Still sick. I didn’t go to school today. In other news, I just heard that two of my friends are now in love and are together. Bizarre, weird, beautiful. I might be alone in thinking that things are happening too fast for them, but I guess that’s just the way things are. It happened that way because it was supposed to happen that way. A long time ago, I fell too hard too fast and too late for me to do anything about it, too.

Here, another poem from last night’s book:

Women I Love
Bliss Cua Lim

Listen:
One afternoon, I saw a woman
lift her head and wonder why no one stood
beside her in the train,
touching the back of her neck or maybe
whispering or smiling into her eyes.
I thought I caught her thinking,
Who sees me?
I knew she craved a lover who would
linger over her body,
cherish her strength,
return her tenderness.
I knew she had not found this love among men.
How like my mother she was.
How thankful I am for the ways
women can sometimes love each other.
There is something truer there than desire.
It is wondrous for me to see a woman
with a child’s delicate ace, and calloused, capable hands.
I love the woman who has strength enough to do anything
except hide her own strength.

I have known women whose laughter was like bells
because you knew they had been wounded before.
I prize women who look best
barefoot in their bedclothes, tousled and tired.
I know women who remember the unremarked beauty of
these tired women.
I understand women who claim to hate children
but shied their nephews from the wrath of loving parents.
And I marvel at the women who serve the men they love
while always struggling against servility.

Their quick anger,
their light slumber,
their early morning voices on the phone.
I love nape and collarbone,
a cheek wet with tears,
the line of the arm, of the ankle,
and the infinite expressiveness of their hands when
they speak,
or touch themselves, or me.

My throat hurts. I have a raging fever again that needs to be purged. Perhaps a poem from an overdue library book can calm my ills:

What Happens When We Sing
Bliss Cua Lim

(After Bibi)

My girlfriend said,
you cannot produce a sound you haven’t heard,
by way of explaining what happens when we sing,
and alluding to a man in a Chinese opera
who had effortlessly freed a note astounding to her ears.

Her words had weight and sank deep in me.
Those who do not fear to revel, saying,
whatever the price or loss I’ve later to pay
is worth this moment,
have not lived that logic and been seared.
The delicate palpitations of the desirous spirit,
that waits upon a voice on the phone,
a step at the door,
a rustling of note paper,
are destined almost always to a cheating of those hopes.

Having desired and died, we ask,
do we need to need? Why?

I have heard a noise like the breaking of pavement
when a terrible sob is muffled towards morning.
Some women are made for love,
but remembrance of such wailing can unmake them.

Everyday he grows lovelier for the love of me.
Shall I nurture, knowing the body I cradle can turn?
A sound like that can make you repeat relentless questions,
draw in your hands and count protestations.
A love like that can ruin you for love.