Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Breathe

Bathed in mischievous giggles
And rain soaked light spectrum streaks
Exhaling memories today
With friends who shall be missed
And I missed them even though they were right before me
Slowly, I inhale goodbye

Monday, June 29, 2015

Oh Heat!

Oh heat
You've left me so beat
I used to be used to you
And now I'm overheating, it's true
Yes, I'm whining and complaining
But this response to heat, I'm not feigning
Soon it'll be fall
With cooler temperatures and all
Before I know it, it'll be cold with no sunshine
And then I'll find something new about which to whine!

No Stress

I felt many times today
That feeling so fleeting
Rare to come by,
I'm filled from it

Breakfast on our patio
Tea to wash it down
Overheating to get to a cold shower
Exploring new lands

From Indian stores
Chawanna, dabeli, samosas, Lassi
To our beloved panaderia
Sopes, conch, queso, agua fresca

Falling more in love with Warren and Doggett
Grateful that Soso made it
Home-crafted watermelon mint lime mojitos
The comfort of old friends

Such is a day
Divorced from obligations and deadlines
Filled with moments and memories
And absolutely no stress

Saturday, June 27, 2015

A day out of a book

A walk through a forest
With my magical storytelling friend
Is a most wonderful way
To celebrate a summer day

We ambled along
White flowery trees
And racing elves
On two wheels instead of elf feet

Through places of learning
And crevices hitherto undiscovered
We meandered our way
To where the sellers gathered

Gregarious goat keepers
Sly snow pea sample givers
Hearty bread havers
Cherry-almond popsicle makers

Pupusas, falafels, Saigon noodles galore
Pizza for the faint hearted and more
From gluten-free, kosher, to vegan
There was a little place for everyone

Invigorated by a market place of color and life
My magical friend and I
Stretched our legs out on grass and ice melt
And shared stories from everywhere!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Today, love won.

If I cut myself
I will bleed the same blood
As you
As your ancestors
And mine

The same blood
That runs through your lovers
And mine.

In the skin that holds us together
There are laws written on every inch of it
Every stretch-marked strip of liver-spotted shriveled inch.

Laws, rules, articles, bills waiting to be signed into law.

They tell us we're separate
Different, disconnected, diminished.

They tell us --

We can't marry
We can't hold hands
We can't be
We can't dress this way
We can't love this way
We can't stand together in check out lines
Without being asked
"Are you two together?"

Together?
Years of togetherness
Tucked away fearfully
In lies
And invisibility
Hidden under rugs
Embroidered with assumptions
Tailored with secrecy

See, the thing is though
This love business is tricky
Or more simple than we think...
#LoveisLove
#AllLoveIsCreatedEqual
#NoLawAboveLove
#OurLoveIsEqual
Love is love
And no law should tell me how to love
Or how to be loved...

And today, no law can.

So today, I shout with victory.
Today, I sputter with joy.
Today, love won.
So today, I rejoice.

Tomorrow,
I fight.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Being Grand

Every day
I see him
Running after her-

Sometimes tall -
Generations taller than her
His gait enveloped in tireless history
Of which she knows nothing

Sometimes crouched -
As she waddles on
Her new found upright legs
She's still learning to trust them
It's irrelevant
She trusts the man
Calling her towards him
Arms outstretched
Eye twinkle beckoning
In the way a grandpa can.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Birthdays

The sun set today
Just like any other day
From time before I can even imagine
It set the same exact way
Its sunny ancestors have set
Yet, it set a little differently
Because it set after 365 days since your last birthday.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Hold On To Today

I beat the sun to it
To greeting a new day

It reminded me of our vacation
A year ago in Santa Fe

We were ready to begin our adventure
And we were on our way

It was going to be a good day
Come what may

Especially when we start it together,
With a side of coffee and beignet!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Beaten

Crash.
Is not loud enough to hold
The deafening silence
That follows the crushing of bones
Against a drunk bottle
Reeking of his mouth
And her blood

Screams.
Loud enough to chill
But too late to stop our
Mayhem from becoming too real
To breathe in a single believing breath
Heavy on her hair
Slapped across her face
Tangled in old blood and her severed nose ring

Control.
He can't seem to find it
Lost and invisible
Taken away from her
As she watches it being carried off
By angels of hopelessness
Shrouded in dreamy cloaks made to
Make you unbelieve in yourself

Cycle.
Break it with a smile
Find it, look at it in the eye
End it from within and outside
Take every shred of it
And toss it as you bask in the confetti of truth
You are not him
And will never be

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A whole new goodbye

Reports written
Thousands of words
A multitude of memories
Goofy smiles
Tantrum filled days
Tears of frustration
Silent moments of observation
Jumps of excitement
Yelps of triumph
Aarghs of grit
Hours of preparation
Walks of mindfulness
Parties of dances
Laughs of neverness
Sparks of learning
Hugs of kindness
I couldn't capture all of these
In 47,686 words.
But I tried.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Labor of Love

Cooking for vegetarians
Can't be easy
But our lovely friends
Out-did themselves
With incredible talent
And some encouragement
From a Mister Jamie!

