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

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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


Because God Doesn’t Love You Enough

Fuck the government. Fuck good intentions. Why the fuck couldn’t they just leave the situation the fuck alone? Moral policing, looking after the future – that’s not their job! Whats their fucking problem? Didn’t they learn from the Gun laws? Ban guns and the only people who’ll turn theirs in will be the people you never had to worry about in the first place! Bad people don’t follow the law! And you know what happens, when governements fuck up? People die. And people did die. And it was all their fault. Now it’s all their fault again. It’s their fault I have to sneak into my own damn operation room in my own damn hospital at 3:00 AM in the fucking night. Why couldn’t they just let it be legal? Why couldn’t they let us take that ‘next big step in evolution’? I mean, if everyone’s special, no one is right? Right?

I’ve got to calm myself. Hands shaking like I’ve got Parkinson’s isn’t going to help this. Oh shit, what if I get it wrong? What if after I take the money, and then when the baby pops out there’s something wrong? Fuck. That won’t happen. I know what I’m doing and nothing will go wrong. People are doing it. Everyone’s probably fucking doing it. Everyone probably sneaks into their own damn operating theatres to cut bits of living foetuses off. Foeti. Fuck. I can’t believe after so many years I don’t know what the plural for foetus is. Maybe I’m not that good at my job. No, if you weren’t the best, they wouldn’t be putting so much money on the table. And so much more under it. No, you’re the best alright, you’re the smartest sexiest surgeon alive and you’re going to do this thing just fine. It’s going to be beautiful. A living work of art-What the fuck am I doing? But at least I know everyone can’t be doing it. They wouldn’t offer me so much if everyone was doing it.

They’ll probably be getting ready in there. I wonder how that lady must feel. Letting me poke around inside her womb – its her fucking baby! Isn’t she scared? Or is it just that the possible benefits outweigh the risk? These wall street bastards are all about risks aren’t they? Risk analysis, S.W.O.T and all that bullshit. But this is life and they’re pro-life. For fuck’s sake, they’re the most high-prolife pro-life people in the state! It’s not ok to kill a foetus in the womb but its ok to permantly disable it for life. Well, not permanently. I mean, thats the point after all. But fuck me, who’d have figured it. The Kasthuris. Of all the people. Of course, no little pissant would have this kind of money. And I’m doing it for the money. No, not the money! I’m doing it for Trish. For Jai. We need this money. That’ll be a birthday gift that won’t be topped. Here, Jai, look, we’ve bought you life. Now you get to live normally instead of cursing your body every goddamn day of your life.

Fuck the government again. Fuck them again and again. Who’s the motherfucker that didn’t put Watson’s Syndrome in the list? It’s got the same effect as the others! Who gives a flying fuck if it has an outward physical manifestation? It’s the disability right. It should’ve been on the fucking list. But can’t do anything about that. Can’t beat the system from within. Can write my fucking papers and start the fucking petitions but no ones cares. What I can do is do something very illegal so I can gets lots of money to afford the very expensive but legal operation for my son. And then retire to another country. Where no one will ask any quest..shit. It’s almost time. Got to calm myself. I’ll play something. Get my mind off.

“Have you ever loved someone so much you’d give an arm for? Not the expression. Literally.”

Got to love shuffle and mood detector. Oh, I have, Mr. White Chocolate. I have loved someone so much. Would I do this if I didn’t love Trish and Jai so much? I’m risking everything here, doing this for them. And I am giving an arm. Well, not my..but I’m giving him an arm. A super-arm. Ok, fine, technically, I personally am not giving it to him either. The government’s giving it to him! Those rat bastards! Fuck those fucking fuckers! Seriously, making it a rule that only the disabled can get prosthetics is ridiculous. So much research wasn’t put in to make the world a better fucking place! Would they have bothered developing these prosthetic till they were so perfect if they thought this would happen? Arms stronger than yours, that feel no pain, that seamlessly connect with your body – and its for allowed only to poor little disabled fucks? Of course this was going to happen! You think the Kasthuri’s with all their money, who have lived their whole lives knowing that they had the best of everything would allow their sons to be inferior to anyone?

