daniel liu


after Frank O’Hara / after Roger Reeves / after Ocean Vuong / after Youngseo Lee

[REDACTED], i am only here to hear your last breath. running water, running lungs racing like oblivion. each gun-face is just an escape. each respiratory disease, another way to apologize. sound unfurled like a bullet, this burnt larynx is stained with tar. these organs bleed black. i will grieve for you. know this. [REDACTED], know that the opened boy is just a euphemism for an open coffin. know the moon is just a coverup for your burial. how easily borders become boundary data become men. [REDACTED], before you give yourself away, teach me. teach me the rhythm of tarnished copper. every reddening: another birth. someday, when the robots come, this memory will be important. tonight, i may be the songbird or the hunter. fire sky, coal mouths. the forest is just a seabed not yet razed and every animal is just a creation myth not yet forgotten. [REDACTED], your arms will become deathbeds. these insularities will go unpunished. this is to say i am the songbird, and as the songbird i will sing all funeral songs, even my own. [REDACTED], i am here because i am scared and full of graves.


I think that “Someday I’ll Love [REDACTED]” is at its center, violent—a collection of brutal memories building up to expose a fleshy heart. It’s a descent into madness. The choice for me to use [REDACTED] came out of that self-destruction: instead of using my name, I wanted there to be a degree of separation between, me, the speaker, and me, the person being spoken to. They are the same person, but to deal with your own body and self is to deal with a different beast entirely.

Daniel Liu (he/him/他) is a Chinese-American writer, editor, and musician from Orlando, FL. His work appears or is forthcoming in Diode Poetry Journal, Kissing Dynamite, National Poetry Quarterly, and elsewhere. His work has been recognized by the National YoungArts Foundation, Bowseat Organization, and the Live Poets' Society of New Jersey. He founded and currently runs INKSOUNDS, an interdisciplinary arts gallery. His debut chapbook, COMRADE, is forthcoming from fifth wheel press. Find him online @danielliu_1 or at http://daniel-liu.carrd.co/.