Poems: Stacey Tran

Illo for Stacey Tran's poems.

from ‘survival #’


survival #

it was humid
I packed lightly
let the seeds get stuck in your teeth
I collided with an occasion for every article of clothing I brought
you see there were “occasions”
I wore a halo on my arm
one I bought from a museum
I considered staying and becoming an (a)esthetician
I can speak Vietnamese fluently but let’s not talk about god
would it be easier to start designing underwear in a city like this?
I use a question mark as a comma, a breaking point
the first night I slept with the window open
a mosquito bit me in 4 places
I still have the marks
your teeth healed my knees while the tree sweated
in the morning we ate bananas and buckwheat honey
did I recognize any famous film locations while I was there?
I was busy eating minimalist sushi
drinking sake from a can
wondering when the bus would arrive
oh look
there it is
right on time
people here keep moving
talking about making money from the internet
talking about parking lots and the tree that grows in one
the literalness of the signage

that kind of place, I could be there, it felt like home
windows always open
a place to recharge our reflexes
which I guess I never felt
or learned how to do
I lay in my bed in my home in the city I was born in
I am bored
where I am from people walk through the airport slowly
the envelope was sealed
I tore it open by slipping my index finger in
sometimes a pair of scissors are convenient if I want to be more careful
the hill is pink
I climbed it to find a place where people wear animal printed shoes and water flowers that are actually tents for their friends to sleep in
where cash is not something you go looking for
but fruit grows everywhere and we pick it up and put it to our mouths
a bag of takeout gets mistaken for trash or vice versa
I come home to find out I have a crush on tap water
but I miss the place where the stage lights up in red lights
ice melts quickly
I am with you
we are standing in this quiet part of Chinatown
plumerias by the treeful
grow wild
a place I describe as keeping itself in tact, in context

survival #

how do I get paid going on walks at the coast
on a day with no wind
talking to you in a car on the way nowhere
brushing your hair without a hairbrush
lying down in an empty room
lights on
lights off
a group of teenagers go to the park and lie down in the grass
eating handfuls of dry fruit and nuts
we’ll talk about the necessity for water and how much of it plants need
have you ever been in a toothbrush factory
can I lay down here?
will you drive me when I’m ready to go
will I say thank you or I love you
I have a hair in my mouth during sex
I put it in your water
have you ever made a chair for your body to sit in
a place to not get sick of
architects mean shit when their goal is to bring the ‘outside’ to the ‘inside’
just go outside
I want both though just not at the same time
not usually
any two good things at the same time makes both less so
I want exactly good, one at a time
can I complete this task before moving on to the next thing
will you think it is delicious?
will you come eat tacos
that hold lettuce more lovingly than before
how can we be unafraid to use our bodies honestly?
Stacey Tran is a writer and artist living in Portland, OR. www.staceytran.com.

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