archives winter 2009



Blue Passport

In the top drawer, plastic wings. In the fruit bowl, an apple. On the kitchen table, grocery list, map.

I can’t help who I love or how, but one day you’ll lose interest and that will be the wing flaps folding, courtesy of Boeing. Let’s practice going through doors one body at a time.

In Singapore, my blue passport was my ticket out the doors. I had to leave you and your red passport behind for the day.

When we came home, it was not what anyone was expecting. That is to say, our moving through landscapes cleaned the spaces between us.

::           ::

The weather coupled with airplanes makes me nervous. An alphabetical list of cities I have landed in but never entered

Hong Kong
Las Vegas
twice-baked potatoes
ice cream
color-coded taxis
bookstore owned by Fox News
yes, slot machines
rooms filled with smoke and paste

The carpets have me confused. Perhaps Cincinnati, Kansas City, Missoula or Lincoln. I can turn thirty in Narita, standing in line with my baggage.

It is easy to say I never stopped doing what I was doing in the time we were doing what we were doing together. But, I have lost the red thread once tied to my wrist, and you dropped it somewhere between Bombay VT and Grand Central. I say banana and I mean a fruit shipped for thousands of miles then gassed into ripeness.

I say woman and I mean the flesh I am bending for this duration of breath and re-breath.



I love her but I forget to turn the lights off.
The flies arrive and sometimes leave through the open window.
Spring has not yet come but previews play in the air. We are remembering allergies.
The cats perpetually leave silver hairs across the floor.
She never shuts the cupboard door and once I turned a flame on under an empty pot.

We rarely cook fish, but when they sweat in their bags, we put them on ice. “Fish hate
       plastic like ladies hate nylons,” says the woman who caught and sold us
       the snapper. The sun’s glare off the ocean waves lining the skin around her eyes.
I love her like the way we arch. Differently. Skills and gills.

Our third wheel: backlit screen, lit as molecule, as feather duster and mote—all the cyber
       at our fingers and tips.
When her guitar strings curl like ladybug wings, my sneakers hum along, neat as whiskey.
She forgets to push in her chair though the lamp’s not yet hung and the bathroom needs
“I have caulk” she says and I laugh at the homophone.
We laugh forward unless we recall filial piety—then we brush our tangled hair.

Before, or, after.
And her mother says, “Do you have the fathering instinct?”
The mobile spins ten times clockwise and ten times counterclockwise.

Some ladies do love nylons and I love her fishnet stockings and the floor will want to be
       swept again tomorrow.


Ode to My Desk
                             After John Yau

I was waiting nonchalant
for the old-school stars to shout
my name and in the meantime
Tila Tequila developed a rash.

What to do when your name’s ghost
appears between bits of da-
ta? A mouse click and hover—
I hover in the crystallized spaces

between avuncular and
zeitgeist. My very merry
toes, my very berry ears.
The words on the calendar keep the num-

bers company. We all want
company. The candles shout
Easy sophistication!
she said and we all agreed, in theory.

Who am I kidding? These are
the days for masturbation
and organic cotton sheets.
Yes, who can fist? Rebuild if you want, O-

K for the floods and earth-
quakes and the birds who scrabble
in the newly laid sod. We
have forgotten our manners: which pronoun

to use, which fork to covet.
A truism, a tourist    
a journalist. And if the
press warmed to us, we would bake them a cake

or maybe a loaf of whole
wheat bread in all its terri-
fying goodness. Oil and salt
make the great American conundrum.

I ride the subway every
day of my life and I have
no idea how it runs.
The men’s voices like the singing of earth-

worms, the lights glowing in-
candescent underground. If
I told this story backwards,
it would begin with the Rio Grande and

end with a girl who became
famous for having the most
friends on MySpace. But this po-
em does not look back—no regrets, yo. So—

they come, the Continental
ladies with large square fur hats
atop heads, and leather
gloves, and leather wallets full of Euros.

They leave clutching galaxies
of shopping bags. Feverishly,
I salute the weak dollar—
an old doorway falling in on itself.

Oh, crackling windows, hear sleigh
bells, the horses on Fifth Ave.
centuries ago. I google
nostalgia, distrust Wikipedia.

It is a sad story to
keep telling. And the girl found
her grandmother but the grand-
mother was a wolf, or a coyote.

Cross the desert, freeze frame, boul-
ders to water barely there
and when she finally emerged
she was as wrinkled as all the women

who have lost faith in rivers.
And what are they but borrowed
waters? Want it all, ladies
and gents? Go find your own san serif truth.



A room just departed. The corners of a conversation. Struck.

The soldier knew what would become of it; she had been in long enough.

A stone thrown into the sky. An apostrophe. Left out not done not done not acted on but abandoned not read aloud not at all read

but missing. Said-altered.

                                                                                            some things

                                                                                            were done

                                                                                            to a boy—

The first report marked well with the boy’s gore. This one gone. Into no file no drawer no military seal no stamp no stamp no paper stack.

She signed her name stamp stamped the second report thin and dry. Her still tongue as real as the blister burned boy skin as real as.

Red welt rest. Easy not easy. Carry silence thick with the welt of it.

                                                                                            —burn cigarettes burn palm                                                                                             ear shatter collarbone kick                                                                                             slash face burn matches                                                                                             burn stomach crack ribs                                                                                             kick puncture face burn                                                                                             cigarettes burn forearm                                                                                             thigh crack skull kick                                                                                             puncture stomach burn                                                                                             cigarettes burn palm ear                                                                                             shatter collarbone kick                                                                                             slash face burn matches                                                                                             burn stomach crack ribs                                                                                             kick puncture face burn                                                                                             cigarettes burn forearm                                                                                             thigh crack skull kick                                                                                             puncture stomach burn                                                                                             cigarettes burn palm slash                                                                                             ear face skull burn palm  


Tamiko Beyer’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals and anthologies, including Crab Orchard Review, Copper Nickel, The Drunken Boat, The Progressive, Gay and Lesbian Review, and Cheers to Muses: Contemporary Work by Asian American Women. Her manuscript three stamens, seventeen syllables was a finalist in the 2007 New River Press Many Voices Project competition. She is currently a Chancellor’s Fellow at Washington University in St. Louis, where she is pursuing an MFA.