The Inaugural Issue

Two Poems

Khairani Barokka


Cease and Desist


Masturbatory fantasies are not the province of your mother,

Nor are tall, libidinal dynasties any subdistrict corrupted by

A member of kin who would wreck them with both hands.

Stop: this is the hour of night where you pull the sarung

To your head and sit tight, in the knowledge that you are alone

And a woman lies, eyes closed, hot beat from warm climates,

Thinking of how your mouth works. One million acres of skin

Is not a plantation. Stop: here, the crossroads between

What they want the whole of my cells to birth between

Your legs, and the void of calm that rests and will rest there.

Stop: this is your breakfast in fourteen hours. Noodles and

One fried egg; in its succulence, suppleness, your breasts

And hers. Now stop: this is not a televised broadcast

Interruptus, by powerful men in the same tailored shirts,

The same tight sorrows. Stop: this is where we shift

Ourselves on a ship, eyes tight to frayed hands, malicious

Cocks cast overboard, scheme-mongering women and men

Drowned first, and all it is is a boat ashore now, home where

Participation in love is no medal-strewn land, it’s a quiet

Place, with only his arms, your past, your future. Safe in any

Possible kind of another’s body. Any possible bodily peace.





open cavern-mouthed anaesthesia salivabeam,

torso a

      wall of calm ocean.


and handled-thigh ready,   searock fists.


you don't need to catch me or breath,

i'm open, come lessen

         your need to breathe—

quicken the dense air, eat

all the sundays

after my relapses and yours

in bed,



your swole,


week into mine, it's tighter.

               and sometimes, there's discounts for the underlings.


there goes dark matter aswirl now, compressed

gravitational waves outside of our windows—

          black out

(shh. you're fingering.).


not anybody

         no more distressed.


three orange poems written block-lettered for me,

                                       blot-thick in haze,


then forgets all the words burns the pages.


       stay stay large canyon of quiet;

       eat plums stained with milk from my palm in ravines,


you do not want to deny this rest,


don't deny body this rest.


[Note: This piece was written to capture a landscape in which people who, like the character in the poem, experience multiple "relapses" or escalations of pain and fatigue within a single day (or whatever your own version is, perhaps emotional escalations, perhaps those of addiction, anxiety, and/or of grief) and navigate personal relationships that are as complex as any, and as unique as any.]



Khairani Barokka. ‘Two Poems’. Queer Southeast Asia: a literary journal of transgressive art Vol. 1. no. 1, October 2016.

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