Charles Borkhuis

No One to Speak Of


tomorrow has come to suck
the egg out of another day

the moon’s double zero
perches on a branch

put it to sleep
and it wakes one day

ahead of the last
no-name day

the same day
spelled backwards

becomes yesterday
drowning in moonlight


a worm eats at the human heart
the way nothing eats at something

someone stands in for no one they know
and fills in the blanks

someone watches themself in the mirror
trying on faces

words don’t stick to the one who says them
they warm to slush and slowly slide away

tomorrow is another someday
someone is another no one

fearful that their identity
will someday desert them

someone closes their eyes
and is given a chocolate kiss

but when they open them
they see rat shit wrapped in gold foil


someone has a key
that lets them in

and a lock
that keeps others out

someone is a happy mistake
but doubts

they are
who they say they are

someone talks to no one
they know

and hears voices
through the walls

someone eats from a can
and checks their stool for blood

someone remembers playing
under the table with ghosts

someone becomes a ghost of themselves
watching others through closed windows

if someone knocks
no one is home

if no one knocks
someone is home


tomorrow wakes up
as another today

the same day
turn it over like an hourglass

tell it to the metronome
tapping to a soprano singing a solo

while another someone stops mid-bullet
blind accident speeding away

an eye spills across the page
last words written to no one

someone wakes with silent
words on their lips

little phrases on the wing
who’s speaking now and now

no one makes sense for long
no one returns from the dead

as someone else
no one knocks when someone is home

someone has forgotten their name
and becomes no one again


everyone thinks they’re someone
standing in for someone else

the way space bends
around a foreign body

and gravity spins time like a top
the way everyone is virtually there

but never present to each other
never actually in the moment

more like a recorded version
spinning off in multiple directions

something has been lost
in a shimmering pool of light

someone stares up
from the bottom

and breaks the surface of a dream
before sliding back under


someone dwells in a pause
between sentences

a parenthetical personality
neither asleep nor awake

hears the dead knocking at the door
someone shoots and someone falls

tomorrow is another day
spelled backwards

in the light from a dead star
live light dead star

someone hears nothing knocking
at the center of something

words wake us
and put us to sleep

the same words
heard but unspoken


silence nurtures someone
in the womb of nothing

the shimmer-echo
that is and is not

already there already gone
in the same motion

the constant flow of words
from nowhere to somewhere

keeps someone watching
for tomorrow’s nameless someday

someone talks
to no one they know

and hears voices
through the walls


moonlight sinks into an empty silhouette
that walks the streets without us

someone stares in the mirror
and sees another in their place

no-thing has found a home
under the skin

the empty black sky
lets everything in

the worm dining
on the human heart

dreams of one day awakening
as a butterfly lighting on a branch

so someone puts no one
in their back pocket for safe keeping

walks into a bright busy street
and slowly dissolves

Charles Borkhuis’ nine collections of poems include: Dead Ringer, Finely Tuned Static, Disappearing Acts, and Alpha Ruins, selected by Fanny Howe as a finalist for the W.C. Williams Award. His poems have appeared in eight anthologies and his essays were published in two U. of Alabama books: Telling It Slant and We Who Love to Be Astonished. He curated poetry readings for the Segue Foundation in NYC for 15 years. He translated New Exercises by Franck André Jamme from the French. Borkhuis’ plays have been presented in NYC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Hartford, San Diego, and Paris, and published in four books. His two radio plays were produced for NPR (PennSound). He is the recipient of a Dramalogue Award, and is the former editor of THEATER: EX magazine. He lives in NYC and San Diego.
This entry was posted in Poetry and tagged , by Posit Editor. Bookmark the permalink.

About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis ( is the Editor-in-chief and founder of Posit ( and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom (winner of the Washington Prize), Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies such as Walkers in the City (Rain Taxi), They Said (Black Lawrence Press), and Resist Much, Obey Little (Dispatches/Spuyten Duyvil), as well as in journals such as Agni, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions online, Diode, Interim, New American Writing, and VOLT.

1 thought on “Charles Borkhuis

  1. Pingback: Editors’ Notes (Posit 26) | Posit

Comments are closed.