I was having a hell of a time with this one. After so much hubbub over the weekend and today at work, I really just wanted to sleep for ten hours straight, but I felt awful that I hadn’t really written anything in days. So this is for the We Write Poems prompt… I went to the cafe to try and write it, but nothing was flowing. (Probably partially because it just seemed to be one of those nights when the terminally obnoxious were out in force, occupying what is normally a relaxed space.) But I kept turning the theme over and over in my head on the walk home, then finally got here and blitzed it out. The prompt is to write about signs and signifiers and the signified, but I think I’ll let you (as is my way) figure out as much of this on your own as you can. All I will say is that metaphor and meaningful action are two of my favorite things. (And that chakai is the informal, mini-version of the Japanese tea ceremony.)
Tie a red string round the knob
if I am meant to enter tonight. And I’ll
push my way through the drawn curtain.
We have as long as it takes
one joss stick to burn down, one long
dark jewel of fig-scented smoke.
Show me a finial of jade
and I will grind it into soft powder.
Twin rings brush against each other
when we grip cruets of smooth clay,
pouring from one to the other.
Wine, tea, milk, oil.
Whose vessel is whose? I can’t tell
once the day has grown so late.
Our eyes, the marbles
colliding around the schoolyard circle.
Our nails, the cat’s claws
making short work of thin fabric
and drawing a bead or two of blood.
The sun gone down, flattened
into a pale gold gong.