We feasted
Were pampered 
Laughed
Deep-fried
Listened for bull-frog songs
Tapped our feet to live music
And created memories.
Most preciously,
We were welcomed into their home
And hearts
Something us vegetarians will
Always cherish!


Friday, June 19, 2015

What if what if what if?

I know it's fairy-tale-ish
imagining what-ifs
but from time-to-time
it brings happy feelings

What if I could fly forward
What if I could press rewind
What if I could press pause and stop him
What ifs will remain so
because they remain untouched
in a secret universe
inaccessible and unapproachable.

I wonder what if that wasn't so.


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Toothy Times


I hate dentists.
I hate going to the dentist.

Today, I braced myself
I prepared myself for every
racist, demeaning, horrific thing
they could say
or do
to my mouth

I recalled all the things that have reached my ears in my dental experiences in this far away land...
"Do you speak Indian? Indian (the made-up language) has some harsh sounds that don't produce enough saliva and that can damage your teeth."
"Oh, in 3rd world countries, they don't brush their teeth."
"South Asians have dense teeth, but your teeth are so fragile. Are you vegan? Indians don't drink milk too much."
(Shouting) "This is a piece of floss. You put it LIKE THIS between your teeth."
"If you don't brush everyday from this brush from Walmart, you will die of a heart attack."

I was ready.
Armed with my recently earned identity as an American (so what if my teeth are 100% Indian?)
and my newly acquired skill of snarling through a mouth full of instruments and bloody ponds,
I was ready.
Or at least I thought.

"You really did listen to me last time! That new toothbrush from Walmart has worked so well!" (I didn't buy that toothbrush).
The hygienist convinced herself that my teeth were to her satisfaction
and I was saved from a heart attack
I nodded amply confused and mildly terrified if I could ever trust a dentist.
I had done nothing different in the last 6 months compared to the last 26 years.

Exit: dental hygienist.
Enter: my dentist.
The last time, he wrote the wrong tooth number down and I paid for an unnecessary x-ray
I wondered what unnecessary expenditure he would make me incur this time.
Another patient needed him.
Exit: my dentist.

Enter: new dentist.
"Hello!"
"Hi." Curt and grumpy -- I was prepared.
"How're you doing today?"
Realizing it's not my dentist, "Who are you?" Stop being rude, Suparna. He's the one with the sharp tools.
Some introduction I couldn't focus on because I was very perplexed by his smile. I had never seen someone about to poke me with pokey things in my mouth while blinding me with a silly spot light smile. Why was he so happy?
After I was forced to accept his dentistness, I sat back and refused those silly goggles for that silly light.

Braced for racist comment number 1,
I open my mouth and prepare for open-mouthed snarl.
"Are you Indian or Pakistani?"
I would've spat out if it wasn't for the saliva-sucker he shoved in my mouth.
Even South Asians perform perfunctory (and often incorrect) boxing-eachother-in-boxes motions,
his question was far too nuanced to produce a snarl.
"Heenjhun" 
"Indian, huh? Ok, I would love to know because I'm always curious about this - what's your favorite Indian restaurant?"
"'Ome!"
"I thought you might say that, so I'm going to poke you now! Heh heh!"
I throw a confused yet appropriately bemused look towards him.
A funny, unracist, smiling dentist??
What has the world come to.

I left with a clean bill and no heart attack prophecies,
an appointment to get my cavity filled,
and...
a broken bias.



Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Heart in my hands

Lush peaches
Hued in peachy goldens
And the color of
dawn's first strokes
Claiming their stake
On the sky of a new day

Lush peaches
Lie lonely in forgotten piles
And there among them
I found it
Beating
Pulsing
Juicy
Ready to be plunged into
There it is,
My heart in my hands.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

I hate goodbyes.

