Dear Sir,

I wish to apply
For mercy – I have committed
So many sins that come under
Crimes permitted, a column
That is not included in your
Many paged form. I
Would also like to apply
For the right to breathe
The air of conference rooms
For the right to unsheathe
Words, driven to the hilt
Into conversations. My application
Includes a petition of
Guilt for arguments built
From scratch. Dear sir,
Or madam, as the case may be,
I’ve never been to your esteemed
Country. If you wish to scan
My irises you will see,
Into my soul, no doubt, and
My fingerprints will vouch
For my political integrity. I
Could provide you further
With a colonoscopy, but I feel
In my guts that you’ll brook no
Ifs, ands, or buts, and so
Dear Sir, please feel free
To take imprints of all accounts,
-Banks, permits, degrees –
I make no confession to virtues
In my possession. Visa granting is
Really all that is wanting.

The family portrait

…is always taken by someone else,
Have you noticed? Pictures of
Mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters,
Children, husbands, wives, can
Always be taken by wives, husbands,
Children, sisters, brothers, fathers,
Mothers – as long as one of them
(husband, wife, brother, sister, child
Parent) is missing. Why is the one
Taking the picture (boy, girl, man,
Woman) never seen as part of it?
The one who sees when she’s
Looking pensive, or catches him
With the sun in his hair, the one
Who sees the kids in temporary
Truce, just so. What is absent about
This taker, this stealer of moments?
The family portrait is perhaps
Overrated. Posed for a stranger. Its
Importance overstated.

To write of things

… that touch us, is
To touch those to whom we write. The
Sign on the street, the girl on the phone,
The moment on the terrace, the ache
In the bone, the rusty gate that never
Shut, the clothes that she’s outgrown,
The silence when you wake up, the
Peace they’ve never known, the kids
Among the rubble, the indifference of
The drone, the bride, the widow, the
Grandmother, the witch, the virgin, the
Crone, the brother that we laughed with,
The father we heard groan, the sisters whom
We fought with, the longing for the distant,
The wild, the unknown. The grope on the bus,
The leer on the face, the staying after dark,
The quickening of pace, the sea that feels like
Panic, the getting out of the place, the job
That goes to someone younger, the
Hounding of your race, the knowing that
The ageing body puts you outside of
The chase, the lines along your lips
That touch your mouth with grace. These
Things we touch as we write them, those
Readers who see us revealed, seek out
The words that hide them,
Covered, covert, sealed.

Holocaust Memorial, Berlin

Some stories need stones
To tell them since silence
Best speaks them. Some
Stories need eyes to hear them
When speech is given
To ghosts. Some stories
Need space to write them
Footfalls to walk them, steps
To trace them, falling as
Leaves and floating in
Sighs, caught in beams
And shining in shadows
Some stories are best told
In open places where the blue
Sky watches the tree seed
Escape your searching eye.

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Love Poem

Love is a new city
Walked through street by street
Love is holding hands
Love is aching feet
A new city is uncertain routes
Unhealthy foods, unempty
Seats. A new city is seeing
New things well after you’re
Totally trashed and beat.
Love is knowing home is in
Cities old and new when
The journey home is always
Far, and 19 years too few.

Trees in the Courtyard

Image may contain: tree, sky, plant, outdoor and nature

Enfolded by homes the trees
Rise gently from cobbled floor
To skies bent with bluish blush
On doors that let you go, release
You into the arms of the green
Breeze breathing your first flush
Of the courtyards embrace. Turn
Your face to their wings of light
Bright whispers flying into the day
Showing you the long straight spines
The upraised arms that will send you
On your way.


That moment when

The Chandra clan hangs out
In the city, yakking about
Their feelings and those of
Others, sharing trauma and joy
Laughing till the tears come,
Nodding over some moment
Of childish fun, stories of
Grief, love, how rarely they meet
Until one looks down and sees
The curb at her feet and since
She’s quite bright, memory nudges
And she wonders when the light will 
Change so they can cross the street.