Poems by Ambika Talwar

Educator, poet and artist, Ambika Talwar has composed poems since her teen years. She has authored and published Creative Resonance: Poetry—Elegant Play, Elegant Change; 4 Stars & 25 Roses, and others. She is published in Kyoto Journal; Inkwater Ink, vol. 3; Chopin with Cherries, On Divine Names; VIA, Poets on Site collections, Tower Journal, St. Julian’s Press ,Pirene’s Fountain, Enchanted Verse and others. She has published an article on creativity in Radiance Magazine, on peace education in Journal of Indian Research and Catalyst, on creative wellness in NAMAH Journal. She also made an award-winning short film. She resides in Los Angeles and teaches English at Cypress College.


Nepal is All Our Lands Beyond Borders

How the river runs
shaking laughing spitting gobbling
everything on her way.
How dancers cannot stop
even when falling
because something is changed.
How my legs ache
hurt through the night
continents away.
How fear and grief strangle
a vapid hungry cry.
How all these sounds
melt into drums and cymbals.
How feet lift in unmatched shoes
and tents scatter the city KTK–
not retribution not justice
not peace not this not that

Oh Mother Kali-Gandaki
not this not this not this
Surely not this:

You came to me hours before
Was it to confide in me
or to remind me of you?

How bone dry is hunger,
layers of longing lost;
in debris a broken tooth,
a buried baby’s toothless smile.

How we must make new meaning,
arise in awareness of awareness.
Let dust be dust – mountains sage
solid sacred. Rivers be not abused,
forests never desecrated.

What can I say but this: Let deities
who cherish be cherished.

Let us be still in future memory
so we realize we can become
wild as nature: savant pristine
reflective luminous.

A Special Reading

Your eyes lift away from page
You look over audience
light shining on their hair
and over out through the window
with seven horizontal bars…

You shift from one foot
to another to not step
on a pale yellow water lily, as
her eyes scour your face
for answers, you say:
“And then you were gone…”

Fan whirrs to cool the room
fist scrunches on a trembling skirt
a pair of ankles make wild rotations
desperate Venn diagrams
in the intrepid air. Your brow crinkles.

You pause so perfectly.

Your brow becomes warm
You falter over a syllable
You straighten your gait
Suddenly a faint hint of balm
and you smile. They clap.
A revolution has just begun.

You turn over a new page;
Part 2 becomes an elegy.
You recall Mimi gathering
hibiscus for prayers. Red ones.
Her delicate bones had helped
the war wounded in 1944.
Not our war–their war.

You understand the day of birthing
is cosmic mid-point when stars
circling – where the spot light
seems to burn these words:
“Oh where did you hide your sorrow?

You think of your own mother
waiting on the wind gods.

You ignore the wail of a baby
from the troubled cobbled street.
You listen to a cry in your own heart
fragmented between continents.

You smile at the beautiful
people showering praise.
You realize… how endless
is every beginning

and nothing ever ends
but it disappears…

Touch of Heaven

Music’s dead weight
lifts my body in so many ways.
My begging palms open year after year
looking at heaven where I, a fool, wish to crawl.

My feet, cracked from walking miles
of this trembling earth
who has not stopped dancing,
long for your hands — a caress
like that of rain hugging in puddles
squishy tenderness swallowing skylight.
Ah, just the music my body longs for.

Oh but what heaven, if you
would play these notes on my skin,
I would not have to crawl so far.

My Shattered Heart Sings an Elegy for Nepal

23 April: On Thursday I speak of Gandaki
unusual how this mad sparkling river
seductively encircling valleys like girdle
around waist of a dancer called through me –
In a trance as liquid sky bowl of water
with ripples awakening longing buried
so far in my elements, I became enshrined.

24 April: On Friday, I speak of adoration
unaware that Saturday morning was in bloom
other side of this world shattering its hunger –
mythos of a million years swallowed by cobra
uncoiling from world tree – center undone.
How have I walked all these years? On
whose feet, on which land, what color dirt?

If time is eternal, so are rocks hallowed
into temples where Mother has danced,
eyes so wide, hips so adorned, as to feed
millions grace, virtue. shadow grinning
with skulls so happily ensconced around
her sumptuous body. She carries us here.

