Part 23

I was gathering strangeness, like little stones. Tossing
them into a jar, waiting for the water to rise to the
top. A thirsty crow, negotiating with the universe. I

asked the differences to separate me, float me into the
far distance, as if my name, my being, my soul would
change, as if the past would no longer recognize me,

would stop calling my name. This is where the stones
were. On a beach in New Hampshire. Where the sea
was icy cold even as the sun blazed down on the sand.

In Boston, on a summer’s day. Still bright at quarter
to eight as if time had lost its way. Here the rhythms
were different. Light and life sparring for space. At the

bottom of Niagara Falls where all I saw and heard
was the white mist. As if there was a door to another
reality. Another way to compute impossibility. At a

covered bridge, painted red, somewhere in the
White mountains, over a hundred years old. As if it
held a precious secret. Below it, the river murmured,

saying something, saying nothing, the water so clear,
a world drifted in it, upside down, staring back at
me. I dropped a stone in it, green and flawlessly oval.

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Interlude (14)

It’s been an interesting few weeks. Something about being hospitalized and then in recovery makes one vulnerable not just physically, but the mind too, apparently, needs all kind of succour. I got a mixed bag of reactions from the limited world around me that led me to make another list!!!

But the story goes on. So here is the recording of Part 14. Those of you who want to read the poem can find it here.  

Also Dave Bonta has been very kind in including a couple of the parts in his weekly poetry digest at Vianegativa. Parts 20 and 21 found homes in the compilations for Week 44 and Week 45 of 2022. 

Part 22

America. That first winter. Meeting snow. Meeting
race. Both cold. So cold. Learning the right way to
drive on the wrong side of the road. Learning new
ways to say old words. Spell old words. New York,
like a movie set. Not knowing about Lorca then. That
Lorca had written there. Reading James Kavanaugh,
sitting cross-legged in a book store aisle, captive,
liberated. Will I write like this someday, like a healing
breath on an open wound? Watching fireworks on
the fourth of July. Is the moon free? Are stars free?
Seeing whales breach the cold waters of the Atlantic.
If I had wings, would I know to fly? Feeling seasons
change. Is this the prelude to another transformation?
Somewhere on the road in Utah, barren land stretching
on either side, no car, no man, no bird, no fence. How
far have I come? How far away is far enough? Red wind
whipping through the open window, local news on
the radio, the sky a shade of sinless blue — maybe here,
in this place that is not home, in this emptiness, maybe
the world can stop spinning. Maybe here, speeding at
a hundred kilometres an hour, all can be still. How do you
find a lost apostrophe in the dictionary of unbelonging?

Interlude (13)

A health interruption, of sorts, means that Part 22 will drop only next Tuesday. Fingers crossed.

But here’s the reading of Part 13

I haven’t been writing to a pre-organized storyboard but it does feel that Parts 1- 20 are now essentially “Chapter 1”.

The next chapter starts with Part 21 (or so it seems for now). There’s going to be some back and forth and tangled loops but that’s the rough guide, if you’re catching up or planning to read it all at one shot!

Part 21

Like a rush-hour deluge, love arrived
where it shouldn’t. When we couldn’t.
Stirring up the normal. But love must
be Shakespearean: a costume drama,
poetry frothing at its mouth, selfish,

greedy, visceral. Always wanting more,
wanting so much more that nothing is
enough. Not even love. We’re raised
on happy endings. Even tragedies are
normalized as the best possible result,

given the odds. When love fails, we ask
if it was real. Seek existential assurance.
A real love should have destroyed the
lover when it left. Survival is proof of
what never was. The ledger of longing

is never tallied. The void is carried like
an abscess. Never absent. Never healing.
And yet these are just ordinary wounds.
Not worthy of even an ordinary story.
Do you think a fleeing comet is allowed

to fall in love with the moon? Do you
think the moon should listen to the sky?
Do you think Sisyphus should write a love
song for a nameless paramour who
helped him roll the rock uphill one night?

Interlude (12)

A few updates to share in this Interlude post.

1. First, the recording of Part 12. This poem is close to my heart so it was interesting to read it aloud. Do you also feel when you read one of your own poems, that it was written by someone else? A familiar strangeness?

 

2. How do you know your poetic memoir is on the right track? I posted a checklist on the main blog last week. It definitely belongs here as part of this story. Click here to read.  I got some feedback on points 5 and 6. Well, tongue-in-cheek or not, they are true and hopefully as a writer, that discomfort is never going to stop you from telling a story that needs to be told.

3. Part 18 found a place in Via Negativa’s poetry digest for Week 42 of 2022. You can read it here. Many thanks to Dave Bonta for his support. (Twitter: @morningporch)

Have a lovely week and I’ll see you with Part 21 next week! I think the story shifts gears and geography in the next two episodes.  

Part 20

That time, alone, without a phone, hungry, afraid, the rain
beating down for three days straight, flooded streets like

prison moats. The Bay of Bengal, was dumping her angst
with unnerving ferocity. Water stood a foot deep outside

the gate. I was told when I was young that happiness is a
constant. We all get an equal share. I didn’t know then that

to grow up is to cling to false hope with a fist larger than a
child’s. But this is an ordinary story, there is no great feat of

survival. No heart-warming rescue. No heroics. No hero. Just
the being. Just the waiting. Just the terrifying nights. Just

the numbness of morning. Just the eventual ceasing of the
rain. Like a truth. Without reason. Like a mirror that swallows

reflections. The rain became my monster. The rain became
my foe. The rain became the hell I could not conquer. A

drizzle was a deluge. A deluge, the dark of an endless night.
The monsoon, an affliction without remedy. These are tests

I cannot pass. Tests I cannot fail. Always the same result.
Always the same consequence. Happiness is a constant.