Please state the nature of the medical emergency

I am afraid I will die.
Really? Here in your lovely
Voluntary exile, hibernating with
Your plants and your music and your
Elegant lounging style?
I am afraid to die. Aren’t
We all this is hardly
An emergency. I am afraid to live.
When everyone has died. Seriously
Too many bad movies is hardly cause
To summon the emergency medical
Hologram please state the
I am afraid to live as if everyone is dead.
There was that so hard? Why not just
Say so? Instead we have all this
Bleating about dolphins returning and
The new blue of the skies – true, some
Of it, but mostly photoshop and lies
I’m also afraid – oh there’s more? Where
Does it hurt I’m sure there’s a cure – that
I’m relieved to not be able you see there
Is news of thousands walking beaten
Stuffed into boxes and starving and I
Unable my hands are tied I’m self
Isolated you see couldn’t help if I
Tried but my fear is not a symptom it’s
Really my relief I’m afraid to have to
Add conviction to belief. There. Lie down.
What you’re experiencing is grief. For all
That has died around you and all
You will kill there’s not much
I can do but I will
Say this: as much as you may say that
You want this to end, get back to your
Work, meet a real friend – grief will always
Urge you to pretend that
You got this you can do this everything’s
On the mend. This shall pass too.
So lie down. Things will
Die down. As death tends to do.

A Hundred and One Nights of the Falcon

Where I come from, no gift comes in round numbers. No ten
Rupees is ever given, it is always eleven, a token
Of not finishing, not ending, the extra one a harbinger
An invitation, a wish, a granting of plenty, of more
To come. Auspicious, we call it. A bringing to the fore
Of a promise for the years before the young. Where
I come from there is a tale of a clever woman who staved
Off death with a thousand tales, each one saved
For another night won, a full thousand and one. Where
I come from, legend has it that women sat vigil not
One night or two, not a couple, a handful, a dozen, a
Few. Stories are told in hushed tones of a full hundred
And one, every thrower of stones has heard it, every
Wielder of guns. Songs are sung of the women of the night
Who spread their wings, became falcons, and took flight.

For Anannya, as always

And my last poem, as ever,
Is dedicated to those
Who save us from our
Lives of prose.

We are those warriors who
Forge weapons from sorrow
From the things that haunt us
From our consolations. From each
Thought too tiny to share, from
Those fleeting visions too
Overwhelming to bear. Our wars
Are those that keep beauty awake
That inch of ourselves that remains
Defiant at the end of the day
And finds that one thing that
Is worth our while to say. So you,
My fellow berserkers, give me
Madness for my armour, my
Bearskin of words, and your open
Hearts that are a battle cry. Our
Voices sing each other’s songs
For thirty days, never long
Enough to douse that thirst
Till April ends with May the first.