Dear Julia, our discussion regarding why ants
can lift up such relatively massive bits of plants
was inconclusive. So was our fitful tête à tête.
I recall you pensive and lovely as day began to set.
I really thought that we could plan our lives,
you said. How could I answer? One survives.
Myself, the single wish I’d like to have fulfilled
is to become a horse-sized ant when so I willed.
Then, Julia, I the Mighty Ant could haul
this giant seed, the future, anywhere at all.
Love poem from a gori .
Only the tomato that yeilds, despoiled,
only the ferocious hiss of cardamom
thrown on a fry pan hot and oiled,
only the rocking to break the garlic,
only the pull as I roll the dough,
only the fragrance of burbling curry,
I have only these; and all I know
is I’ll make you happy someday.
They should not sell flowers like these,
that do not open, that die shut.
I bought it with the purple still squeezed
closed like a puppy’s eye, like a walnut,
like shining hair done up, like a gift
carefully encased. I carried it home,
I put it in a vase and tried to lift
its leaves with sugar and lime.
I wanted that first ecstatic violet flame
to spring from the green oil-lamp, to burn
and slowly uncoil, a snail in palm tamed,
a fantastic origami, a shattered urn.
Now the tips have curled up in a sneer,
a snarl, as though this snail prefered to fear.
Photograph of myself after seeing Roman Holiday
I would like to do a series of portraits, color,
of me, in public bathrooms, brighter or duller,
where the mirror like a placid unmopped pool
lies in wait wibbly, wan, pale, aloof and cool.
This one will be called Thirteenth February,
McCormick. White tiling somewhat glary,
no windows. My face elongated as I lean
hat-coated on the partition tall and green.
The lonely mirror hungers. I am here now.
The image dilates. Does the continuum allow
my blood to keep its clock on local time?
It worries my heart, couplets led to rhyme
and made to drink water. I remember
one evening, a few days after December,
our opiate goodbye, then, wet paint on the gate,
boys at bat, little problems to negotiate.
So Gregory Peck turns and walks away
from Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday.
All of this the bathroom mirror stirs;
and in that this photo keeps me, so it errs.
Fairy Tale, India
Should I die young I will be born
a little yellow snake
slender, soft, smooth, lacking hands and feet,
sleek and fleet I shall survey the morn.
I shall be intimate with every nook of earth
and taste the new day’s heat.
The unworried hurry of a smaller world
the flowers with their dupattas unfurled
stirring over green salwar kameez,
these shall be mine.
The flower-seller, his crysalis a shawl,
squatting attendant between his street and wall,
I am like him.
I am a docile creature, I eat rats,
I swallow each as though it were tomorrow.
If I die young, then do not sorrow,
and do not worry, for surely I will find you,
and though become a little yellow snake
as one turns to embrace the pillow, half-awake,
so shall I love you still.