Thursday, September 29, 2016


the frangipani tree
cries tears of milk
as the coarse hand grabs at her
flowers of a deep magenta
the same hands that will 
offer these flowers to a statue
of the Buddha
the same hands that will be held together
in worship
as the woman says the five precepts
pāṇātipātā veramaṇī sikkhāpadaṃ samādiyāmi
but here she is
tearing off flowers from the
frangipani tree
that cries tears of milk
blood turned white
the way a mother's blood
and as she weeps
her neighbor tells her
cry not so much, they do not know what they are doing
but these are my children
my beautiful children
the frangipani tree cries
why can't they have the ones blown to the ground
by gushes of wind?
and her neighbor, older, wiser
or perhaps merely more observant of human nature, says
in their eyes, fallen flowers are too dirty
for their Buddha
although he speaks not a word now
his words are uttered
blasted through speakers
carved into pages of books
abstain from harming living beings
they mutter like parrots
day after day
without once thinking of the pain
they inflict on us
even as they wipe away our milky tears
adinnādānā veramaṇī sikkhāpadaṃ samādiyāmi
as they take what is not theirs
flowers that never grew on them
from trees that never grew in land that is their own
this is what we are cursed with
parts of us ripped from our bodies
the curse of being
who we are
nothing but
temple trees

Thursday, September 22, 2016


You lit me on fire
And I savored the painful pleasure
That came with it
You drew me deep into you
Into your bones and veins
Until traces of me stained your blood eternally
And then
When I was just getting used to how your lips felt
Against my skin
When I was just getting used to having
My life, my soul
Pulled away from me and into you
You crushed me like you would
Stub out a cigarette
You were done smoking
And you left me behind
All ashes and smoke
You flicked me away
Like I didn't matter one bit


I too often forget that people have feelings
Just like I do
When I tell those that love me
That I don't feel the same way about them
I forget that their hearts too, can break

When I ignore a once-a-friend
Because it hurts too much to remember the past
I forget that he too, has feelings

When I shut someone out of my life
Because they made all the wrong choices
I forget I am stabbing them like they stabbed me

I too often forget that people have feelings
Until it's a quiet, lonely night
And I cannot sleep
And I remember all those moments, one by one
All those times when I forgot that
Just like I do
Other people too, have feelings

And sometimes I want to reach out to them
But at such moments
When I need to feel human the most
I find my heart empty of feeling
And I stare wordlessly as people
Walk out of my life
One after the other
I place my hands on either side of my head
And push in and in
Hoping I can push out the pain this way
But when I let my hands fall
To the sides of my body
And the ringing in my head fades away
The pain comes back
Stronger than before
And I curse you
Even though it hurts even more to do so
For this gift you've left me with

Saturday, September 17, 2016

September 17

Leaving one family
For the other
And yet
The one I need the most
Is with neither
Because love can travel any distance
And sometimes you have to be content with
Once a year reunions
But when people are gone
In a permanent sense
When they aren't even a body rotting beneath us
Or ashes resting in a urn
When they have met and left with death
How do you soothe your heart
Of such absence?
How do you tell yourself
That the one you love the most
Will no longer sit next to you
At the dining table?
Or make your favorite dishes?
Or believe in you
No matter how hard it is to do so?
How do you soothe an aching heart
When the one person who can
Left with no warning
Left so suddenly, so unexpectedly?
And so today
Here I am
Inbetween places
When all I want to be is with you

(For Athamma, on her birthday)

Monday, September 12, 2016

You are supposed to listen
Especially when it's so obvious
That there is a message to be read
Between the lines
Something so important to me
You are supposed to listen
But you don't
Without apology
You interrupt
With stories of your own
And so I find refuge in
Words written and not spoken
In a place you don't know of
And so you will never know
Just how much I need you
Even though
Each time I reach out
You look away

I wonder too often
What my life would be like
If he hadn't met her
And she had met someone else
How different would my life be
If no had been said
Instead of

Do you ever feel guilty
For being cursed with the role
Of the first one to have
Broken my heart?

These words
All start sounding the same
After just a few lines
Maybe I should steal some
From another
Even stories
To get rid of
This unchanging way of life
To be quite honest
I'm quite bored with it all

They ask me why
I remain unchosen
But they never
Choose me



Cursed are these days
When the sorrows of the night before
Seep into the morning after
Even after tears have been shed
And thoughts have merged into dreams
And rest in the form of
Restless sleep
Has given you a few blissful hours of peace
And you wake up
Your body still aching
Your eyes puffy
But you think
That was all in the past
You have left it all behind
Until you pick up your toothbrush
Or mug of coffee
And suddenly
Nothing is in the past anymore
It's all here, now
And there's nothing you can do
As the weight of collected troubles
Pulls you down and down and down

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

On a quiet day in March

On a quiet day in March
You left us
And the night was so calm and still
That not even the ambulance
Could disturb the sleeping souls
That were merely resting
And not dying
Unlike you
And they carried you out of our house
And I was too afraid to look at you
Because looking, seeing would mean knowing
And since then
There has been this great gray cloud
Hovering above me
Blocking the sunlight, the stars
And on most days
I have the strength to ignore it
I'm too distracted by life and the living of it
But on some days
When my thoughts are slow and few
I can't help but wonder
If the happiness that left with you
Will ever return to my life


No matter how many times they announce
The route taken by the train of that platform
I still worry about being in the wrong train
And realize too late I'm headed towards the wrong destination
And so I keep rechecking platform number
Listen carefully to the crackling voice
That informs passengers of which train
Goes where
And sometimes when I'm with you
Even though I know fully well where we are headed
I wonder if we could be on a train going towards
A different destination
And unlike the fear I feel when in a train
A tinge of excitement and joy
Creep their way into my thoughts
When I wonder if maybe we could be headed somewhere unexpected

Friday, September 2, 2016

Her smile could light up a room
And so it was a shame that
Day after day
They lived in darkness

Thursday, September 1, 2016


For a moment
I forgot about gravity
I let go of something made of glass
And didn't realize there was nothing
To stop it from being pulled by gravity
And that is how it was
During those first few days
When nothing important
Stayed in my mind for too long
Unless it was tied to you
And like the glass jar that fell
I too fell
In love with you

And at the exact second
That I realized what was about to happen
The great mistake I had made
Early in the day
The glass hit the floor
And broke into a thousand pieces
And no matter how much I cursed myself
Or the universe
The glass remained broken
Too shattered to be whole again
And that is how I felt
On that godawful day
That I still try so hard to
Forget about

And later in the day
As I was walking past the scene of the crime
From that morning
When I forgot about gravity
For just one moment
Something split open the skin
On my aching feet
And the floor was stained red
In patches
Like an artist's attempt
At something abstract
And it was a fine pain
So unexpected
That it hurt more than it should have
And I wondered how
The shard of glass had
Even though I was so careful
That morning
To sweep away
The glass jar I broke
Every small piece of it
And that's how it feels
When on an ordinary day
I remember something or the other
About you

And tomorrow
I will buy a new jar
To be used in place of a jar
That is now a thousand pieces of glass
And as the days pass
I will forget all about the one that broke
The one I dropped
The one that slipped through my fingers
And someday
That will be you and I