26 April: Fallen bricks as fallen angels lie forlorn
houses as beggars are unroofed into dust
ache for alms – tattered faces have lost direction
broken limbs, blue collar, an errant shoe.
Gashes adorn face of a woman betrothed
before dying – he sees her to the very end.

Funeral pyres light up city of old stories
nectar of wisdom has run its streets.
Hindu sages and Buddhist exemplify
the empty by its opulent fullness – red
temples, worship with flowers incense
evocative names of mother resound in air.

27 April: How familiar is devastation – nature’s
untrammeled motion is its utter simplicity.
We learn to say, it is what it is. But man’s
greed is more heinous for its brutality.
Wish this be beauteous Prakriti inviting us
to create with care in concert with nature’s
fluid form where we return – ash flowing
in rivers to some place of remembrance.

May Kali-Gandaki prosper unto eternity,
fluid like diamonds through vast valleys!
May Himavat witness our folly, bring us
to truth, so we renew our passion for song.

May my kith and kin arise so together, we
walk old mountain path of wisdom astonished
at how simple it is to commune…

A Familiar Longing

It was not an echo
how the stream skipped,
me running by its side.

It was not an old tired tune
how the simoom hummed
through my dusty eyes.

It was not a whisper
how he said I’m ravenous,
and I knew what I knew.

It was not a melody
how violin tripped in his hands,
and I burnt a steak.

It was not a requiem
how bodies fell in troubled sheets,
and I caved in. Simply.

It was not hunger pangs
that rasped through his palms
and gathered her sweet tears.

It was not a hymn
that opened a greased door
letting in shafts of singing light.

It was not desire’s song
that wove knots coming undone,
frills falling at their feet.

It was not even a cry
that fell from a broken sky,
and we held each other tight.

Finally, it was nothing at all
that longed for heaven’s delight,
and the clocks chimed.

It is simply how stars wing
through night’s moaning,
and something happens.

Mother’s Embrace

lila ila alil ah
whisper daffodil
golden veins
stretch across cosmos
such threads
pull me in all ways
I am coming
home – take me in

not here not there
but everywhere
so I am dissolved
in your absolution

your three eyes
take me in…

Lila – cosmic play
Ila – (Sanskrit), the goddess of sacred speech, similar to Vach; in the Rig-Veda called the instructress of Manu, instituting the rules for the performing of sacrifices. The Satapatha-Brahmana represents Ila as arising from a sacrifice, which Manu had performed for the purpose of obtaining offspring.
alil – reference biology – RNA element that induces frameshift of genetic mutation
Ah – breath
I was playing with Lila ila – words familiar to me. The rest followed. I love the cross-cultural sounds, for Ila is also a name in Hebrew.

Humming Wall

In the mirror is a wall. It is painted off-white – not white, not beige, not yellow. Shadows live here. Sometimes what feels like many is really one. It likes to loom large even when tiny, noisily in the silence now shot with leaf blowers who own our electric space. Shutting its ears to gunshots, Shadow dances through layers of wall, making one deft move, many awkward. Time passes. One layer dissipates, then another. In thick night, it removes another leaving debris on the floor. No one will pick up the fallen grey moldy dust from bombings. In a burst of unfulfilled desire, Shadow reveals multiplicities, destroys more layers of wall. Time passes, until what remains is a single imprint on a broken wall – a bloody palm to mark endless beginnings. Hum of universe: still and infinite. Endless mirror. Cracks into a smile as it hums…

let walls not wail, but humming
kiss weaves of silence
let adoration awaken
what’s left
of all our people
figs olives butter
apples mangoes
every heart is chosen
it is so and so it is…

Glow of Infatuation

Limerance is a deliverance
of sorts – found often in France
maybe even in Spain Italy and heck why not
California – especially after the rain,
which makes one hide in old book stores
oh the petrichor and vellichor
that make one hum like a bee in love…
So to you, my delicious offering for the day.

