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All these times I haven’t fed myself
when I needed to,
all this food denied
like there were no loads of bread
running from truck to gutter
in Austria or anywhere else
I haven’t been
’cause I was a ghost in those places
blown by wind and filled
with hunger.

Had you cracked me open like a hot chestnut
– with your gloves taken out and
the tip of your fingers reddened -
you’d have found a sweet,
sweet void,
repeating softly – or would it be the wind?
-, « She is empty.
She needs to be filled. »

You didn’t get that
but I did.

All these times I have fed more than myself
when anything else was needed,
all this space denied
like there were no loaves of flesh
running from bones to mouth
– or was it the other way around
too? -
in France and everywhere else
I have been
with the same body, unaware of the place
it had blown itself to
filled with
fleeting pastries.

Even you couldn’t open me up like a jar
of chestnut cream
with your slow hands all over and
your jaw all tense -
otherwise you’d have found a half-empty
paste,
with trails left by a knife on the sides.

« She’s emptying it out.
The sweetness of life. »

Yes, I once used a knife
but I got it anyway.

I once reached rock bottom
in a jar of spread
labeled with my fake room number
locked in a pantry high
in the basement low
in the city among all cities,
I once reached a hint of myself
down there
but it took time.

After all this time I got fed up with
needing not to need,
denying denying.
Like pouring sugar in a gutter
would make its contents edible,
like coating my life with cream
would make things possible.

I have been
to many places but now I want to go
for real, blown by my hunger,
with stomach open wide.

*Written for dVerse Poets Pub.*

She had a purported sense of loneliness back then
back there,
a purposely avoidant stare
of the clearly ambiguous type.
As words were raging and raving
around her like unleashed katanas
or revolving doors,
she raced to hide into tapioca pearls
– the one time she had found some, debutante’s luck -
or apples as big as her face,
hesitant.

Buying food out of a 500 yen coin
biking it off,
soon biking from one konbini to another
without buying anything
’cause nothing was worth more than emptiness,
the sword-carved and stud-crafted sort.

She only had words and shame coming out,
an acid string she would fill her room with
in small bundles of well-known acrimony

Of the rigid type, she was
most unlike me this poem this story
telling with many directions and blunders
how she came to be me.

Okāsan had a pure sense of connection – she still has
even though she’s not okāsan anymore -
with her purple art stare-making
up the clearly extrovert type.
(I bet she, the one that’s I, became a little like her, the one that’s she
over time spent
and money in konbinis
over food that we did eat.
But I am skipping steps now,
avoiding the core
that’s essential
as usual.)

CORE (to be sung over and over, as there is no other verse to come):

As she made me list all the times in my life
I had been saved by luck or whatever
I wanted (it) to be,
she set a dim fire in my heart,
the one that tastes like matcha
gently rocking.
Then as if not enough she put out
my burning hand with hers,
and I can still feel raging and raving katanas,
a hurl of untouched coins,
my metallic bubble of fear shaken up
for not having been touched in eight months
(inside or outside).

*This poem, her/my story in Ōsaka, was written for dVerse Poets Pub, and will most probably be published in my upcoming ebook, Borders.

Voici le texte prononcé au micro libre hier soir (25 mars 2012) à la soirée Last Chance Slam & Open Mic feat. Sophie Jeukens , présentée par Throw! Poetry Collective au Divan Orange. I was really thrilled (and also scared, I confess) to perform it on stage. It was an experience I’ll definitely try to repeat!

Bubble

C’est rien qu’une p’tite bulle innocente
que tu t’es gonflée
un bloc
qu’est devenue à force de souffler
fort
jusqu’à t’en vider les tripes
until you tripped on… but that’s not to be told yet.

You built yourself a cage out of gum
out of your gums
fell your teeth
une tite fille que tu voulais rester
une tite fille qui a pas besoin d’mordre
une tite chique qui a jus’ un gout d’mort
mais t’es jus’ devenue
une chique qui a pus d’jus.

Tu te pensais invincible
mais tu t’es
tue
et… t’as perdu la voix qui t’distinguait
des échos
you lost your voice that set you apart from
the echoes
t’as perdu la voix qui te distinguait des
échos
echoes
and you became just another pink spot
pis t’es devenue qu’un autre spot rose
une adolescence de plus
de perdue.

10 livres de perdues
rien d’autre de r’trouvé qu’une balloune de tête enflée
qui se cache en dessous d’la mer
de monde
« please don’t see me » you say from your deepest
but your hunger is diggin’ its way out
you’re appearant
t’est épeurante.

Mais
c’tait rien qu’une p’tite bulle innocente
que tu t’étais gonflée
rien qu’une cachette
dans une napkin s’es genoux
c’tait pas un bloc opératoire
au départ.

20 livres de perdues
rien d’autre de r’trouvé qu’une pognée d’ch’veux sur l’oreiller
where has your hair gone?
where has your air gone?
t’as l’air de rien.

Ta balloune a crevé, ma belle
j’sais pas si c’tait l’soluté
ou une coupe de doigts tendus où tu t’es agrippée
you tripped on those feet but you got up
somehow
your trip was over
for now
un nouveau trip pourrait p’têt commencer
un jour
le jour où t’es devenue un autre spot rose
une adolescente en plus
y a rien de perdu.

