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everything; something; nothing

I’ve been slicing the season, 
now ripe and ready

to simply part ways from its seed.

what I was meant to tell you is that
it has been raining 

and often, the way drops
slither from one leaf to another 
reminds me 

of dancers’ feet.   it has been
two monsoons since the last time

I held an umbrella
for anyone other than myself.

what an odd thing to take notice of.

I still cannot hold a telephone 
without twirling the wire about my 
thumb.

if there is anything you take
from me, 
let that be it:    the image of two restless
hands and the sound of 
a raindrop slipping 
from once branch to the next.

one of my favorite things is watching people explain things. so many times, even if I already know about something, I will tell them that I don’t and let them teach me. I love the way people have their own little ways of wording things, usually so dissimilar to mine. I love how people ask for assurance, the do you understand do you do you? it’s like them feeding me on a little snip of their mind, and then asking, does it taste right, does it fit into you? aah. I love people so much. :))

/ to begin
with a schism : an identity forged in
discontinuity 

   the question marks latched onto 
   every pore
   every unopen window

/ deem this 
polemical for how
I resent my
descent : perhaps,         if I prayed to

Hera, 
she could tell me
how to
speak in the right way

/ I digress
again,   attack with words

my otherness 
an antigen

this body
caught in paradox, both

mine     and
foreign

To have a past that runs parallel to now: 
     a year ago, I stood in this very place, took a long
     gulp of cheap liquor, spat on the ground near
     the feet of a motorcycle— on which, the two of us
     could be grouped as such
     and we rode into August with handkerchiefs
     tied about our mouths.
     Today, I stood with my back bent before
     a large man 
     pouring holy water into my palms, cupped,
     from behind a large statue
     of yet another god I do not have the
     courage to believe in:
is to marvel at coincidence, and to think 
of how the time inside us
must sit with its tongue in our cheeks. 
Blood that tastes of iron;
                                irony.

Intently, I stare out of the window, my gaze fixed
like set gelatin. I trespass on the outside

without leaving the bus. This strange intensity
is what I wish I was known for. Alas, I am not. 

I am
two knees pressed between strangers, 

two shoulders quite the same. Their heat
shapeless on my arms and legs. I keep my

neck turned and tap on my bag. The three
times we cross the Yamuna. 

River, oh river. With nests of large, 
green leaves and plastic bags

necklacing its edges. In my mind, I undress
and enter its mouth. 

When I leave, I am covered in the distinct
smell of salt. This strange intensity is what I wish

I was known for. 
Alas, I am not. 

It is morningtime. Intently, I stare out of the window. 
By afternoon, I forget; am forgotten.

Abiogenesis. I orphan myself: snipping off the threads that lead me back to my parents. I do not do this out of pity, or compassion, or anger (despite of, of course, the fact that I am almost too familiar with their faces.) Boredom, perhaps, is the culprit here. / Guilt has been foreign to me ever since I abandoned fear. I did not understand the simplicity of their relationship until I wrung them out and watched the dark blotches evaporate. / I comprehend little. This, too, is a sharp kind of intellect. To be aware of your ignorance: to know what you do not know. / Field notes. 1. 2. 3. / The back pages of all my notebooks are covered in illegible script, all of which indicates the one same error of existence. Amidst the wreckage, though, is this sentence: to be solid is to hoard time and I must do the exact opposite: to be fluid, a monument of movement. / I am alone by choice. / I am alone by the consequence of my mist. I fling myself from one extreme to the other, and by doing so, appear to be a blur, a smudge. It is no wonder that so many get lost behind the fog. / In another city, there is a man who believes that I am a poem. In this city, only I exist. / Imagine: you are walking on a patch of dry grass and suddenly, you realize that this same ground was once a mouth of gravestones and suddenly, your toes tell you that they are sinking into soft, pink flesh. This, you can take to be my experience with myself. /

the weight of our bodies implicated in the / staccato 
drum / hum of time, following a set pat-
tern (— by which to maintain a spine parallel to the earth’s
axis, a tilt shift photograph 
capturing [in a box] the minuteness of a single flickering
heart, blurred at the brim).          we, who do not quite
understand the agenda of this syllabus,         come to class
without our notes,
          or else, without the knowledge of how to
                         apply them. 
              now, if we fail the exam, the blame does not
                          fall soft on
                          the teachers (since there are none),
                     nor us
                              (since
                                we
                                are not taut enough
                                to keep it
                                from slipping
                                through).

