what we know about ourselves (2014)

Raindrops on window pane. © Saara Punjani 2014.
Raindrops on window pane. © Saara Punjani 2014.

we love only that which is our own

a man, with his wife and son:
who do you think he truly loves?

~

it rains and rains

you approach, drenched and desolate,
a shelter for me, if only i would accept you

~

i wish we could say,
we are always happy with what we know about ourselves

i wish we could say,
we come with noble intention,
that we have been saving our last loaf
for the hunger of another

i wish we could say
we fall to our knees and kiss the ground,
thankful each day
for the fact that we can feel

~

sometimes when it rains
a gray runs down our face too

and sometimes,
we wish we could deny that we enjoy it

else, why would we drink the drink of self,
that warming wine of separation?

why would we continue being what we are?

~

we are, men in all of our abasement;
men, in all of our greatness

we bend lower
so that others might be jealous of our righteousness

we paint peace on our face
that they might admire our beauty as we pray

~

when everything is gray
go ask for it to be better
for someone else;

what you would have happen to you,
have it happen to someone else

oh dearest, you’ve never really been
hungry; never really been sad

you’ve never really needed anything you didn’t already have

come, smooth over the wrinkles on someone else’s face

make them yours,

and love them too.

sinking ship (2014)

years do not slowly shape this knowledge,
as waves tend to slowly shape shore

put us in a room of strangers aboard a slowly sinking ship,
and no one need explain what to do

~

if a man leaves a room, and we dislike him,
we paint that dislike onto his memory
so as not to have to dislike ourselves

but if a man leaves the world,
suddenly, all surfaces are occupied;
where now do we place our colours?

~

in a sinking ship, none are friends,
and yet, we know each other well

in my eyes, you can see your grief;
in your grief, i see all of me

never have we shared a meal
as candid as this one,

and today, i wear my face without paint.

your place (2014)

take a step back from the frontline
– it is not your place

remove yourself from the head of the table
– it is not your place

step back from the position you’ve given yourself
in the world where you give yourself such prominence

those strings you think you hold,
are an illusion

 

if we told you to build a mountain,
or if we commanded you to fly,
you could do nothing

faced with the impossible,
you would harbour no illusion
of your own inherent limits

if you were to try, you could only whisper a prayer,
knowing you would have to rely
on Someone

 

see what you’ve forgotten in your careful preparation;
see what you’ve overlooked in your careful research?

the ant does not concern itself with the possibility of an eclipse

 

remember your role; your place.

 

navroz (2014)

what is new about this day, navroz?

is it simply the flip of a sunny switch, or the overnight emergence of garden weed?

what do you want to be?
what do you want to change?

~

you have had the winter to yourself

now, prepare yourself to be grown

prepare yourself to be tamed, pruned
and tethered at the hands of another

prepare yourself to shift your roots
in accommodation of those that grow beside

it hurts, the pain of limiting yourself
though you know your own potential
to spread far and wide

but, if you shift your roots appropriately,
you will have set stage below ground for what will come to be above

what harmony you create in the hidden
is in every way what will come to be seen, outside

your choice to curb the tumorous growth of your self
is the reason for the interwoven canopy above

you are home (2014)

dearest,

it’s okay to be the one that loves more

to be the one that speaks less

to be the one that reaches out for a strong hand

isn’t it wonderful
that you can be so in need?

isn’t it wonderful
that you can feel so in need?

my dearest, dearest, heart:

it’s okay to put the self to rest
and to yield to your need
for the beloved

~

i close my eyes and
my forehead is so naturally drawn
downward, to rest at your feet

i cannot do other than bow

this is where i am
and this is where i belong

something in me knows
you
are home.

hello, beautiful (2014)

i take up space inattentively over two seats,
legs jumbled, in the midst of thought
riding home underground,
writing in my notebook

hello, beautiful

a short latino man intrudes
with a smile or with a leer — i can’t decide

 

at one time i might have
cringed reactively;
strange creep

but today i smile

what does it take from me to be gracious?
here is an opportunity to live
up to what he claims to see in me

he leaves the subway car,
perhaps in search of another
to teach something to

~

does the tree look down at the shade-seeker in disdain?
does the bird turn up his beak at the admirer and say,
shut your ears,
you are not worthy
to hear me?

 

if beauty is with you
it is by no effort of yours

~

and did he not say those words to me
while i was holding the pen?

when else am i beautiful,
if not when being what i am?

when else am i beautiful,
if not when beyond myself,

if not when living in you?

~

thank you,
man from the subway;
thank you very much!

blessings accumulated (2014)

do you
deign
to give the stranger a smile,
to give your friend a single grain
of the love over which you keep such meticulous account?

what of yours will lessen if you unlock yourself
to let someone else gaze upon your treasure?

 

you were only given anything
because Someone thought
you knew what to do
with these gifts

 

give away whatever does not fit comfortably in your existing cupboards

or,
don’t,

and watch how heavy you become in the corpulence of blessings accumulated

 

whatever you keep beyond what you need is
simply,
ingratitude.