Polar Bear Sunsets


Polar Bear Sunsets

Where the green waves dance
to the bobbing
of the blue in icy eyes
that stare down the white sky
into molten pink sunsets;
there I want to lie down
at the fate of the Polar Bear.

Its paws and my skin will meet,
like old friends;
like an iceberg
crashing into the ocean
for the green waves
to dance again
for all to see.

photography and words by Ramon Ramirez

The Man with the Barbed Wire Crown

The Man with the Barbed Wire Crown

The lake is frozen,
the mountain slopes draped
in puffed-up white blankets.

Here and there
(as if out of place)
tree tops poke through the snow;
little blackheads,
their branches
their roots
their essence
spreading infection over the land.

The curtains are drawn,
are the wolves starving outside
as I sip my tea
behind the bolted cabin door?

A dog-eared Grisham yawns
on the footrest by the chair,
bored of its own plot.

Dancing flames devour
the last of summer’s pine cones;
smoking chimney,
barbed wire bundles
to be recycled,
to be woven
into crowns of love.
It’s a perfect fit.
I pull it down,
over my infection,

pink footprints bright
in white light,
in pure snowfall delight;
I stroll to the lake.

I want to meet the wolves;
their wet snouts
sniffing me out;
their steamy breaths
bathing me with death;
their blameless ice-blue eyes;
I want to be deafened
by their haunting howls and cries.

I hear a snort.
I cry.
For something.
At least.

A Letter to A

Dear A,

We started harvesting rice a little earlier this year—a good crop. The humidity gets me down, though. It sometimes feels like I can’t breathe, and I sweat in places I didn’t think possible. The monsoon season is starting to die a slow death. It reminds me of the bad guy in a horror movie who keeps coming back to life, each time his reaching hand a little weaker, but scaring the shit out of you.

The wind came up last night and blew away a few threatening clouds; blew in memories of you. Not that there’s a day that goes by when you don’t crowd my mind, but last night was special. I thought I’d put pen to paper and write to you. You never know around which corner the Reaper lurks, and his scythe is much bigger than the one I use for harvesting rice. Haha! I say that as if he’d give me a chance to put up a fight.

Last night—it must’ve been just after seven—I was having a cold beer on the balcony when a gust of wind blew my towel off the railing and into a puddle of mud. I lit a smoke and looked up to the sky. The clouds were rolling in, from southern Vietnam, if I have to make a foolish guess. Then came the moment when I saw your face illuminated by the lightning flashes behind the clouds. You looked like a shadow puppet in the dark clouds in the foreground, and the lightning acted as natural light to bring out your silhouette.

You turned your head and I swear to Christ I heard your voice in the thunder. I don’t know what you said, but it sounded sweet. A feeling of euphoria grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and it felt like it was forcing my face into the towel on the ground into the mud. I couldn’t breathe; I don’t know for how long I sat there looking up at you, your body moving like a cross between a belly dancer and a gymnast, but when the first drops struck my face I realized my beer was lukewarm.

I hope you’re not angry that I wrote you. We’re miles apart, I know, but I had to tell you; this might be my ticket to see you again before the Reaper pounces. It might not be. Who knows? I hope you understand, and deep down I hope you sometimes think about me, but I realize that it doesn’t matter.

All that matters is that I keep you close to my heart.

All my love,

Pathos, Reflected

Pathos, Reflected

Pathos puddles in young dimples when the girl raises the gun,
a teardrop reflected in Grandfather’s blurry eye.
She checks the sight, cocks the hammer, aligns the bullet
exactly on the stroke of sepia midnight.

Misery, reflected in her tears when he looks up,
ears ringing before she squeezes the trigger;
wags his tail to Grandfather’s rhythmic chime,
licks his tumour-filled belly one more time.

Like a bandit cloaked in purple and ochre camouflage,
a stale breeze slips through the window and thieves;
the last glimmer of hope kidnapped and forced
into mushroom cloud getaway cars.

Beyond empty stables, prairie grass whisper last rites,
dry and silver solemn sympathy-words
that fill the room, watercolours of life
reflected in death, as it is, in bloom.

It could be dusk, it could be dawn

chemical shower
It could be dusk, it could be dawn

It could be dusk, it could be dawn;
the sky’s the same old colour of smog,
here and there dark clouds pull faces
and make silver-lipped yawns.

It could be dusk, it could be dawn;
factory towers smash the skyline
(broken stick figures’ poorly assembled limbs) –
they smoke and puff and scorn.

It could be dusk, it could be dawn;
the breeze carries a fresh taste of motor oil,
dirty rainbows pirouette on air streams,
on our lips the taste of burnt popcorn.

It could be dusk, it could be dawn;
nobody’s got time to smile anymore,
permanent bow ties between our eyes,
souls pulled out, trampled, worn.

It could be dusk, it could be dawn;
no one gives a flying fuck anymore.

words and photography by Ramon Ramirez

The Long Winter

The Long Winter

The village lights are fading fast
in the distance behind me,
the townsfolk are standing in line,
some waving;
others clapping, shouting,

I have a last glance
over my shoulder;
I raise a fist,
a triumphant gesture
for the mad journey ahead.

I pull the hood down
over my eyes,
focus on the sled dogs,
their paws
kicking snow
up into my face;
their ecstatic howls and barks
a language I can’t comprehend.

It’s a bumpy ride.

I can feel my fingertips
at least, but I’m afraid I’ve already lost
all feeling in my feet.
Strange that,
because I can feel the cold
creeping up to my knees,
slowly taking me’
enveloping me in a warm embrace
for the eternal white ahead.

*talkin (TALL-KEEN; Indonesian; verb): to whisper instructions to the dying.