10 ans de perdus?
tu vas en r’trouver
t’es déjà en train d’infuser
drip by drip
grip by grip

and your voice could finally build up
when you stopped chewing gum
for a living.

This short story was written with the following prompt in mind: Write a scene that makes no sense at all (even though this story does end up making sense somehow). For more writing prompts by Sarah Selecky, follow her on Twitter (@sarahselecky) or see her website.

***

No sense. Nor good, nor bad. Just a plain, short, bread story. Of a girl trying to automatically type things in a foreign language, thinking of doughnuts round her head, vomiting words on a too clean screen.

She would be the kind of girl who keeps avoiding cracks, even tracks. In fact, she would be avoidant of anything. The mirrors had all been wrapped already, as if a stare would put her at stake.

A steak. What about cooking something? Anyway, mom would call soon. And she needed to be stuffed to be able to talk to her. I mean, to listen to her.

Now, to her grumblings, her stomach’s.

What was I writing again? Ah, yes, being a good dough. Being tough to myself, though. Punching myself in a hole when full. Scraping myself when in need. Nothing really wanted, nothing really lost then. Nothing gained either, just pain, and food. And life, maybe.

I gotta breed. Uh, breathe. These haspiration sounds are ‘ard to make.

The call came. She wasn’t stuffed. She couldn’t stand it but sat down anyway, and lied. Even her tiny yesses were full lies, flies biting her mom like a filled doughnut. You know, the ones you eat and then you get all this whipped cream and custard cream and whatever-it’s-called cream all over your chin and nose, so that you can’t breathe anymore? Let alone talk.

Leave me alone. Talk.

That’s what she would say if her mouth wasn’t already chewing and squeezing. In fact, she was just squeezing her teeth together – only her saliva’s dreams were chewy.

There’s a plot in there. Her life had to be more deconstructed, and going nowhere.
Did I ever mention the bread?

Well, the birds did it. They crawled on her while she was panting, the phone hung around her neck, her mom’s voice violently crying over the tv’s. She had goosebumps, which looked like breadcrumbs to the birds’ limited eyesight.

It didn’t taste any good though. And it didn’t make her any good.

This conversation – would aversion be a more appropriate term? – could go on forever, and she wouldn’t even know. Her eyes were screwed into a screen, apparently moving, but not going forward anymore.

It looks like I’m seeing my whole life all over again. Like I’m losing track all over. I’m giving all.
In: A mess. Too much crunchy bread soaked in wine. Is this what we call luxury?
Up: A god, maybe. A mass for her in Heaven, with the birds dropping crumbs on her as she walks up the aisle.

She wakes up, always too late. I almost ate the receiver, she excused herself, dabbing and pampering the phone with a napkin.

Oh, that’s a word I had not expected to come out. Or to let out. Whatever the subject may be.

And there comes the banana. Underripe as her soul, overripe as her body, stained with goosebumps. She had better put herself in the freezer immediately.

But her saliva would freeze around her mouth if she did so.

No more sensation. No more sense. No more!, would she cry, her eyes and sensitivity uplifted.

She lifted herself up on a stool, and reached out for ingredients to season her life: Every single one had an exotic name and she didn’t want them. Paprika sounded like paperwork. Safran, like suffering. And cinnamon, like sour lemon. She would have preferred strict acid, that is to say.

Where was the mom? Lying on her floor, somewhere, on her round belly, not seeing her child doing foolish things again. Was this child ever born anyway?

I gotta not listen to anyone ever. Anything hardly makes sense anyway, she kept lulling herself, standing on her not-made-for-rocking chair.

A sense? She finally found some vanilla. Essence, that’s it. That’ll fuel her, that’ll give her gas.

A car came pulling at her. She felt it rolling inside her, actually grasping her side and stretching it out, out, out… Her skin was already flying outside, while her pain remained whole, not so refined after all. She felt like a pouch, a pouching bag.

Can a punch fly?

The questions in her head were burning incensively. They were too slow, too sticky, too antigravitational. How strange was it to feel like a hippy while simmering in a pot. Her hand got caught and slapped in a jar when she tried to pull at her turn, at a car-shaped biscuit.

Her mom furiously shouted something about colourless green ideas sleeping. I know you!, she answered. There’s no use for a non-American name!

A tree dropped its branches in a cascade from her head, all her words purposely running to their proper place. The words sounded like a thousand syntax notebooks dispersing themselves in the years. With more hard work, she could have bloomed out of the cement. But instead, she has been eating cookies, as her books have kept the secret in the shape of brown stars squeezed in between pages and words.

She was still as unripe, as green as her ideas. She would let them go before she even tried to tame them. Too many vibrancies where rushing through her, using her body as an instrument to fulfil their dreams, too loud so she had to fulfil her stomach. And then peace would come, in the shape of a bird song. The bird wouldn’t fry; instead she would steal it and fly.

What about the mom, crying over an empty phone, left out by herself while the kitchen was being taken control of?

I don’t know. I don’t know of her, yet. She might take care of me, and not just control. But I gotta roll with it first, let pastries pace my days and paste a devastated picture of myself on my wall.

Her mouth was dry. She had run out of substance. The birds had flown away with the jar, full of words.

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