Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Me & My Soliloquy

Onward I traverse.
With thirty days
of soul-pouring and filling
behind me.

Onward I must traverse.
as I look back
at word-filled and picture-primed
adventures.

Onward I will traverse.
I wonder what poem I will tailor
using tattered reflections
and shorn words.

Onward I begin my adventure
armed with hopes and ideas
and words at the ready
for now though, it's just me & my soliloquy.

Solo hike to celebrate 31 days of writing and spring.










Monday, March 30, 2015

The Art of Failure

My third attempt
At trying without success
Must take some grit
Or incredible naivety
Or both
To continue to try
And continue to fail
Yet there is learning
Purled deep in the
Garters and stockinettes
Sloping up and valleying down
In the inevitable pattern of living
And then, there is
The art of failure.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Fighting Rejection

You rejected me
Or did you?

It was actually more likely
That my body rejected you.

5 years ago now
I let you in.

But my body didn't want you
So it pushed you out.

And here we are again
Giving it another shot.

Fighting rejection
One nostril at a time.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Chasing Moonlight

I went moonlight chasing today
My fiery breath
My branched wings
Couldn't get me close enough
To my crescented goal
Still I fluttered and chased
Relentlessly optimistic
Even as the chariot
Of winds carried me away

Friday, March 27, 2015

This is how a heart breaks

I broke hearts today.

With the broom and dust pan,
I pick up the pieces
to my heart
and the ones I broke.
There's some solace,
Or as one of my students shared,
There is no brightside.

But there is.
I have a brightside to my future.
I just can't see it yet
as I clean up the mess I made
from all these broken hearts.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

It takes a big heart to help shape little minds

One of my students gave me tulips and it had this note attached to it that said: 

It takes a big heart to help shape little minds

This is to say thanks...











Indigo seeps through
Boldly
In its fuchsia shelter
Gently
As hearts and minds walk
Together

Finding and Celebrating

To celebrate Dan's birthday, I planned a poetry scavenger hunt for him with GPS coordinates as the theme leading to his final present. These are my poems for him...

This is where it all started -
this day, 28 years ago.
When you entered this world, strong-hearted,
and blessed the people you know!

These are the people we can thank -
who made you who you are.
90% of them may not be them, I'll be frank,
but of that 10%, you are them, you rock star!

Now as you thank the people you came from -
for bringing you here, teaching you, and the rest.
I'd like you to take your adventurous self and then some,
To 39° 44' 53.247'' N and 104° 59' 57.17'' W!

Once you're there and smiling -
go in there and ask
for a special lil' sumpthing
in your name - and that's your task!

 
Clue Number 1 from Mom!

Congratulations, my dear! You have found
This delicious and yummy stuff abound!
And now as you devour,
this delight of sugar and flour,
I’d like to ask you to think
about the next clue and link -
to this adventure to celebrate you -
Next, you must take this step to pursue
a place where we sit and bask or hide from
the sun and watch high quality goose bum.
And ‘tis on that noble seat, my dear lad,
that you shall find your next parchment; I’d like to add.
And if said leg-resting spot was correctly guessed
You shall know where to go next from 39°44'42.0"N & 104°56'50.8"W

Clue Number 2 and a slice of our favorite cake at The Market!




Very well, my sweet love!
You should be very proud of
your very accurate GPS calculation.
And as you get closer to your last destination,
I ask that you take some time,
to sit and take in all of this – the magnanimous and the sublime -
of your beautiful 28 years on this planet -
I want you to know, that I don’t want to take you for granted;
And that I love you and all of the adventures we’ve had -
and all of the ones we’re going to have – good and bad!
And I am so lucky to be with you and proud of you;
And that you complete me and you’re my Pooh!
And now it’s time to join the fest
At your favorite: 39°46'28.3"N 104°56'08.4"W
 
Clue Number 3 - at our favorite bench in City Park - was quite the adventure taping the clue at 9pm under the bench!




Then we had a lovely celebration with our dear friends and they helped us create the last clue for Dan's birthday present!
The last and final clue created with help from our friends for Dan's final present!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Playing Games with Timezones

Birthdays are a big deal to me -
Whether we are, here, there, or everywhere.
The day people were born is especially
a day worthy of celebration extraordinaire!

