vignettes&vendettas

poetry and poets

Monday, April 04, 2005

cartoons

Samuel Akiva Pui-Ying Huang Skeist

when I was little
watching movies cartoons
it was always good
guys versus bad guys

i always preferred the bad
guys
well first off they always had better clothes
blacks reds
they never wore nonsensical capes spandex or latex boots
some had horns claws and fangs
i liked that
they just seemed harder
cooler

i can’t remember the last time I watched a cartoon
it’s been months since I went to the theater or rented a video
its been much longer since life was as simple
as the good guys
against the bad guys
now its more like me against me



charade

Samuel Akiva Pui-Ying Huang Skeist

last night
a clown
cut off his face
for he was tired
of charade
he laughed and thought
now I am free
then thought again
restitched the face
children scream
at faceless clowns



coital kabuki theatre

Samuel Akiva Pui-Ying Huang Skeist

She’d seen me naked dozens of times and had never noticed I never undressed. I know the pattern… intrigue, seduce, embrace, get as close as you can without losing any distance. Keep everything shallow and never lose composure. Keep intimacy raw, glazed in passion’s scent, and always side step any type of attachment. It’s a coital kabuki theatre where deception’s the only rule and no one belongs without ten layers of ruse. But with her, my calm was mere façade. Perhaps, I was just struck dumb by her top pedigree package, trust, the check list of her resume and recipe was a new breed of fantastic. Whatever it was, I’d found depth- the glowing personification of the latex rule’s exception. With her, I wanted to do all those romantic things; feeding her fruit in the bath, massages and breakfast in the morning. I’ve never let anyone into my playground, but her, her I wanted to push on the swings. But that wasn’t her desire. Not some clown with a silly smile that says, “I’m happy just to be around you girl”, all soft and sentimental. No. She wanted that straight forward dude who approached her in the coffee shop. She liked that I drank double black espressos and licked my lips while exhaling smoke from my nose. The first time her and her girl came over I gave ‘em two jelly jars and a 40 to split. She saw me leave with another girl. I came back thirty minutes later and that’s when I got my first kiss. To get the affection of a woman like that, I had to break out my very best masks. You know the deal, make them feel like they see a side of you no one else knows, strong but privately vulnerable, peaceful and confident but not afraid to knuckle up, serious when it’s needed, otherwise funny and cool with jokes and winks, focused and composed but inside hiding some mysterious angst. It’s been tested and proven; some women have a taste for thoughtful malaise. Maybe it’s that whole I can save this one thing, change him and own him- some distorted, primordial, maternal instinct. And here lies the test. The attention is captured…as long as her urge is unattainable. Only natural, I’ve acted in similar ways and it’s quite possible she was simply reversing my silly game. Who knows? But that day came when I had to write the letter. Well, had to send the letter. For these feelings were brewing since her very first poem. I’d filled many a trash can with post marked declarations. When I actually sent this one, I felt happy and liberated. Now, my life’s no PG, rainbows and daisies movie, nor would I want it to be, but just one time, one time, I wanted one of those scenes. I daydreamed of open armed, running on rolling hills slow motion embrace type responses. What I got in return was emphatic rejection garbed in cold silence. I had imagined a finale where the walls were broken down. What I ensured with those words was a place amidst the mortar.


cracking

Samuel Akiva Pui-Ying Huang Skeist

paper piñata
donkey or sheep
born and painted
dressed in bright colors
to be bought
broken
and spill sugared innards
the skin will crack
under blind bludgeoning
the children can see
you are nothing
but a shell



crimson crane

Samuel Akiva Pui-Ying Huang Skeist

a crimson crane
balanced
on one leg
beneath a churning crown
of weeping clouds
one acidic drop
slides
from the cracked tip of its tattered beak
my life
a solitary bead
a lone ragged feather falls
silent
weightless grace
ripples throughout the sea



dream 10279

Samuel Akiva Pui-Ying Huang Skeist

there i was
older
with a different face
but it was me
i’m sure

floating amidst vomit
and bath water
dead?
i’m not sure
but I stood over me
and felt no remorse



dream walker

Samuel Akiva Pui-Ying Huang Skeist

i have become
a dream walker
still I heard truth
in tonight’s wind



Sunday, April 03, 2005

a day at the park

Samuel Akiva Pui-Ying Huang Skeist

“Yo.”
“Hey. What up.”
“Wassup witchoo man? Where ya’ off to?”
“On my way to the park…Just gonna’ chill out and journal dive.”
“Sounds good…what’s in the bag?”
“Notin’ special, a bottle of water, cigarettes, journal, my father’s head.”
“Your father’s head? What, what, well, where’s the body?”
“In the ground of course… You fuckin’ weirdo.”



