Saturday, September 26, 2015

7 Books (rewrite)

In my library there are 7 books

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

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

I will love you
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
every time
and everywhere.

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

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
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.

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


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


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.

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

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.

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."

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