Category Archives: Poetry? Maybe.

Edges

I cannot remember a time when I did not know
This rhythm pounding the earth into tiny pieces
And soft castles sculpted by tiny hands.
My fear of the great blue monster faded
As I ran along its edges.

I’d leave, but it wouldn’t let me go.
Echoes of its whispering curls,
The sand in my sheets four days later,
The stench of a delicate seashell in a pocket.

On a sunny December morning we stood
Feet away from death, while a ravaged river silently saved our lives.

And still
We escape at every chance we get
Alone. Together. We stand at the edge of the world
Our sandy toes caressed by a realm beyond ours.
Finally free to really see as far as the eye can see.
Rage, serenity, a playful caper
A sheet of shimmering silver at my feet
A roaring whisper
Recognized from somewhere just beyond the shores of memory.

I lie on a thin mattress on the floor
Of a room in a town not so far away.
This town has no edges;
There is no blue margin to contain
This monstrosity, this chaotic maze,
This uncontrolled explosion of humanity.
An oppressive cold dryness hangs over me
The silence keeps me awake.
A tiny reptile
Struggles through giant fingers
Towards home.

– Nandhini

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SALOME SALOME
it makes me want to throw dignity to the wind
and fuck the head of John the Baptist in vacant retribution

THESE HANDS CAN’T RECALL WHAT IT FELT LIKE TO CRADLE A KITTEN
my head cannot recall the once-succulent wholeness of my soul
where is the minute hand on the face of a cut watermelon?
what are these ants feasting on the twisting corpse of Salvador?

WHAT ARE THESE IMPRUDENT PATTERNS OF NON-SPEECH?
Julius, oh Julius, wherefore art thou julienned?
Pan has sat through every play in the world and he called this one a disgrace
but soft! will Pan ever become my eromenos?

like Edison in his darkness you overcompensate with your pencils
above us Cicero’s gratitude is a Dionysian purple ribbon
why do you exist behind moldavite glass? why do you exist at all?
who wound you? who wrote you? are you Berlifitzing but a goat?
to whom have I fed Pelops and brought this into being?
can all the Earl of Nottingham’s men put this together again?

SALOME, SALOME
perhaps this round of roman roulette will grant you a name
I feel placated, I have wrung my phalanges dry
I am Theseus lost in the labyrinth of translation
I know where you are but I am comfortable in this disbelief

-Ito


Untitled

It whispers in your head –
welcome home.

Your home, the palace,
the palace of dreams
made of fluffy cotton candy
so yum it melts in your mouth.

Your sunshine resort
with its personal beach and spa,
masseuses, margaritas, mangoes, and milkshakes
served under an umbrella.

Your kissing garden
with Greek gods,
handmaidens, and nymphs –
their nudeness never a distraction
from the chaste kisses and caresses

of the once Cruel One –
now carefully selected to care for your wishes.

This place,
this temple, steeple and tiled dome, all rolled in one –

beautifully decked with gothic arches,

their bittersweet curves and severe lines
forming flying buttresses –

which support the fragile height.

You walk down the aisle
flanked by the bright clay pots,
painted red and yellow.
A cheerful facade they provide
to warn the clever
to calm the blind.

You reach the alter
and with no warning,
screaming signs or screeching signals,
it disappears;
in a puff! like the Magic Dragon.

Running in loops but never ending.

Only to be replaced by a door,
small stained and ugly,
normal and insignificant in every way.
No blinking red lights,
no surveillance cameras,
brain wave analysers,
or iris scanners
bar your way.

With a careless unthinking thought
you turn the handle,
and with a negligent shrug

open the door.

-Yuga


Romeo, Juliet and The Universe

Romeo, Her Romeo turned to his Juliet
And the Universe, our Universe, held its breath
And for just a moment, galaxies contracted instead of expanding
“Juliet, my Juliet, I think (he gulped) I love you!”
“I love you too, Romeo, my Romeo.”
“No, I’m serious, Juliet, I love you. Get-married-and-live-together-for-the-rest-of-our-lives kind of love you.”
“No, you don’t. You love yourself. You love the idea of love.
I’m sure this is what you said to the Juliet, your Juliet
who came before me!”
“Let me prove it to you, Juliet, my Juliet.”
“Alright, I want you to …”
And as the universe breathed in again, light slowed down.
And Juliet’s eyes twinkled
And she smiled.
A star exploded somewhere far away.
The universe couldn’t take the suspense.
“I want your ego-”
Romeo cringed
Juliet continued
“-on a silver platter!”
So Romeo reached into his skull, past
the bone into the soft mish-mash
that was his opinions and ideals and pulled out
wriggling, screaming, threatening to call his lawyer, his ego.
“Here is me ego, Juliet, my Juliet.”
“And what about the platter?”
“Let my hands be your platter.”
“I don’t care for metaphor, Romeo.
You don’t love me.”
The supernova star incinerated whole planets.
“But, darling …”
“Romeo, my Romeo, our love is beautiful but
let us be the best of friends and I shall taunt you
with my body for the rest of your life.”
“But, Darling …”
“See it’s almost like we are married already.
You can’t get in a word edgewise.”
“But you love me. I know you do.”
“And I don’t want to ruin it, Romeo, my Romeo.”
Black holes formed and matter disappeared into it forever.
“I make you happy. You make me happy. You’re the most
important in the world to me. I gave you my ego.
I will never be able to love anyone else as long as
I’m with you.”
“Oh.”
“will you at least sleep with me?”
“No.”
The moon crashed into the earth killing everyone
The universe looked to see if anything more interesting was on.

