The Squander


By Yao Ong

Image: “Untitled,” by Charlotte Pierce, 2016. 

The Squander

Gosh, wind me up and bid my jaws
Pull into shape to gripe about the time

The time I glued my firm on that door
And left there a stubborn pale red stain

A stain that said: I was here to fail again
A gummy spot the shape of a coffee bean

That being question, a beaming lesson for whom?
The ones they have to fool, to make you move,

To wind you up and bid your jaws to sing
The song you have heard so much since then

The rain, its blanket, makes it easy for us
to speak, rhyming reason why the horse
neigh in the night over its own blind mist
cupping the eyeballs in its phenomenal grave—

I took a turn and faced another wall
Its hair golden wires of candy bags
Its dogged motion lacking the urge to be
A lover of mine, an arc of boundless arms

Why, the horse again, go back in the ring
Why, another old man comes again to sing

I said he was not near, not anywhere in reach
Not anywhere the ego be, where colors break

The dawn dear, the long tears, the heat
The coffee cups, the blood, the unkempt heap

I forgot the convenience of swimming free
The last year I swam away, east

I did, I ran away with horse and old
The old that I am, the old that I will be

Not this year, not sure, at least not yet.
Not anything but here and then
Not anything but holding this and then
Anything but holding the clear empty bag
And the golden wires, supple in my palm.

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