I long to return to Cherry Cove
to trace a toe along the coast
and photograph glass wind chimes
as if a picture could catch their lazy sound.
To chase a cat down cobbled steps
past broken clam shells picked apart by crows.
To sit in soft sand
cooled beneath thick madrona leaves
and stare into morning.
To kayak in the early fog
forgetting that the ocean breathes
until I’m run aground,
stuck in tide pools
and there I stay until the afternoon.
To sit upon the rocky shore
and stare out to the other side
a red canoe made double on glassy water
mirroring the dense green trees
until it becomes an endless forest
hidden from the world.
I let them beat me
wielding their words like clubs
and bore the torment in silence.
When my own people could stand it no longer,
the whiplash of turning their cheeks
too painful to bear,
I stood before them
Days without bread cannot compare
to children without fathers
eyes without light
houses without inhabitants.
Everything I’d lived for
became another’s death sentence.
Who first called me Mahatma?
Prayers grew louder.
“I know a way out of hell.”
then began again.
How do you ask a man
to sit in silence with
a line of rifle barrels
pointed at his heart?
And how do you live inside your own mind
knowing that he died
with your face in the back of his eyes?
She returned to geometric cityscapes
angular windows glinting in the heat
frustrated travelers pushing toward paychecks.
At night she’d climb in bed
shut the windows
and close her eyes
to see golden roads
mustard colored houses
saffron tinted fabric
curry stained rice
and that little place
between her stomach and her breast
would light up,
a lantern in the window.
In the morning, she couldn’t see it
but she would smell it.
and basil and dirt
and that little light would warm and glow
like a pool of melted butter,
a tiger chasing its tail.
If she shut her eyes,
she could hear it past the subway platform,
calling out from street markets
men with pots of ghee and
mangoes, fresh picked
and the tiger ran faster
until it burst its holy prison
spread across her insides
and she became liquid sun.
My love is poorly punctuated, misspelled,
written on coffee-stained napkins
from the diner down the street.
It whispers in the nighttime
its silhouette hanging
high in the smoky perfumed air
muffled by musk.
It waits by the window
one paw sticking through the blinds,
watching with yellow eyes.
It’s a carefully crafted mud pie
decorated with brown cherry pits and strawberry stems
left on a doorstep.
A post-it note shoved into a mailbox
taped to a small flower
“don’t tell anyone.”
My love is a lighter
flickering in the sticky air from the nosebleeds
while Stevie Nicks sings Gypsy and spins,
black shawl billowing.
A white sand dollar,
forgotten on the beach where tourists stop to say
it’s beautiful to look at
but forget it died long ago.
A stack of letters you kept
but never replied to.
A broken traffic light
blinking erratic destruction.
A mix tape
unwound through years of repeated plays
buried in a glove box
My love is a crow-beaked mask
meant to drive the devil away
but serving as a death sentence by mistake.
I swallow kaleidoscopes
drink the sky’s indigo and
pull it past my throat to
exhale the wind.
I become the
breath in my ears
head tipped to the shade
this tree throws.
Eyes in the shadows
expansion through the valley
and I stretch across the horizon.
Palms melt the sky,
til they sing
the poetry of vibrations.
The sky seems to meditate
on tiny purple explosions.
Today is rebirth.
What figurines we are
propped on the mantle of the universe.
The boy is ignorance
the girl is want
and we never grew up.
Oh, lonely chess pieces
engaged in a game of wits
controlled by the witless.
We cannot rest
we cannot stay
we cannot linger
so we tie our jaws shut
and moan through the dark,
our broken spirits scouring the sky
for a sign of our significance.
What if afterward is simply
And Krishna is no one
and the hope I’ve gathered
slips through the hole in my bucket
and nothing waits beneath the tree
but an abandoned flute
and squashed mangoes?
Maybe this is as good as it gets
and my midnight prayers are just
short cries into darkness
until we meet earth once again.
When all possibilities of later
cease to be,
and lotus eyes shut for eternity
you forget – lemons have always been a fruit.
I will resist the urge to explain or contextualize any of these poems, even though they may be confusing to some. Know only that they exist in this collection, in this order, for a reason and were written with love from the deepest part of me. Relate to them however you will, because their meaning is universal.
Comments and constructive criticism encouraged and embraced. xo