All The Things

all the things broken, things we broke,
we connect with words
see that row of body bags
see that crying child, another, another,
our poetry is knitting them together
later when it snows
we will wrap our toes in long sentences
and tell ourselves it will be a white Christmas,
see that person kneeling
see that extended hand, another, another,
we have prayers and chants to exalt them
later when it rains
we will cover our heads with ellipses
and tell ourselves it will be spring soon,
even the graves
will be buried
under the wild flowers.

Remembering

The lady on the TV was talking about what exercise could do
to the brain, to memory, offering words like prefrontal cortex

and hippocampus, as if they were alive, as if they were people,
as if they could fix things. And grandma, on the bed, shrinking

every day as if Alice’s potion was leeching into her blood. Maybe
it was the bed, expanding, trying to break out of the rabbit hole.

She had run a household of twenty, probably more, children
and adults, help and dogs, that had to be grown and constrained,

propelled and taken down. And she thought and reasoned
and laboured and smiled and told life where to go, when to

stop and when it could dip its finger into her steaming sauce
pans for the first taste. We move, like the lady on the TV tells

us to. Me, unwieldy and uncomprehending, she, diminishing
to a distant point, grotesque reflections in a past of mirrors, the

horizon blurring into one throbbing vein. As if we were alive, as
if we were oversized words that remembered how to fix things.

The lady on the TV has a grey sweat patch growing under her too
tight dress. I remember silence. It has the smell of ripe antiseptic.

——–
Can’t believe my blog turns 4 today. Can’t believe I’m still doing this. Can’t believe I’m thinking of throwing a few poems together to make a book. Can’t believe there are still things left to write about. Can’t believe how wonderfully you folks have stuck by me and read all the random thoughts I put together. Perhaps, disbelief is my strongest muse! 

Things I Must Forget

Remembrance,
is an owl,
its head twisted two hundred
and seventy degrees, selective
memory stepping into sharp
focus, the present uncertain, going
both ways, going
nowhere. I make
lists. Of things I
want to remember. Of
things I must forget. Things that
want to be both. Important little
things that can’t make
up their minds. I make
lists, my arm extending
into the mottled darkness before
me, my eyes still
searching for
you in the feathered
light I left
behind.

 

Without Really Touching

It’s the way eyes adjust to the dark, slowly the
shapes emerge, you discern without really

seeing, the way your body adapts to sleep and
the dreams appear, you soar without really flying,

the way your senses sharpen in the wilderness,
the fear rises, you can tell there’s danger without

really knowing- the dark falls quiet and my ears
accommodate the silence, softly the voices begin,

yours and mine, saying the same things, words
that sound the same, mean the same, hurt the

same, we hear without really listening- the way
time bends across barren wasteland, days pass

without really touching, the way alone corrects
for loneliness, yearning without really loving.

Absence

Your absence speaks words you cannot, pressing
against my back, as if it was always there, before

the beginning, before you, a starlight ghazal, a
friend , a lover, a thumb print before there was a

name, a mirage before the first sand, a certainty
before wonderment. This is not a void wearing

the mantle of pain, this has the skin of naked sky,
slips between my clothes like fingers of the afternoon

sun, not waiting, not asking, a shadow without
the form, alone, yet connected. This absence was

the prayer before the first moon, the promise of
always, the reverberation before the first summer

rain, this absence that lies in my bed, holds me till
I fall asleep, becomes a dream in the darkest hour,

becomes my oblation, becomes breath and salt and
blood, as if nothing, not even you, can ever be again.

The Person Watching

The ocean was crying, hoarse whimpers on her salt crusted
lips, throbbing like a wounded animal, life seeping out from

her and drenching the night. I tried to hold her, tried to turn
her face towards me, push back her hair, listen to her pain.

No, you smiled, sadness is not in her words or voice, sadness
is in the eyes. In the eyes of the person watching. I wonder if I

knew then that it would be over so soon, that goodbye would
be so silent that it had no words, no voice, that I could walk

away as if each step wasn’t time or distance, that all that
would be left was sadness. In the eyes of the person watching.

Remembering

I watch the sky swell, her arched grey belly birthing
rain without a womb, I too, I whisper to her, I too am

a mother, my grief is born at dusk each day from the
seed of emptiness, the darkness like a wet nurse, suckles

it at her breast, see how whatever is left of the moon
turns away, remembering. I think of your fingers wrapped

around a wish, around a promise, around a cry, love streaked
purple from the pressure of your grasp, how did it slip

away then, a lie, a life, a song? I walk barefoot to another
dawn, in my hand the glass slipper the night left behind.

Walking on My Khe Beach

The weary sea yawns wide, knees tucked under her chin,
wrapped in a silken sheet of rippling grey, unaffected

by the falling sky who tosses as if in a dark fever, brows
knit, fingers extended towards the shore, wanting the arms

of the reluctant ocean, wishing the clouds would lead
him away, maybe somewhere else there is the warmth of a

more willing bed. I walk along the edge, a lone fishing boat
stalls, refusing to return empty handed, the birds yelling

at him as they pass, gather your nets and accept your
hunger, the moon will not come to you tonight. Perhaps,

that’s all we need, something to move us, something to move
towards, something that cannot bear to see us standing still.

I pull my jacket close and shiver, there is a breeze, the
ghostly light of a boat, and definitely, a cold, cold breeze.