:: Article

Duos #13: The Long Marriage

By Jiaoyang Li and Sonja Hristina Bjelic.

The Long Marriage (a duet)

To each their little corner
From inside the mind-pit, clearing snow:
:
:
we arrive at the apple’s long,
knowing a heart equal to an apple’s grave, or a fist of radius
Little, red, pump, pump, pumping balloon—
so we prepared for marriage

That is a long ride, that is marriage
Splintering clouds running to the corner
Sound floats up, deflating the balloon
It is laughter in my head: An April’s snow,
soaking our barefoot plants. The radius
of the sound lasts an apple’s long

Between language and the sudden drop, devoted to the apple’s long
For every death is a little marriage
and so forth, yes, yes, the whole radius
But you would not meet me in that corner
Not when it rains it snows
Think of all the breath lost on all the balloons…

When I peer ourselves, I see balloon inside of balloon
Those who fulfilled us, napping in the apple’s long
shadow. You see: the round has a smell, salty? Snow.
Will the snow on the floor melt tomorrow, will the marriage
continue? Those shoe-plants glittering in the corner
of my eyes, grow like a future without radius

Is a radius
a sentence tethered to a balloon
headed for a sharp corner
the length of the apple’s long
abandoned marriage
to a page’s torso of snow?

Listen: our vision is snowly
decreasing in the white radius
How to define the sweetness when every marriage
is a little death—smoking N2O from water balloons
:those whose laughter is as wide as an apple’s long
Here is no moonland nor Armstrong, here is me folding as a corner

Goodbye my balloon
Wish you can fly as apple’s long
Wish you can disappear as Mr. corner


Cclliipp (llooll)

I

I was an average snail secreting whiffs of peppermint.
My life was a wave that knew no consequence.
Dealt a lumpy eggplant for a heart, always pining for the impossible whale.
Yes, I projected my crystal ball onto innocent leaves.

I was a self-diagnosed clip, yearning to clip a clip (two clips make a cclliipp)
Have you ever pondered the apple’s long, or tangoed with the moon?
Do two locks make a certainty?
Could a bow with no arrow even be taken seriously?

These are questions I sang into at karaoke bars, like a deflated exclamation mark.
Remember, an edge is something sharp and unforgiving.
Just imagine an octopus interviewing a pumpkin—THAT is marriage, that is the long ride!
In the end, the princess is always peeled from her shell.

Now, I am inside the wind-up hour, slowing circles.
I am nearing the cosmic inhole…

II

The blue sea in your body blows the pants off my heavy clouds.

Fencing on egg shells forever is for what?
I know getting on target is not as juicy as
cutting off the loop of fate:

Red snake swallowing its tail will not appear the same twice
in the circle of water.

You are the painter feeding me by your silver spoon-finger,
engraving the secrets of day & night into studs that gild my ears.

A single hole is not a real hole,
until getting two holes or three, crown us the bubble shooter Kings!

Me, a white flag of surrender, a hopping clockwork frog.
Jump into your bonny brown bonnet as I jump into your wind-up hours.

Red ribbon butterflies atop your life
streaking like a cosmic comet in the planting of an eye

ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Jiaoyang Li is a poet and translator. She is a recent graduate of Goldsmiths, University of London and currently an MFA candidate in poetry at New York University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the LA Review of Books, The Penguin Books—Chinese blog, The Paper, Chinese News Magazine, Lemonlylemon, Spittoon Magazine, Guan Wu Poetry Journal, Enclave Poetry Magazine, Voice and Verse Poetry magazine and others. She is interested in exploring interdisciplinary poetry and theatre.

Sonja Hristina Bjelić lives in New York City where she is an MFA candidate in poetry at New York University. She holds a BA in English and Creative Writing from the University of Iowa and has completed studies at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Her poems have appeared at readings in Havana, New York City, San Francisco, Iowa City and Santa Fe, as well as online at petri press and Mud City Journal. She was awarded a 2018 Writers Fellowship from the Edward F. Albee Foundation and is at work on her first book.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Wednesday, August 8th, 2018.