Ars poetica

Sammy Lê | Poetry

before the train sets off, now, listen—it was only to tell stories—of ivy snaking
around the girth of enterprise, of brutalist monoliths, forest of loners in choir,
if you are willing to see buildings, racked with usefulness, in such light—such
glimmers by which, in the long and loud night, amnesia may finally come to be
memory itself—not much more than a reminder that at one point you, we, had
not arrived—with the other passengers—here beneath the dizzying, mauve flash
of New Phnom Penh, where the sneaker store on the tenth floor of the obelisk,
at the corner of Ocean and Alamitos, is as much a place of worship as the ancient
church across from the Queen Mary—the British interstellar glory itself a place
of rest—is intentional torpor any more restless than the clocktower’s inquisition,
and is restlessness not the only way to touch God’s feet, at the end of a day
on a planet where the sun makes no difference from day to night over the city
in perpetual arousal—are all my cards on the table, you ask—well, my love,
if you’re asking, then you must know—you may take from me only what you
are willing to let me lose—the rest I will give you when I believe you are strong
enough to break me again—to make of my restoration a project in which we
come closer to forgetting why we shouldn’t get so close—to make of all this
a way to tell the story of the train where everyone falls in love and no one arrives
at rest—