a death remembered

Gait slackened onto a bent shovel, refusing to walk
to pasture, this pooja will read of a timid body,

Dadi. These whispers will latch onto the door when the
forgetful neighbour walks in & wonders what these prayers

will bring. Mysterious vines appear behind the shelves where
your Gods sit, Dadi, do you think they’ll forgive us? Dadu hasn’t

called in sick to leave home today & the lines on the palm
of his hand are disappearing, cradled into cow’s milk- 

they aren’t teaching us to close the circle anymore, so
when we cross the lines, these borders escape into your

prayers read in Devanagari: our phones keep ringing, 
your hunched back is coiled around the cords. Even

when I call, you still read lines from the newspaper for safety,
but no one has returned home in 9 years- uncoil us, Dadi, we are

stumbling onto paths with the devil. Father knew to give
flowers on the death no one talks about, wash your feet with

Holy water, water stained with blood of these roses we walked
on- when will this silence be quiet, Dadi? Forgotten the road to

trace these lives, forgiveness is pleaded & yet we’re welcomed
with open arms, as if the setti in the drawing room doesn’t still

have his scent on it. He isn’t coming home, Dadi, our phones 
will keep ringing, we will forget our homes, no one has

preserved us. The salt on your books will remember no sorrow- 
let me forget these prayers, Dadi & find another name to remember.



& when the stones are thrusted upon
your skull will the patriarch finally
ask for his instant gratification?
there is a gutted stomach on the
front porch & we walk about as if —

cigars burn bigger holes in this skin
& the dogs have left for the forest.
my funny valentine, sweet comic valentine,
this garnish of salt is terrestrial.

& this smoking habit is an aftertaste
to cheap city breeze under the bridge:
the grime under your nails, never washed.
when the doctor asks if you have been
a patient before, you nod furiously as if—

words snatched out of this mouth
& the broken headlights raved into
my funny valentine, sweet comic valentine,
this hospital has cauterized walls.

& these eyes are swollen of this rabble, no one
barks at us anymore: rotten chains hold only a
scenic greed. let me press your feet & wash them
with the salt of these wounds so we never ask
of a love like ours & you tighten & cackle as if —

blood stabbed into this body
& the aided guard: blind & liable
my funny valentine, sweet comic valentine,
don’t spill your sorrows with teeth knocked out.


The modern myth,
the urban legend states of a continuous path of travel
where submerged roads cause hindrance, not peace, and
peace is vaguely considered a constant state of happiness,
and happiness is from sunsets, valleys
and parks and music,
here, we all forget the cultured disgust, the
lies we’ve proliferated in the name of scientific research-
our blood is boiling for the approval of bigoted critics, my lips are sealed.
there’s been monetary accusations,
there have been rats asked to leave and forget-
why do we need ourselves to be explained?
when will we learn to learn that the production of imbalance
is the balance that we need to find hope?

the incredulity of mistaken identity-
is this the parallel of definitions
that have lined our grenades?
this country is burning, this identity is at stake, and yet
the refuge is lost on our lips-
we don’t sell love here
we don’t sell community
but there’s buyouts on Etsy, tell me,
is this what your care looks like?
is this what love feels like in this country?

these broken land lines are mines of defeat,
this movie hall will never turn bright, and this tape will never stop reeling
our eyes are taped open and the learned men can only tell us two things:
these lies are true, and there is no truth to be told
so what can our children believe?
we talk in languages we cant speak
listen to the words we don’t understand
and call it home, call it comfort-
how do we share knowledge when we don’t want to understand?

are we welcome? or is intrusion an excuse?
is this what home is supposed to mean?
a bloodbath of exclusion and shame? of unfortunate love-
is this the family we chose when the Lord didn’t show us any mercy?
we don’t pretend to offer gratuities as we walk down the same halls, anymore.
we don’t look up from our broken shoes, anymore.

