Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Tempo

It is steady
the drum
the step
the heart beat thump
the flailing arms
the scratching chains
on lime green tile
cold, sharp,
and unbearably lost

It is bright
the stray voices
the shadows you've become
the faint web of moonlight
weaving thread unseen
in the crescent of eyes
searching the dim dark
for the dying embers
of a fire
you once knew

It is gentle
the dust
the old stones
the promise of rain
the softness of hair
that falls on your face
and in the infinite space
within each ebony strand
I find and lose
everything

Friday, October 9, 2015

Rise

The average length
of a hug
is 3 seconds,
but for the days
when I'm
at my smallest
I count to 5

Rise

This is for the boys
who don't drink fight or fuck
but hide wolves in clenched fists
to end wars they didn't start

This is for the girls
dressed in summer,
who know that giving light
means learning how to burn

Rise

For the twentysomethings
drenched in lonely
reaching for a love
they don't understand
For the night-owls
living in the shade
too afraid
of the blinding sun
and the rush hour nomads
racing home
to hold up their children

Rise

When your days
cut like blades
and you wake up
in the cold sweat
of unattainable potential
When you're broke
and left chewing
a tightly held breath,
to last the week till payday

Rise

When your front door
is a reminder
of everyone
that left
But your bed
remembers
every mistake
that stayed

Rise

Like your naked girlfriend
just jumped out of a cake
and it's not even your birthday
Like the bottle rocket
of your wildest hopes
is shooting across the sky
And for a brief moment
you're standing eye to eye
with god

Like the school-yard rule books
never clipped your wings

Like you didn't know you
could dance till
the beat showed you how

Like you dug through
the pavement
and found the heart
of the world
beats only for you

RISE!

May the days
you wish you were
someone else
never return
May your never-ending
march to the grave
be a  parade
of musicians
acrobats
and fire-eaters
May you find heaven
in a sunbeam
And may all your dreams
come true

Cos when
the dust settles
the only things
left standing
will be the dreams
we all shared

So rise

Saturday, September 26, 2015

7 Books (rewrite)

In my library there are 7 books

1.
I was born in the ocean,
it was night
there was a light breeze

I know this is not true
because my mother can't swim,
but when I close my eyes
and click my heels
I see only gentle waves
draped in a midnight moon.

I don't know
what this means.
Or the kind of man
it makes me

All I know is that
when I'm at sea-level
everything makes sense

2.
To the girls who will
fall in love with me,
take note.

I will love you
violently,
absolutely
and without compromise.
today, tomorrow
and maybe the day after

What I mean is
the Star Trek laser gun
of my undying affection
is set to incinerate.

What I mean is
kiss me on the cheek
and I'll shine so bright
I'd roast a turkey at twenty paces.

What I mean is
I'm afraid my hands
are too big
to carry you safely

What I mean is
I don't know how to love at an even burn.
But some day I might just open a door
and be able to love you
everyday
every time
and everywhere.

But for now please understand
that when you are in front of me
I hear only the sweetest violin music

3.
The first girl I ever loved
was on the Disney Channel.
in the grey hours of morning
I'd lay there among yesterdays toys
waiting for her smile
her teeth jagged
on my CRT screen,
she flips her Technicolor hair
then rolls out
the anthropomorphised rodent messiah
that I had to worship
to prove my love to her

You see,
my seven-year old heart
was a sucker
for prepackaged escapism
in a sundress
so I accepted the Mouse
into my soul
and I preached his word
on the playground
M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E
I chanted,
a child soldier on a crusade,
Donald Duck water-bottle
held like a scimitar
I lead my school-yard congregation
in prime-time prayer

But then she started seeing her co-host
and I switched to the Cartoon Network,

You see
I learned what love was, Mickey.
It's a rat-faced lie we all tell.
And I'll never forget my first time.

4.
I used to hate my name
It's too strange to be easy
but not exotic enough to be attractive.

Praveen.

