Khairani Barokka

modus vivendi

when cold winds in veins when pierce of headache, 
spillage of your fret and flood on your skin, eyes spread
a batavian memory sluiced over your face. the woman
you were sent to because she was educated in the west. 
visited one recounted her colleague who tried to sabotage
work, lunged at her neck in the uk office, choked and choked.

you kept the grief of her arrogance, her sadistic void of clarity
that you were a child, thrust yet again into some strange
pummeling, all this violent addenda to violent anguish then, 
already, too much enclosing around your own trachea, down
where you’d stuffed the lot of violence twenty-three years
and weep one may day in southeast london, bathed in cold
empire, when all is finally sun-dappled. fox strutting calmly
across from you in the grass, slim, ruddy-grey totem, proud,
seeming to trot, then be still, with light-strewn understanding
of how many hits from years foregone exhausted your breath, 
how life, how come to flow again, to slow exhalation, to pass.



hailstorm thundering the rooftops of basilica di santa maria novella. 
laughing to myself as american tourists disgustedly traversed
the streets outside, the glittery ice debris. magician drafting lady, slim,
in girldress to skip and assist him, all to sustain a crowded gasp, 
collective, into the night. guitar by lovers’ locks on the bridge, a friend.
i knew i’d walked too far, and hurt’s too spiteful yet i’d stayed a little, 
just come on, come on now don’t let it begin.

ached and on the train to rome i burst, all hell gone loose and fraying out, 
pulsating wound i’d always hoped would be delayed, one year away from
future medicine, body silently screaming for palliative skies, palliative earth, 
come meet me at some understanding, again, train passengers saw
no hail, no brimstone, strange girl, lone in her seat, frame slightly squirming, 
stock still in a moment, hidden, a feeling unmerciful, 
fire wash over and
              over, over, over,
in jaggedy-moving capsule bringing me rome, a few days’ amuck in fiery lake,
until subsided, until decision to explore the colosseum. provided wheelchair,
my arms excited at lifts and remnants of ancient beasts, old hurts, beginnings.


RETURN TO ISSUE 5: August 2017