Smart plan though. Giving the kid a disability before he’s born. He’ll probably never find out the truth. Probably live his whole life thanking God for the … opportunity he was born with. Why couldn’t Jai have been born with one of those ..opportunities? I bet thats what every mother and father’s thinking. Why can’t my son or daughter be born fucked up? With stumps for legs or hooks for hands? Well, I’ll tell you why, its because God doesn’t love you enough. Not like he loves the Kasthuris. But who needs God when you have me?

-Thomas


The Great Sandwich Maker

There once lived in a quiet, unassuming man in a quiet unassuming corner of the universe. Outwardly, there was nothing special about this man. The kind of man you’d pass by on the street and think “boy, that’s the kinda man you’d pass by on the street”. But, exactly like the billions of other people out there, he was completely different from everyone else. If there were two things that defined this man, they were sandwiches and marijuana. You see, our quiet unassuming man was a complete and utter pothead. But he also made the some of the best sandwiches ever known to humankind or any other kind. Sandwiches which have been variously described as “Utterly fantastical” and “The best thing since, well, sliced bread”. — But like with all great drug-addled artists, and let no qualms be made about that- this man was an artist, there was a catch. You see, he only made two sandwiches everyday. One for himself, and one for sale to the first person who asked to buy it. He would then proceed to use the money to buy himself some righteous mj and spend the rest of the day baked out of his head.

Now obviously, all this begs the question, why didn’t he flog his talents to a soul-less corporation for all it was worth and retire on the proceeds of the assembly line like any other self-respecting person would do?

Well, blame the drugs, blame the quiet, unassuming nature of his corner of the universe, but the blasted guy had gone and achieved a sort of inner peace, contentment, nirvana, the great up-above if you will. Normally people are all for this sort of thing. They queue up to listen to these people speak and spend crazy amounts of time convincing other people that they too should join the queue and so on, ad infinitum. Messiah types are usually well-loved, let alone a messiah who could craft the perfect ham and cheese. But the problem with our man was that he never spoke. Not much anyways. He wasn’t mute or anything, but stuff like “pass the salt” and “it looks like its about to rain” are hardly considered messiah worthy. In a perfect world, people would’ve realized he was a cut above your average Buddha because he didn’t feel the need to sit under trees bang on about how bloody enlightened he was. But obviously we don’t live in a perfect world and people didn’t realize that or anything resembling it. What they did instead was brand him a pretentious fuck. That’s right. The people, in their infinite wisdom, took probably the only man in the history of time to discover the answer to The question and not feel the need to lord it over everyone else, and branded him a hipster.

Now, one of the advantages of being enlightened is that you tend not to give a fuck about trivial things such as what people think. One of the disadvantages of being enlightened is that you also tend not to give a fuck about the machetes in their arms as they march towards you angrily. Self-realization’s a bitch that way. Asides aside, the people had decided that enough was enough and the time for action was upon them. And what do you do with a goose that lays golden eggs? Why, obviously you rip out its entrails, stick them on a mechanical framework and see if it still does its thing. As evil flash mobs go, this was a pitiful one, used as they were to the oft-referred-to quiet and unassuming nature of life where they lived. And it was no surprise that they failed in their rather lofty mission. You see, no one was really sure what the machetes they carried were for and the only methods of interrogation any of them seemed to know were “asking really nicely” and “with a cherry on top”.

In their quest to unearth the answers to the mysteries of our life or at least get a decent sandwich recipe out of the bargain, it appeared as though the people had failed miserably. But unbeknownst to them, they had actually succeed at a little. Or failed even more miserably. Depending on how you view the situation. You see, their feeble little inquest had produced one definite outcome. Depriving the man of his precious marijuana for a while and thus snapping probably the longest unbroken trip in the history of pot. On the one hand, this had the desirable effect of making him a little less enlightened and a little more stupid and human-like. But on the other, it also had the rather more undesirable effect of making his sandwiches decidedly average. Rather like every Subway 6-inch you’ve ever eaten.

-Visvak