Showing posts with label Poetry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Poetry. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 04, 2022

an international call

 


If you called my extreme condition: you might 
diagnose sister love--but do you know  
about the side effects

when my phone tells me it's her calling
--nausea, dry mouth, anxiety, 
shortness of breath

she knows this and inserts a subject line 
even as I--"hello?" "All's well, Akka,
I just called..."

 international calls are ordinary yet hide
like a virus inside information 
 finding a way to threaten

despite the softness of my sister's voice--
noisy futures sometimes dance 
alongside the old world 

international calls will make me watch--
make me guess who'll partner next 
parents, cousins, other loves

"I just called..." she says "one million cases..."
she says "I wanted to tell you all
 to be safe and careful."

Of course there's no way to be careful enough
(home is: a high school student,
a fast food worker, an ER doc)

I'm in the literal woods now (the metaphorical 
end of the sea), until the sun unhooks itself 
from a cloud shaped like a headache

and sails into the sky without even a cough
just this high, bright, and bored god
bearing messages--but not for me

-----------------------------------------------
Pic: Sunrise at Baker Woods. The phone rang as I was taking this picture, and I panicked when I saw it was my sister as it was kind of an unusual time for her to call me. She was calling because we--the U.S.--topped over a million NEW Covid infections yesterday. She wanted to ask the family to be safe and careful. But how? 

Monday, January 03, 2022

dinner conversation

the earth tilts into evening
I can hold you forever--
in arms, in eyes 

in a solemn ministry of love
my mouth is a vow 
(all words are wow)

I know love like loneliness
like a rescue animal
diving through fog 

in your marrows of strength
the tenderness of words
the tenderness of wounds

for when you ask me questions
certainty lies--folded between
my hands like grace

_______________
Pic: Family dinner yesterday; a serious conversation about cartoons. 

Saturday, January 01, 2022

respairing

Honestly? I think I'm wary about 2022; I was way more sanguine about respair last year

Nu had some friends over to celebrate NYE at home; At went out with friends; Big A and I noshed while the puppies went between pets in the rumpus room (Nu and friends) to naps with Mama and Dada. Also: We pro-conned and discussed a job offer which would take take Big A to another state. 

We were supposed to do a whole family dinner tonight, but At's car ran into a curb and there's a weather advisory, so it'll be tomorrow (hopefully). I'm grateful everyone is okay-ish even while I will myself not to be superstitious about new year's day.

I'll carry myself into this next year 
conveniently mad
you know I've done what I could 

Happy New Year! Happy wishes!
2022, please
don't open and return these to me

we can be civil--here, take my hand 
shake it, I mean
don't like... coddle or confiscate it

__________________________

Poems from January 1 over the years: 

new year  

once more 

often 

nodes 

Jan 1st 

I took my kids to yoga today 

______________________________

Pic: The soapstone sculpture LB and TB gave us for Christmas. It looks like a very loving couple, and I think that was their point. (It also makes me blush a little with its intense intimacy.)

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

the writing on the trees

night always comes to inherit earth
light follows faraway--hopefully

from emerald to ash the borer hies 
pressing leaf into shadow

tearing through wood with a reason
writing hieroglyphs in hunger

seeming a cousin to cave scribbles
as madness is all to madness 

would you go on a walk with me
through seasons of damage

we can bless the falling of pillars
whittled from feral feasts

recorded on stoic skin and bones
etched into fasting flesh

for every time we've been reduced 
by some primitive scrawl of loss 

___________________________
Pic: I had to step across this tree trunk, which lay in my path in Baker Woods. And it looked like there were some primitive cave-painting-type etchings on it. A Google image search taught me that this is what damage from an emerald ash borer looks like.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

abecedarian for 2021




                           OR

Anyway, innocence is a thing I overcome
By becoming a small offering of silence, 
Certain so many things never end at all.  
Destiny--these paths forking to multiply
Erupts into our endings and beginnings
Frames all the lessons I just won't heed
Unfolding in tedious, untidy symmetry

Thursday, December 23, 2021

morning lesson

For L W-B 

the city is seated here... erratic 
along our teacher chatter
waving in delight

we find ourselves amidst magic
winterberries so ripe they 
must surely hurt--inside

alert and hidden and still as panic
one bird ruby as berries
another dun as boughs

play by themselves like... music
to complete the morning 
to see us whole


Sunday, December 19, 2021

trance


it's like breezes open my mouth
to pour in 
salted happiness

but how well do I know myself?
sleep (do not) want to sleep

so tonight becomes a cartwheel 
of love on sliding sands

the glow of my amma, dad, uncle, 
aunt, and sister at a bonfire

the rap of waves half a world away
in harmony with my heartbeat

and here's me waiting for something 
wild    to wish me goodnight

------------------------------------------
Pic: Picture of sunrise on the beach (Bay of Bengal) from a trip mom, dad, and Chelli took to visit VM and AA. 

Saturday, December 18, 2021

in sight

the blizzard blooms 
in afternoon sun 
windows burn

but not the tree-line 
held in my mouth
like t e e t h  

unraveling the bridges
they can reach 
like breath

answering the songs
of late at night
dog choirs

we cannot yet speak of  
how meaning carries
across    species

I begin to see in silence 
how I understand
no thing

---------------------------------------------------------------
Pic: Surprise snow overnight--on cue for Nu's first day of Christmas break. 
Notes: We're rethinking traveling between Christmas and New Year to see grandparents. And there are rumors that school may be online in the new year. (And yes, someone forgot to bring summer's pillows in again.)