Counting down hours
Rising dread
Looming momentarily
18
Breakfast laced with laughter
16
Couch story-telling
13
Making more memories with Mamma
9
Dinner drama (-free)
7
Goodbyes goodnights
Teary pillows
Disturbed dreams
1
Get ready
Airport goodbyes are sad
Can't decide if the stress of
missing my flight is an acceptable distraction
Or
If it's the wings taking me away
From the hug I want to hold on to
0
I hate goodbyes.

But for now I get to be here
At hour now.

Monday, June 15, 2015

A pair for a pair of pare

Our feet don't look the same
For that matter neither does our skin
My hair is brown  (even though you insist it's black) and you have quite the red-gold mane

You like the right side of the bed, I, the left
I like to chew quietly, and you, well you just know exactly what will make me happy!

Your right foot is bigger than my right foot
Still you found room in your big heart
For my hyperbole and my littleness

For all your stripes to all my checks
I like you with all your polka dots and hues
But most of all I just love you

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Irreplaceable

Lush amber hues
Meet chocolatey overtones

Giggles mingling with snickers
Till memories are made

Mmmms and aaahs
Sips and whiffs

Reminiscing. Some tears
Hugs and I love yous

Breathing in moments
Taking in the present

Tomorrow will be different
But for now, I cherish each moment


Favorite Roads

I found another favorite road
To add to my favorite road collection
To adventures, some owned some borrowed
All leading to the same destination

I found another favorite road
One I want to keep walking on
Though some hurdles left me slowed
The road reminds me to carry on

I found another favorite road
A road that knows my story
When I'm old and time leaves me hollowed
I hope to smile proudly at my journey

Friday, June 12, 2015

Time to Freeze Time

I wish I could just freeze time
She spoke wistfully
As though time had been lost
Or worse
Stolen with callous nonchalance

Lost time
Filled with the sounds
Of girls running and laughing out loud
Down streets whose names may have been misplaced
But that time is gone

Or that other time
Of sitting for hours
And simply being
being unburdened
From knowing
That those times will one day
Be lost

Another time
Of tired bodies
Lying flat on a dusty basketball court
Where hearts were broken
And dreams were dreamt

Maybe the time to reminisce about lost times is now

Or maybe it is time to
Dance a silly dance
Hug a big hug
Laugh a shameless laugh
Because you gave me a reason to want to
Freeze Time

Thank you, Lungs

Ready?
Maybe not.
Doesn't matter.
Here comes that gust of air.
Sit back.
Take it in.
Puff up.
Breathe in.

You work majestically
Dawn or night
Whether I run up stories
Or down a flight

You work extra hard
At 5,280 feet
But you show
Your true colors
At 0.

Thank you, trusty organ
For functioning brilliantly
For helping all my other vitalities
Breathe to the best of their capacity

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

At the threshold of a new beginning

It's Day 101!

To commemorate all this fun,

I'm going to try and venture

into a new type of writing future -

involving some prose and

some poetry fashioned

to add some more detail

to my wordy cocktail.

I am eager to discover

how this will challenge me as a writer;

So I invite you to join me

as I continue to adventure...just me and my soliloquy!



The Art of Making Sushi


He wrapped the flimsy bamboo lining around the roll. It was snug, as it should be, clutching the roll and stifling it into shape. The rice molded itself into a straight line taking orders from the lightweight but strong lining. He could still feel every bit of the insides through all the layers on the outside. The pulpy rich avocado overwhelming in its buttery taste. The crunchy wet cucumber with juicy slippery seeds. And the shy but strong sesame seeds uniting crunch and mush together. He thought for a moment if this roll really did represent his dying marriage like Elvyn had shouted at him as he shook his head in shame at his sad appearance that morning. His husband had been so dejected and filled with disappointment at his sushi-rolling self that Elvyn couldn't even muster the anger to slam their bedroom door as he hurried out of their welcoming yet cold apartment. Maybe his own bipolar existence had transferred to their home? He dipped the roll in the yellowing tupperware labeled "Crispies" and repeated the ritual with the bamboo lining. Maybe if he could create the perfect roll, he could fix his marriage. Where could he find the sesame seeds needed to bind his mushy Elvin to his hardened self? "Egan! How're we doing on that av-cuke roll?" He reached for the foot-long knife dunked its head in the tub of old water, smacked off the excess droplets, and sliced through the roll with precision, defeat, and sadness. There's no such thing as a perfect roll. "One avocado-cucumber roll coming up!"



Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Day 100

A hundred days of writing
A hundred days of words and pictures
Words strung together to tell stories
Of days, hours, moments
Hopes, memories, let downs
Ups.

