Grief clock

After you died / we covered all the clocks in the house / I could not bear the sound of a minute disappeared / I began to tell time by holding my wrist up to my ear / I heard everything and everyone go by / I heard the sea’s ebb / and ma’s favourite plate growing the finest fault line / the next time she took it out / it fell neatly into pieces.

I heard what is / and what will be / I heard the monsoon / delayed by a day / beating her beloved roses into the ground / I heard you / a million miles away / writing and rewriting letters to say you are sorry / I thought I heard the postman bring your letter / but it was just the bearers carrying a body from 5 houses away /

I heard ma forget / take out the plate / I heard them both collapse / I do not move / by pulse, I wiretapped my world.

Karuna Chandrashekar is a psychotherapist practising in New Delhi, India.

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After I die,

I want to be folded into a thousand paper cranes and set alight.
I want to be the dark gathering water in my lover’s eyes.
I want to be the fingers of dawn smudging windows of every mourning home.
I want to be a nettle of grief pressed into the palm of every book I write.

I want to be reborn as the fate line on my mother’s hands.
I want to be reborn as my father’s hushed footfall.
I want to be my sister’s flyaway curls cursing the wind.
I want to be a transistor radio spitting out old Hindi songs while Amama knits.

I want to be hymn and honey, to be holy water and prayer.
I want to burn before I end, like both God and incense.
I want to be both tomb and entombed, to be both crypt and script.
I want to be a word trace.

I want to be the carefree laugh of a broken wind chime.
I want to be the hum at the end of every street dog howl.
I want to be the whisper of pages turned at midnight.
I want to be a thicket of quiet.

I want to be, like before, the chant of fate.
I want to be this earth’s ready recall.
I want to be ready to die.

I want to be
a vivid repetition.

Karuna Chandrashekar is a psychotherapist practising in New Delhi, India.

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things feel foreign

your skin is a gifted kimono gathering dust in this city’s forgotten closet.
your hair, suffered many contracts between the heat and humid, is now given waivers by
                                                                                                                                                   the wind.

your lover meets you in a field, but the bazaar is in her eyes and you have turned
                                                                                                                                          claustrophobic.
your ears are no longer shells bearing water sprites but carriers for dead things this city
                                                                                                                                                         brings.

your patient returns, with a symptom in one hand, and love in another, you know you
                                                                                                                     must take both or neither.
your heart was under construction but is now hard as hammered glass, and no one can
                                                                                                                                                      peer in.

your hands, well, your hands were always your grandfather’s that you wore as ill-fitting
                                                                                                                                                         gloves.
your nights have been thickened by unease and you wake up like a bird blinded by the sun.

your poems roll, an entire film before your eyes but your memory frequently loses the plot
                                                                                                                                             and the pen.
your faith is now a weapon of mass destruction.

your country is now a misnomer, a signifier slipping between home and prison.
your name has begun to utter itself, it has no more need, of your tongue

Karuna Chandrashekar is a psychotherapist practising in New Delhi, India.

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screen memory: after sufjan stevens

again, myth
turns memory

so
lucid,

like live wire
under the thumb

lucid,

like a vial of venom
on the verge of

martyrdom.

here:

the art of animals,
clouds in a sky of spilled milk

there:

a wrist met with lightning
grazes for escape at the floor,

another abyss mistaken
for a door.

the trauma
of a sunbeam falls

on the careworn
calligraphy of body and bed,

stumble upon
this memory

like a found photograph

duct tape desire
to despair,

watch yourself
at the sharp edge of mirrors
where things

no longer appear―

absence multiplies
into presence,

till all love,
all longing

reserved
for the ones who fled

Karuna Chandrashekar is a psychotherapist practising in New Delhi, India.

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18

is lemon bitters on a blistered tongue
rivers running through your eyes
that hollow you out
refill you with lost treasure

years of forgotten giving
wrapped in brown paper
loosely tied and handed back to you
thanks but no thanks

I don’t need you
until I do and when I do
get your fill ’cause
train’s coming through again.

And then, as quick as a spring sky
grays, it’s a kiss on the cheek
a hand squeezed, a still moment spun between
the rushing wind.

Maybe it’s this way to prepare you for
the leaving.

Julianne Palumbo’s poems, short stories, and essays have been published numerous literary journals. She is the author of Into Your Light (Flutter Press, 2013) and Announcing the Thaw (Finishing Line Press, 2014), poetry chapbooks about raising teenagers. She is the Founder of Mothers Always Write, an online literary magazine about motherhood.

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Brontide

Fake-superstitious florists silhouetted against waves
impress enough to sell their wilting flowers, which remind
you of being a half-asleep child, carried home

The dead always say the truth, like the therapy that is
applying glitter eye shadow in the day-night
it goes well with pretending everything isn’t there to be erased

Sometimes you take out the ocean in you, give it space to breathe
imagine you live on an island, instead of tropical paradise and
black death blending inside like twin flames

With peeling membranes of society unravels the need to count
wounded islands and their quantified fate bounces like free
radicals, tonguing each other in a carnival orgy

At the night market, you wait for earth movements to become
splitting images of manic belly dancers, but there is only a cloud-shaped
picture of choking fish and octopus legs

Your ocean is camouflaged behind layers of shore beds
squeezed against uncomfortable rocks and not even ancient stones
can make those waves look youthful

Upturned waters swallow the flowers, pacing back and forth
you want to stay out their way but you remember your own stomach bugs
so you curl on the beach, lips dry and trembling like mouths of stranded fish

Darkness rips to look at your feet, wet and sticky
there is more of you among uneven grains of sand than
between your skin

Ana Prundaru is a Romanian-born translator, writer and visual artist. Her work appears in DIAGRAM, Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Watershed Review and elsewhere. She lives in Zurich, Switzerland.

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The End

the typewriter lies dead in the corner.
all the clickety-clacketing finally silent.
the house is finally quiet. I can get
up now, now that the beast is dead I
can get up, go to the kitchen, make
myself a pot of coffee.

in the evening, I invite some of
the neighborhood children to bring baseball bats and
oversized circus mallets to my house, cheer them on as they smash the keys
of the dead typewriter sideways, again and
again, until there is nothing but a gaping hole where “qwerty”
used to mock me from across the room, and again until
the factory seam splits right down the middle, and the whole

thing falls apart
like a watermelon split in
two.

Holly Day has taught writing classes at The Loft Literary Center in Minnesota since 2000. Her published books include Music Theory for Dummies, Music Composition for Dummies, Guitar All-in-One for Dummies, Piano All-in-One for Dummies, Walking Twin Cities, Insider’s Guide to the Twin Cities, Nordeast Minneapolis: A History, and The Book Of, while her poetry has recently appeared in New Ohio Review, SLAB, and Gargoyle. Her newest poetry book, Ugly Girl, just came out from Shoe Music Press.

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