Imagining Retreat – Joey Chin

10. You admit nothing, I deny everything.
You are a man.
I am just pretending.

What were those drawings?
Is that your form of communication with me?
Or is that how you make

Your pencil lines are precise but
to your terms,
I am lost in them.

It was in the early 2000s.
Our concerns were parallel.
We were worried;
you about a promotion,
I about graduation,
both which happened.
Thereafter we became

Recently I told you the difference between
attention and actuality.
how it was idea of you I loved.
You said,
“It’s like masturbation. Geographically, emotionally removed.”

Love is astringent.
To purify, you must first

I asked you about dreams.
You thought I meant desires.
I was refering to the REM kind.
I dreamt about you once,
you were going to be
a father.
I remember trying hard to stay awake for a long time
if dreams were going to betray me like this.

We laughed,
but only I cried.

I have not caught up with
the age you were when we met.
I am always behind,
the minute hand,
the ragged shadow.

I want to know which of the above I can tell
before you retreat.



I think my name would be safe in your mouth.
I wouldn’t be concerned about you
misusing it
or putting other names with it.
I trust you
would keep it secure
between your teeth.
There would be no worry
of you spilling it out with vicious words.
I’d be sure that you would treat it with care
and only use it
when the setting is perfect.
And you would sing around my name.
Songs I probably won’t know but
that’s okay
because my name would be
somewhere good.
I imagine you
would only surround it
with words like
“careful” and “forever”
and “here, take my hand.”

– Megan Grace



“to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.”
― Ellen Bass


I will write in words of fire.
I will write them on your skin.
I will write about desire.
Write beginnings, write of sin.
You’re the book I love the best,
your skin only holds my truth,
you will be a palimpsest
lines of age rewriting youth.
You will not burn upon the pyre.
Or be buried on the shelf.
You’re my letter to desire:
And you’ll never read yourself.
I will trace each word and comma
As the final dusk descends,
You’re my tale of dreams and drama,
Let us find out how it ends.

 – Neil Gaiman

 Dark Sonnet

I don’t think that I’ve been in love as such
although I liked a few folk pretty well
Love must be vaster than my smiles or touch
for brave men died and empires rose and fell
for love, girls follow boys to foreign lands
and men have followed women into hell
In plays and poems someone understands
there’s something makes us more than blood and bone
And more than biological demands
for me love’s like the wind unseen, unknown
I see the trees are bending where it’s been
I know that it leaves wreckage where it’s blown
I really don’t know what I love you means
I think it means don’t leave me here alone

-Neil Gaiman



the history of melancholia

includes all of us.

me, I writhe in dirty sheets
while staring at blue walls
and nothing.

I have gotten so used to melancholia
I greet it like an old

I will now do 15 minutes of grieving
for the lost redhead,
I tell the gods.

I do it and feel quite bad
quite sad,
then I rise
even though nothing
is solved.

that’s what I get for kicking
religion in the ass.

I should have kicked the redhead
in the ass
where her brains and her bread and
butter are
at …

but, no, I’ve felt sad
about everything:
the lost redhead was just another
smash in a lifelong
loss …

I listen to drums on the radio now
and grin.
there is something wrong with me

-Charles Bukowski