Procrastination Poetry

Fabrics

Perhaps we have been lied to

Perhaps there is no enduring intimacy; no marriage of hearts

Minds

Bodies

Perhaps humans are stitched in and out of one another

Shredding, frantic fabrics

Tracing each other’s souls in search of forever

Perhaps it is time that we smile sadly

And bid farewell to eternal touch

Lean in and out of one another, calmly

Knowing that souls are not ours to grasp

We cannot own what is delicate

We can but touch it sweetly, gently

Then lose it to the busyness of being.

Cowardice

What is cowardice?

Cowardice is why we do not do good things.

I fear what I might fail; I evade it.

Cowardice smirks at indecision

It is not mirth: it is regret robed as laughter, for

it chose wrong.

Cowardice as complicity;

does not confess its privilege

for fear of accepting that it must act

and distrust itself

and risk.

Cowardice seeps. Blood in water

Natural; stark.

Cowardice is love that lies

Words lost to the ether for fear that they might crack

leaking some feeling.

Yes

Cowardice lives but does not feel

I weep for it.

Pretty for a black girl

When they tell you that you are pretty for a black girl

You think but I am not black

Don’t worry

You are not pretty either;

Your skin is a poem

Lust is no poem

He does not prose, he whimpers

He is afraid of words

He prefers the unsaid

For he mutes

where he prowls.

We are both half, says he, maybe we can eat curry and talk.

I am basically white though.

You wish you had found the words to tell him

there is no white

no black

no halfway

Asia is not a skin

Whiteness is not a person

people are not the feelings of others

they are the poems

in between.

One day we will write one together

and lust will cower

as poetry makes love to skin that was, after all

coloured by the silk of our words.

Letter to Little Me

This is a letter to the girl who wrote and read.

Thank you for being strong when things felt uncertain.

I am sorry I said those things to you. I am sorry I made you hurt.

Well done for trying new things, even when you were not good at them.

Well done for tasting spite and spitting it back out.

Well done for caring. That hurt too; but that is life.

Well done for building even when cement crumbled between layers;

I promise one day you will look at your creation and smile.

Well done for doing your homework;

Stop getting cross with mum when you get the wrong answer.

Well done for asking for help.

And now here are some things that I learned,

When we were busy fighting and fretting.

You will find them useful someday:

Do not conflate affection with

care.

Do not conflate ferocity with

loudness.

Do no conflate intelligence with

vocabulary.

Do not conflate feeling with

fallibility.

Do not conflate vulnerability with

weakness

(she is beauty).

Trusting is not stupid; it is brave.

Looking into eyes is sweeter than any kiss.

Sexy and sexual are not the same.

Lust is just passion on the lowest volume.

Do away with having a type:

someone always changes your mind.

Giving a chance is a gorgeous thing;

but it is OK to give just one.

Do not bother straightening your hair

Mum is right; it looks fine.

When a boy tells you he does not like your haircut because

‘boys don’t like short hair’

cut it shorter.

Make conversation with those you dislike;

they might prove you wrong

(they might not).

Miracles do happen

quietly.

People are as bad as you fear;

Nurse your wounds tenderly and with time.

People are as wonderful as you know:

loving them is lighter than any dream.

Apologise when you do wrong;

you are not always the victim.

Some people do not want to listen;

do not be afraid to give up on them

though it feels sad.

Laugh at mistakes

because that missed email

bad suggestion

late appointment

awkward date

burned dinner

is just how it goes.

Leave things behind; you always said you would.

Let yourself feel

Write

Warm up; drink tea; floss; don’t forget your iron pills.

Pack light

It will be fine.

Blood Voices

Today I felt it ripple

It is worlds inside my blood

Waterfalls that laugh there

Snakes

Electric electric as they kill and simmer

Smiling in

An orchard

There is tea here

A million footsteps of green that are

Dirt underneath

A boy sat on a branch apples in hand

Women and children crying

Bare feet

Sticky fire that eats a house and belches memories like poisonous blossom

Hot earth

Promises and lies and voices like in my world

Thoughts that

are not

said

Sri Lankan shores, lazy lizards

Lives so sad and sublime and I feel them but

They speak

Something like come

Something like let us touch you

We did not climb hills

We did not pick tea

We did not waltz in saris

We did not scold slaves

We did not traipse jungle

We did not learn abc in classrooms

Be seduced by creamy sunshine on palms

Drink from wells

Come here and dance, dance, dance in your black eyes

For you to forget

What forged you

Somewhere in the haze of

an ebony

ivory

love.

Ceylan

There are too many words for me to whisper

I shout them when I am drunk and they come out like tears

You made me feel so special

I was just a teenager trying to be cool

I never understood why you thought that I was.

You died

I never understood how a flower blooms

And is gone

It does not shrivel

It does not blossom again

It did not even blow in the wind

I hope whatever took you was gentle with you

I hope it showed you all the feelings you gave everyone

I hope it gave them back

I hope you hear the cries of a new baby, a new marriage, a new world

Without you in

And know that you are in every pore it breathes

Your quiet smile

That came and went

Like a deer in a headlight

briefly there

eyes like laughter

then running soft into a night

that holds you still.

(happy birthday Ceylan)

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