I have family in many-a continent and country
and it makes for happy rituals on a birthday
To wish the birthday person rather bluntly
HAPPY BIRTHDAY in Australia, Japan, Nepal, India, and the U.S.A.!

Now birthdays are forever lasting
They start at midnight in the land down under
And appropriately continentally contrasting
They end in Hawaii in all their splendor!

For your birthday that has already begun,
I wanted to take a moment to say -
Savor it, breathe it, and have a lot of fun,
And to you my love, I want to say Happy Birthday!

Monday, March 23, 2015

So Much Depends Upon Graffitied Surprises

Found this added overnight to the back of a loading station
for a decrepit factory on my daily commute.




So much depends
upon
A pleasant surprise
found
where you least
expect 
to find hidden 
treasures
a Mister Hendrix
added
surreptitiously to my
commute
in the dark
night
when no one's 
watching
Jimi crept up
walls
and it slowed
me 
in a purple
haze
of the legend
that
used to be.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

At the Cusp of a New Beginning

At the cusp of a new beginning...

At the cusp of a new beginning

I swelter summery waves, thawing

At the cusp of a new beginning

I stand tall, gulping, falling

At the cusp of a new beginning

I shiver wintery hues, chilling

At the cusp of a new beginning

I glance back then advance in full swing

At the cusp of a new beginning

I betray memories - fleeting

At the cusp of a new beginning

I capture smells - verdant beginnings ripening

At the cusp of a new beginning

I close old chapters, ending, punctuating

At the cusp of a new beginning

I smile - spring is springing


I smile - spring in springing


Saturday, March 21, 2015

This land is your land. This land is my land.

There is a place, a land
where life has little value
with billions of nameless numbers
fighting for little space
little food, little clean water
little health access, little technology
but fighting with big hearts,
and big fearless dreams.

And there are lands
where life is celebrated with 
ultrasound posts
gender (inaccurately named) reveal posts
writing "Coming Soon" in beach sand posts
baby bump tracking posts
even before life exits our bodies.

In some lands, I find myself
more impatient
more rushed
more inclined to achieve
more entitled to quality service
more disappointed when I don't get it

And then there are lands
where time moves at a different pace
the hands of the clock ground you
in the most current second
and not in the moments to come
fretting, worrying, planning
even as the world watches your every move

There are also lands
where things come to a standstill
because they don't have cranes
and then there are lands
where abundance flows from under-aged kegs
and then there are those where one must secretly libate
Lands where race is brewed in a cup
and lands where sisters challenge brothers

No matter the land
there are stories to be told
What's one story of the land
where you come from?


Friday, March 20, 2015

My heart is full

I stood rather speechless
the best I could muster, I confess,
was heartfelt hugs to them -
a family of treasures akin to a crowned gem.

Here I sit - after 8 hours of conferencing
and letting my heart go bursting,
with pride, wonder, and awe 
at each of my children I saw.

I have finally allowed myself to
go through an entire box of tissue,
and allow myself to cry, I did -
and I cried a lot, I do not kid.

For with my heart so full and moved
and my runny nose slightly improved,
I finally found a word or two -
to, with all my heart, say thank you!

To some of the kindest and most caring humans I know - Thank you! 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

What's in a Citizenship?

Thudup. Thudup. Thudup. Thudup.
I hear the guard's sluggish footsteps
before I see his paunch precede
the rest of his tall body.
I watch this on repeat for
several minutes (144. I was counting)
past my scheduled interview time
Anxiety rising. Number of attempts
at mindfulness rising proportionately.
When she finally opened the door
with its now familiar ka-thump,
I hardly registered a butchered version of
Suparna  Kudesia.
I took a few milliseconds more than usual
to register that it was my turn.
American history dates and facts
swarming through my nervous brain.

I followed Officer Running-Two-Hours-Late-Albeit-Apologetic
into the back offices.
I found myself staring at 3 oversized files,
reeking of bureaucracy and the shock
I was exuding upon seeing 8 years
of my existence captured in beige files.
Files categorized with one number -
My A-number.
Alien number.
"Raise your right hand. You are under oath.
Do you..."