What shall you say now but more more more
mi amore, play me aroma unto the end sans end
a wild tender deliverance…so I am all aglow…

as I bombinate around your glow… and and and

(oh at your feet I fall so low
delivered by god’s vow of so long ago
let it flow – let it flow from toe to silly toe)

A Birth

(from Jane Hirshfield’s poems)

Sometimes how a child is born
is like this –
then mother’s body
grows back flesh

So black cord
from having grown feeding
a foetus and wound inside
any direction it chose
in the womb
is now

single fabric she holds
is new proud flesh she gives it a name
a hungry name

Nothing here is perishable
not the salted plums
in a jar

for everything is felt
each syllable
how every orbit
is taut how it pulls a planet
to its purpose

how unfamiliar smells
sordid perfumes and clashings
head for leading
the roof self-thrusts away into night
then the dark luminous
sky falls in

so starlight bends to the roofs
of mother’s first embrace
so persimmons ripen
so light blesses
even inside her eyes

her unhandy hand
feels wet sounds of innocence

Imagine Mind

A dream some nights ago revealed essence of Mind. A gigantic screen raining like a solid fluid thick mountain face appeared with one word: Mind. Entranced, I listened for it said something. And as rapidly the meaning evaporated. Something intruded; my attention disappeared. My desire was to stay with this gigantic screen with the one four-letter word, but, I, too, was gone…. When I awoke to a fresh day that sparkled happy and teasing, peering in through my crystals (hanging at the window) throwing rainbows on my walls, I could not recall the whisper, a notion, an intent. Does Mind becoming overly fascinated by its self, forget what it itself is by getting lost within: a trillion ripples in crystal lake that swallows all of itself, remembering nothing. (Sigh!) Let it be expunged, never intrude, remain pure. Let it be so it answers my calling to fetch me words, meanings, metaphors, tropes, allegory I want for my craft: how poesia dances on my palms, my nimble fingers. Oh dear heart!

Spider and I Weave Our Dreams

How vast the innocent playpen of my dreams,
habits I have worn since time’s relentless passage.
Same old rain, drought, and tender dew it seems

has gathered tales to revive age-old memes
of creation-dissolution nature’s ineluctable dressage.
How vast the rising playpen of lost dreams,

wherein particles of you floated in gorgeous streams:
miles of forests, sky, night’s windowless baggage,
same old stars, storms, dews, lost language it seems.

Somehow floated away a shadow with dancing beams
when water from crystal mountain melted away an adage.
How vast the scattered playpen of my new found dreams.

Held in your palms an offering of love’s extremes
so we discover the transcendent and the savage–
same old stars glinting as diamond and dew it seems.

Spider’s weaves however far or near at playful seams
shine as cosmic game of care and caution– Oh do no damage!
To this vast and narrow playpen of my dreams–
same old rain, storm, drought, tender dew it seems.

Why Confusion?

What shall I write? About?
Really? About what confuses me?
Why look at the clutches
how they pastiche by
and not a carnation in the wrapping
I like that – why would I be confused?
Doilies this mean to be with
gaffer? To gadget with.
What shall I gadget with? she asks.
At this late an housekeeper and well
nigh the nimbus has begun in many
partnerships of the wrapping.
Nozzle confusing about this.
Not even about that.

Or the power pigment full
with trenchant wizardry
What…the tarnation is going on here?

Light’s Imaginal Desire

When slow night reclines
in morose tea cup,
it does not transmute
cabernet or lavender

With eyes gently closed
be as hint of rose rising
in darker night prior

or a humming bird swift
unseen as flight of love
alighting momentarily
to sip salvia or trumpet vine
tender nectar – a flowing coat
embroidered by time’s
ruddy lilac beauty

This lineage you cannot refuse
May we toast along rim of this
hallowed goblet – Solstice
is this time whispering
of light’s multilingual desires

Sorrow is not your tune – nor
dull opaque paint peeling.

Be a butterfly who has
no time for an ending

Be of world’s mulch rising
wild plants from saved seeds

A Book Unfolding…

How shall I love you however
imperfect your heinous heart?

Wish, instead, you had learned
how the sky sings… smell of dirt
on your fingers from pulling
carrots in the garden for supper…

how a triple rainbow
gleamed in your wide eyes
when your mother nursed you – Could she
have known you’d become monsters?

How shall I remind you of innocence
a hungry heart in search of manna?
what tribes have fought for.

In this splintering world of delusions,
your laws are twisted out of frame… culture
hangs – despair a shattered wing dipped in crude.

Will leaden arrows splinter your conscience?
Will your grandchildren suck your blood
from books that fill your war-torn chapters?
DNA like a river still runs through us all.

Somehow no one will survive.
Do you know? Not you, your family –
Maybe only some of all our just people…

Wild gardens sing of hybrid roots
intertwined like circles of eternity.
Will you again in torrid distortion
suck up all that cannot sing?

