A Letter to a Japanese Boy


United States
34° 16' 30.4068" N, 118° 42' 34.3476" W

I went to a dance one night on the Queen Mary in May
where the ocean kissed the ship
the same way the guests tip toed on deck
that was adorned with pearl necklaces of lights
as if they were supposed to light the way for the drunks and their laughter
I remember my date had this soft melted caramel stare
and a crooked smile
that looked like an earthquake pirouetted under his nose
He was a beautiful disaster
who danced like thunder as if I was lightening;
He kept chasing after something that didn’t want to be caught.

I avoided his gaze
as soon as I saw the impatient storm
that was brewing inside him.
I was always lukewarm with him
when I knew he wanted something hot.
He dragged me from hotel room to hotel room after the dance
with people I didn’t know and drinks I didn’t want to touch
I didn’t know the cup he kept refilling
with liquid sanity was the void he was trying to close

I followed his clumsy footsteps down the hall
that sounded like a hiccup with each stride
or more like a gasp for air
since it seemed like heartbreak was making him suffocate
He was drowning on a ship that didn’t even sail

He didn’t tell me he paid for a night
in a windowless cabin
or that we’d be on a boat
an hour and a half away from home
but his hands did.

They plucked at my dress straps
the same way beggars ask for money and hope:
He said I needed help
as if ‘help’ is supposed to feel like
all the danger your parents tried to protect you from
Help is not a drunk Japanese boy trying to love by trying to undress
Help is not lust when it’s mistaken for love
especially at 3 in the morning

I remember trying to find my voice
and how I drew a blank.
For an artist, I could never sketch
but for a poet, I was finally at a loss for words.
They say that vocabulary is a weapon
but what happens when you’re at point blank?
Silence is not golden if your innocence is priceless

I turned around once I had ammo to fire
but instead found a naked target
He surrendered before there was even a foreplay of war
and I thought I was the casualty

To the Japanese boy
that confessed his love through a slur of swearing,
you made me afraid of skyscrapers
when you sat me on the edge
and taught me how powerful ‘No’ is when asked to jump
There is nothing free about falling
if it means your spirit is going to get killed

To the Japanese boy that tried to take my dress off,
you set me up
and a fire alarm went off inside of me
I was engulfed in flames
when you tried to touch me
and there is not enough water on this Earth to extinguish it
I wish you would stop trying to make a burning house your home
These ashes are the closest thing I have to what’s left of my sanity
and I wish you burned with me
At least then, you would know what hell would be like


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