In the last hundred days
I have said good bye
Met babies
Broken hearts
Mended dreams
I have moved
Shifted
And so has the earth
I have walked, run
Played games with shadows
Ached, watched the moon dance across the night sky

100 days
Celebrations
Mourning
100 days of growing
Entrancing
Loving
Breathing

100 days of
Haiku
Quartet
Fibonacci
Free verse
Metaphor
Acrostic
Alliteration
Chronicle

100 days felt so far away on
That first day of March
Now that I am here
Living it
There's no better moment for it
No better day than for today to be the 100th day


Monday, June 8, 2015

Missing

I'm missing
I'm missing yesterday
I'm missing the rain
I'm missing all the moments around me
That I know I will miss tomorrow
That blue sky patch
Is missing
In the furious jungle of this storm
It has lost its way
While it was being missed
It's still missing

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Mele main mazaa aaya

I remember as a young girl
Filling up with excitement
At the thought of going to a mela:
Fair, fête, fiesta, carnival, mela.

Dili Haat!
Standing in the ticket line
I vividly recall the sadness of
Costing more to my mother
When I went from being 
"Child" to "Adult".

I apologized.
She smiled,
And rolled her eyes
In a way that sighed, 
"You can't be serious, Suparna,
But you're welcome."

Right outside
Mehendi was the obvious
But esoteric treat.
Henna filled hands were
An infrequent source of excitement.

Then, depending on the season,
Either
Butta, corn smoked on an open chula
Coddled and loved on with
Lemon juice, chilli powder, and efficiency
Or
Shakarganji ka chaat,
Sweet potatoes roasted in a closed fire pit
Also smothered with the same loving
Mouth-watering lip-smack inducing ingredients.

Then, we walked in-
Agenda-less, open to possibilities
Of colors, choices, sounds, patterns
Hand-made or mass-produced.
Actually, I can't say sans agenda
Because I knew tender and perfectly steamed momos from the Tibetan or Arunachal Pradesh stalls would quell
Month-long cravings.

But my favorite part,
That I miss most,
Was the bargaining-
Haggling for the most satisfactory price
Pleading with "bhaiyyas" and "didis" and quoting
The best boni ka time prices
Always left me feeling
Highly accomplished.

I wondered as I walked in to the entrance
Of the mela

What would I find today?

Which kantha sari would I get to smell

 today?

Which bangles would I get to make music with 

today?

And how many momos would I get to enjoy 

today?

Today was one such day.
Though I was eons away from Dili Haat,
I dunked two pretzels into dips
Laid out by the Dip Man.
I was healed by magnetic stone necklaces.
I breathed in aromas of artisan soaps.
I head-banged to music played by Dan.
I muddied my feet and washed them off in the rain.
And I went to a mela again.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Sound of High Above & Down Below

How do you liken the sound of thunder
I detectived all over for another
I looked under my bed and under covers
I looked behind trees and in brooks and rivers
I interrogated wizards and quizzed badgers
But I still haven't found the sound of thunder
Today as I sat cradled in thunder as loud as the loudest thunder
I thought to myself, and began to wonder and wonder
I've looked high above, behind, within, and asunder
But there's one place I haven't looked and that's under
Aha! There is one sound like that of thunder
It comes from deep in the earth in all it's rocky splendor
When humongous plates below and under
Crack, shift, float, and shudder
It's that rubbing against one another
That sounds like thunder!

Friday, June 5, 2015

When Friends Rap

Be ready, with lots of tissue
When friends rap for you

They say I gave their hearts such a twirl
But my heart is left, too, in a whirl

Kind words, smiles, hugs, and tears
All help with this next shift of gears

From over-drive to neutral to second
With some reverse thrown in there just for fun

I'm ready for this next chapter
And I know it's an easy rhyme, but it's true-it's going to be an adventure

So with raps, hugs, and a promise of friendship
I embark on my next exciting and eager unit!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The End

That there -
Is me.

I'm hidden
In a loving cocoon
Of Wonders -
Who one day will be
The grown up in tears
On a rocking chair
Surrounded by hugs and smiles.

Today,
I said goodbye-

To my tribe
My crew
My team
My family.

In this family

I found kindred butterflies
Spreading delicate wings
For an ephemeral but glorious flight
To outrageously spectacular places -
Some unseen, some well-known.

In this home
I found a people
Who see me for who I am

So
Though
This
Is
The
End

I'm whole because it happened.