-Thomas


territorial behavior

i once promised my kingdom come
for the fire bird. a man from china brought
me a dragon instead, and it ended up swallowing
my only princess.

it was a great loss as the dragon quickly
died of food poisoning. the man from
china was hanged, not because he had
done anything particularly wrong but
because he had brought with him in his bag,
amongst sea shells and herbal medicine
and incense sticks, a hammer and a sickle
and a star. when one bears the cross,
one must be prepared for the crown of thorns.

it was much later that the real fire bird
was brought to me. the clever young man
who caught the specimen, he gave me a
complimentary fiddle with the creature.

they think it was mastery of statecraft.
not unlike how dogs eat grass come every moonless night.
a countrywide catharsis gives those under you no leeway
to conspire or the clarity to doubt your sway.

posterity writes, i would never silence them
when i could otherwise busy them with wordless screams.

the man from china, with the noose around his
neck and before the air in his lungs took
the place of the chair under his feet,
he asked me about the nature of his execution.
questioned as to why he was being killed for treason
when he knew i desired the infamous bird of heat
for the purpose of scorching my reignhold
and i, lulled by the opium that had been found in
his bag, told him the truth.

there is precious little in life that you seek
to hold the power to destroy. there is even
less for which you wish that power to be
only yours.

and as the fire bird’s fiery plumage struck
the spires and chimneys of my land when the burning bells
rung out midnight, my only regret was that the princess
could have caterwauled on this fiddle so much
better than i.

(unlike sodom and gomorrah,
lidice may have not been canonized.
but khirbet qeiyafa is already a biblic town.)

-Ito


Of Nightmares

One word to describe waking to the screams
of someone else’s nightmares – helplessness.
I stop at your wall of broken-dish dreams
sunburnt bricks still warm with your bitterness.
My mouth is stitched shut – ground glass wired
with guilt and frustration – serrating my own
palms on your sandpaper memories – tired.
I have never been further from home.
My hand suspended in summer starlight
between your voice caught in butterfly nets
of memories and this silent July night –
the city sleeps, guarded by dying comets.
And I wait – quietly wishing for the sun
and someone with the strength to wake you up.

-Chitralekha


exasperation of incomprehension

so i indulged in the luxury of lying
and slipped a few through the shoulder straps
of your ultraviolet party dress.

and you see a fit to pitch and a hue to raise to your pretty cheeks.

darling. hold your silence like a purse on your lips.
i’ve painted glasgow smiles upon the faces of
mute cinema thespians.

you say you know.
i’ve burned clove cigarettes at undertailored funerals.
i’ve poisoned fishtanks and you’ve seen the dead carcasses
float atop the waters, glinting like godsends for the gold rush forty-niners.

but do you know?
i’ve built prisons from rocks they brought back
from the moon that did not glow at night and turn
the barracks into lighthouses.
these prisons housed the innocents.
i have worn the children down to dust
and the women down to their bones.
i have run an incontinent sieve across
a land and come up with the purest
of the pure to have ever birthed.
i’ve burned carnations in celebration.

i’ve run gold and silver molars as currency.
i have built an economy out of broken eye frames,
tarnished wedding rings, little girls’ hairclips
and everything else of value that you can find
inside of a room crowded with the dead.
and inside of the dead crowded with hearts, livers,
lungs and stomachs.

i’ve seen fields claimed as depositories lay
dry and barren over eternal decomposition.
i have sent centuries of denial and goodwill
up in chimney smoke and fanned the flames
to warm the cockles of my pride.

i had discovered a new nicotine,
one that works for many and quicker
than your cigaronnes stained red by
your rhododendron lips that i’ve
often pressed a handful of lies to.

you raise your voice. you rise on your heels, your personal dais.

you say,
i’m so early i make you seem last century by proxy.
i set my clocks to ring before you wake from your fitful dreams.
my french is stunted, baby steps and toppling over with every other one.

darling.
i have dominated the death chain.
i have concocted a night and fog like quicksand.
i have split the shadows like the curtains of
a proscenium arch and entered stage left
to kill the last vestiges of propriety and humanity.

you don’t care.
i take my meticulous bites of lobster with the knife in the wrong hand.
i raise heads when i raise my hand coupled with my coprolalia.
you say you’re at the end of the admittedly long rope that i’ve given you.

darling.
if i have by any chance forgotten myself altogether and given you a long rope,
it would have only been to hang yourself with.
-Ito