In this city, we make parachutes out of screams
and use big loud bangs as excuses to create capitalistic chiasms.
the pertinence of reinforcers overshadows the quiet of the light,
September is so close to our skins, when all of it sheds and
we trace linings of pressed leaves, hoping
the memory of something better, someone better, will freeze in the winter,
and we’ll find it in the summer, and forget about it when
the wildflowers grow on our porch again,
and when we look about, like women who’ve lost their lives to
dead men at sea, dead kids on the street, to any
form of love in the green-
we steal water, milk, sugar and tea,
burn boats so we can’t escape,
trim hedges so we can’t see the way of the wind,
burn fingers and cuts in lemonade,
hoping someone’s words will be knives,
someone’s knives will be the things we can’t say,
and on this island with riches and fruits and gold,
we’ll find holes to dig into,
to reinforce the soil into our mouth, our noses, our lungs-
hoping that buried in the dirt, we’ll feel a part of something again,
hoping to see grandma in the silence of the water
as we drown ourselves in this potpourri of patriotism and love
as we forget to call our homes and plant trees in these cities that never sleep
never questioning, never answering.

we don’t know how to speak in simple terms.

the luxury of community

Vehemently, a product of catacombs surrounds us within the screams-
we’re inside mouths of burning entities, and strictly politically,
we should’ve taped these mouths long ago- a yellow crime scene taping,
cementing how the misshapen shapes in the night nicked
a lot more than some fancy crockery-

as we turn a tender brown in between these broken walls, there seems
to be nothing that needs to be said, and so as we begin talking again,
I can tell you about the houses I’ve marked with hushed whispers in the alley
afraid to articulate the claims of custody that belong to this silent
brooding of dismay, almost a lost child in the house of decay-

the fallible lining of this burning house as the frames collapse forms
the infallible boundaries of our doctrine- there may be very little to savage
from the bloodied mesh of old men with puncture wounds, and sweet
crooked teeth that old, French women are buried with- such an opulent
dome of memoirs and yet, we find the static of theology here-

when you touch my sides, a warning of calamity, I remember who I am again-
in the face of this war we’ve made for ourself, the begging, the pleading
to let the fates accept our lack of sustenance, the intimacy of death as we walk
through our insides, I am reminded of what love feels like
when it is more than just a bargain.

burial ground

burgundy lines no longer remind you of roses:
a death forlorn, a loved one lost; have you found what to live for?
a lover, a mistake, a forgetful past? my disease doesn’t match yours
and yet we sit side-by-side, holding each other’s arms
a look of wonder, perhaps? a side-eyed tunnel into another dimension?
is this what Alice wished to have forgotten?

these exhibits will never paint our skins on their walls-
my history, your history, their history is a nuisance
in disguise of comfort. when i shudder to cut my sheaths
for your needs, we call it selfish and occupied, but neither
of us wants these callous arms. listen to us! we’ve forgotten
the park bench, the moonshine, the lies at this hour.

scorching heat in the rain, our lands never aligned,
even when all of us were the same. we are so polarized
in our wants from each other and then wonder why no
one listens. the silent nights sullen and warm, these
eyes never traced violence like ours- look at us! ashamed
of our heritage, our blood, never saying what it was all for.

my grandma dressed me in a white petticoat when we were
home alone, letting me climb hills with bruised bones,
changing my clothes into what was expected when neighbours
knocked- when will our doors open again? when will we see each
other not as lost ravens but as confidantes? “remember them” you said,
but the land is barren- where have my dead gone?

The Hanging

The silent shenanigans hidden behind
eyes that swear secrets to their graves
seem to lurk off of the ceiling, these days,
and they’re telling us to hush up that silence,
to gulp down the panic rising from our finger tips
spreading across our toes,
gulp it down as it etches
closer to the vocal cords,
before it cuts them off:
the panic is wildfire within a wildfire and
the containment creating a threatening girdle
around our necks, and our cheeks
are stained rouge with our tendons
stretched to their extremes-
shaking comes naturally,
but we keep steady.

The contentment is dragged out
of our subconsciousness: unconscious,
we’re staring at reflections of
pale faces, gaunt spaces, faded lips,
like a mere impression
of what must be people,
or perhaps what were.

The secrets are laid out like corpses inside coffins:
bare, brutal, crude samples of resources
that will never be utilised;
the silent shenanigans are screamed out
of the vocal cords- no longer bundled;
and the shaking shambles
our bodies to the ground,
bodies function in harmony with
the hunched fingers of death,
and its fingers form the noose of panic, again-
it’s alright now, for
our bodies hang from the ceiling,
our bodies are now dead,
and the secrets are still safe
behind the stench of dying in our heads.