american eagle

Samuel Akiva Pui-Ying Huang Skeist

My mood swings are like ridin’ one of them old wooden coasters. Steadily rising like the upwards incline before that first big drop. Belly full o’ butterflies, savoring the adrenalin rush of each and every track notch up… I can feel my murmurs building to a climactic high pitched “aaaaaahhhhhhhhh!” with every single “clank, rattle, clank, clank, rattle.” Then there’s a time when you’re on the top… and you know that first car has gone over the edge, but you don’t care, cause right now, right now, you can see the whole park. Feels like that rolling carriage has stopped… you get a fleeting, yet frozen, tease of stablity and that whole glorious view of the highway you drove up upon… the waterslides, all the other rides, the tip toppest branches of the urban raised evergreens. The people look like little colored specks and you have time just enough to take one gooood deep breath. But these ups follow the paths of empty elevator shafts and that apogee of beauty quickly turns to black…and next thing I know, I’m too low to write poems, and a season of my life is gone… lost between anxious sleep and a place where you’d sell your whole comic book collection and your grandfather’s ring just for anotha’ week’s worth of drink- a place where you hate (yet thank) the ones you love because if it weren’t for them you’d finally be able to take that ten story plunge. But I know…I know, this is a nice loooong ride and I swear in the distance, I can hear that oh so special “clank, rattle, clank, clank, rattle.”


another round

Samuel Akiva Pui-Ying Huang Skeist

Well, I already had two, might as well make it four, ya know, never be a quitter, stick with what you’re good at. Mom always says, “Just be you.” I smile and nod to appease her concern and inside, I’m like, “yeah mom, I know…but which one?” I’m twenty five years old and my first illusion still aint done. High school drop out turned foreign land language professor who free styles lesson plans and crammed linguistic books just to spit, “I want a beer and you play pool- wo xiang yi ping pijiu, ni da taiqiu ma.” I’m stuck, inadequate and tongue tied with nothing to say, except, I am completely ordinary… and there is no one else like me. I take full responsibility and openly claim to have squandered 1,000 opportunities and in some way taken for granted every ragged red ribboned gift bestowed upon me. Every day could be Chanukah, instead I play harmonica for the rest of the grimy rain dogs and say yartsa for every beer that’s spilled. Forget wasting time. I gave her a sloppy kiss, left her at home and got wasted with my crew. Then stumbled into bed and honestly expected her to respond to my whiskey breathed affection. That lump of clay could have been anything and all I made was a lopsided ashtray.


apples

Samuel Akiva Pui-Ying Huang Skeist

Art class. Keisha sat across from me. She was always well dressed, quiet-- looked thoughtful. She could have been a model. One day she asked, “What’s your favorite fruit?” “Mangoes”, I said. Mangoes really aren’t my favorite, but apple sounds so boring and I wanted to be different. You know, special or mysterious or something…. “What’s yours?” “Apples. Apples are sexy.”

I never get it right.



bad manners

Samuel Akiva Pui-Ying Huang Skeist

Went out to lunch with my penis the other day. The waitress came over to take our order. When she asked my penis what he wanted to drink he just sat there, staring at her breasts. She cleared her throat, raised her eyebrows and asked again. Finally, he looked up, “Oh, um… coffee… black.” Then, believe it or not, he flashed her a wink. She rolled her eyes and walked away. I threw my penis a frustrated glance, “Can’t you be a little more respectful?” “What? Tell me you didn’t see them things?” (Deep sigh.)“You’re so embarrassing.”


beautiful morning

Samuel Akiva Pui-Ying Huang Skeist

Wake. Crack the sleepy red eyes. Sweep the sleep from the cracks. I swear, the night’s cold air sleeps in floor cracks and relishes in the chills it sends up my back. I grab my pack out my pant pocket…. I guess that running at daybreak thing will have to wait till tomorrow. I stumble to the bathroom with sunrise creeping through the curtains. The birds have always got something to sing about and when I check my raggedy reflection- I’m always as ugly as the morning before… with dried white crust around the lips and scruffy five o’clock shadow just itching on the wrist. I brush my teeth with a cigarette burnin’ on the sink edge while the toilet complains of constipation and the shower won’t stop drooling. It’s got that drip, drip, sputter, drool, drip. The type that you can’t hear until you’re just about to slip and right then comes in with that, “I’m gonna keep you up for the next fifteen minutes just for the fuck of it” type drip, drip. But eventually it fades… like jeans… and morals… and before you can even appreciate the quiet you wake to the “eh, eh, eh.” Forget the sleep button… It reminds me of a frigid high school encounter that promised nothing more than a five minute tease. Gimme me hibernation or caffeine induced insomnia. Gimme me three shots and a beer or eucalyptus tea. I don’t want the middle ground…some Buddhist myth of a happy medium where a baldhead with nine dots turns the other cheek because he’s only got one arm to box with. I’ve got a bottle of painkillers teasing from the closet and their gossip bothers me as much the fact that my socks don’t match. When my toes adjust to the chilly tiles and I throw on one of my favorite records, my red eyes come into focus and I thank the alarm for being so persistent. I may not be singing with the birds, but I’ll kick a close to honest freestyle in the shower and… delay the denouement. Today, I’m gonna make something. Yeah… today, I’m gonna make…some coffee.