I waged a war
set on a battle-field
of best friends,
and girl-friends,
it was genocide.

Prav

Half of it disappeared overnight.
as if I'd gripped it tight
and threw away all the parts
I didn't like
burying them six-feet deep
as if making it smaller
made it easier to live with.


When you say my name
you remind me that I hate it,
which is strange
because I don't hate it
when you say it.

It falls from your lips
like a dance and a dream.
Like a drop of paint.
and an ounce of fire-light.
You make the hard r sound mystical,
and you hide the awkward e's
inside the most sensuous way
you pronounce the n
that sits at the end
of the whole mess.
You make the v in the middle
feel at home.

So, to the world I will remain Prav,
the name I pin to my chest
like a battle scar.

But in the space
under my pillow
I will hide
the sound of your voice
and the memory
of my hated name.

5.
You asked me where I got this t-shirt
I took a trip outside of myself
and it was all I came back with


6.
When I was a little boy
I danced with God.
He told me stories
and gave me heroes to play with
but in my dance I spun away
and found the song of the universe
to be louder than the words on the page

The melody is old
and hard to hear
over the roaring thunder
but it begs us to remember
that somewhere,
something incredible is waiting to be known
that we're all
waiting to be known
and for small things like us
the vastness is bearable
only through love.


7.
I am continually amazed
by the ongoing process of being human.

All of you amaze me,
you wonderful machines.
all cheekbones and elbows
and tangled balls of string

If these fingers were nimble enough
I'd rip myself apart
layer by layer
exposing the sacred chaos
and tiny infinities
that live inside you.

I'd do it every night.
Standing on rooftops and flagpoles
with a marching band and fireworks
screaming through a megaphone
putting all my gears and levers
on display
till my my eyes are steeped
in burning flowers
and the choking floodwaters
fall beneath my chest


Then I'd step back
and ask for your name.
"My name is Praveen," I'd say
"Take my hand. There's something I need to show you."

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Honestly

Can I be honest?

In this context my honesty isn't cruel, or angry. It isn't made of secrets or songs. It isn't strong enough to carry you down the aisle, or help you with your groceries.It won't swim with it's shirt off or ask you to prom, cos it's too shy, but I'll try.

Cos in this context my honesty is a card-board time machine that lets me climb in and close my eyes thinking of you,to later step out groggily into a bright, shining, silver-glass utopia where it feels like we've spent a lifetime together.

So like next Thursday.

Because in the perfect post-apocalypse of next Thursday,this maze of uncertainty that stretches out before us may have untangled itself to reveal the road we're looking for.

So let me be honest, because I want to say the lamp of your soul ignites the air in my veins, leaving only these arms with the strength to slow you down.

The slow dance of your hips is like wine. Moon colored wine that I will inevitably lose myself in every single day until they put me in a cage for spending all my rent money and food money and tax money on bottles of you.

I need to tell you this thing you put in my chest feels like an unfettered stampede of sweating summer school children and your walk is like the world's sexiest ice-cream man.

Every time you walk next to me you send an army of red squirrels marching up my arms and neck to seek refuge in the trees of my tangled grove. They have pulled the bones from my skull and the gold from my teeth to build a shrine to you above my head.

In the corner of my quietest heart there is a forest of teeth where time stands still. There I have buried my library of sharp edges and bruised knees to make space in my shelves for all the things I want to show you.

The space between your lips where your smile lives is a prayer to a distant god that will save the universe when the alien bunny people invade in their floppy-eared ships..

You make me want to fall on my knees and believe in god again.

Well, almost.

But this is how you make me feel.

Like I'm standing at the water's edge, toes dug deep, hoping that the fire in my hands is bright enough to cast your shadow across the sky.

Like I was the sky and you were a river and our destiny was to meet some day to form the ocean.

Like I'm 18 and lost again, trying to summit the mountain peak on a moonless night. Praying that each desperate grasp finds a bit of your skin to hold on to.

