drowning

“Desolate and empty

the sea—”

how come we are all drowning

and we cannot see each other

gasping for breath under water?

You could have done something

for him, you know,

all you people dressed in black,

crowded around the urn.

but that is what he

must have been thinking too

and perhaps his voice

must have been a whisper,

a smiling ghost surveying the room.

 

© Alexandra Jema

reminiscing on summer memories

I am always inside a moment,

feeling it, breathing it, breathing it in

and I can feel the caress of the air

like she is acknowledging that I am so aware in this moment

that I forget I will never live it again:

the camera inside my mind thinking

I will rewatch this over and over;

I will paint you with my words

so the memory will never die,

just stored and forgotten.

 

© Alexandra Jema

divinity

I wanted to be dazzling,

like Venus in the late June sky,

glittering gold in the evening,

named after beauty personified—

and now I am twenty-five

and all the things in the poems make sense

and all the songs too

and everyone just gets better and better

at lying

including myself,

so good, I don’t even know

when I am telling the truth

 

© Alexandra Jema

twenty-five

I stopped smoking and I stopped eating

so the skin on my chest stretched thin

I watched my heart bob up and down, trying to count the beats per minute

thinking I had palpitations

but I guess when you are young and empty and full of possibilities

it is only your heart keeping you afloat

 

© Alexandra Jema

an excerpt from another life

the david foster wallace quote dreading in my ear, they shoot the terrible master. i know he is too smart for his own good, i am so fearful , i can’t even stand on my own knees. i hear aweird echoey sound in my ears. a waiting creeping echo that makes me want to cry. the wail of a car’s brakes, sliding in through the windowsill. i think i will vomit. he is always so ominous. “i don’t know what to do, babe.” i am so so so tempted. to see what is wrong. i am standing at the bedside like a fool. waiting. was there caffeine in the coffee i wonder? or am i just high? i wonder. i worry.

© Alexandra Jema 

the 1:45am whisper

when I don’t sleep I go all out of my mind, like stagnant panic. I trick myself by counting ghost hours, but I’m always all awake and not knowing it, forgetting I woke up to check the time, the blinking digital numbers like some sort of mechanical Monet. the words come into my head all wrong and I can’t comb them the right way, and then madness seeps into the marrow of my bones, all wrong, arthritic.

I drank wine every night this week; it didn’t feel like I was alive and I liked it way too much. my grandfather used to carry whiskey in his glass every evening, sharp stained breath I remember so well. I drink my blood and wake up all hours of the night, chasing words in rem sleep, tumbling over half sentences and poetry that I forget in the morning sun.

 

© Alexandra Jema