Truffles for a weary soul or
just the bone-deep fatigue from
bills in the mail, dents in the car,
poop in the yard, sugar in my urine,
murder in the suburbs, scandal in Washington,
madness in Iraq, foolishly lost love...
I'll take a dozen to go
(First published in Prairie Light Review, Fall 2007)
A dark drizzle wakes me in this dawn,
as a graveyard spirit wars inside my mind...
it is like the darkness that deepens
where the shivering stars end.
My mind has broken down again,
pulled away to the thinning line
between charred days and zigzag hope.
I feel it in the crumbling landscapes
of my gunning poems,
in the winds that race across my thoughts
flying in some terrifying disorder.
as you hold me between your bolt-strength shoulders
I understand your sheltering,
turning everyday to rise against my monsoon madness,
my windmill moods.
My weariness has racked you badly
as you look for my perfect launchings,
rolling backward at my shipwrecks,
asking as your palms open forth,
where are we now?
I do not question your fears,
My fate's twined in yours,
so when we look at each other
we speak what is darkness.
But still, we love one another like ringdoves and sea-birds.
Through all of our lost and found seasons
we call out to one another
for the hidden years, for so many words believed.
Devotedly we are joined together,
mingled like communion, into a common dish.
What extravagant God gives me you?
O, my sunfish friend,
I wait in a far field,
a hidden well beneath a garden...
someday, in the springtime,
I will sprout fields of forsythias--
a flowering hymn to your name.
Yesterday I went to leave my apartment,
I was greeted by the fire department.
"We're going to see the lady on the second floor,"
And I heard them go up and open the door.
Ambulances and fire trucks were there,
So I walked by and tried not to stare.
They brought her to the hospital, but it was too late,
She passed away, and that was her fate.
It reminded me how short life can be,
You never know when it'll be you and me.
I was watching the news that very same night,
They reported on time and gave some insight.
They talked about how Americans cram work in one day,
Thirty-four into twenty-four is not quite okay.
All this technology, is it our master?
We stand in front of our microwave, to make it go faster.
In elevators, we push the button more than once,
To make it go quicker, we act like a dunce.
They interviewed people in Hawaii on their honeymoon,
They were on vacation, but it would end soon.
They lugged their work along on their vacation,
We're all really working hard in this nation!
But as you can see, nothing gets done,
We're out of work, but not having fun.
What would you do if you didn't have to work,
Would you start that novel, based on that quirk?
Would it take a heart attack to restart
A brand new life, in which you'd take part?
Do you have regrets you haven't resolved
Is there something in which you should get involved?
Should you go for that dream, although it's absurd,
Do you want to become as free as a bird?
Well, now is the time to spread your wings,
But first, you must do some things.
If you are in a job you really can't stand,
And you can't seem to do the things they demand,
Why retire and go to the nursing home,
There's still some time in which you can roam.
They're making the retirement age later and later,
And that's why I am a government hater.
They're trying to make people work until they drop,
I guess they don't want people to stop.
They won't pay people what they're worth,
And the world sees America as the scum of the Earth.
The concept of freedom was this country's foundation,
And it seems to have evaded another generation.
Social security running out of loot,
For fighting a war, now who to recruit?
You can't spend money you haven't got,
And now we're in debt....thanks a lot!
The government doesn't want to give benefits to the poor,
If they have no money, let them fight in the war...
But they have no jobs for anyone to do,
How can we work? I don't have a clue.
If you worked a minimum wage job, which I'd resent,
You'd have to work one hundred twenty hours to pay rent
The government raised minimum wage....big deal!
They're a bunch of crooks, with a lot to steal!
So when it comes to voting, I'm not sure,
Which crook I'd elect, how will we endure?
Live each day like the end is near,
The grim reaper is no one to fear!
Come She will,
To veil me in peaceful slumber.
Mother of Dawn,
I seek solitary repose.
Hush the moon in your darkness.
Guide me to your heavenly bosom.
Lead me to the garden.
There I shall shed my skin and bare my soul.
Dew surround me
'Til first light bid me welcome.
Prostitute plus politician
He's basically your bureaucratic 'ho,
In case you didn't know.
Pimpin' politics is the game;
Without guilt or shame,
He'll do anything for a bribe;
Unto hypocrisy you must subscribe.
Want a law passed? Just pay the fee:
Normal everyday gratuity!
He'll say one thing and do another;
He's just a real bad mother--
Con artist switching sides,
Whenever the election changes tides.
Venal behavior imbedded in our brains,
All in the name of libertarian gains.
Don't you see something wrong with this system?
To get things done, we have to a$$i$t him.
By his poetic tongue, we embrace his fallacy,
Helping him achieve his monetary fantasy,
God forbid he runs for presidency.
Plant here the alphabet some patchouly
some wine there in the garden sprinkle
a little lyric on a poem and see her hand
come up to it orphic tantrums caught in
spring flowering symphonies from dawn
beaming through the dance amidst bliss
carrying rhapsodies of swirls of songs
exhaled of Sirius and mirth of magic and
melancholy songs of birth and death songs
ruling day and more songs the music of
Apollo played on the pipes of Pan rendering
the serenades of sirens and silences the
measure of rhythm and the rhyme of jazz
songs that make you start singing in your
feet and make you stand up and yell songs
of the gypsies that tell stories and games
of songs medleys and melodies sojourning
and meandering poetry and music and
prose the songs that chime and songs that
hail songs that sum up and quantify notes
of quality digital songs and analog tunes
runes of notes of songs gone by and then a
song for all that is forgotten a song of songs
A yellow goldfinch on a tall sunflower
pulls seeds from the brown center,
gathering what he needs, while
every day life slips away from us,
a smile lost, a hug that never quite
reaches outstretched arms. We yearn
for symbiotic relationships--a nod of
the head, the ring of the cell phone,
horseback riding with a friend, easy
conversation with a cup of Java.