"I do" I have. I have moved to a new country
Learned new rules
Found old ways to question them
Learned to drive on the other side of the road
and conjure a fake American accent in a heartbeat
I have been here, paid taxes, protested, stood up for people's rights,
taught American children in public schools
So yes, I do.

"Do you want to try and get sworn in today?"
Today? Today I can be adopted by the United States?
I cried. I smiled. I got sworn in.
Welcomed by Madeline Albright and Barack Obama
I left feeling unusually different...
There's a lot to hold - 
the whys and what the heck just happened,
the wow, my Indian passport has little meaning 
of it all.
For now though, I celebrate
becoming a citizen of the United States!

6 parent-student-teacher conferences and being interviewed and tested to become and then sworn in as a U.S. citizen - all in a day's work.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Petrichor

It's a half hour past my bedtime
and I'm just walking to my car
in the school's parking lot
I'm certain I will not find the inspiration 
to write today

The exit door thuds behind me 
with its familiar thud
I slump onto the path
and inhale noisily
to get ready for
the cold that 
cloaks a March night

It doesn't come - 
the cold air - 
Instead, I'm acknowledged by
that sweet damp freeing smell
of drenched earth

I can taste the clouds
soothing and lightening
I slow my speeding steps
to a lullaby of an amble
gleeful with the glimmer
and my reflection in concrete puddles

Funny how a few drops
and that smell
of the earth bathed
in buckets of cloud tears
can be uplifting
even in the weight of exhaustion

Rare drops on the windshield of my car made for a pleasant drive.
 



Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Unexpected Quietude

The hallway outside my classroom during the power outage today.


Lights out!
Eyes adjust to this
Anachronistic darkness
Fire drill? Lockdown?
Leprechauns?
“Suparna, the leprechaun
turned off all the lights in the school!”
Not the first time I’ve
taken a 6 year old’s theories seriously
I know it won’t be the last.
So I considered the mischief
Of this elusive elf emulator
And while I wandered my familiar
Comfortable steps in near pitch darkness
I found myself actually enjoying the quiet.
The children were at lunch,
The building’s lungs disconnected
From the whirring of machines
That keeps it on life support.
The sun streamed through every crack
It could find in this concrete abstraction.
My steps needed to be planned
And my plans needed to be sidestepped.
For sans computer and network,
I suddenly rejoiced in my found time

And quiet.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Stay Where Your Feet Are

Stay where your feet are:
Two weekends ago
I heard this little saying
Five words strung together
keeping my million thoughts
grounded.

My body is twenty eight years old
my dreams old, my optimism young
my thoughts escape with fractured obstinance
my mind plans,  travels, worries, fantasizes
but my heavy, sluggish, defeated body
knows.




It's two thousand and fifteen
It's only day one of this week
I have already worked ten and half hours
and at five twenty seven pm today
I fell asleep while sitting for two
hours.




My body of three hundred and sixty joints
knows that my hundred billion neurons would win
still this body of forty five miles of nerves plays catch up
with that head of mine up up up in the clouds
and that heart buried deep in the
ground

Worries spin, feelings bear heavy
my six hours of sleep
are consumed by unsettled rickety fears
and it's in these million infinitesimal moments
that I need to let in a hundred liters of pure oxygen and remember:
Stay where your feet are. 






Sunday, March 15, 2015

Bladder Blues

I wish I could be
a lot of things.
Some days I wish 
I could be a forensic scientist
and on others a pleasant dentist.
There are days I wish
I could play basketball professionally,
and on other days I day dream that
I could control rainbows mentally.
But of all the things I have wished
and yearned for speculatively,
there's one that rises to the top of my list
and that is to be able to freely pee!

(Today's poem is inspired by a find [below] in my archives from 2 years ago and the desire to bring it to life thanks to a lively "pee" conversation on "Pi" day)!

I went on a hike this weekend with my partner, father-in-law, and brother-in-law. In the shadow of the flatirons, we climbed rocks, talked about life, greeted the occasional canine friend who ambled by us with ease, lost our breaths, exchanged cursory pleasantries with all who passed us, braved some steep rocks, held each other up, shared water and snacks, and made some rather extraordinary memories.

