Thursday, June 7, 2012

My Family Story

The Family Story

My father has asked me to write
The Family Story, meaning he wants
me to find His Story
among the papers strewn
on the tables and floor of his room.
At his direction, I will shuffle
begats and photographs, stack
and restack, name, date and diagram,
the usual ritual of our visits.
If he speaks, it is of casual encounters -
A young doctor in a Packard stops
at Grandmother’s house during the Depression
and asks for a cold glass of water.
He was the oldest, his father died,
his mother went to a sanatorium.
He burned the diaries
over the BBQ grill. He tells me
to use a straightedge
to get the lines right. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Hey guys,

I'm traveling, I'm knackered, and I'm about to board a boat for a week.  The returns are rapidly diminishing on my attempts to write poetry.  I'll be offline until 15 June, and I won't be writing more poetry until I've dealt with the backlog of work stuff I've been accumulating.  You are all welcome to keep using the blog for poetry Thursdays and NaPoReMo activities.

Thursday, May 31, 2012


The blanket is heavy.
I unfold it around you
pull at edges, carefully cover a stray leg.
A good night kiss. Lights off.


Medusa Sea Star
braids already-there
hair.  She weaves more.

Swallowtail knits
a stomach to eat
the self it forgets.

It's not how you build it, so long as you build it.

For Sasha (revised)

He struck off into the park
but at ten to 3 was himself struck
by the rotting branch of an old maple tree.
He was crowned mid-stride.

He might've sat beneath that tree,
lifted his eyes to the cold city skies
to script a new constellation of designs. 
But he was knocked out mid-stride.

He might've been killed outright.
But he was laid flat mid-stride.
His mind will never be what it might have been.
He was benighted mid-stride.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Right To Life

Right to Life

Last night I dreamt I flew 
all the way to the moon
to pick up a tiny square
of cardboard and a paperclip.

Today I watched the corner
of an envelope float down
from a shelf and land
on my stapler.

I thought about the dream
and my dead child and finally,
decades later, I realize it is time
to piece the scraps of me together.

Suspended moments

It was almost twelve, daddy, and we hurried through gallery 11,
wavering but a moment at the raja, vajir, haathi, oonth, ghoda and pyaade,*
all suspended in ivory: a battle, set up, but forever awaiting the conch.
We ran down the corridor --Sunday afternoons slipped by
when you'd taught us to build forts on pieces from your childhood
--and arrived, breathless, to the musical clock in the lobby.
But that little watchman, time, had already chimed the hour.

*Piece names in Hindi for the king, queen, rook, bishop, knight, and pawns.
Something like this: