
bird calls,
waters foaming.
I am in the stream
of my childhood
looking for something
elusive in the sky.
I am waiting,
ever so patiently,
in this concrete jungle.

manic pixie dream girl


young and cold
Nokyoung Xayasane

I met a boy once
who traveled across
the states of Virginia and Alabama
to get back to me.
He drank coffee by
morning light
and by the glow of the night.
He drove for hours
on end,
fourteen or fifteen hours nonstop
to get back to me.

I hid my heart in a map
and asked him to find me.
And yet, I had all but forgotten
about him.
That’s what it’s like
to be young and cold.

When he got back to me
he embraced me
like a buoy in the water,
clinging for dear life.
Those actions he performed,
they were outside of me.

I could’ve been anyone,
anything he needed
because he needed me that badly.
These lost boys
all they search for is
their manic pixie dream girl.
I’ll play the character
as long as you give me the material.
Yeah, those days
when I was young and cold.

the bridge


the bridge
Nokyoung Xayasane

there’s a bridge
with wires of glowing red
which stretches out
across the water

in the night
it glows
like red filaments

That’s beautiful,
I say
They’re there to prevent people
from jumping, you say

the bridge shines
ever brighter
red glowing filaments
in the night

where life leads you


the poet
Nokyoung Xayasane

I ate some cheesecake
and woke up from my midday nap.
this is where you’ve led me.
I remember one time
I was introduced to someone.
I told them
I worked in publishing,
in marketing.
She’s a poet,
the person said,
as if to validate my existence.
A poet?
But validating?

How about a school teacher,
or a welder.
At least one is moulding minds,
and another is moulding steel.

What could be more foolish
and romantic and useless
than a poet.
A feeble body and a vibrant mind.
What are the uses of these
metaphors and images
if not to build something up
only to tear it down.

A poet.
Nah, I work in publishing.