blind tortoise

Samuel Akiva Pui-Ying Huang Skeist

Blind tortoise in a rabbit race flipped up side down and baking in the sun. Romantic gesture or morbid amusement to bet all my jade pebbles he’ll finish first? Spend the day on a scavenger hunt for skeleton keys or scribe chalk eulogies in the rain for melted snow angels who knew only one breath of sunshine…it’s all the same. I am child enraptured with fantasy of memorable echoes…spare me this moment, for soon it will be bedtime. My cave is wintry without her warmth and I don’t even know what she looks like. I hum lullabies to my unborn aborted older brother, who would have been a stronger version of me, and hope he’s not disappointed with what I’ve drawn on our canvas. It’s all recycled refuse but it takes away the numb. They made this skin so tight and I’m still adjusting to the seams. Stitch, pull, cut, stitch, just follow the instructions…but there’s noooo…Curse these feeble fingers! And mom and dad couldn’t even sow themselves back together… but some things don’t belong like these scars on my tongue… but most people don’t like stories if there isn’t any hero. So here I am again; writing to the rhythm of a rusty pendulum with nothing else to do but stare at my anchor. All I enjoy are crests and undertows anyways, so I may as well break the chain, throw it to the side and let it settle down. Settle down. Drift away like all these bottled up messages in whiskey bottles, floating towards strangers who may not even know my language. Perhaps they’ll read between the lines and feel where I’m coming from. I dream of daytimes spent drinking wine and breaking bread over verse. When the sunsets we’ll do the fire dance, the children can laugh and twirl and the old men will write riddles about that famous tortoise race.



breakfast in bed

Samuel Akiva Pui-Ying Huang Skeist

i found sanctuary
in her air
the type of sleepless sleep
where a lover’s half drowsy murmurs
become your systole
i held her
crumbled
fell through her
fell from myself
i watch her dress
she glows
effortless
go back to sleep
i’ll be back with breakfast



Saturday, April 02, 2005

when monkeys take over the earth

Samuel Akiva Pui-Ying Huang Skeist

when monkeys take over the earth, i'll be the drunken derelict poet on the outskirts of society selling wrinkled scraps of tapestry soiled by disdainful sonnets inspired by nights of debauchery and my distorted self perceptions. i'll dip my quill in a blood-based medium drawn from my grossly disgruntled grimace -- disfigured by methodical incisions inflicted during instants of intentional battery of the spirit. tale-telling scars sculpted by shimmering shards of broken mirrors that delivered reflections without the social competence or concern recommended when delegated a dispatcher of disheartening messages. but that's just a sadomasochistic daydream while this is the tragic comedy, nightmare documentary of my psychological pilgrimage. peacocks don't choose the hues of their plumage, and a puppet has no input on the length of its strings. so i march on, lighting incense sticks in respect to the death of post-natal purity and take occassional breaks to pray to a god who may not even like me.


published in The Black Widow & The Brown Recluse, March 2003

published in fingerprints, 2003
recorded on fingerprints, 2003

website at Sam Skeist



pennies from heaven

Samuel Akiva Pui-Ying Huang Skeist

sometimes i like crawling into closets to play with dusty skeletons. i sit, knees pressed to chest, hunch-backed, crouching in the corner's corner sipping salty sentiment from a rusty tinfoil flask. after thorough innebriation, i proceed to stage left and give passersby instructions on how to savagely abuse one's innerchild and distribute manuals on transforming anything into a vice. my childish ability to trust has been molested by bony fingers that can't help but poke and prod. i've found finding acceptance in the eyes of hypercritical reflections relies on regular reinforcement of opaque lies. and i'm too tired for all that. i'd rather dance awkwardly with crippling truths and learn to laugh at myself for the sake of managing this elusive sense of sanity. two weeks ago i counted my own contradicting self concepts until i slipped into an anxious sleep. i dreamt of temples overcrowded with porcelain deities who did nothing but binge and purge on a faceless congregation's insecurities based upon the fragility of their mortalities. i awoke in a cold sweat of tears unwept and felt a potent moment of inspiration. i made a mosaic depicting smokey gray mannikins doing exercises in moral flexibiltiy led by a fallen angel with the smell of sex and whiskey on her wings. content with my creation, i said a prayer for all the children and went out to dance for pennies from heaven.


