Sunday, April 30, 2017

On Meeting Morrison



The effort we put into getting lecture tickets
was unbelievable. Had I put that much effort and
dedication into any other aspect of my life, I’d be rich and famous
or even published.

A hurricane prevented us from meeting another author,
but that’s fine. “It’s not like she’s Toni Morrison.”
There was another acclaimed writer. My nervous chatter evoked a smile
of amusement and gratitude in her. I could handle that. 
What could I say to Toni Morrison?

Driving to meet Morrison, I thought of what she meant to me.
The supreme storyteller. Woman of strength and intellect.
Words poised themselves at her pen to form
knives that dive into your soul,
knives that make your scars bleed.
They stole my milk.
The maternal instinct to kill a child to save her.
The simple beauty you see when you open
your eyes to the ugliness.

To write like her, we cannot do it. Few mortals possess this skill.
We struggle to find
words
plots
time
a place in our lives to write.
We who dream of one acceptance letter from a publisher cannot
dream of a Nobel.

Kripa and I cut the end of the lecture
to secure a place in line. Stood in the long library hallway,
high ceilings echoed footsteps on stone and amplified hushed tones, 
drowning out any sounds of the lecture. We calculated the distance from the table, the number
of bodies and the books they held. We would make it.
We rehearsed what we would say: “We love your work.”
Kripa wanted a signature on a card for a special patient who“loves your work.”

We watched the faces of those who returned with signed copies
or a mere glimpse of her majestic Author.
They beamed, they glowed. They had seen the blessed Writer.
We longed to be there and feel her Power.
We hoped she would endow us with her secrets,
accept our words, our gratitude.
We hoped we would gain a bit of the fairy dust that dances in her aura, that
would make us write as she does.

Yet, we were only nameless faces in line. Bodies with back packs and
winter coats, scarves swaddling our throats as we clutched dog-eared copies
of Beloved or glossy new ones from the table outside.
We approached the table only to perform a silent
exchange of a book for a signature.
She glanced at me with curiosity
as I requested a handshake. She complied softly.
As Kripa stepped ahead, the lights of a cameraman
forced the Author to look away.
Their eyes barely met.

In moments we were walking away. Our books suddenly seemed
empty and Kripa’s card was blank. We made our way through the crowd,
a queue of anticipation and excitement, meandering through the Hall. 
 Should we tell them?

As we left the library with coffee in styrofoam cups, 
we pulled hoods over our heads, 
careful not to let the rain fall on our books or coffee. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Bhumi Mata - Mother Earth ~*~



It began as pesky sores, ones she brushed aside
until they spread,
becoming rooted
and polluted.
She can no longer deny her suffering.

Blood surges and billows from her wounds,
coagulating into a slick blackness.
A toxic mixture oozes over skin, wings, and fins.
The venom chokes them, muffles their wails and
rapes them of breathe.
Her tears mix with the congealed blood and stain the shores.

Her reflection in the light of the moon reveals a distortion.
She has lost her luscious forests.
She has been shaved and razed into stubble of dry pricks and
concrete has been poured into the slashes.
Her crops yield poison, if they offer harvest at all.

She is melting in the excruciating heat.
The nausea is overwhelming.
She coughs phlegm of lava and it drips over the rocks,
and black clouds rise as waters swell and simmer.

She cannot balance upon withering lotus petals
and carry forth the charade of forgiveness.
Her eyes flash brightly. She sweeps her hair back.
It flutters in the wind, leaving streaks across the sky.

Her bindiya glows red
as she calls the planets.
She raises her hands to receive
Wind, Sun, Fire, Water, and Heavens.
She tugs the clouds and winds to her chest
knowing they will help her.
She churns the waters so the poisons rise to the top,
separating from the nectar of life.
The oceans are whipped into a cooling froth.
She stretches and shrugs her boulders,
shifts some plates and tilts the axis to alleviate the throbs.
She pulls down the energy of the universe and

A sudden
stillness
descends.

She steps off the lotus
to birth a new life.


Saturday, September 17, 2016

Medical Report 2016

Dr Oz announces a healthy report, but we know the truth.
There’s a cancer spreading across the land.
It’s being transmitting between communities,
finding the sadness in their lives and injecting malignant cells
into those wounds.

It breeds among the innocent and
revives latent diseases, embraces them.
Nurtures them with hostility and ignorance.
Civility is stripped, revealing ugly sores
that bleed and ooze colors.

The scourge is eating its way to the heart.
The eyes have turned blind and cannot see.
The deviant becomes acceptable.
Reverence for life and dignity ignored.
The disease becomes robust as voices in an echo chamber
feed each others lies and misconceptions.

The Conscience is overcome by helplessness.
Does it cut its own hand to save the rest of the body?
Where is the antidote that could stop this infectious hate?
Can the malevolence be halted?
When can the healing begin?

Overachieving Woman



My daughter asked me why I was crying when Hillary was accepting her nomination for President of the United States.

She is fifteen. It is 2016.
She knows a world of celebrity selfies and transgendered you-tubers.
She knows her aunties are doctors, lawyers, business owners, sales directors, and technology architects.
They are wives and mothers, or maybe not.
She knows men who lean in.
                                                                         
She does not know how many times we have walked into the room of all men,
eager to contribute, yet all eyes rest on our bodies.
Our soft voices are overtaken by louder male voices.
Our ideas wither in silence.
We raise our voices to match the fire of our peers.
“You have too much passion.”

Hillary sat at Congressional hearings, propping her head in total disgust.
Stacks of emails printed as props, camera candy.
Mistakes displayed for judgment, and achievements hold no value.
We understood the ritual of criticism and critique.
Those moments strike the naked vulnerability in us.
Our collective memory of men parading young girls and elderly women
to judge them virtuous or witches.
Of men controlling women’s spirits until they are numb, frozen, cracked, and splintered.
She listened and conformed, draped in self-confidence.

My generation saw Hillary defend herself for refusing to sit at home and bake cookies.
The Mother Wars began. Stay-at-home Mother or Career Mother. Pick one.
Betty Crocker is offended.

We saw Hillary handle the public humiliation of her husband’s infidelities. Power is an aphrodisiac.
The Wife Wars began. Stand by your marriage or just leave his ass. Pick one.
                Tammy Wynnette is offended.

We saw scandals materialize without understanding why, how, or where.
Why not George Bush? What about Dick Cheney’s underground server network?
                Republicans are offended.

Forty years ago, Hillary did not know how to dream this big.
She graciously let destiny lead her on another journey.
She cracked a Ceiling. We were proud.
We know you cannot always get what you want in life.
Now, she broke through the Ceiling.

My daughter will know a world where the sky is the limit.