Will your eyes see horrors straining
to be free of you? Will you listen
to the far sounds of the dying wall?
Will you long for slumber with umber?

Some of us will sleep in peace, when
doves of love hum in our hearts. Not you.

Our Burning Palms

If love is ephemeral,
what is a cage…

that locks in birds,
bars lover from nest?

If power is absolute,
what is a prison…

where shackles sound
and freedom is not?

If joy is naked,
why these clothes

hiding skin flesh wound
innocence at play?

If god is everything,
why these crosses

burning in the fields
where children play?

Pray, our longing
be free of deception.

In purity, let her sing
so desire beyond itself

arrives into our arms
and our eyes remind

that love fiercely tender
burns in our palms.

Found Fragment of Time

Precious things are lonely.
Is such vision true?
A little tourmaline rock
clings to grass
out in wild Manzanita.

More than any place
that I have seen
this ruin
in a dotted landscape
has a strange melody
a displaced Wuthering…

Blowing over brush, wind reminds
possibilities are endless.

A sudden drop
into the wild rocks,
I lose my balance –
I trip slipping on pebbles into
a profusion of white

a lost shirt torn dirty
strip of rag is wound around
clump of white daisies…
Who was here?

Muddied scrap of paper
peers from the wee shade
of timid petals:

this vision is true
how we reflect on
architecture of things
all same are… 3 into 1

bees … honeycomb
non-duality of all
how … cursed… the sea
wild blue sea…

Sharp blue drop – ragged
cliff falling into vast black hole
hangs in my face…

Kafka’s Lost Brother

I had to do it – (he wrings
his cracked swollen hands nervously)

I did nothing
even my great great
grand-uncle (hand waving) he was king
I follow him like this
(moves like a drunken soldier)
is true honor

to follow this rules
even if says kill
kill kill …
(scratching his scrawny head)

nothing in my head
only demons, they told me
so many demons
here there under bed
in oven in castle under earth…there…
no to touch it

or go colony be punished
with one big eye
see everything – even scratch place…
(his ruffled breath cursed bloody mary)

Sign this papers here
like this, they said
I did – am not artist
I swear my god be my witness
this only way to live
be trial again again many again…

(he pulls his smelly coat around
his bony body, spits a wad of tobacco
lands near my foot…)

So I vote for him
everyone dead like family…
I keep hair like this long – no wash (haha)
they let me have this
and eat kukaracha – want some?
see like my skin…
(gleaming eyes taunt me)

Oh this is
not my fault (he pulls
out a broken wing of insect…)
I never do no wrong
you know… they call me kukaracha
code name…for being brave

Read these rules
is law – if you not do as he says
he make you blind…

(this is no land for mad men)

No one read
laws is no good…
just follow follow
follow is right way…

water flows in river
swirls of blood

mingle away out
into vast ocean

where everything disappears
dissolving castles in Amerika

RSVP With Regrets…
I regret to say
I will be unable
to attend your party
of fancy clothes & books sharing

I know it will be happily festooned
with ribbons, balloons,
flowers, fruits…

and cakes – so much wine
as to render you silly.

And I want none of that.

I feel I must stay here
amid shadows and sundry

wishing a resolution.
I can send some clothes
or rend them

or give them to Goodwill
god willing.

Or something.

I regret to say
some of this stuff
you know being politically
is hiding a lie

rotting apples
do not a pie make
but sordid fools …

Instead why not
reboot all systems
to inspire each to his/her own
glory – good gracious me,

which, I must say,
can never be regretted.

I regret to say
I am unable to comply
with your notice
and will not be paying the bill

as I never used
your service.
Yes, connection is current.

Your cable programs

For the Love of Wings

If I had but part of a wing,
could I surf the sky?

Do shattered doors of heart
winnow like feathers
of wing that part singly when
wind rushes through?

Wind is messenger.

I lift an arm wing-like
my clavicle angles up, a shy bough
on a tree that doesn’t reach the stars.

Arm drops, my breath rushes.
I feel vacant – fallen as a lumpen bud.
Below lie scattered leaves
crushed red berries of a giant ficus.

I see eagles pinioned
on flags, war ships, berets –
my far-seeing Garuda
messenger of reassurance
is witness to Sita’s kidnapping.

