Forgive me, for I live in hope
You are master of the overwhelm
I am strong, but why test me?
I have my buoyant youth, but one day I will sink
Weary old stone
Although I am Odysseus
I will wait as Penelope for you, but
I was born on a magnolia tree
Too high for your mortal reach
A tree with a cherry picked
Can still bear fruit;
Even over a tomb
I am not a trumpet creeper
Doomed to bloom on forgotten walls
I would rather starve than beg
I am a tigress,
And no hunger will tempt me
To eat grass
* * *
The jasmine hangs heavy in the air
As we kiss, consume,
And are consumed by the sprawl
We are in the city of light,
The rain drenched streets whisper smoke and sin
We are young and beautiful;
Ambling the streets addled with gin
It has been many long nights since my long nights with you
There is a particular violence to silence;
I can feel it like a knife on my cheek
Three thousand miles away
I do not know if love or hate moves you;
You do not tell me,
This deafening silence says nothing
It just is;
Like the scent of jasmine, it just hangs, indifferent
And soon, even in its presence, I will not acknowledge it.
I will be jaded;
To love, to pleasure, to pain.
In my darkest hours I am happy
Because to feel pain is to feel;
It feels real.
I will survive.
Even in this city of sin
The innocent jasmine thrives;
And so will I.
I can walk on broken bones.
I can run on shattered glass.
* * *
We come from a line of strong women, daughter.
We were the lovers of kings;
The days belonged to men
But the plum blossom nights belonged to us
We fought for our place, daughter
We are war widows and battlefield babies
They cannot beat the colour out of us;
They cannot bleed out our pride
Think of all the hearts we had in thrall
When our hair fell to our waists
And we fell to our knees
Empires fall but blood always rises
The world is not a kind place for us, daughter
We ladies of the night
But from the mud the lotus soars triumphant;
Pure, and whole, and white.