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Buoy the population of the soul
Toward their destination before they drown
~ Robert Pinsky
July 2018
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Passages



[1] A Passage on Time (Washington DC)

Don’t the ginkos wait all year
For these brief weeks of cool blue
Skies - they call it Indian Summer –
To unfurl their haloes of golden flame?

Sometimes it is easy to lose track
Of time, even as living is about time
Most of the time. Six months, she says,
Since they have started sleeping in the same bed.

No, she corrects herself, it is seven actually.

[2] A Passage on Memory (Hyderabad, India)
“My memory is again in the way of your history.” - Agha Shahid Ali

This country, even as I didn’t know it, remains
The substratum that I must drill into every time
To standup these edifices of words, in a language
Out of whose palm I surreptitiously ate, a starveling.

These words are as close to me as memory,
Yet I haven’t summoned them by name often.
They, like you, stand at an distinct angle to memory,
From whose density you seek escape today

Into a lighter, less crowded air. But these are
Orphic moments that I must sing as I attempt
To ascend on a stair of alphabet towards a moment
Of painless clarity. Perhaps it is true, the spirit needs

Memory in the absence of history, and history in
Making seeks escape in the presence of memory.




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Parvaz



Trees are words
and light writes distances. - Adonis

A backward look comes to mind now:
On Anna Salai, in the muggy heat of Madras,

Like Basho, waving farewell to a friend long
after the beloved body disappeared into dusk.

This is what I have been doing every autumn
For a decade as leaves cleave the cooling air.

There are distances of time woven into the creases
Of my face. After years you ask me how I am:

Scan the trees' calligraphy when the winter comes
to know how separation (or flight?) is written in light




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Solitude of Ravens



Omens of clear dreams
On the highway Orpheus descends
To raise up Eurydice

Feasters of tainted dusk
Waiting for a guide to
The otherworld to appear

Tears about the tree line
Falling towards sleep’s blanket
Which obscures all city lights

The more I look at you
The more I become an augur
On the verge of a tongue's
Desolation and a haunting.




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