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

friends,


be careful with your worship
for in love souls grow
missions shining

they'll just... catch your heart 
you'll watch them take it 
and you'll do nothing 

there are sighs in our history
the wet edges of my face
icy yet blazing

becoming... tender accounts 
starry with sentinels
and yes, shining

Monday, December 13, 2021

next time


chants sink their laments
into my lungs
like a monk, time now slips  
me memories 

people and love and times 
away, unavailable   
I meet myself falling down 
now into stories

now is evening in the world
although inside 
the starry core of my body  
it says 2:00 am

who knows if I'm really early--
or simply very late 
what shall do with myself now
I have broken time 

____________
Pic: I add one snow-globe to my Christmas collection every year. This year, I found these adorable friends exchanging gifts and then I FOUND SAME FIGURES AS STUFFIES! I lamented not having tiny babies who would be delighted with this find, but Nu--very kindly--really stepped up their game. 😁🤗

Monday, December 06, 2021

fresh as a bruise


this sky hangs around
mouth wide open
I have given it 
silly thoughts,
snacks, the smutty 
aftertaste of our quarrel

the anchor of our caution 
as we figure out 
this overhang 
opening words 
from older words 
whose meanings are lost 

Friday, December 03, 2021

revival

For I've saved stones 
in so many pockets
converted prayers 
to slips of paper

leaning over the edge 
I pray for everyone
will even pray for 
every thing

though I gag on words
I deliver them like
pardons, where
they parade
 
tumbling my meaning
--these funambulists
conjuring fantasy
and salvation

Sunday, November 28, 2021

for you say it matters

the wash of water
the hunt of love and desire 
a flush that sweeps us away

stars battle frost while
I tug my mouth into shapes
finding languages I have lost

so bravely and in beauty  
just singing... a beginning
imagining nothing to get there 

Saturday, November 27, 2021

for you too may have / questions about this story


                                                                             
                                                                      the tongue a knife probing                                          
our mom didn't tell this story 
till she was safe home again
how traveling to Chennai 
in the rains--she said--they 

                            the cleft palate of memory 
couldn't tell which was river 
which was road... and then 
went skidding into a ditch...
thanks to the gods--she said--

                           the smile tucked up in secret
thanks to all the gods some
villagers were passing and
they were kind and pushed
our car back onto the road  

                            the lips nudged into detail
then softly: but... they said
some mean things in Tamil 
like uncle is a terrible driver 
who shouldn't have a big car 

                             the gummy words murderous
even more softly: aunty and I 
were in the car, so they said
look at those fatty gundechis
just sitting on their bottoms

                             the mouthful of arguments
But I still told uncle we should 
reward them, give some... thing?
But he said no, that wasn't fine 
they might ask for more next time

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I know the generosity of Tamil people well. When I was pregnant with At, people would keep offering me food even if all they themselves were eating was a paper cone of sundal or peanuts. I am beyond horrified-ashamed-saddened that my family didn't offer anything--payment/a ride/money for coffee-tiffin to the people who may have saved their lives in the middle of a cyclone. (The cheeky, irreverent humor checks out too.)

Sunday, November 21, 2021

leaving a small mark

forever, the lucky white lies
inside a neverending day
there are nervous words 
for most of this

I hear you saved me a plate
and become an avalanche 
crashing with applause
my mouth a riot 

praying for the day to soften 
nursing its rotten return--
what might not happen 
after I reread this

Saturday, November 13, 2021

going on goings on

don't separate me from what I remember
for I sin against completion 
I say I want want so much from this life 
and yet I keep giving it away  

my mom said she found a college friend 
from forty years ago on Facebook
she's a bit proud and shy telling me how
because it's detective shit/stalking

my sister gamely practices a funny line 
from a cartoon only I have seen
we bounce it between us: "back to you"
laughter shimmers in our mouths 

in the richness of boredom I'm dissolving
into blessings, learning lessons
of normalcy, finding myself in some stories 
I've braided out of ordinariness

Sunday, November 07, 2021

discord

for I serenaded the sun today
my mouth a tunnel

                       didn't think of Kapernick's knee
                      then Chauvin's knee
                                                 
for the wind refuses to be silent
as it flicks its tail

                        can't think of Kapernick's knee
                    then Chauvin's knee

         for the war becomes metaphor 
                            only when revolution is near

                             don't think of Kapernick's knee
                    then Chauvin's knee

         for this is a poem that kills poets 
        --whose ghosts live forever 

                            for it thinks of Kapernick's knee
                    then Chauvin's knee
                            

________________________________________
Pic: sunrise and tea on "fall-back" Sunday. 
I wore my hair in a braid and was clearly trying to juggle other strands here as well.

Saturday, November 06, 2021

back story

ripples eddy me round like
an island, like a knot
greedy with fear

in this drift of a year I may
examine one reed then
inherit a whole river

I will no longer burn into 
everything--it holds me
back, turning

into the story of one bird
perched on my hand
forever telling me

I am here--yes, I am here
have been for so long
always singing 

Monday, November 01, 2021

in unknowing


-------------------------
some beginnings rush to broadcast
they rise up

in the way fear always sees love
and uses it up

although none of us is too empty for life
I hear

this tree saying: I'm only just a seed 
 hold me

a breath sighing: I want to be born 
end me

---------------------------

Pic: Nu as we set off down the driveway. All my outside time with Nu these days is in the dark--whether they are walks to the school bus or (here) getting ready to put the chickens to bed.


Sunday, October 31, 2021

underneath it all

I know the gossip well enough
so as I fall asleep 
I know

every body could be these bodies
so... easy and insignificant
in their yearning

always welcome under blankets 
with whatever remains 
of love 

their kindness like the glance of 
streetlights in my childhood 
bedroom

where some other child might lie awake
amazed at how they cannot 
fall asleep