CONJUNCTIONS: A Web Exclusive
We = I + person + gate
Through the palace where mirrors
Refract through water
What desire I know other than another’s
More conducting than my own
Through the Hall of Perfect Brightness.
No longer do I move as a form of exacting
Staging the silhouette of a subject.
Family and home is the same and set with a pair of wings, seemingly extraneous
As in, dictation
A sort of border relic bored of wings.
I want to inhabit
My viewer’s eye
Reverse rubric of migration
Twice moving the blue light to descend the blue stair.
A silhouette offers the illusion of depth
For red poppy waves
(Flat for centuries, robed with hats)
This series of anonymous locks.
The rigor of the link is an artifact (Mei-mei Berssenbrugge).
“We” of goldly-layered metaphor
Measures distance by body to border, catapult or
Battle axe, and poisonous arrowheads.
When I stepped out of the airport, hot air like wide swaths of relief pinned my dress to my body.
To the parting wall breaks down
Brick by brick reassembled at another end.
We arrive at preexisting ends
Each time the word is written.
The character for gate or door closed with a hook.
Rehearses the tongue as if borderless in a palace, I often approach
To mimic what is seen
At the window dreaming
(One speech for another)
Like building temples on the sites of preexisting temples,
Some links (bricks sprouting green vines, privy to erosion)
Could cloud or outpace
Mission to Asia
“Narratives’ reference may seem to belong to the past, but in reality it is always contemporaneous with the act of
I was going of my own free will
Whereupon they said I was an impostor
At last they gave the command so I might be granted as sharp and cutting
As my sword to speak through the midst of them
A population I had limited contact with broader than other people
Between the eyes and across the cheekbones
With truth as guide to give them a good gnaw
And their eyelids raise up to the eyebrows
As if I were stepping into some other world
He collects young girls from the people who have only one foot
Ugly folk without heads
Who have eyes in each shoulder to be mindful in the midst of their enjoyment
There ought to be no stinting of money
Which is so broad it will cover all the body when purchasing weapons
They put grass in the wound and bravely flee before them
Though they always come back to the matter at hand
They also made us expound on the women
For the defense of souls and bodies and liberty and other possessions
When anyone dies they mourn wailing
I sweated in a loud voice
From the fright and novelty of it
And then they are free from paying taxes until the year is up
Of how to wage war against them
By picking up the skin of this culture
What they may ultimately do we do
If they become sole rulers they are little men and dark like Spaniards
They eyed us as if we were monsters for we were ambassadors of God
And sometimes vie with each other for incantations
They search out men in the camp
Whom they accuse of being responsible for the cold
With human heads but the faces of dogs they would speak two words
Above every other name we came across many skulls
And bones of dead men like dung
For he did not know the words
And the third they would bark
And without delay
These are put to death consequently
They have a small opening for the eyes
For their sorcery
As for the ocean
They could not grasp that it has neither limit nor shore
This poem collages selections from three medieval travel narratives (two found in Mission to Asia, edited by Christopher Dawson, and the third entitled The Travels of Sir John Mandeville) as well as from the Encyclopedia of Asian American Artists, edited by Kara Kelley Hallmark.
Rebecca Liu’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in VOLT, Boston Review, Gulf Coast, and Apogee Journal. She lives in Austin, Texas.