Watching strangers on the subway

I find a spot to stand on the train

and it feels like a paradise,

spaces between strangers sock and shoes

and sweat and stories—

let me keep my distance.

Although there is a tiredness to it.

I was taught I could do any damn thing,

and I believe it: I feel my uniqueness

lifting me up as a I walk,

swarming around in my veins

a home for the hive, bees going extinct

but I know where the honey is:

it’s right here, honey.

 

Touch the water.

Tell me about it in 10 years when your city has none

a reality not yet created yet so tangible I want to reach out

and touch it, drag it back to now so I connect my future son-

in-law to my sink, so he can grab a bucket and fill it,

empty it, fill it, empty it into Chennai, into Cape Town.

 

I know New York will follow one day

does my specialness stand a chance? Does our ability

to find our race and run it define our character,

our identity,

our existence

the years that have been dripping by,

like water from a faucet,

like honey from a hive.

I know that I cannot solve any problem alone but where do I

start? Tell me where to put this water and these bones and I’ll do it.

Just promise me someone will be here when the flowers bloom.

 

June 28, 2019

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Self Love

I’m

beginning

to see

self love

in a different way.

 

Learning

to love yourself

for what you used to doubt,

to question, to hate–

that is the most important part.

 

The smile on your face,

the eyebrows above it,

the eyes a boy used to love,

the stories within them.

 

Water can crash down

and hurt you but in the end,

it is only water.

 

Everything else is just a feather,

floating,

remaining neutral.

 

July 2, 2016

at the ocean

my intention,

my desire,

my secret wish

is to simplify life.

 

many men

have tried It;

we heard about it.

 

It didn’t work.

 

many women

have tried It;

we didn’t hear about it.

 

(proof enough) It didn’t work.

 

we searched for It

in churches and mosques,

temples and tall, gray shopping malls.

 

we listened for It

at TED talks, college lecture halls

and sports stadiums with 80,000 seats.

 

when fate

grants you power,

what do you do with It?

 

men decided to seek It only in themselves,

simplicity and peace and glory

owned by one hand, one heart, one tear.

 

I ask: where does the tear come from?

Where does the water come from?

I’ll start by listening there.

 

March 18, 2016.

on lunch break

how nice it is

to sit by the river and unwind,

blink by

blink.

 

you know your same-old view

in the city:

skyscraper tree tops

that leave you wanting for a chickadee

 

where can I find just one bird?

(the pigeons are beautiful, mind you.)

 

I yearn to hear a song;

the water gives it to me–

it gives it to us

as long as I keep my ears open

I can hear it all the way from the skyline.

 

remind me how love songs go, again?

does he start?

am I the minor chord?

 

the wind trickles in;

between my toes

the water hums.

 

my shoulders sigh

as I remember how easy it must have been

 

to let

doors open

before windows closed,

families eat meals together

after swimming through the day.

 

the world stills;

my eyes close;

and I tell my heart,

“It’s okay

to remain

open.”

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January 21, 2016

Frozen Lake

It has

taken me a while

to sit in a dark corner,

rest in my chair

and think about the scene

on the lake:

children following

chilled ear-muffed parents,

falling into black puddles

my eyes sore

from their grimaces

and yet, all too soon,

they come back up again.

 

I was never too trusting

of my skates;

faces tell me their parents

are not either.

 

I suppose

falling and rising

are the stepping stones of a generation,

frostbite, bumps and bruises

making our own easier to handle,

each crack in the ice

new wisdom,

a sudden truth

that all we need to know

is not the mirage,

sprawled green grass glowing in the distance.

 

It is the frozen

here and now.

 

July 23, 2015