13 April 2018

note if you wanna be a writer and a reader

if you wanna be a writer or a reader you're gonna have to figure out how to stay still. how to breathe in real deep and zoom the heck in, to sit for hours in narrow light or wide light and do only that one thing at a time, to not fucking scroll, to not want to run away.

yes there is space for the aleatory for the angled birds for the pipe of light for the cinnamon smell. but there is no space for a head that cannot stay, that wants to pull so much marrow out of every moment that it must inhabit many at once. no. stay here with the thing even if it is hard. know that the world wants you to glance away quickly, to be flitting, to bang against glass and then the ground, to forget all. but you want to be a moth instead, the madness and the flaming desire of the moth, to know there is limited time but we will flutter at the light with all our might. stay here in this moment if it is silly. stretch your legs even if it hurts. don't smoke and laugh every evening into a slick night. it is a good thing to work. there can be love and peace and pause and promise all within the work. don't always take what comes easy - be kind to the self, kinder than all the world, love the self hard and wildly and through all the difficult days, but PUSH push gently push quietly push warmly keep pushing you are working and living and loving well but there is always a long way to go. be slow. watch a lot. read so you lose what keeps you sturdy. when you are unsturdied and tender-boned, write.  

23 February 2018


all over, the bougainvilleas are in bloom. bursting open like white clouds, or like innards, the most vivid pink. I wonder if the bougainvilleas in my house are blooming, even though b-ma is dead and b-pa is sick and everything seems different.

6 December 2017


Sometimes when Kalpa
across from me in the dark
happens to ask, or even
before she does, or if not,
I wonder how faithful 
my memory is 
to the taut silver edges of
what really happened, if
the scorpion I saw once
on that windowsill, stilled,
really gleamed at the sting
with a vicious drop of
venom: did I see it
at all?

She tells me of snakes
in the field under darkened stalks, 
and I think to tell her of 
the creature that slithered past 
just this morning, 
a glimmer of light at my feet 
that vanished at sight. 
It left the faintest taste of 
green on my eye. She waits,
but I do not say, convinced
all at once of a bond I could not break
between that silver-green baby snake
and my curious, wondering gaze.

monsoon haikus

I sit alone in
dark library innards while
outside, monsoon light.

The slugs last night were
inching along in silver;
now, only dark stains

on the college road.
The air is full to bursting.
It must rain again.

wild loves

I keep slipping postcards and words
into the notebook I will never send you.
It is a thick purple, and has leaves hidden
inside the paper. I trace over them listlessly.

It was not as though I called you daily
when you were around. Somehow knowing
that you existed, in a kurta and bindi, wild hair
falling over your wild smile, was enough.

Love is never enough, that’s the thing.
I keep trying to slip you into boxes
you don’t understand and don’t need.
Your words are dim stars in my eyes.

I miss you wildly, but not desperately.
I do not need to call. You still exist, if
even farther than before. It should be 
enough. Love should be enough.

Dancing girl

My mother has taken to dancing

I mean she still stands straight
as a pole at evening parties
and full of poise at nightclubs

But recently in daily life
she has been wild

In the morning when I tell her
she looks like a vision
she does a little jig to celebrate

She must jump when she wears
a jumpsuit, of course

I read the words of another poet
(dance is a body’s refusal
to die) and think of her
over & over

She wants to see all the world
she pirouettes in bathroom chappals

When we drove through Scotland
she stopped the car where she liked
she couldn’t get enough of the sky
at Skye, it was too blue, too much
to hold in her body
She whirled like a dervish on the highway

And then at the Great Wall of China, she
couldn’t help herself, her joy spilled out
all over the countryside
She held out her arms till they
reached sun and giggled till she was red

Danced like the first girl at Mohenjodaro
toppled over onto ancient cobblestones

Reached home with two bruises
like continents on her knee
She is unfazed.

on shame

It comes easy
to me, for some reason,
that white hot ribbon
in the belly. A mistake,
or an ignored wave, or
an awkward gesture left
unfinished. But recently
I have been trying
to let go as easy —
let the cringe travel
up my spine, let my
abdomen clench itself,
face tighten in pained
expression, but then
let go, breathe in quick
and then breathe out
real slow, careful to expel
CO2 and also all
the other bad things,
the pellets of self-hate
that gather in the gut,
the fear that freezes,
the shame that burns
everything for a small
silly reason. Breathe it
out, remove it from
this body. Make space
for new mistakes.
Nobody was watching