Come one, come all, today a new God is born:
in the cheap streets of a brothel
there lies a pack of strings,
pick your poison, carve your sword-
the riches you demand, the women you desire,
scream your name in praise-
that strength of worship, of namesakes-
the motels, the bars, cheap liquor and neon
brighten modeled lips which pray in the name
of people who sleep alone in their hearts;

Strangers form alliances in the tyranny of deceit,
a hand held, a string snapped tight to the brewery
where wishes, not people, prepare honey, mead and things all sweet;

Gods will tell you of a bloody sacrifice;
men will tell you of faith; a child, of beauty;
a demon will speak of love and promises you didn’t keep:
there, in the pages of faith and belief,
lies the secret to demise, and to believing-
men teach men of rage,
but the fruit of life cannot obey to living,
men teach men of rage,
for it is vital to becoming:
a parade of lonesome men parry,
each calling his God who breathes fire
into his home, into his woman and children,
till there is none but agony and desire to cease.


​(inspired by The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button)

The hummingbird is not just another bird,
its heart rate’s 1,200 beats per minute;
its wings beat 80 times a second,
and sometimes, you find it flying across the cold sea
where soldiers swim into their death, and they call it
defending their country, where the tattoos of a sunken ship
corrode into a whirl of their own,
where you talk until the first ray of light shines,
and sit alone by the river you lost your mother to.

sometimes, you find a hummingbird fly backwards
into the future of tomorrow,
into the present of today:
the trees grow trunks, houses decay,
homes are forgotten and people learn to forget
the spaces of their laughter lines,
and the wrinkles of their face;
lungs collapse, eyes close, fingers remember the
keys of the piano, and the line of the dancer strays:
the mothers, the authors, the actors in the play
forget the comfort of their words
and lay resting inside themselves,
and the hummingbird flies backwards into it,
into the miracle of sewing a button with your own two hands,
or learning to grow younger by
watching all those you loved die,

and if you were to stop its wings from beating,
it would be dead in less than 10 seconds,
and even though you might find the aching
in your bones find another place to live,
and even if the idea of simply being might seem ordinary:
it is no ordinary bird, it is a frickin’ miracle;
when you slow down time, and run it backwards,
when the fruit of life lays barren and lost
and no longer ripe, no longer whole,
when you slow down time with moving pictures,
when you slow down their wings
you’ll find the symbol of infinity:
The hummingbird is not just another bird,
its heart rate’s 1,200 beats per minute;
its wings beat 80 times a second,
and sometimes, you find it flying backwards into
the infinity of simply being, after being.

beyond the sycamore tree

over and beyond the sycamore tree
your darling sits and waits for me:
her burgundy dress is now a pale white,
a ghost is shivering in your sight;

trembling hands write around the curving stones,
her feet, her eyes, her hands all bones,
seem to float with the scenery: too silent,
her lips stutter of the blood spilt, too violent;

in the stillness of the Earth that fateful day,
her heart thumped slow, the bugs flew away:
your stairs creaked and begged to jump at the chance:
the ghost is two ghosts now, and both of them prance

over and beyond the sycamore tree
where your darling sits and waits for me,
her burgundy dress is now a pale white
and two ghosts are shivering in your sight,

under the Earth, in the sea, a withering frame
from the hills in our dreams is to take the blame
of the forgotten scent of a burning house
where two men, a woman, pale white, arouse

from their act of tyranny, love and shame;
there’s blood on four hands, and fire to blame:
the two ghosts sit and wait alongside
flaming locks of two hearts, one a bride

over and beyond the sycamore tree
your darling sits and waits for me:
her burgundy dress is now a pale white,
the ghosts no longer in your sight,

when the roots of them find the deeper Earth
there will be the scent of us in their hearth:
two ghosts and a dead man who left his fate
to the branch that mustn’t break of his weight

and the fruit which smiles of him will bear first
the paleness of his skin, and then the blood of his thirst,
of lovers who forgot the memories of trust
with the delicate noose of a looming lust

over and beyond the sycamore tree
your darling sits and waits for me:
her burgundy dress is torn, her torso unzipped
as the red of the fruit finally catches my lips.


Her hands pinch the pain in my mother’s head
out of its designated place-
like the resonating haunt of its voice,
stabbing, would stumble out
not to the heart but to all
the veins and arteries that make it;
after all, she’s a sum of its parts.

The heart mustn’t ache its way out
of itself and neither should
the weary hands that stitch
the rips of the sweater
I outgrew two summers ago;
like unattended customers at a bar,
her impatience sits on the crook
of her forgotten brawls.

But her hands feel soft on my skin:
measuring my sides, they wonder if
she’ll ever know my fit;
the lining of her skull frenzies into hills
but the inside seems like it’s been pulled apart for
some fresh air and a smoke to
clog whatever’s left to fit in.

My hands run over her shivering arms,
and my voice slithers back in
and my mother’s hands ache:
the sweater never fits.