maybe it has nothing to do with time after all.

I don’t know how to explain this but many a time —and this was when it started to happen more often, I left my body and I went into the blue.

In the blue you felt nothing, be nothing. It was just dark and quiet and you’re gone. Sometimes, you could feel yourself breathing but it was nothing, you became nothing.

And sometimes you came back and you were so shocked for being gone that long that you caught your breaths so erratically that it might cause you, and those around you (if anyone was there at all), to feel panic.

But I was calm this time. When I came back to catch my breath it wasn’t erratic, it was silent like death.

You were there and you too were silent, like death.

Your hand, moving a little bit faster, to clean, to wipe, to wash. To make everything gone, dissolve into the water, the bluest I’ve seen.

And I remember you said, “it’s going to be okay.”

It’s been quiet for a while now.

on earth lately, i’ve been looking at everyone like i love them.

…I walked in the country of letters,

its fields of eyes belonging to my lost sister—
dark eyes that early closed, or forgot

to open. I have not been back in some time,
though often I walk to my office, daydreaming

of that country’s fashions, the clothes of its citizens
like the clothes of my dearest dead or unborn.

In the heaven of letters, I will not walk.
I will not strip the golden clothes from my lover,

…I will stand, stay with the trees before me,
their ancient charisma that cares for me.

Like all scholars in any sort of heaven, I will study
the metaphysics of madness. I will find

that the littler the light, the better it tastes.
On Earth lately, I’ve been looking at everyone

like I love them, & maybe I do. Or maybe I only love
one person, & I’m beaming from it.

Chen Chen

geographic (dis)placement (1)


i was fifteen and my hair was big as cotton candy coming warm out of a spinner, my first

boyfriend played the violin, he was
a baby cute baby, we wrote each other letters with tiny

hearts and songs, i ripped them to shreds. see, i had a thing for the boy with the guitar, it’s complicated

he sang a letter to elise at graduation, i found
his girlfriend’s diary in my locker somehow —he winked

at me from the stage.

(you were eighteen, running and kicking, athletic not yet poetic—-falling in love, breaking apart… the thing goes long for life, i would hear about it one night, late into the evening. my hair not so big then.)

Modern Times Anxiety

he comes fast and early, but lingers longer
he doesn’t know

he could be suave, serene a quietude
he doesn’t know

she’s been writing goodbyes since Christmas
he doesn’t know

he is the writer of this storybook
perhaps he does know

she t(h)reads deep water, they’re never whole
for a while, she knew

she’s been saying never but
it’s too far a stretch

he’s been drawing lines until there’s no more
to draw, she doesn’t mind

for so long they will have to live in the clouds
but for one day, they may not

one day they won’t have to ask, “are you okay?” anymore

they don’t know. not just yet.

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my eyes and all is born again
—Sylvia Plath

the whole time i don’t think you even saw me.

I saw you across the room you were wearing
salmon shorts and a blue polo I remember
your order it was something unsweetened
and iced with extra soy milk I thought Oh
me too you walked over to me and I prayed
everyone stopped moving and one lightbulb
flickered the planet stopped mid-spin it hung
in empty space it began to fall toward Pluto
but before passing Jupiter you turned around
everyone kept moving nothing had changed
except now the sun was smaller in the sky
and Jupiter floated on the horizon like a big
orange I remember because I was sitting near
the window so I could see down the street
there were clouds but not enough to cover
the peach-yellow sky all of the ice in my drink
melted and so did my plastic cup the whole
time I don’t think you even saw me or maybe
you were the girl with the neon shirt the thick
black tattoos on your back the bleach-blonde
hair and we didn’t stop at Jupiter we fell all
the way to Pluto and we kept falling until we all
fell off this planet and onto Pluto don’t you know
there’s a Starbucks on Pluto and you turned
around and stepped outside into the rocky
beige I sighed and looked back down Oh a text

Talin Tahajian

play deaf unless a poem answers me.

you shut the door, drove me to the all-night shop.
I was three weeks late. the air was damp and hot.
our pale reflections on the back windscreen,
the local radio DJ playing Dancing Queen
and the checkout girl in the superstore
who didn’t look at me, just what I bought.
you pointed out each lit window in town.
Take notes, you said, one day you will write this down.

it’s true. most days, I plunder what I see,
play deaf unless a poem answers me.
when I nod absently at what you’ve said,
I’m thinking of that night instead—
me in the bathroom, long before time,
already squinting for the telltale line.

“Take Notes”, Helen Mort.