Ghosts Can't Dream, They Also Don't Smoke Cigarettes

Photos and Text by Jasper Lo

Let's take a break from To Go To MacauHere's a regular old breakup poem.



Ghosts Can't Dream, They Also Don't Smoke Cigarettes

Our bodies curl together
breaths aligning,
the tension leaves our bodies
and I die for a while,
awake in my Kevlar coffin
another dream between radio calls.

As the dark gathers in my pupils
I unclip my helmet
open the hatch to the desert outside
breathe the cold night buzz
silence but for blinking
satellites in the stars.

We start out from the basin
sediment dried to our tires.
I duck down only for a minute
warm my cheeks and nose,
stare at the sleeping soldiers below
but now,
crackle bass-rip of the fifty
--sparks bright into the dark.

I follow tracers to the ground
walk out of my ditch and watch the rounds impact
clay shredding and screaming
inertia passes me
pressure takes my air.

I begin to walk east
out of Los Alamos, continue into the dunes
changes to the dried west Texas
suck the salt from my seeds
spit the brown discards
shells stuck on my dry lips.

I walk years
my boots disintegrating
I've left my sleeves in Dallas
scratch my name into floodplain Houston
molded houses, lawns pooled
muddy my feet
stench trapped in refrigerators
rotting wood.

By New Orleans I've lost my ammo
210 rounds spread across the country.
I've forgotten.

I miss the pepper air, chalky in my throat
given way for this shag carpet air
swallowed in each breath
years ahead until I get home.

Skin irritations turn to blisters
blisters into sores
the milk puss lotus
steamed buns of egg cream
dripping from my body.

My arms droop
face frowned
limbs drop from form
lighter now without Kevlar and legs
not much left of me
still years to go.

My third winter
forgotten to Georgia
sun tipped leaves
rays through morning mist
bright orange ball flashing through naked tree trunks
fogged windows on I-20 east,
the maker must be a tender being.

I have no lips to purse,
I whistle anyway
a memory of music
mystical in memory
I'm a million miles away
Eb - 6, thinking about a thinning beat.

The leaves change
a smell I think I remember
familiar like loaves of bread
listen to the shuffle touch of their descent
twirling, I watch entranced
watch it turn to darkness.

You've turned towards me now
move your hand to my face
I breathe again
search for the radio squelch.

I've lost my way those years
a ghost returning home
close my eyes again
this time for a dream.