Is Today Already Here?

It came so soon
Not out of nowhere
I've been preparing for this
But how can you be ready
To say goodbye
To a life you've embraced
And made your own
Once a teacher
Always a teacher
But I will also miss
The everydayness of being
Their teacher
And they my students
I realized today
That I didn't take moments for granted
And am left with wonderful memories

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

When rain falls

Today, I heard 25 students say goodbye
Speech to speech
Quote to metaphor
Thanks to song
I heard many inspiring words
And many words that gave me courage
For the goodbyes I'm about to say tomorrow
Most of all, I will cherish
The sound of rain as it falls right now and the reminder to be present
Here and now
For there's no where else to be

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Kumari

Feet barely touching ground that
Precedes me by centuries
My sturdy guide rushes me through
Doors not to be opened
And narrow conduits threading
Durbar to durbar
We halt at one
"Pretend you're Nepali."
I put on my best Nepali face
The guard smells it on me - foreign
"Say something in Hindi!"
My guide sounds irritated
An ounce of me wants to protest
Don't speak to me in that tone
A hefty pound of me is intrigued
I want to meet Kumari
Curiosity triumphs
"Bhaiya, Newari hain"
Still suspicious, but not entirely confident of the percentage of non-Nepali in me
Guard reluctantly lets us through

Durbar after durbar
From inner square to outer
From courtyard to alley
I follow judiciously and obediently
Until he comes to another stop
This time to a voice from above
A quiet hole in the immaculate wooden walls
Carved by unique fingers to house princesses and queens
Guide responds to a surprised query
With an obliging nervous laugh
And quick words are exchanged

I gather from their tones
I am but welcome
But they won't turn me away
My feet are heavy with confusion and unwantedness
I spiral up
More ancient wood
Under my heavy feet
"You have cash? To give Kumari?"
"For blessing." Response to my silence
Pink and blue Nepali rupees haunt me
Money for blessing? Kumari?
Get ready to punch, run, and scream if you're about to get scammed, Suparna.

No scam. No punches. No screams.
Just stale smells I can't place
Words in Newari I don't hear
And a distant call to someone in the maze of this cavern

Shoes off
Money in hand
"Durga is coming"
Durga. Durga?
Shakti. Strength. Goddess of creation and all destruction.
This is serious business, Suparna.
You're about to meet god.

Head bowed. Barefooted. Eyes fixated on a stain on the shiny stone floor.
I hear them
Coming closer
Shy yet mischievous footsteps
A small body finds its holy abode
Atop an unnecessarily garnished stool

Her legs sway
Playfully like that of a child
Waiting to be pushed on the swing
I look up
Her 7 year old eyes
Meet my eyes of 26 years
Her legs pause
Mid-motion
She peers through me
Resumes her leg swings
Blesses me with a proprietary 7 year old hand on my head
I deepen my bow
And listen as she skips off -
From goddess
To being 7 again.

I met Kumari on my trip to Nepal 2 years ago. I was superbly ignorant about her until I sat staring at her toes in the durbar (square) of Bhaktapur. It took me days to shake off the paradox of being blessed by a 7 year old incarnation of god while watching her skip away to her missing childhood. I read more and learned that to become Kumari, she had to endure several strength trials - including being alone in a room while witnessing he slaughtering of many animals. This poem is inspired by the article I read a few days ago:

http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2015/05/28/410074105/the-very-strange-life-of-nepals-child-goddess?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20150528

Monday, June 1, 2015

Surprise

/sə(r)ˈprīz/
noun
1.
an unexpected or astonishing event, fact, or thing.

My young host running down to the pool
I wonder...why the hurry
But the light warmth of this almost-summer evening
And the trees full of life
Distracted me momentarily
I exclaim, "What? What! What?"
At the sight of so many familiar faces
Where I didn't expect them to be
Unexpected.

Eyes that are a valley with a gurgling river 
"Happy tears"as many of us said tonight
Happy tears
Tears sending love
Tears igniting memories
Tears gathering hope
Tears steeped with gratitude
I look around
Hands clapped on mouth
All this for me?
For the child often forgotten
And the grown up who forgets about herself
For me?
Astonishing.

Food, drink, dessert, summer water
Chattering teeth, hugs
"You are loved" "Thank you"
Humbled beyond belief
Words drift by as I try to catch them to capture this
Arms sway holding all this love

What an evening to be loved

Being in the hearts of so many

Who have touched me
Changed me
And given me the gift of being a teacher