Like I'm 14 and stuttering again, my mind moving too fast for tongue and teeth to chase, chained to a midnight train burning hell-fire and moonshine to rocket off the edge of the earth into your arms.
leaving a trail of slow-motion particle effects and screaming passengers.

Before I walk the trail, I will wear my words like the armor of the sun and wield the bow I found in my grandfathers books to kill the evil dragon stealing your air. I will fire arrow after arrow at the thrones of sleeping kings to set you free that you might hold me in talons between mighty wings and lift us above the storm of the world into a never ending sunset.

So let me be the easy thing in your life, cos I know your life ain't easy.
Lend me the keys to your doors, and Ill be a a thrift shop sweater that loves you like a tailored suit.

Cos if I'm honest, you make me feel like I mean something.
And even if it takes the rest of my life, I mean to return the favor.




Sunday, June 21, 2015

Quiet

Please, stop.
Be calm, quiet yourself
slow your hurried feet,
that I might find the path
up your narrow roads
that this fool might jump
and fall deeply into your skin
that taught me the stars
Into your voice
that lends sunlight to every morning
Into your arms that held me
when we stormed the summer palace.

So please, my sweet prince
rest here,
wander these halls,
and steal away my heavy eyes.
Like night, the ocean,
and the holy beast of every toke.
Like a knelt prayer,
palms meeting face
on dropped knees and fallen grace
searching the faithless
for a glimpse of the trace-less
in the far flung howl, and the returning thunder
and the choir of spring magnolias
in a honey-soaked breeze
In a bright storm of pages
and the reef of sunken ships
taken root in my lungs.
Like the flower that grows up to my lips
to speak your name
I search for you.

Fingers riding rusty veins
into jagged pores
and cracked jaw bones
into shaking sweat
I ache for you.

So hold me still,
keep me steady,
grab me tight
like a handful of seeds
and a chest full of flowers
touch me softly,
keep me safe
till the days of winter,
and the frost-blue cold

For when it is all dust and dreams
I will scour the ruins of your words
to find the hole you once filled.

Let it drain the silver from my tongue
that I might hear your voice,
and finally, sleep softly

Thursday, June 4, 2015

They call me..

The way you say my name reminds me that I despise it. It's too strange to be relatable but not exotic enough to be attractive. It's a construct of hard, rolling r's with a slightly too long string of e's trailing behind it.

Praveen.

I fought and won a war against that name, set against the backdrop of my social circle and schools, and it was a genocide. Half of it disappeared overnight. I compacted it down to it's smallest possible profile, as if making it smaller made it less repugnant.

Prav.

When you say my name you remind me that I hate it, which is strange because I don't hate it when you say it.

It falls from your lips like a dance. Like a drop of paint. Like an ounce of fire-light.

You make the hard r sound mystical, and you hide the awkward e's inside the most sensuous way you pronounce the n that sits at the end of the whole mess. You make the v in the middle feel at home.

So, to the world I will remain Prav, the name I pin to my chest like a battle scar.
But in the corner of my quietest heart I will keep the sound of your voice and the memory of my hated name.


Sunday, May 31, 2015

Fragment

Listen,
beloved.

In the dusk-dim dark,
of a red-sun evening.
In rain-sheathed light,
I sit and think of you.

My fingertips feel numb
and the words escape me.
But I remember it now,
the half-formed explosions
the almost conversations,
the fizzled expectations of grandeur.
They tumbled out of my mouth
uncontrollable verbal after-birth
misshapen, awkward and unloved.
starting and stopping in short bursts
Still born sentences,
gasping for air.

I lost something here, beloved
inside and within this shapeless dream
a piece of a fragment,
a figment,a fracture
of an almighty explosion

On this red dusk, dim-dark,
rain-sheathed evening
I recall only the warmth of your hand.
So lead me sightless.
Let me dwell in all your shadows
till my eyes are steeped in burning flowers
and the choking flood-waters fall below my chest