‘three poems about doing it right’, by Emmie Rae


Photograph by Thomas Anderson. Reproduced under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.

we love at a speed unperceivable to the human eye

I’m comfortable and silent on a floor somewhere

that night I was standing at a counter of pickled snacks

tiny fish in jars

half rancid something

boiled rice cakes in murky water

it was still cold then, the beer came out half frozen

I froze running to the pachinko parlour bathroom

I froze recognising you in someone else

I tried talking to you in the drunk face of a stranger

I took the loop line home

pushed myself deep into the seat

became a small nothing in the sunday

became a small nothing in the ache of the city

became a small nothing in the space between

the futon and the wall, between the covers and the floorboards,

between your mouth and the rest of


on a bus to tokyo I had several fantasies

while listening to usher, climax remix

in my seat, beneath the snow, pushing

through the end of winter, pushing through the end of something

when the screen of my phone lit up on new tatami

I pushed back and burned bare skin against the heater

my breath became wet and heavy

the smell of citrus mikan somewhere above my head

the smell of being overwhelmed and shaky

there was a rickety train to kamakura

there was lot of me under my clothes

outside the guesthouse we were freezing

I let the cold enter me completely

I let the naked thought of you heat me

together we’re doing it right, reaching the climax finally

well I’m just here inhaling deeply, and my heart’s beating rapidly, alone

under covers, melting slowly to empty

I fold up the bed and you are somewhere else

I feel extreme loneliness only while standing next to you

over your beef bowl in the family restaurant

over the menu with nothing I can eat

I drink cold barley tea from a dirty plastic pitcher

watching your face between the steams of a $3 lunch

your hands towards my hands and my hands towards the plastic seat

my face towards plain white rice

my face towards an exhausting lack of wifi networks

our faces toward each other and away again, into the shopping strip

where everything is loud and fermented, where I can’t feel myself breathe by the tofu

donut stand, where we became disconnected in the crowd, weakly reuniting

there is a specific feeling of breaking things in beautiful places

pressing back against concrete walls

crying openly in department stores

we can touch if we need to

we can turn on the tv if we need to

pretend the voices are our friends, pretend we know everything, until we do,

until it all makes beautiful and perfect sense

until tomorrow, when I’m alive and awake, riding a train above the rooftops

into the city again

three poems about doing it right first appeared in The Lifted Brow: Digital, Volume 9, Issue 1: The Adventuring Edition.

Emmie Rae is a Sydney-based writer, editor of thinwallspress and half of a squashed mochi.