What’s with Christmas coffee?
If you want to learn to see love in the winter.
Listen to Charlie Parker’s “Old Folks Take 9/ The master”
On once a year December night. Before the sour of the
crummy Christmas coffee leaves your throat.
Under the 1o’ clock sky, an old bitter shade that welcomed
Hearken Noel Joy, naked into the manger.
After the service, a minute and a half away
In a French Jazz café with orange lights wired at the door
Glowing like the red and blue balls
On the Catholic church tree. 15 feet tall.
Shelved in the racks are crowds of
baby croissants. Often stolen by
shadows of tied up lovers, gliding their heels to
each kick and pluck of
The jazz that’s movement.
The heart that pumps, the life that’s movement,
Double Time Swing your
Spent eyes past the lovers and the suited drummers of the eve.
Across the glass Bay window
to the uneventful faces of the map eyed earth.
Under the faceless ocean with stars that led the
prophets to the carpenter’s boy.
Even wider, across
The Saxophone that’s movement to the Psalms of the Christmas Choir.
Beyond it all, on the head of the Acacian will always
be the lifted veil of black cats, licking their freezing tails and whiskers.
With no thought for birth or beginning.
Meowing and waltzing away riding the strings and quartets
On a magic carpet with ease
that stretch and squeak, grasping feet to feet.
Baptized in the fog of blinking Street lights
Thrown to an empty pilgrims’ path.
In each other’s fur, touring the night like ghosts in Paris,
Under the Eiffel under the snow. Blanketing the fire from the furnace
Of the café, tonight burning old life and bread.
Swigging from your 3rd cup of coffee, drowsing
With the dance of the Saint and Sinner.
You watch them grasping at their lovers in the dark.
Undressing the dead.
The Roses in the earthen flowerpot
Under the wall of spiders, moss and fern painted.
Which ate and drank from your left hand.
Dressed in your wedding band and 3 gold bangles.
Have since Monday noon lost the mouth
To eat, drink, or sing.
The way you knew, we were about to
Dress you up for the final time in your best saree.
The ground it wilted; too was undressed by an
Invisible left hand that prayed as it undressed
The leaves, flowers and buds.
Watching the cats eat away your wreath
I remember the time we skinned mangoes, when
We were more alive at 6, when you undressed
Me to dress me in coconut oil from hair to toe nail.
I laughed at the wrinkles on your face and kissed you in 100’s.
As we bathed, played and dressed together.
It comes to me in dreams, how maggots drill
Away at your coffin and undress you for the last time
Compensating for our speed, they skim away
At your fingers in a soothing slow song, Norwegian wood played in
reverse. As drums banging backwards send you
Away to sleep naked among the alive.
Away to awaken elsewhere clothed among the dead.
The way the alive dresses the dead for nothing.
Love that is dead, undresses the alive. For something.
Time and Relative Dimensions in Sky
The morning clouds in youth, hazes as
I sit leg on leg, atop this rusty iron stair of
birth, watching them. The birth of the day
Wearing all but fresh leaves
as the birds confess some romance
Quails and crows
Coconut bangles, as on your wrist
An Engine. Tingle as it shivers,
Fearing. All but the clouds
Coloring the black gods of Arrival.
They pour from a jar of cards.
As I shuffle the rain slips.
Ace, Kings, Queen and Jokers.
Decked with backsides of monsoonal
colors, the shade of Vazhani; a village singer
washing my toes and chipped nails
with drowsy needles of
ink sending me high, higher to the night.
In a nameless hunger, a Surah in trances of flames
rise from beneath my neighbor’s
throat facing her prostrated spine. Her Abaya
chants the 101 nameless Gods of Arrival.
Awakening quails and sparrows that
Tomorrow will hunt ripened papayas. The ones
fleshing seeds thrown from her father’s fingers.
Eyes like the sparrow, mother watches
speeding clouds as I oil her head, strings of silver.
Her wrists; dried leaves. At the Aleph
listening to earrings as old as her marriage,
glimmer to the sun on her neck. Wrinkles
slashed on a faceless sky. Hungrily departing as, the
night arrives in years. Starless head where soon
cotton tied toes
may unsurely doze as the same river’s ink run out.
As the day swims, mother will watch with the Gods.
Her hair will hold the stars and the moon, her face
the suns, mouth the winds
and her kisses the rain.
As she likes it, I bath under her crooked lips, oh plums.
That smile to see me dance, dance into the night.
The art of the prayer
There are brown fences from old rubber trees
Stashed away in the courtyard. Dusty, you will
Never prop them up again to keep the stray dogs away.
Under the tarpaulin, under the sun, under your grace.
Has gathered quite the upset. From strings inside,
In The middle and outside. Your mother, sister and
Father stir around you like sugar under the tea.
Simmering, drowned by the ebb and flow you’ve
Behind the house, under the stairs, near
Your dog’s kennel, by the gate. On the courtyard.
Is all your life, from birth to burial, a sweep of dust?
That is all you have/will ever been/ever be.
Just a sweep of the broom. Picked by the wind,
Up from the ground, back to the earth, under
If grace wills you get a song, perhaps a blessing, or a
drag back with them nieces you pinky promised to
Watch after. Yesterday from the back and tomorrow from beyond.
We pray those girls know, you still linger around their plates
And steal their sweets. Still lull on your chest.
I pray those girls don’t smell your breath. I pray they pray