Bandera

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Bandera

I offer nothing in return, and in offering, receive.
My mouth is a river

whose current bears no words,
but the silence is not of my making.

Notice the streets and their grey
hunger, the rain and the sun

passing by much
as one passes an unopened door.

That question, unvoiced.
That shiver preceding the icy touch.

You may deny my motives.
You may deny my existence and

the very notion of shape unto form.
I offer nothing, and in offering, receive.

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The Simplest Coercion

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The Simplest Coercion

Each portrait betrays a similar
attraction: faces

swallowed by the artist’s
eye, his sight being

beyond optic, that assumption
inherent in every expression

but one. Yet this, the self-
portrait, reveals a hint

of secrets – an unwillingness
to confront,

the simplest coercion.

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Mirror

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Mirror

The attraction is not
unexpected. We see

what is placed
before us, not

what may be.
The mirror is empty

until approached.

One of six short poems included in my micro-chapbook, You Break What Falls. Available for download here: http://www.origamipoems.com/poets/236-robert-okaji

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The Box

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The Box

Opened or closed, the mood
descends

with the pull of tooth and
tongue

and discarded sound in wet
grass,

its odor mingling with
cordite

by summer pavement under the
canopy,

six plastic flowers faded by the
sun,

and photographs scattered over scraped
earth,

where we stand bound and
apart,

I reach toward
you

and find only
air.

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Night

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Night

Which particular wind curls through this dream of mountains
and books left opened? One that flicks pages or shreds
leaves while caressing your cheek? Or another, damp
and limp from envy, barely ruffling the night’s
curtain? In your sleep I am none of these,
relegated instead to unseen tremors or
the chill rasp of sparked surprise, a
tune laid across an unmade bed
in spring, its notes cluttering
the score. Or might I be the
stilled motion, eyes closed
and held taut, creased as
if worn by a pocket’s
rub and frequent
unfolding? This
is your clock.
Continue
the lie.

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The Fullness That Precedes

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The Fullness That Precedes

it is not
the moon but
rain that attracts

me to this
place no faint
light no shadow

but the fullness
that precedes its
history that of

magic from nothing
to nothing by
which one may

discern perfection a
cloud the solitary
note of distraction

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Translations with Recordings in Cantonese

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Mary Tang has graciously translated several of my poems and provided recordings of them in Cantonese. I cannot tell you how touched and pleased I am to see and hear her versions of my work. Thank you, Mary!

http://lifeisbutthis.com/2015/05/15/the-color-of-water/

http://lifeisbutthis.com/2015/05/02/the-echo-is-neither-sound-nor-hope/

http://lifeisbutthis.com/2015/04/24/translating-robert-okajis-bread-into-chinese/

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