Guest Poet Don Tran

The Bleeder

So I see her standing downtown--
SoHo, if my thoughts are clear.

And I ask the wall
why she is choking
on my arm--a tourniquet.

She speaks--
I listen, I reply

To hang my words here?

Under the dusty lamps behind
forgotten doors?  Before this
introspective pillar?

It too has seen
beating hearts in pickle jars,
chromatic serpents bleeding the sky,
or was it death by water--the
metaphor of life?

Because she may crave for
the passion of vandals,
but alas, behold
my veins collapsed.

And she whispers
What can I inject,
or perhaps withdraw,
to make this blood complete?

February, 1999

Don Tran's Questions:

Question 1  How do all the question marks fit into the flow of the poem?  Does it give a sense of conversation between two people (or entities)?

Question 2  Who/what is "it" in stanza 6?  What has it "seen?"

Question 3  Whose blood does "she" wish to "make complete" in the last stanza?  Is the "completion" what the narrative voice desires?

Thanks for reading my words, I welcome all feedback.

Correspond with Don Tran at
with your ideas about this poem.

The Albany Poetry Workshop