Delhi skies are rife with
eagles daring to dance between
trees and rooftops

becoming thus a household bird.
Look there’s a cheel we point.
“So many,” someone says.

If I had but part of a wing,
could I swallow blue-brown air as deftly?

How eagle’s wings blind sky
as wind sings soundlessly…

Each wing shapes a destiny,
and mine by its absence.

I wonder at my earthen destiny
these spring mornings
when wildly
myriad birds call
in joyous roundelay
I am mesmerized by such
enchanting songs of the earth.

Is my desire not so joyous,
not so spontaneous as river
bursting through rock?

How hidden are earth’s secrets
that desire itself remains silent.

If I had but one wing and a half…!
Where would I ache to land?

rotting fruits buried
fields of crocus sativus
love kissed morning tea

Opening Doors

Opening of doors
what for eons has lain

(your sacred seed)

How it must
feel to shed skins
of hiding

as tho’ like a fugitive
in a cave dank odourous
maladaptive sulphur
deflated it lay

(fluttering of skinless wings)

What compulsion
propelled you
to tear reddish

(walk through delicate sheen)

What ray of light
your well being

as if inspiration were
self – alighting…?

(tiny gleam in your eye)

Did you learn of complicitous
beauty that
opening of doors?
Is love an open door?

(as you push through wet seed)

Opening other doors
do you choose
sagacity of pearls, rubies
kissed in an aubade…
or the oft-beaten

(do not kill these living fields)

Ignite fields
with fire so we in honor
are re-ignited
by our newborn


Am I Not Simply…

You dare to ask who am I
Now when sundry chores
distract me from such
fond musings – the way
a dancer’s leg thrust into black wilderness
of a lake wishes to dance
but rest of her is frozen amid papers
ink computer screen
post-it stickers with grade points
coming unstuck with
a gentle breeze…

Am I not a flower
by the wayside
watching trains go by
rumbling towards somewhere?

Unknown places secretly
perk up along railway lines.

Am I not a skirt
of orange pink wind
with glinting mirrors
dancing your glance away?

Sordid distractions on news
of wars unreal and torrid.

Am I not a lost
beloved winking through
time’s ineluctable
wings, a voice who sings?

Ancient liturgy reminds how
light pierces pristine vowels.

Am I not simply
a whole human waking
to find rivers sinking
sky rising over breaking deserts?

Invaded by fragments of liminal selves
asking: how shall I be known?
I ask: how shall the world be known?
How will you be known?
How do you wish to?

Your shoulders tremble terrified
by world’s anomalies. Listen then!

I, too, am a lost daughter
a friend uncertain of destiny’s winking
a sister, a teacher, a student, shadow mother,
lover of grace and wit and wisdom…

How amid such mirrored fantasies
unreal things, fashions, hairstyles
marketing of gizmos…
as though one’s self were found through
games such these
that would fracture the light
and fragment desire…?

Shall I become an embrace
of woven unities
a singular song singing of love,
only of love. Show me!

Behold! I wink between your every blink
a whisper, a melody you miss
each time you ask this question.

Watch gold flame dance on blue candle!

Spanda of Longing

My mirror glows in the dark
because you are in it – Look!

Listen! This longing I sing of knowing
you 100 years ago…I sang it then

tremors danced in all my skins…
like rippling leaves of mango trees.

How longing became my wistful
hair afloat in orange winds of sunset.

No one should have to wait
this long. But if they have to, then

this is sweeter for having nourished
my wild blind blue container…

Love is plenty here for all our lifetimes
stretching endlessly as a carpet

of intricate weave – we can never leave
this cosmic carnival whose spanda,

raaga of trembling surrounds us
in silence so exquisitely patient,

as to watch hills become rolling ranges,
valleys where fields of crocus sativus

pay obeisance to us – !
Licked by moonlight.

Let us savor tea with kesar & elaichi. (saffron and cardamom)
I shall see my beauty in your eyes

lit with cosmic desire; bees shall
come alive in all our fields…

when lips touch, suck in first breath
make first sound last…forever.

I Am Listening

(for Nicholas Roerich, his legacy in art and the flag of peace, for our lands and for our art of wisdom longing…)

Heart is a shrine; Lake Sofia cerulean blue:
Our lips are golden. Speak to me!

