The Art You Used — Bernidick Bryan Hosmillo

Lights off and a sad artist saying be kind, let me drown.
I knew it was your hand inside me, modern that I transformed,
multiplied into shadows I meet each day. Except when discovered,
they’re puppets and in their brief lives I thought I would learn

that goodbye is dogmatic, something one is already familiar to
without any compulsion to suffer, without going out of my house
on a usual day when the sun is a usual fire only to see very near me
my house is burning and my wheelchair can’t help save anything.

Puppets of youth and greater wreck, puppets trying to drink then,
trying to drink now. Well, the taste is all the same since I’m still
thirsty, how I can’t refuse every nearness of infinite piquancy, love
spilling milk and gin and water all throughout this ruthless earth

that is as basic as a man who doesn’t want to satisfy me. Swelter,
yes, I must get dirty for it because it’s love, powerfully beautiful,
it’s a minute of one’s death and nothing is more personal than that,
which is why, regretfully, there is no person in all my experiences.

Imagine how I’ve tried to never look desperate, to smile
each day, to catch up with the sovereign voice—said to have
curative powers—but that voice is lesser heard, if at all,
than the voice of desire that’s not mine, not yours, not time-

bounded, not like a radio I could bury and forget after
gunning down its owner. It’s why I hear soft rings of bell,
you pulling a copper string abruptly tied around my neck,
which means I’m being awakened: that it’s very possible

to stumble upon a world of senses, its majesty and attrition,
sugar before void, which is skin. In dreams, my dead father
would always hand me the bomb he used to be is why only
betterment in being awake is why I’m taking your advice again.

Hanging, searing puppets, the ones you leave under the sun,
but not for good because the sun is not for good. It’s night.
It’s cold. This constantly happens out of my control, a history
that slams only whoever goes back to it. Banged my head ten times

more than I could against a wall and stars appear like people
I want to touch, people I trust and they don’t touch me, they
don’t yet exist, their hair a slap of dust. Puppets always on
the ground, climbing an invisible tree, falling from an invisible

tree to another invisibility only seen if being is encountered
like one’s own intoxication. I swear I don’t mean to say this in
a way I would understand, too but I want you to say sorry, you
swine, colonizer who left a country burning now etched on my face.

Perhaps, a project of morbidity, but this project is always tangibly
incomplete. In my room, the light says hold yourself no more.
I don’t know if the problem has to do with my hands or with my
photography showing I’ll never keep a decent thing helplessly unbroken.

Puppets every morning, puppets in a stage people can’t build
without disgrace, without stones falling down, without any
ancient structure of evil. I’ve been keeping violence a lifetime
performance, nasty and beyond spectacular, inimitable and

funereal, yet I don’t know why I’m not hurt. Perhaps I truly am.
Perhaps I just want to tell my body something better. As always:
exactly I can tell, and mostly in a tender voice, what’s spilled
on the ground, you, this satanic beauty, unresponsive yet

evolving into a massive structure, say a pyramid, whose base,
inner sepulchre is where I’m obscured is why my name
is not a name anymore but dismal roles, remember your curses,
puppets with nowhere else to go yet going along, pretending

they are pretending. In case I ever realize I’m a living being,
I would never tell you. By now, I want nothing of nothing.
I want to break a curse even though it’s my skull. I want you
to see how my drivel body spreads on a street just by falling.

I confess, this is still desire, a young man with two helmets, wearing
my own goddamn costume, asking me to take a ride and extend
risk. I’m bawling and my mother asks why and just before I say why
I remember I’m motherless, the state of thirst when it can’t greet.

So I keep very quiet as if more than half of my body is missing.
I know I’m dead, but I’m not dead. O I can’t sleep like this,
you in my mind heard me, and afterwards we heard a gunshot.
I better go and see if the dead will tell you how it feels to die,

if you’ll agree and mourn—but how pointless, you don’t know
who’s here or how to be here, who’s taken or how to be so far
from a sensation that summarizes everything, a barbwire the heart
chose to elope with. I could revere that pain, but you don’t get it.

B.B.P. Hosmillo is a queer poet of color. He is the author of two forthcoming books, The Essential Ruin and Breed Me: a Sentence without a Subject; the latter of which will be released in late 2016 by AJAR Press with Vietnamese translation by Hanoi-based poets Nhã Thuyên and Kaitlin Rees. His writing has appeared in Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, The Margins (Asian American Writers’ Workshop), Kritika Kultura, Alice Blue Review, and Subprimal Poetry Art among others and is forthcoming in the anthology Bettering American Poetry (Blazevox Press, 2016). He received scholarships/research fellowships from the Japan Foundation, Asia Research Institute at the National University of Singapore, and the Republic of Indonesia. He is guest poetry editor at Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, an English publication based in Hong Kong.