Ancient Aliens

History isn’t enough is it
not when memory is unearthed like
artifacts: deliberately, carelessly &
the Terra Cotta warriors’ lacquer skin
flaked off when they were first unearthed
cracking with first grateful inhale
& it helps to think of aliens in the
Hanging Gardens, or aliens renting Noah his
Ark & it helps to think of aliens in
the abstracted sense: my parents
came to the US in a metal bird to
terraform a neighborhood with Chinese
restaurants and churches and their
market’s unfamiliar biome &
I don’t speak their language, heard nothing
of their stories, buried their history as the
Tower of Babel eclipsed the clouds,
with the Library of  Alexandria
& every great flood now is God’s spittle or
God’s ink or advanced weaponry from the
sunken metropolis of Atlantis & Harry Horse
forged a manuscript for money
communing with aliens like the Oracle at
Delphi & couldn’t even sell it
but I admire him for trying to create
history against history, making himself
alien against the ways he is alien & Richard Horne
renamed himself Harry Horse & killed his wife
by draining her blood or took her with him
when he went home & killed himself holding
her diseased body in arms strange in their
anthropomorphization & it was a suicide pact
& when Osiris saw the constellations on their bodies as
their ka were weighed he thought of his son Horus
as the only truth & his own body spread across
the desert of time & the desert of time as infertile
& so every couple we find flash-fossilized and buried
embracing becomes “Aliens” & stepped pyramids where
the unwilling embraced God violently,
intimately, high out of their minds, becomes “Aliens”
& the blood of slaves and epiphanies
outliving their moment of realization are
Aliens & even i scratch and draw lines like
irrigation ditches hoping to divert a
Great Flood & crashing deflated
outside the military boundaries of my archives
is a return & not first contact


Late-Night Television

horror logic – this tv show got
canceled before i’d watched more
than one episode but it’s become

a zombie in my head now
like the scene where the abusive
father in a stained tank top has become

supernatural and is killing his children
– when did my own dad stop becoming an
unkillable apparition, when did he become

naturalized – and the last son left alive
looks back to see this specter approaching
but he lives because this is tv logic,

not movie logic – when i was getting high every day
every night i ran frantic up the steps, convinced
of my dad’s spirit in the dark behind me,

more a timbre than anything – his face
immaterial – his shirt is stained and
his hands strip skin from my back pushing

them into himself growing larger so each step
traverses time and mortality: sour smell of sweat
and the rotting oils in his skin –

i look back to see calluses in his palms
how his hands were always big enough
to close over mine but instead there isn’t

when the darkness at the bottom of the steps settles.

– Stephen Lin