Many times during the hike, we would pause and one of my compadres would declare that it was time to find a tree. “If you’re an American when you go to pee, what are you when you come back?” A “European”, I learned through rolling eyes and while walking through yet another “American” cultural doorway. There were many such tree stops where we altered our nationalities to fit closer to being   Eur-o-pean.

Each time, I couldn’t help but think to myself,   Man, I wish I were a man.  Or at the least, able to urinate with ease among trees. On the walk back to the trailhead, my thoughts remain preoccupied with the upright ease that men are afforded with and the discomfort of having to squat as a woman. And then it was suddenly time. The time had come for me to find a tree! I eagerly scouted the steep and rocky landscape with my eyes and each time, I failed to find a spot that would satisfy my bare bottom’s need for privacy.

It was a   long   way to comfort!

The immaculate Chautauqua landscape that makes it very hard to urinate.





Saturday, March 14, 2015

Thank you, Euclid!

There was once a lad named Euclid
Who was a mathematician, and math he did

He set out to solve the problem of the circle
With Sir Cumference and the Knights of the Round Table

All the kings horses and all the kings mares
Knew plenty about the area of triangles and squares

But no human far or near
Had hitherto cracked the mystery of this pesky sphere

So it was Euclid who set out
Oh yes he did without a doubt

To sandwich a circle between many a polygon
And multiplied the sides just to have fun

Until he found a pattern of an interesting kind
And he considered momentarily that he had found his find

"Something keeps happening repeatedly
When I look at these ratios", muttered he

This ratio that he discovered hence
Was between the diameter and circumference

"I shall call this ratio Pi", he eureka-ed
"And the world will use it as a rule, fast and hard"

- To calculate the area of the base of cones
But I just smack my lips, and feel grateful for homophones!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Capturing Goodbyes

Some weeks have themes.
Some weeks are much too easily remiss.
Some weeks torment for years to come.
Some weeks are wished to never be done.
I still haven't decided,
which one this was.
This week was filled with
moments that stretched out
endlessly, painfully while I hurt,
and so did the little people around me.
This week will surely be memorable,
even though I can't tell you
what happened on which day.
I waited eagerly for Friday
to press pause on all these feelings
of this strangely timed week.
Now that Friday is here
I check my fuel gauge 
and it resoundingly states, "empty".
How do you refill after
a week like this?
Saying goodbye to a fish,
a friend,
and goodbyes yet to come.
Goodbyes,
are hard to come by
and yet terrible when they do,
And this week had too many of them 
for me and for my young friends too.
So as we move ahead with weeks 
that will be better than this,
I want to capture all the goodbyes
I had to witness.





Thursday, March 12, 2015

Doggy Cuddles

To our Peggy & Pearl.
You become a part of us
Our life our routines

You taught us: habits of the heart
are the hardest to break

You changed us in
more ways than we will ever know

I could write books
worth of poems about you

Can't bring you back 
or make me whole once more

Missing you today
more than days past

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Snowballing 101

"This is perfect snow!"
My friend smiled without remorse.
"For what?" I wanted to know.
"To build a snow-person of course!"

So off I went into
the nether end of the loop
right there would, we knew
be plenty of snow to scoop

"Make a little ball
and watch it grow.
Roll it, roll with it, and above all
have fun in the snow!"



I rolled the sphere with delight,
and did as I was told.
Grunting, giggling - I was quite the sight,
helping my budding snow-person grow!

I'm always amazed at how many firsts,
I have managed to accumulate with friends like you.
I must admit I was quite immersed
knee-deep in snow as my snow-person grew!


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

On the tip of my stigma

I am so full.



                                               I wish I were porous
                                         so some of my fullness
                                      could leave me
                                  like the slow drip
                             of drops from the stigma 
                         of an aging lily
                             leaving its body
                                 escaping through its pores
                                     and with every drop
                                          dripped out of me
                                               I could feel myself
                                          getting lighter and free
                                     and buoyantly rising to linger
                                 to the top 
                            the top of my being 
                       finely balancing
                            on the tip of my pistil 
                                 in preparation for that 
                                      glorious gravitational fall
                                            letting go of 
                                                  my petal-y palace
                                            into the unknown abyss
                                      and soon to be transformed
                                 into vaporous nothingness
                            into further lightness
                      of being
                            far from this heavy
                                 heavy nowness
                                     so tomorrow
                                          when I'm lighter
                                      and unbound to 
                                 expectations and
                            disappointments
                      perhaps then I could feel
                  not so full as today.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Celebrating You

The traditional role model
guides with lackluster jargon.
But you are not one - 
I would describe as traditional.

