to the trio of ladies who spoke a foreign language (20170714)

i apologize to you, ladies
my tongue may as well
been chewed to pieces
or my larynx smashed
for all the good
five decades of conversational
experience did any of us

you asked for help
you had an address
i had gps
and even though i showed you the map
and asked you to follow me
you sought the advice
of another
and did not accompany
to your destination

[albeit a shady one
a temporary looking sweatshop
filled with sewing machines
on long folding tables
–welcome to america, i thought as i passed
by it’s cracked open door alone]

maybe the language wall
was unscalable
or i was too foreign
or you thought i was a white slaver
or some other kind of miscreant
or just bad at conversation

clotho, lachesis, atropos–
i wonder about you still
do you wonder about me
and if you had followed me
would i have had a windowless white van
and chloroform waiting
at the ready

words that can’t be spoken or spelled (20170225)

i am less an open book to you
than a blank page

you write on me with your fingers
your words sink into my skin

like your teeth
and i am tattooed by your multicolor voice

you do not erase
only write over the soft, pink scars

replacing old
with new

the touch of your fingertips
like a singing water glass