Who will walk these wooden streets?

all poetry is written by Ryan Kai Cheng Thom, who is (obviously) an aspiring poet. Contact them at ryan.thom@mail.mcgill.ca!

August 19, 2014 at 1:29am
2 notes


it’s true:

i’m not clean enough to bring home to your mother.

you certainly seem to enjoy that.

August 12, 2014 at 6:32pm
5 notes

i didn’t end up killing myself,

but sometimes i still wonder what kind of poetry i would have found on the other side of suicide.  what kinds of letters would i have written to you, the living, my love, from inside that eternal midnight room?  what if this whole life is the mechanical clicking spinning whirring whirling of a gigantic clock, all of us cogs in its inexorable gears - and death the vast velvet stillness that waits for us all?  what if death is a library; somewhere inside, there is a book with the words you have been searching for all this time. all this time.  death may be silent, but it is full of words, and someday, my darling, i will go there whether i will it or no, and i will speak them all.  death is a language.  no one can take it from us.  no imperial army, no colonizing force, no prison, no sanitorium, no government can silence death’s mouth, death’s tongue, death’s pounding hammer drumbeat heart.  listen to it.  hear it.  what if death is anti-capital?  what if suicide is revolutionary?  what if, all those years ago, i meant to tell you something by trying to die?  what if i meant to tell you that the world had to change, that you had to change it, that we needed to stand and bend the iron arms of this clock we call life, that we needed to wake up?   somewhere, at this moment, a man has set himself on fire. somewhere, at this moment, a woman is tying a rope around her neck.  somewhere, at this moment, a child is dying by their own hand.  writing a letter in ashes and in bones and in blood, a poetic manifesto phrased in the vocabulary of corpses: listen.  as i lie dying, listen.  

August 7, 2014 at 12:55pm
4 notes

someday they’ll cut this body open

and discover that my flesh is made of sky:

azure, sapphire, cerulean, turquoise, ultramarine,




cirrus and cumulus clouds stirring behind my eyes,

cumulonimubus, alight with lightning,

crackling through the capillaries of the heart.

i am oh so full of rain,

you could fall through me into forever. 


dear scientist, mortuary explorer, search me thoroughly,

tenderly catalogue all my wayward parts.

find somewhere in me,

the forgotten moon, the faded stars.

re-member, reassemble,  this tattered heaven, this


celestial thing.

August 5, 2014 at 4:20pm
10 notes

my sisters,

we could spend whole centuries in mourning for what we have lost - and rightfully so.  goddess knows, it seems like every week another one of us is found in an alley, a dumpster, a basement, a cellar, on the highway, tied to a fence, hanging from the ceiling, floating in a lake.  a dead army of strange sisters. weird siblings.  lost girls with lips and nails as blue as the night we were murdered in. sometimes it feels like i could sleep for years, knowing me knowing you knowing what the world holds for girls like us.  but i woke up this morning.  saw the slivered light coming through the clouds through the grime of my unwashed window through the particles of dust. dear sisters.  i am so tired of mourning.  i am so tired of carrying this weight.  heart like a balloon, i am swimming up through what sunlight will come.  i cannot talk about what i have lost today.  i cannot talk about fear today.  i have so much saltwater joy welling up overflowing spilling out of my eyes like rivers.  my sisters.  pain tunnels into you, like a river cutting through a mountain.  it wears you down.  makes you deeper.  you have so much space inside your souls.  you have so much room for love.  the world taught you early how much you had lost, how much less of a person you were for not wanting to be a man.  i need to tell you how much you are worth.  how exquisite you are.  how much i have gained for being one of us: i have learned to shift my shape.  change my skin.  lift my head to the sky and call forth the moon with my song.  a line of ghosts dances behind my steps. my hair is full of stars.  my lips are blue as memory.  as the ties that bind.  as the rivers that flow between us.  strange sisters, weird siblings, lost girls all.  tell me that i am beautiful.  tell me that i am a treasure beyond compare.  a jewel the strand of our legacy.  that i am a dream in the making and someday, years from now, a child will wake and live in the freedom we didn’t have.  that you would not give this up to be someone else.  sisters, i am so glad to be one of you.

July 24, 2014 at 11:50pm
9 notes

i have no poems for gaza tonight,

only prayers,

only apologies.

what good are words amid this hail of bombs,

this rain of blood?

10 notes

someone told you when you were very young

that you were a good child because you were so quiet.  and so you learned that silence was something to admire, to look up at and aspire to, like the moon - distant and unfathomable.  you perfected silence.  carved it into yourself till it was miles deep.  you dropped your words into this chasm and watched them disappear.  you could sit for hours, folding your thoughts under your tongue, into themselves, over and over.  at school, as teacher droned on.  on the playground, as the boys chased and beat you up.  at home, as your mother shrieked.  in the hospital at two, three in the morning.  people told you that you were a good listener as you got older.  told you secrets, their petty whims and hidden rages.  their stories of abuse, of pain, of tenderness.  they never asked if you wanted to hear.  you thought this made you special.  your silence was exquisite, a many-faceted prison that gleamed like a dead crystal star with your voice trapped inside. love me.  love me.  love me.  

the man you’re sleeping with has a girlfriend whom he adores.  you know because he won’t stop telling you about her while you’re in his bed together.  he makes you leave this bed once you’ve finished making him come, out of respect for their relationship.  once, when she was sick with the flu, he stopped in the middle of sex with you to call her and see how she was.  though you have never met this woman, you know all about her.  she is brilliant, beautiful, delicate, tempestuous.  she sounds like the romantic interest in an indie film about a disenfranchised white guy.  you listen to every detail.  you nod, you reflect.  you gleam with empathy.  with understanding.  he likes to fuck you roughly, up the ass, after he talks.  sometimes you bleed into the toilet after. you barely make a sound.  a part of you is proud of this.  you think that this is being good.  you think that this is strength.

if i asked you what you wanted, you would not say a word.  the truth is trapped inside you, like light inside a prism.  you are always disappearing in the hope of being seen.  you are always shrinking to fit into someone else’s arms.  you are collapsing ever inward; you are a galaxy trying to become smaller.  when i put my ear to your chest, i hear the humming of a barely audible frequency beaming itself past the clouds, into the atmosphere, through the distant reaches of space.  infinite and unstoppable.  magnificent.  love me for my anger, it whispers.  love me for my need.  love me for my jealousy, my weakness, my greed.  my cruelty, my viciousness, my vanity, my shame.  love me for my ugliness.  love me when i scream.  

July 19, 2014 at 5:52pm
2 notes

i curse you

to be yourself,

to be human,

to never change.

July 16, 2014 at 3:36pm
15 notes

what made you want to own another person?

who taught you that without a cage or a contract

you would end up


July 12, 2014 at 3:08am
4 notes

academic writing

i am supposed to say that i am striving to be


how can i say this?

i am not unbiased, we are talking about my life.

i cannot be unbiased, we are talking about freedom.

3 notes

i do not dispute that i am mad,

and what is more, i love my madness;

it is the only thing in this life 

that has never left or failed me.

it is the face of the ghost on the pillow next to mine,

the arms i fall into when men break their promises.

it is the voice of the ancestors, refusing to forget.

it is strength and the ocean, and great tearing hunger,

an itch so strong that i have no choice but to claw open my scars

to find the flowers growing beneath.

when i close my eyes, i glow in the dark.

what has your sanity done for you?