A lake you cannot swim surrounds nature’s own pedestal raised to enshrine a throne for divinity’s Most Supreme Being: She. Above her who is haloed thrice, is the magnificent night sky, a portal to infinite grace.

She: portal of wisdom, creation’s infinite spark.

Each star is woman. When a star crosses over, trillions of years it takes to climb infinity.  She appears anywhere at will.

Peel a star –
its rind shreds hanging in space
smidgen fragrant on your nose
So much dust streams
sans purpose.  

Maybe purpose is just this, to move from one point to another before landing on earth’s crust, on our nose, so we recognize where we came from.

Ur-stories tell us world was entrusted unto human care. But human greed is a rotten carpet stilling land of pristine interweaves. Distortion a loss of longing of ur-knowing. Is human purpose lost in distractions of torrid dreams?

Hands clasped on her lap, face covered
Cosmic Mother holds together universes
Golden age of alchemy is lost
in time’s darkened embrace tumbling,
eternally wrapped in hidden cave

Will She rise, this river of lila?
When Cosmic Mother opens her eyes
a tiny sliver,

will we be kissed by grace?
Will we recognize?

Oh Comma, My Peccadillo to You

I have collected too many commas
over the years
some may have been lost – yes,
many misplaced

you see    ,

It seems that every time I read
a stack of student papers
commas floated around
peeking for my attention;

some were completely
dashed to bits,

Now they seem to be in some
strange oblivion:

cotton clouds sinking in sky.

I wonder what our young writers
do these days*

It’s not just that they text
and miss the mark
for even –tually twinkling

into an exclamation point ;
the mainstay of a ha!!mark card
must mean there are dancers
unfu!fi!!ed in our midst.

Look! How these vacant spaces
like black holes slurp up space soup!

Do you?
Evolution’s gnarly fire with ease
So the ~ comes serendipitously
round the [corner…]
leaving a trail
that Hansel and Gretel
could not follow = will not.

Every time I look up
at beam of rainbow light falling
I see commas racing away
in rapid slipshod free fall fashion
they must have somewhere to go

newyorkers to the subway
a dense forest where
trees must nourish lost bees…

Oh Please! Let us save the bees,
Let commas disappear!
Altogether,,, (now)

Let run-ons be run-ons – bygones!
Let sleeping dogs lie.
Let a new chapter begin.
Now is a good time.
Anon /\ Good Night.

PS: Promise me, I’ll never, ever, ever, have, to
read one of those. Again. Never. Ever. Ew!

When Fire Meets Fire

Under dappling shade of trees
where sun fell with gentling gaze
and nothing scorched my skin,
we smiled about bad hair days;
he never has bad hair days.

My new friend is in the midst
of refashioning his destiny.
He tenderly laughed at
my words about adoration.
We sang songs of praise.

We waited for the agni kund to come alive
with fire so we could surrender
our herbs tied in cloth
for divine grace to do her part.

A devotee added kindling to the pit.
He said, “You can place your sankalpa here.”
“I don’t want it to smother in smoke,” I said.
I’d rather it burn in the fire.”
Grey swirls were thickly rising
as patterns of swift change.
Petite lovely woman in green sari
Chimed in, “Fire is everywhere.”
“So am I,” I twinkled.

My friend sat down on white sheet
beside the pit – Fire was awake,
inviting us all to a dance…

Watching his inner being in prayer pose
his eyes closed, my heart’s doors trembled
to its luminous field, a well-watered seed
fully awaking to pride of air.
I knew instantly to meet fire with fire.

To deny fire is: to forgo all desire,
to make life smother in grey plumes,
to avoid surrender.

Fire gazing into fire – simply adoration.
Let us all adore one another –!

She-Moon: Life of an Eclipse

(For Purvi Patel and other women cruelly imprisoned for losing a fetus.
May moons still glow for you.)

Is it shyness or shame
she wishes to cover?

Fragment of stained toile
curves along her cheek
and night’s satin

quilt – not quite a comforter
but its silence stills
an aching mind,

a broken heart breaking.
Too many questions they ask
and nothing certain

stays along her now shapeless hips;
even the lifeless fetus
is done and gone.

Prosecution claims it was alive,
but have they proof or witness?
Caught in cold blind riff-raff laws

not of nature,  love, or cosmos, she’s
barred into a shadow life
away from breathing wilderness.

