Sibilance, #153

I can’t go to sleep
without the hum
of the refrigerator,
undercurrent like a monk
chanting for connection,
the gong of a temple
in East Asia.
I lay myself back
on my back and let my eyes
close gently, listening
to the behemoth breathing.

I can’t wake without
the buzz of the alarm clock,
assembled in some
random country in East Asia,
destined one morning
to meet my wrath
at the end of a hammer.
But until then, gladly slapped
back into silence,
and ignored.

I can’t call it breakfast
without the crack
and subsequent hiss
of an egg dropped
in a frying pan,
the yellow and white mixed,
bubbling up around the edges
and flipped just before
the browned sides turn black,
sprinkled with East Asian spices.

I couldn’t migrate to work
and back
without the warble of the Orioles,
the chatter of the Red Breasts,
anonymous conversations
of my invisible co-workers,
buying and selling
and unpacking crates
just off the boats
from our suppliers in East Asia.

I can’t think
without the whir of a hard drive
connecting to the server
and the network, spinning up
to access my data
searching local volumes.
Your loved one sent you a message,
updates to stocks and markets,
another earthquake
killed villagers in East Asia.

I can’t get through lunch
without the fizz
from a bottle of soda,
the cap screwed off slowly
to allow the first ounce
of pressure
a valve of release,
bubbles out of no where
like East Asian ninjas,
come to kill me slowly
and rot away my teeth.

The water in the mug
is not hot enough
until I hear the ding
of the countdown
on the microwave.
Even the brands made
by American companies
say assembled in East Asia,
importer of my oversized
stoup of hot cocoa.

I can’t nap properly without
the murmur of a load
of clothes in the washer,
the mumble of another
in the dryer,
one being dunked in water,
the other tumbling in the tropics.
I was told as a child
this was an ancient secret
from East Asia.

I couldn’t make it
through the blink of night,
nor the long, slow, rumbling day
without the invisible throb
of my heart
endlessly pumping blood
from what feels like a place
far, far away.
East Asia or mother Africa.
Aren’t we all imports?

I can’t stand the drone
of my own voice.
The whine and bass
that plays out in two tracks,
dubbed like an East Asian movie,
the grind I face
in a position of authority,
between the boy
I never want to let go
and the man I can’t stop being.

I wouldn’t feel guilty
about playing another video game,
those trojan horses designed
and shipped from East Asia,
were it not for the chirp
of the small brown chipmunk
who sits on my back porch
chastising me
for not yet creating
something today.

I won’t be able to eat
anything spicy, particularly
no East Asian cuisine,
without the fizzle
of bicarbonate
in a glass of warm water
before the meal and after,
and again just before
I slip off to bed.
The stomach is that bad.

No day would be complete
without the trill
of my lover’s stories,
her complaints about work,
her laments about a life
lived in retail and service.
The purr she makes when it’s over
and I kiss her neck
and her freckles, the edges
of her East Asian eyes.

I can’t call home the ogre
but through the rustle
of the wind in the leaves,
navigating its way
through the forest,
coming back along a path
of least resistance.
He has been in East Asia,
sitting at the feet of mystics,
trying to calm his anger.

I couldn’t sleep
without a whisper
first from my lover’s lips,
telling how happy she is
still to have married me,
and would walk
to East Asia and back
to do it again. A fool’s errand
as I see it. But her voice
convinces me her love
and her choice is genuine.



A day is not done, until it's filled with words.

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