Juda Reconsidered


a twenty minute walk to Jericho, with every house on the street still on fire. you
can’t put out the sunset in the middle of summer with just a blanket and a
bucket of water no matter how hard you try. a cold bottle and seventeen
cameras. a temple. no anchor, only a film reel recording disaster as it happens live.
audience leaning so close that their clothes almost catch light. and
just like the shark becomes the wide ocean, so does the smoke become

the dark sky. walking blue streets in light drizzle. you heard the thunder echo
far beyond the cathedral spires. you felt every body on the road like a cut that
won’t close. I’ve started thinking of people as wounds that don’t heal.

several things survive here: lemonade and absinthe; a single dying flower
on the windowsill, and art prints of Vermeer and Klimt. a short book. you know
that this is all you have gathered in the past eight weeks. two singles for the
same bus ride and a museum with a thirty steps. you’ve still never been
. the ground shaking and still, the sky still shaking. grey in a body of
water; an empty bottle of water. a moon that you can cover with your palm.

anger, sometimes. rage, always. rage, always. a man in the street with an
umbrella and a peaked cap, talking about hell and how he wants to take you
there. pain in your lower abdomen. lent. a wall of flames around your childhood
home. a prayer. the kind of violence that only exists inside the colour red,


                                                                              but you’d know all about that.


Translation: an Introduction


you forget,
I’ve watched you split my heart open like a pomegranate
and carve the seeds out with your bare hands—nails stained
the same colour of the sky as the sun sets in rome.

I know how your rage can light a thunderstorm or flood a town;
so if there’s ever blood on your hands again, I want it to be mine.

I watched the sun rise from the walls of constantinople and
considered surface tension and breaking point—how long patience
can bear to hold.

how do you live with a guilt so large it’s like the moon is
hanging over your head, just waiting for a moment to fall
that could devastate the world?

what I mean is, how do you touch a lover who can’t even
say your name? I had a body that felt everything and
we couldn’t talk about it, so I pretended I didn’t have a
body and that I couldn’t feel anything.

I was another one of your pretty things
a cracking painting hanging over the fireplace:
oil on canvas, still life of boy with his fist against the
wall, cut from hip to collarbone.

and after you left I turned the lights back on and slept on
sofas all over town. I sewed stars back into constellations
to fill the gaps in the wallpaper. I don’t want to be the one
putting holes in things anymore.

And now it’s been 5 years. imagine that. the distance between
us a landscape that learned to paint itself, and now it can’t stop
its hands from moving.

I called from the wrong side of a fire door to tell you that I
might come home. static and silence. then you said,



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With Juda however, I can pinpoint the day I wrote it and the walk that inspired it. It was in my last week of my second term of university, and it had just been raining so there were puddles everywhere.