We Built the Emperor and His Ocean

by B.B.P. Hosmillo

We took the natural way out, burned the boat, laughed. Our first vision
was a real tunnel. We left the kitchen of sadism and metal tongues, the
late songs of subsistence, and ruination’s entire house, its best knives.

We escaped that commonly unseen life and a purple boy is a man
is an animal is fighting for what we meant when we said love under

another name. This is not just a battle for the thing that a tale’s tragic
hand always throws to a falls, and there must have been a crucial archer
answerable for the lives lost ever since. For who could wound the body

and never heal it until death? List his strengths over night and we will
spend our remaining days trying to forget our weaknesses. Call him

the emperor with blue waves in his chest and an animal gets to drown.
The abundance we have now of water is the promise that limits it.
O beast on bended knees, that’s ill-intentioned and you will die,

we say over and over again. Gravity pulls a family tree down and
all the animals are kept away from us. When dreamless, we hear

arrows stamping an animal down and silence and then our breath.
When there’s a thing about us that has yet to be recognized, a dead
animal is not a man and is not dead and is not telling you are cruel,

yet we know what we have done.

B.B.P. Hosmillo is a queer poet of color. Author of The Essential Ruin (forthcoming), his writing has appeared in Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, The Margins (Asian American Writers’ Workshop), Kritika Kultura, The Ilanot Review, Assaracus, and many others. He received scholarships/research fellowships from the Japan Foundation, Asia Research Institute at the National University of Singapore, and the Republic of Indonesia. Contact him at bryphosmillo@yahoo.com.


I agree with Emily, above. This is an awesome piece. B.B.P. has a bold way of tapping into language that brings out the mythological and a strong sense of the tangible simultaneously. A piece doesn’t have to make sense in the everyday way we think of something making sense. In this case, we need to probe deeper, get behind the words to see the other worlds that exist there. Yes, it’s more work for the reader, but worth it.
Victor D. Sandiego, Nov 19, 2015 victordavid.com
THAT WAS **AWESOME**!!!!!!!!!!!! You captured, first, a man, unruly sort of, in the court of the "emperor," his son maybe? Then I think you captured what a hunter of animals is thinking with such clarity! I mean, the LACK of saying anything of his weapon and still making it CLEAR that he killed something, or one, was BRILLIANT! Way to go!!!
Emily Boldt, Nov 18, 2015