I stand:
with neither the gods nor the odds
in my favor, and yet

I deconstruct the self with such finesse
that while I dance, the rest
chew on questions as they watch;

I answer:
Persephone has been sending me instructions from Hell

and pop the thin film of
their bubbles
with a fingernail.

Her trauma
like a lozenge.

Melts on
the tongue.

She gulps down
her own, now flavored
and sticky,
saliva

and clears her
throat.

The scene: a perpetual maldigestion, a slow-shifting
filth clinging to the arteries of cesspool: hypostasis:
mine. Somehow, the only possessions I take claim
of are those that
negate palpability. Perhaps, this:
the crux of flux. Flat on the floor with retired lungs,
and a pulse
that does not know rhyme.

I am waiting for August
to arrive. The mats are

set, and the cushions
on each seat adjusted,

square against backs;
square.

The glasses
are washed; the table
is dressed; even the

door itself has
curled its lashes. I have excused

myself from all duties: told 
the letters to write themselves,
the bed to stay at rest.

I am waiting
for August to arrive. 

When she comes, I will ask if
she despises her name. 

I will say: 
oh, sit, sit. Be comfortable. 
With what mouth 
do you wish to be talked to?

I have wiped old smears
from the plates, rinsed my 
own hair twice.

I am,
waiting

for August
to arrive.

born a ballad of the modern wars— battle upon battle against the 
self        and all its cause,     solidarity disunited from solitude    out of envy.  
the poem begs: befriend me, I am pity. 
       I am orphan of estate,       disowned by all parents: 
       two mothers with ovaries, maligned and dragged out  
                        scrawny animals of the flesh; 
       two fathers with unbounded tempers and leather belts; 
       all four of them 
                    rotting at the core of haggard sex, 
                forgot that a child cannot exist in such toxic substance. 
the poem begs: gather me, I am spread. 
       I am widow of guilt,       knew death before divorce: 
       had no choice in what I let go,                    I am vapid! 
                thighs ripped apart in full show, 
                here, look at me  
                        menstruate a dark crimson on this page. 
the poem begs: extract your own from this,      I have much to confess without 
  the burden of your experience 
  weighing down my words.         I am a bachelor from success,  lonesome and spent 
                 unable to  curate effectual syntax. 
the poem begs: remember. 
  dubbed the president of this democratic poet,   I am the ode to all others,  
  I am the acned face of this nation. 
the poem begs: remember. 
  neither Calliope nor Hera know how to stomach my apologies;         perhaps 
  I was not meant to be.  
  I am growing closer to the margin now,  cowering behind my shame of 
  dependency;         I do not know whether  
  I was birthed from the carelessness of my ancestors       or from my own angry  
  hunger of existence. 
and then 
it tires,  
retires again.      a beggar dressed in dissonance, 
a mouth dry, gulped down its own tongue out of a thirst 
             of resent.  
and now
the poem shrivels in the corner,     
devoid of pleas by the end.
 

A day spent wrestling the non-existent.

My mother’s gods are incompetent: regardless of how many chants I mutter or bands I tie about my wrist, I remain without help. My own gods have only ears, not hands; I already know that there is no point in asking.

I am knots, hitch and splice. I am bent spine. I am chapped lips and chipped nails. I am enigma, even in ache.

This is not where I am supposed to stand, and yet, this is where I find my feet more often than not. 

I am sitting on a cold chair in the hospital and the man opposite me keeps staring in my direction. He does not look away when I turn to face him. Instead, he uses his telepathy to let me know that his version of my body. (He lets me complete the sentence myself.)

These are the things that we get used to. The smell of disinfectant. The headlines on the news channel in the waiting room. The touch of aliens: doctors prodding through gloves, strangers brushing past. 

The paragraph ends.

I meet a friend and hand her a yellow flower. I meet a friend and hold her hand. I meet a friend and suddenly, the month begins to quake. Anxiety smirks as it sinks its fingers into everything palpable. Even air.

These are the things that we get used to. Time crossing our path without even a wave of recognition. Memory deciding to regress.

Gaps like missing teeth.

Gums pink, still fresh with hope. 

Poison, the color of skin.

The absence of an antidote.

theme