A study of the way children learn languages

Today I learnt of a little boy,
charred to bone, who said “I’m ok”
when help finally got to him.
After a point, what we feel can
no longer fit the bounds of language.
They say using words to tell stories
is the crown of evolution,
But what if all it does is arrest
what we are allowed to feel.
Like a mirror that warps to show
only what you are taught to see.
The heart grasps to find the right words
but they slip through these fingers,
too small to hold, too volatile to share
and ends up a fist — closed, still, resisting
unable to feel a single thing.



Sometimes there are no words for this conversation between you and the setting sun.
This nothingness between you and the clear waves.
Knowing that you can almost walk off the edge of the earth if you wanted.
This incessant feeling, like mist.
Saudade they call it here.
Sometimes there is.
No. One. Language. That can capture this moment.
No limber memories.
No camera.
No light.

No More.



The alphabet

I know how it is to sit in the same spot and see the sun go down,
to not realize, when it’s time to get up and turn on the lights

To be completely, utterly alone and yet speak a thousand half sentences
and have a million conversations, in the midst of many a marching bands

I know how it is to see the swinging tree out the window and envy its calm
to hear the ocean waves in a distance, constant, rumbling when many miles inland

To memorize all the dictionaries, learn new languages
and yet never find the right words.


A summer’s tale

As I sit cross-legged on this ebony bench,
scratched and worn with weather,
the book in my hand catches the sun,
and a foxtrot on the words is done-

As if uncertain, gliding fingers.
I look up and see the leaves
with palms outstretched, through the fences
and the sun encircled in the greens;

The birds know all these secrets,
whispers of an empty patio,
the invisible chimes of the wind,
and the thin shadows of words.

The secret sounds of a turning page,
and this unbearable lightness of summer.


Another world

In a parallel universe, where I’d sit next to you reading Steinbeck
you’d blink your eyes open and shy away from the sun,

Its relentless the Indian sun, you’d take my book and cover your face with it,
In a parellel universe you’d like Steinbeck.

That is to say, you’d like words, the sheer romance of them,
the song words that I love so much, you’d like them in meter and rhyme.

In a parallel universe, you’d read poetry to wake me up,
and we’d spend the day lost in Nerudas and Cummings

You’d love my books and smell them with equal passion,
perched on a windowsill, in a parallel universe,

you’d understand my verse.