***
#1
I lie quietly
Buried
In a warm heather of skin and fur
Questioning skeletal stability
As membranes shake against my restless spirit.
Calmed in this moment,
I am slow to move away
Muscles shudder
Under my weight
And breathing grows
Heavier
In my presence.
I untangle myself
With calculated lifts and pulls,
When a lull falls over the hush
And I stop.
Suspended.
In the euphoria of being held,
In the right place at the right time,
I fall back into the curve that lies open,
Beckoning the shape of my head
To rest.
***
#2
i know right now
i am illuminated
by stars around my head,
the subtle glow of the moon
skimming the air i inhale.
i could be the ray,
the meteor.
i could crash
and leave an impact,
build a body of water
and quench the thirst of generations to come.
i could wade
or i could dive,
rise to the surface for rejuvenation,
touch the ground with my toes,
tread and paddle bravely,
perhaps cautiously,
and pluck pearls with my teeth
from between the thighs of mermaids.
i could climb upon rocks
and make my way to shore
with just my message intact.
I could vocalize realize
that my voice
has not drowned with waves uncharted
that my bottle has sailed upon the sea
with words that will be seen.
A man without sight will be scouting for gold
and he will feed his children with his findings.
***
#3
With you I was on the first letter of love.
Filled in,
scribbled with pastel colours of pretty pinks and blues
all neatly within the lines,
I loved you clean and well
and left the rest of the letters untouched.
With her, I rewrote the word,
gave it a whole new meaning and spelling,
extended its length
had it hand-carved in wood
and it still sits on my desk today,
leering at me in a chalky burnt red.
It hasn’t broken
though I drop it and chuck it at walls,
exasperated when I see it’s still intact.
With her,
I gave the word
and engraved in on my thigh for two to see.
With him
I whisper the letters
and hope that he can spell.
I give him a book
and try to teach him to read.
I offer him a canvas
and tell him to colour.
but he, he is not she.
In a language neither of us speak,
we grope our way
to some semblance of meaning,
both grasping the fleeting.
***
#4
I rolled down my window to ask for directions
along the winding roundabouts and narrow streets.
The man stuck his head outside the car door
I spoke to him in broken Hindi,
Asking the way to the airport.
He paused before answering,
opening his door fully.
He abruptly spat
A pool of saliva on the road.
I stared at the small pond
Fizzling and simmering from the warmth of his mouth,
A bubbly black pool settling,
Baking on the pavement before me.
***
#5
Maybe I look forward to the fall and winter
when i am not lost to the haze of summer,
that glaze
puts the word dumber in perspective;
over my eyes
so thick that i just smile till it dries
and the moment has passed.
but sad.
sad is not enjoyable.
it is agonizing and hard to swallow.
so i let it protrude,
most of all i let it explode:
all of my clothes are stained
and it shows in my face.
i’m embarrassed.
at my place,
i could have it all
and i’d still be a disgrace.
I don’t want to be seen
and i’m sensitive to bright light
it burns my skin
and makes me shield my view.
i start digging my burrows
collecting leaves and feathers.
i figure blood should suffice as ink.
ribbons tossed idly to the side
are gathered meticulously for my abode.
it is the one thing i look forward to most.
The place I know.
i try to run to the coast
in search of a boost at the most
but i keep to myself more than ever.
I don’t look at the most final means of death
but rather the sweetest path
that will take me closest to the edge
***
#6
“Once”
geographically
and mentally displaced,
distanced,
dragging vines and strings across a globe,
pulling knots
tying bows
tangling with broken hair
conditioned to leave and depart,
upon arrival,
leaving pieces in too many places,
behind sofas
and in strangers faces
returning to find
that buildings have been constructed
on the ground once called home,
cranes climb the walls
of a once abode
and only
the bricks and stones and sand
are the same shade of gray
that coloured the sky
above a bed
in a cold, shared room
in a white country
that shakes like a globe on ice.
zoned out,
i’d read and write
the memories of fields and expanses of land
waves
holes in the ground
i’ve dug
and i keep returning,
searching for the shit i buried
in a place that once was home.
***
“Penetrate This”
I wear a body that does not look like mine
the only thing that matches
is my skin with its pigment,
and my hair with its roots.
i look at things from the inside out
and i touch that which is soft,
sink my fingers into flesh,
that welcoming, engulfing sensation–
so that I cannot return.
i am back, i am back.
and i am touching rough again,
calloused and faded,
i am touching burns and shadows,
can’t put my finger on it
so I trace lines i won’t cross,
i’ve simply tread along the edges,
tiptoeing along the truth.
my hands are searching for responses,
so i grasp the first thing i can hold onto for dear life.
and i ask if it hurts,
tell me if it hurts when i hold you.
i shouldn’t have to ask.
I wake up with a start,
to eyes, staring at me curiously.
They are his, and i am his.
“What?”
“You were moaning in your sleep”
“i was having a nightmare”
“Are you okay?”
“Yes.”
No, I scream.
I turn away and close my eyes,
willing my nightmare to return.
I’ve been having dreams,
but i tell him they’re nightmares.
***
#8
be still
it is a mirage,
it is misleading,
it stands in your way and you,
you must be the force behind your actions.
you must stand
in the clear,
of a desert,
with no such thing as walking distance,
you must conserve your last sip
so that you may survive,
and walk fiercely into the sun.
there will be more.
there will be others,
there will be such grandeur
that your cup will never run dry again,
your lips will never drop petals,
and your throat
will never grate
rattle
shake
lose weight.
you will be more.
you will see it all.
your eyes will squint at the first look.
it will hurt,
you will be weary,
but you will adjust.
you will see colours like never before.
they will appear as daubs of paint,
from an artist’s sword,
and you will take shape,
to never again
be depicted in black and white.
for you will be seen.
and your cup will spill over.
***
#9
The trains are each arriving,
one by one, they part ways with my eyes,
we drag them along not looking too far,
I wait for the smoke and I watch for the grind,
I expect a stop and sudden halt,
I wonder who it is this time
and if they’ll write about it in the news,
but they never really do,
so I’ll make faces at those who pass
and never know where they’ll arrive,
I brush shoulders with zombies
and it’s a circle of retreat,
they each come back
to be consumed by time
and make the same rounds.
An officer dives and I realize
the rest of us have survived,
while he’s watched our demise,
day by day he stands there,
pushing us along,
sometimes jamming us in so tight
that we can smell each others breakfast,
other times muttering things over airwaves,
knowing none of us listen, sure that none of us can hear,
they could tell me I’m going to come back to life
if I leave
and I wouldn’t bat an ear.
are you singing us your death song, sir?
what’s that you said? i didn’t quite hear
We each crunch pages
and grunt at the slightest touch,
narrowed looks of disdain
mark our way,
don’t stop walking, don’t stop walking,
if you dare I’ll shake my head and drop a groan.
I’m walking too close to the edge of the tracks,
I wonder if today I’ll fall
and if so, who’s going to take the blame,
there are too many people.
So I stand as close as possible and think,
maybe today’s the day,
but once again that swift breeze comes
and catches me offguard, so that my fair hair
brushes my face
and my eyes close,
till the doors open
and I’ve entered the world.
***