P A R T     T H R E E

#doilookimpressed, acrylic on canvas

#doilookimpressed, acrylic on canvas

daeja baker

Who we are in the Dark

After Neruda’s “I like for you to Be Still”


I like when you are quiet. I watch
As you sit in the chair, light over your shoulder, heavy
book in hand. Your mind ravishes words on pages  
of Kerouac and Bukowski as you wish for your own mountain  
journey—future [books] full of fucking escapades and alcoholic seas

In my dreams you walk dripping...
crossfiring/ crossfiring with the outside.

The sheets of the bed nestle my shoulders as I roll around,
thumb the words of Ginsberg’s HOWL in my head, with a trans-nod--
you get up and walk to your desk stacked with books, many  unread,
and a cup full of black pens,     all exactly the same. “What is it
with you
  and that book?” You don’t look up. I continue to read. Now, aloud:

I’m with you in Rockland
           where we hug and kiss the United States under
           our bedsheets the United States that coughs all
           night and won’t let us sleep...

I like when you are quiet—your fingers  
              run my thighs, to converse
with my hips.     You kiss raw, smile  
into it with devilish glare in your eyes;  you take off your glasses

     angelheaded hipsters burning...
in the dark. I undress as you pull the box of condoms from the high
shelf in your closet.

         I spend my thoughts on the streetlights that guide our mid|
night hours—look over, streets of Highland Park  how I can see
nothing but trees/forever concrete road imagine where I could go,  
where Bryant street ends. “What are you thinking about?” you ask.
“Light.” We smile—nothing more.

(This is the flower of the world.)

I like when you are quiet enough to clear the space in your room
for us both
         to think, this is almost enough.


Daeja Baker hails from the North Side of Pittsburgh and received her MFA in Creative Writing from Chatham University. She is an artist and activist currently residing in Philadelphia.