Stolid walls make shadowy prisons,
nothing here is god-given
like camphor pine jasmine blue lake.

She hides her cheek.

Nothing out of the ordinary
not even just reason –
but toile fragments a life

of young woman like moon.
They should stop mining all
our moons, wipe her tears instead.

Or our children would
never see an eclipse.

Or know the crucifixion
an astronomical event
that has stormed our ages.


Rebbe Nachman of Bratzlav said, “The Exodus from Egypt occurs in every human being, in every era, in every year, and even in every day.”

A Spiral Return…

…So it is time
that we were not pushed away
from home and hearth…

it is time to replenish the heart
of hearts.

Let a wanderer travel where
longing goes – Let him find friends or foes.

But bury not the sad, the hungry,
kids digging dirt for crumbs, the torn and lost
in rain of flash fire, built by those misbegotten
whose genius misuse
natural law!

How they laugh maniacal over profit…
revering not life but refusing it
abusing the very essence
of illumination so prophetic.

Every single flower knows
which way sings the sun – solar
return is continual – Look
how purple petals turn!

Ask a mother whose haunches
kiss dirt soaked with blood
of babies, of men, of shattered tribes.

How many rivers shall our tears fill?
Oh Sister! But we have created droughts!
How shall milk flow from your nipples!

How shall dirt sing with spinach, barley,
kale greens, and mustard yellow dandelions…

Let wisdom ring through all that is bare!

I, too, have known an exodus. So I say:
Caution lest you abandon your heart
and like a closed captioned chest
wander among thorns beguiled
by fragrance of roses that are not real…

Listen! The shoes you wear
are not worthy of your feet; the curve
you smile won’t hide your sorrow.

While you search a range of deserts,
home is where the hearth is!

My gathered palms I hold to my heart.
Here where my new story sings: Let freedom
arrive in happy disarray! Need nothing.
So be All. Be whole. Stay close and aware.

It is time to replenish heart of hearts
..and time no one is pushed
out of home and hearth…

As we are pleasured, so we reignite.

Only this way we move forward.

Since You Asked

I want to say:
I love blowing bubbles – I
used to after finals walk outside
grey-walled classrooms…
blowing bubbles as though
sprinting rainbows would erase
disappointments of my shy ways

such trepidation marked my toes
tipping on cemented grass…

And let me not forget to say
that first forgotten kiss
I do not miss but this I do

the one yet to be they say…

Cover my head with a shawl
from Kashmir – so fine the wool,
imagine a refined ewe whose eyes becalm
our winters where wine cannot flow

for such terror awakes in border lines
that to be human is crossed with blood of feuds

I want to say:
Where were you when the night blew out
pristine wilderness and all stood still

humongus bubble with stars floated by
patterns that remind us of origins

even as a catawampus
threw us on a curve
like when Lyrids arriving
will make us wax eloquent: oh my oh
my look… at the sky!” and “In your eye,”
you will reply.

When will silence stop gaping
and contain our precious gaze
arms clasped in embrace
sweet shawl with embroidery
poignant of how love began

in our ancient ways..

But I just really want to say
April is the month
we are in.

Let us emerge without story
or bubble but longing –
so be true…forever


Ordinariness of Human Existence

Before the north pole shifts
before polaris or DhruvTara rests

Look into my eyes!

The garden is right here
how heart calls to awaken:

hidden melody falters, then sings
itself into notes on a feather
twirling to kiss a tear-smudged cheek
wrinkling to perfection against
broken blue wall pelted with bullets.

I remember all I cannot forget
breaking of mountain, shrieking of eagles
how one clenched away a sandwich
from my 9-year pudgy hands
while the school bell rang and rang –
it kept on ringing…
I stayed hungry through arithmetic.

How I sobbed when father
scolded me away from a mere hug
my delight vanishing
through my toes – how my feet
have ached for eons…

for the garden: promised clump of dirt
fragrant with love’s tenders,
but I see a child – fists holding tight
nothing at all, hands raised
in surrender fearing a gun
that is a Canon, a camera – O Syria!

How we create moments of disaster
lies greased with deceptions
what price oil, food, life, dignity!

And I know as do you –
Even a lie inspires

Poesis – a becoming of ages
promises denied – shattering light
So we may mature
into divinity… Somehow!