they will teach you to turn yourself into a cemetery till you run out of real estate to bury the necessary vocabulary of your birth. they will dangle you permanently between the twin towns of longing & belonging; you will hang from their arms like a ripped kite; the loot of childish sport. you will forget your worth; settle to the bottom of the jar like old currency & pawned razors. they will teach you to burn your name under the bedraggled crescent of a frozen winter.
they will treat your beauty like incense; soft & foreign; a prayer that turns to ash at the altar. you will take a pair of craft scissors to your hair; cut away the wings woven into your tresses so you can forget the etiquette of flying.
you will walk around with eyes shut tight like skullcaps; they will turn your mouth into a city of curfews.
they will teach you that you are a common mistake history makes crushing the hands of steam filled clocks.
they will tell you, you are your mother’s illness; your father’s death. they want to turn the people you love into a rubik’s cube; tribes stacked color by color; block by block. they will steal the honey of your hope and make you wear your patience like a necklace of bee-stings.
they will inhabit and abandon you as though you were a pied-à-terre at the end of a conquered colony.
they will teach you that God is a four lettered word; a crashing curse, a blaspheme rotting your tongue to a blood clot; a callus at the pilgrim’s dirty feet. a havoc harvesting your heart.
they will try to teach you paragraphs of daily deaths as though your body was only meant to be read as a suicide letter.
they will teach you to equate getting lesser with getting better.
but, you will just remember this, my beloved anomaly :
you have a choice —
to write yourself alive out of the lupine grip of every iron bar or the hyaline pinfold of their mason jar.
the blackhole that can bolt the whole Universe is born from the debris of a dwarf star.
the God within is the God afar.
the God you have sought is the God you are.
because the Phoenix builds a nest of scented branches, starts a fire and is
consumed by flames;
because the Romans saw Aquarius as a heaven-flying bird;
because the Maya saw Aquarius as Coz, the Celestial Falcon;
because the ancient Hindus called Aquarius ‘Garuda’, the Birdman; vehicle of
Vishnu, the Preserver;
Your wrinkled hands
talk to me
tell the story of a stolen childhood
the loneliness of women in my homeland
I look at your fingers
you place the leaves one by one on the tobacco shish
threading them like long beads into a necklace
i enjoy it when a line from one of my poems has been copied word for word.
That’s an interesting question. I think it’s a condition, a given; content comes later. You’re born into the condition of being an amphora; whether it’s wine or water that fills it afterward belongs to afterward. Lately I think of this given condition as a kind of curse, because there is no way out of it. What a relief it would be to have the freedom of other people! Any inborn condition of this sort is, after all, a kind of slavery. There is no choice. Nor can one choose to stop: although now that I’m no longer young, I talk to writers of my own age about this. About the relief of being allowed to stop. But I know I will never stop until the lip of limitation—that is, disability or the grave. But you ask about the beginning. The beginning was almost physiological in its ecstatic pursuits. I’m embarrassed as I say this—“ecstatic pursuits”!—but I am thinking back to the delectable excitement, the waiting-to-be-born excitement, of longing to write. I suppose it is a kind of parallel Eros.