Charles Borkhuis


how like a sentence balanced on a wire
so little we know and how to tell it
or lose it in just those words

where it went under the crook of an arm
though a vein in the sky to whom do we speak
when we talk of love while disappearing
into a network of tunnels beneath the earth

this radiant laughter and squeeze of numbers
this stretch of silk into a road the bones
from here to there traveled before and after

I forget exactly who is speaking who enters
the place holder of missing words
who signs their name what name

what document holds us in place that counts
the days that declares definitively
I am me and not you


this face made up of little tales
that appear to write themselves
but that’s not entirely the case

there are prompters in the wings
feeding me bits of forgotten lines
snippets of their own lives sprinkled
like breadcrumbs on a woodsy path

an oar floats unnoticed on a calm lake
a woman screams and pulls her hair out
a child contestant applies lipstick in the mirror
a robot asks you intimate questions on the phone

no doubt there’s an infinity
between your eyebrow and your trembling lip
take my ear with you on holiday
have no fear if you hear an eyelid drop
halfway to the moon it’s only me sleepwalking

I’m just a supporting actor
in a dance of movable chairs
I divide and multiply for no apparent reason
I disappear in the words that pull me to them
reappear as a curious tear on the sofa
or a lamp clicked on above a sleeping body

anybody home
anybody out there listening

they read me now like a page turner
the way one cries over nothing
or absentmindedly twirls a curl of hair
into a spiral galaxy

Charles Borkhuis is a poet and playwright living in NYC. His 9 books of poems include Alpha Ruins (nominated for a W.C. Williams Book Award). His most recent book of poems is Dead Ringer (BlazeVOX, 2017). His 2 radio plays were aired over NPR, and are on pennsound. His play Foreign Bodies is being presented Jan. 19-June 28, 2019 in Paris, www.microtheatre-city27.com.
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