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Like a scar across the earth,
Like my fingers were peasants,
I touch where the penknife had
Plunged & stood. I watch you
Watch an oil tanker, its port-
Side scrawled in wide, fat lettering
I’d mistake for hieroglyphics
If not for your soft I can read that
Punctuated by a long, hard sigh.
Your neck’s scent conjures ore-
Rich dirt, stands of date trees
As far as my eye can’t fathom but
In spades, they shaded our porch,
Lined our colonnade even when—
You throw a pebble at nothing
You’d want to haul to the next life
After this next life: this chemical plant
We’ve trespassed, we’re boozed.
Stories pour forth & I hear
Zilch, just imagine you shrieking
As if you found where hell came
To die, & now you bear its etching
On your fleshy bulb of knee
My hand keeps brushing. Dawn’s
Past. You want eggs. From
A booth we scrutinize passers-by:
This one caustic, this soul-shattered,
Most just bored with their lives.
The sun is full through the window.
I don’t recall your last name.
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Draconian individual punishment distracts from systemic change and reinforces the cruelest and most racist system of incarceration on the planet.
Our well-being depends on a better understanding of how the logic of labor has twisted our relationship with pleasure.
“I was my father’s son. My father was Nai Nai’s least favorite.” A Taiwanese American man, driven from home by a secret, reevaluates his childhood memories of his grandmother.