published in The Black Widow & The Brown Recluse, March 2003
published in fingerprints, 2003

recorded on fingerprints, 2003
website at
Sam Skeist

in moonlit hours

Samuel Akiva Pui-Ying Huang Skeist

in moonlit hours of perpetual introspection i use moonshine mixed with a twist of melancholy to seduce mummified memories. when they lay intoxicated, i steal their finger bones and pick the locks to my subconscious cellars. a black and blue womb birthed this emotional nomad left scavenging for scraps of self-acceptance and dampening my palate with dew drops of diluted truth. the comfort i've attained with my interpersonal awkwardness gets displayed at support group meetings for depressed pedagogues of sin, where you can catch me giving accounts of occassions when i danced in daydreams of flying away from my demons upon the wings of origami cranes i fold from unfulfilled suicide notes of my adolescence. these days i'm an amateur alchemist, turning mundane events into life lessons. in my sacred garden of solitude i climb amidst the branches of the wisest willows. up there, i freestyle with moody mandrills and sacrifice virgin temptresses of attachment to pay homage to the pen god. god, grant me the serenity to meditate with the fallen leaves until they deem me worthy for schooling in the art of graceful change, until then your humble student i remain. sincerely samuel skeist.



published in The Black Widow & The Brown Recluse, March 2003

published in fingerprints, 2003
recorded on fingerprints, 2003

website at Sam Skeist


i am a traveling freak show performer

Samuel Akiva Pui-Ying Huang Skeist

i am a travelling freak show performer. i nurse cigarette money from depraved displays of self degradation. shackled in chain restraints wih the strength of 1,000 mothers' hurtful words, i mumble a thanks to all the passionate saints, then shuts my eyes and submerge my mind in a murky tank of antisocial cynicism. suspended, breathless, beneath the foggy surface of my crude neurosis i have images of zombie swordfish swimming with the absence of cognition. devout disciples of the current's direction they never care to question their course or progression. all along the shoreline their bodies wash up in piles. they choke and convulse beneath the scorching apathy of a midday southern sun. asphyxiation is accompanied by the radiant bloom of supreme reverence for each precious singular breath. i resurface to a burst of uproarious applause and caress my absurd arrogance in a clammy clasp of self celebration. after the curtain call, i withdraw to my tent to indulge in a short chain of menthol smokes. as the final flame reaches recessed filter, i sigh in solemn acceptance of my obsolete existence and shut my eyes to welcome another unpromised day.



published in The Black Widow & The Brown Recluse, March 2003
published in fingerprints, 2003

recorded on fingerprints, 2003
website at
Sam Skeist

homeschooling

Samuel Akiva Pui-Ying Huang Skeist

a tip top education is experience-based and full of hands-on activities. studying before slumbering is frequently recommended as a remarkably effective method to reinforce memory retention. hence, my lessons typically commenced post sunset. in regards to counting and basic addition, manipulatives serve as handy utensiles for the tactile application and animate visualization of mathematical foundations. praise to the invaluable, easily affordable and readily accessible tool -- the physical. soft music functions as a facilitator, fashioned to assist in the penetration . . . of information. so my professor would hum melodic hymns of running horses in my ears while walking his frigid finger tips down each jittering joint of my timid spine. "lets count . . . 1, 5, 18, 29 . . . " I swear the storytime portion of my instruction never felt it lasted long enough. in fact i have a sneaking suspicion my good ol' guide on the side intentionally rushed. perhaps he found redeeming compensation in the unfaltering attention and painstaking patience devoted to addition. "32, 33, 34. . . " it's bone chilling how low the spine truly goes. i doubt many have bestowed such scrupulous focus to the texture of their tail bone. still, by the end of each session i knew my numbers front to back, inside and out. 7, 8, 9, 10 years i studied with tiring, vigorous diligence. quality instructors are versed in designing lessons that are multidisciplinary in essence. subsequently, subconsciously i cultivated a thorough competance in costume design, mask-making and the intricate sculpting of social personas. nonetheless, my art's abundant imperfections are evident in the omnipresence of greasy finger prints that cascade off the most private contours of my crystalline figurines.



published in The Black Widow & The Brown Recluse, March 2003
published in fingerprints, 2003
recorded on fingerprints, 2003
website at Sam Skeist