You lead, guide, inspire
through magical means.
Not caring much for has-beens -
You're ready to light the night on fire.


You're a masi with
glee, grit, guts, and  गर्मी
With your heart on your sleeve -
your presence never skips a beat.

On your special day today
I smile at all the memories.
And for our yet-to-be written stories - 
here's to you...Happy Birthday my dear masi!


Sunday, March 8, 2015

I am Enough

She plans her day 
meticulously.
From her yoga poses
to her matching earrings.
She treads wearily
into her life,
hegemonized neatly 
and nauseatingly 
to nurture a man's world.

She constructs her sentences
cautiously.
Misconstruction lurks just around the corner -
clear and direct: aggressive
passionate and caring: hysterical
feeling and emotive: fragmented
goal-oriented and purposeful: cut-throat
professional and polite: prude
Who should she be today?
Which battles should she pick today,
so she will be taken seriously.
Taking a hiatus from 70 cents to a 100,
she stumbles upon the thought:
What is the value of her 2 cents?
Her guess? Not a lot.

She plans her clothes
fearfully.
Too deep, too short, too bright
too boring, too in, too dated
She wants to be seen,
but knows that the world
she calls home,
will raise a finger and an eyebrow
without a thought
if she gets promoted (she was dressed like a fill-in-the-blank)
if she gets raped (she was wearing fill-in-the-blank)

She makes life choices
anxiously.
If she doesn't change her last name...
She doesn't love him.
If she decides to keep her job...
She's not committed to her family.
If she decides to quit...
She's so lost and doesn't have any purpose.
If she moves countries to be someone she loves...
She's so selfish and doesn't care about her family.
If she goes home to spend time with her family...
She's so selfish and doesn't care about her husband.
If she drinks and has friends...
She doesn't care about her husband.
If she doesn't drink and doesn't have friends...
She doesn't know how to have fun.

She watches media
vigilantly.
They tell her things she's heard too often:
she's not thin enough
not tall enough
not well-dressed enough
not holding the right cup of coffee
not wearing the right style of pants
not walking in the right pair of shoes
not wearing an empowering sanitary napkin
not cooking enough for her husband
not sacrificing enough for her family
not having big dreams
not putting her dreams aside for her family's.
They are all letting her know:
She's.
Not.
Enough.

But.
See, here's the thing -
I am a woman.
I am...
meticulous
cautious
fearful
anxious, and
vigilant.
And I am so much more.
I am here, now, and all
the phenomenal women
that have been.
I am the dreams of a basketball lover
and the hardbound thesis of a graduate student.
I am the turmeric on the hands of a chef
and the calloused finger tips of a guitarist.
I am the sound of a late night at work
and the sun's first ray on a yogi.
I am the blisters from the long marches for equality
and the lump in my throat when I said, "Stop hitting me."
I am the remnants of a firm handshake
and the cradle that rocks my baby.
I am this, that, and who I want to be.
I.
Am.
Enough.


Thank you to my Nani and so many empowered women I am humbled to know and because of whom - I am enough.



Saturday, March 7, 2015

Wanted: Dreams

In the market
for some new dreams.
These are too worn
and tattered on the fringes,
much like trusty socks -
warm, comfortable -
for years.

Now,
cold and uncomfortable,
my toes poke out
through all the holes -
of these frayed dreams.

In the market
for some new dreams.
Zero-interest ,
low maintenance,
fully-refundable,
dreams.

Retrofitted ones
are low on my list
I can pay by hope,
broken dreams, and a few
tolerable nightmares.

In the market
for some new dreams.
Outgrown my last ones
as my goals outrun me.
Qualification: "Wash separately" -
dreams that bleed
into reality -
are not for me.