We need the familiar among the strange,
turning on a light switch in a darkened room,
petting a cat whose whiskers graze your hand,
understanding a sentence in a foreign tongue,
cutting your knee only to have a nurse dress it.
Losing your senses only deepens the connection--
a Braille book describing sunsets, a signed
conversation about Spanish infused Jazz.
When we were walking across town
and suddenly the cardinals and robins
ceased their songs and wind dashed
through windows blowing papers off desks,
and rain spilled from the grey bowl of sky
straight down, washing the green Pontiac,
bouncing like balls from the asphalt,
rinsing leaves of oak and cottonwood,
snowball bushes and daisies on front lawns,
the squirrel pulled its tail over its back,
twin boys in matching blue overalls
with sea-blue shirts, shoes in hand,
giggled through the gully oozing from the pavement
ignoring their mother's calls to come in,
and the teen who had been sauntering
down the street in blue jeans and tight tee
dripping as if she just got out of the shower,
cursed under her breath because
her curls had washed out,
accepted a ride from the boy
whose scratched up Ford squealed to a stop
when he saw her, and watching them,
I slipped from the walk, falling
into the edge of a not-yet-planted garden
and you reached down and pulled me up
into a muddy hug, oblivious to the dirt
smearing your shirt, it was then
Said the well heeled to a Sudanese,
what have you to say?
Your face is worn, your clothes torn.
When's the last time your hair was shorn?
Humiliated and frightened
looking over his shoulder
he whispered, There's War.
Outside observer here for the day
files reports to superiors about the disarray.
Hey Iraqi, what's your story?
Look at this place, not one happy face,
no trains or planes to take one's leave.
When can we expect a democracy?
Unarmed civilian fist raised,
belligerent shouts, There's War.
Holy Land tourist to Palestine
curious to know what's new on the home front?
More woe and defeat, your energy spent,
your people beat.
Is all you can say the same status quo?
Clenched teeth, defiant, veiled
ready to die, no end in sight, There's War.
Their eyes are on fire a fact finder notes.
Child soldiers your mothers are weeping.
Young killers, days filled with rampage and horror,
sleep without peace. Enough tears for a lifetime,
when will your pain cease?
Disappearing in war's black hole child voices softly cry, There's War.
Do-gooders say rally citizens. Can you not see?
War's not your fate, it's unseemly.
Look how we give. Pray like us, this may all go away.
The lectured throw their hands up filled with despair,
if God's not on our side can anyone care?
Sitting in refugee camps, dependent on small mercies,
afraid of reprisals, careful what they say, There's War.
State officials and newscasters
repeat words coined for public consumption.
Insurgents, catastrophic, genocide, advances and waves,
stay the course; updates will follow, with more troop reports.
The stakes are so high it's a sin to ignore
these words are echoes from wars fought before.
Few lessons learned, no solutions born, There's War.
Today's newest ware refugees plod on their way,
half-hearted, mired in mud,
weakened and sickened at family blood.
Numb. Feet as heavy as stone
wonder if they'll ever see home?
Ammunition smoke rises,
baby throats burn, the aged drop at each turn.
The world heaves her greatest sad sigh
for all those fallen and the next to die, There's War.
All of us
wanted to return to India
after completing the education.
Never dreamt that our stay
would be so long -
years and decades are passing by,
we are still here - all of us.
Our parents, brothers and sisters
are there in India
and we in America.
Our young daughter
born in this land of opportunity,
classical dance of India,
chants Bhagavad Gita
the holy book of Hindu religion, and
eats our Indian spicy food in a funny manner -
mixing all the curries including fried-okra with curd-rice.
When she speaks in broken Telugu,
our mother tongue from South India,
it sounds like she is singing in English.
She keeps the American and Indian flags
on her study desk,
watches romantic movies in Telugu language and sings American pop songs.
America is not an alien land,
simply a different country like India,
For the two countries
she is the connecting bridge.
Water is the same in all the rivers, and in any country the snow is white.
The lake water in my home town
Palos Hills, a suburb of Chicago in America
and the canal water in my birth place of Gudivada of Andhra Pradesh State
in India are the same except in name.
Where we came from
shows the mirror,
where we are heading
shows our daughter.
I read the Terms and Conditions
the piracy policy calls for severe penalties
if you use software without paying for it
in addition it's not your software
even if you pay for it
your rights may be withdrawn
at any time it says so right there
and if you
violate the terms
you may be prosecuted to the fullest
extent of the law and more:
by twisted interpretation of the Patriot
Act you may be found guilty of sedition or
treason and be sent to gitmo
and no one will ever hear from you again
until a new Cuban revolution
might free you
and wouldn't that be ironic
or maybe peachy
I lay huddled in my old flannel gown,
my chill sweat cringed.
Buried in thick gloom, my bedroom
seemed disconnected from other rooms.
Far from parents, I watched the wolf
prowl toward me, only the ears showing
above the blankets. Those hyper-alert ears
knew all about me: my exact position
on the narrow bed and the locked
state of my tongue. My hope had gone down
with the sunlight. I was nothing
but a frozen ball of dread and fear.
No sounds, small and tremulous, fluttered
past the chains of shadows. I forgot
my clothes, my books, the order
of grammar, math and science.
I lay still as the lump caught in my throat.
I never analyzed the origins of the wolf
as it drew closer...breath was jailed
in dim cramped lungs
and heart raced in vain to get away.
If only I had known:
this wolf too was trapped;
it came from my own brain.
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