Alixen Pham


the spin

                            a blank book begins                       
in the sky
my eyes
see something                       
I’m blind to
my tongue climbs
the Himalayas
the smell of emptiness            
is licorice
my hands spell        
skull beads
something is trying           
to get out of me
trying to un-be
fill helium balloons
entangle my separated ears                                 
I = mc2
my bones
I am an ache
my thoughts                         
the images
everything is lotus
feet are stars   
searching for a ceiling
my neck                                
a constellation
curving to corals
people in my head          
hungry to live
tell me their stories
of nurseries                    
and zoos  
one day
we’ll all die
the world
is whirling
O the whirl


Aesop’s Animals Share Their Wisdom


An old Frog puffed herself so big, she
burst—so claimed Aesop in an attempt to not do the impossible: Like belling a
Cat or leaving class before you can mountain.           Look for 

Dog to wander the world with. For Cock’s friendship to
ease dangerous, untrodden paths, warning against
Fox’s feinting welcomes.

Great things can be discovered—If you don’t
hare fast like Hare, you won’t miss the kindness of Dove and Ant.

Instead, Tortoise your feet. Flirt with juicy jalapenos,
jackfruits masquerading as meat. Enter
Jerusalem dreams.         Hallelujah is the pit not the skin!

Kite your heart like Eagle.                  DON’T
load your shoulders with (too many) sponges wet with: (red, white, blue).

Monkey will (waltz / shake / therapy) you with Camels lonely for partners.
No betters (not one!) exist to caste you as unworthy.

Opportune each sun, each moon like Geese.
Patience if you want gold eggs, not blood.
Peacock your trappings for helium arms.         Freedom is

quixotic possibilities, altering reality to suit your shoes.
Raven your regrets to white Swan (coloring it forgiven).

Serpent your enemies’ poison, compassioning
their empty bellies for acceptance and respect.

Unfable yourself from gods bound in crosses.          Realize you are pebbles, rippling
visions and vocabularies into the great

wide pond, touching every hand, paw, hoof, claw, fin and wing.
Xenograft bioluminescence to your eyes that goodness may headlight your paths.

Yodel your hair to the highest point of the Milky Way, weaving sign posts along the way.
Zest stars from your navel                  to birth a new pot of ink.


You uncurl your fingers


one by one,
like muscles of a clam unhinging
a prison door,
uncorking your head, foam
rivering out.
Your mole eyes shy
to sun-streaked skies.

Your bones are fire weary, dry tears
etched by charcoal, the color
lamp black tainting desire. Shadows haunt 
the landscapes within your eyes.
The weight of your feet longs
to fracture, to nake dead leaves
from your limbs, cool embers trapped
in your sacrum, tame
the overheated beats that rattle
in your hummingbird heart.

It takes shifting from Venus
mound to feet,
cloud up, become
dandelion, feel wind
winding through your cracked carapace,
virgin body babying
the first steps.

Your hands flutter,
a white flag,
the lotus petals
the hot stone

Chartreuse Your Yesterdays


The sycamore trees refuse
to mourn the bumpy scars on their branches.
They shoot pass black sockets,
re-route arterials,
root deeper, corrupt
concrete until its spine breaks,
vertebrae disjointed
the way your yesterdays jut
from your back, joint by joint,
your nubs covered in rot.

Tree another way: Repudiate
the refuse of the times you’ve been racked.
Aerial above them. Flower new dreams.
See how aromatic your heartwood
defies decay, the festering tongues that wound.
Shed your bark decadently.
It’s only dead skin.
Let wood thrush hymn your bones,
a manifesto to stop humbling your breaths.
Breathe violet rays,
purple yourself to blue skies.
Trust the chartreuse of trees
to grow you beyond looking back.




Alixen Pham is an emerging poet. She is published with New York Quarterly (pending), Salamander, Gyroscope Review, Lily Poetry Journal, diaCRITICS and Brooklyn Poets as Poet of the Week. She leads the Westside Los Angeles chapter of Women Who Submit, a volunteer-run literary organization supporting and nurturing women and non-binary writers. She bakes, brews and gardens while writing poetry, fiction and nonfiction work.