M.S. Attack and other poems

M.S. Attack and other poems
The City is Claimed

Stench of male piss
Rising, hissing.
Men pull the chain
Stop trains, buses 
Legs wide
Unzip sprinkle
Blessing upon soil
Concrete, tile
Street corners 
Bus wheels, bushes
Stretches of wall 
Painted over with 
Gazes of gods.

Girls slink around
The rising pillars
Male odors emanating
From every crack,
Corner, crevice
Hissing at them:
Get back! Stay inside!
In the classroom
No raising of pinky:
No. 1 , No 2 
No need to announce 
The body’s betrayal.
Slip away in shame
Unseen, unheard.
Or else hold it
Just a little longer
Exhorted by mothers
Even as they cringe
With pain.

Back in the village
Walk way out into
Fields of darkness
Never far enough
Not to pollute.
Watch out 
For male avengers
Body stepped 
Out of line
Free for grabs.
Squat down
Ah, the relief! 
Forbidden release —
Streaming the walls
Liquid yellow
Burning hell.

After — drained, spent,
Gather the coils
Wind them tight
Body, a mummy
Shut up.

Crocodile Lake Revisited 

You never got to show 
Him your love, 
Your father who hit you 
With the hockey stick
You stole, hit you 
In that dark closet
For every goal
You would ever score.
He died before 
You could give it back
Close the closet door
Gaping hole of love 
Left forever open
Shut it with fists
Crashing down upon
His skull, dead already

Father gone, no need now
to take the boy who didn’t
Bow down
Had the better bike
To Crocodile Lake,
Defy him to jump
Into jaw-infested waters.
Now, you lure 
With gold-flecked eyes
Crocodile grin
Sweet crooked words.
Bring him inside
That same dark closet
Next, strip away 
Clothes, accomplishments
Spit words upon words 
Upon his naked, 
Shivering, body: 
Faggot, worthless fool
Never amount to much
If he resists, fights back
Your fists will do 
For a hockey stick
His head the ball
Hammer hammer
Pound pound
Right into the ground
Make him grovel   
Make him small
Now aren’t you tall! 
— for Sylvia Plath


Once a promising
naturalist, she winds around

the house collecting
dust, picking up toys,

pieces of herself.
Keeps march time

to the laundry drum,
kettle whistle. Too many

gaping mouths —
the stove’s devouring fire,

baby’s howl that tears
a hole in her heart

and she unable to stop 
the blood, step back outside. 
Our eyes met
across the room.
Oceans converged.

M.S. Attack

Child in a woman’s body, you crawl 
furiously, break the confines 
of your mind, this space that binds 
you to this moment that is not 
you. Threads fraying, memories 
unshackled  You catch them one
by one — fire that burnt your finger, 
chasing purple-pink butterflies, 
velvet crayons. The stream 
of specialists show you how 
put one foot before the next, 
take a shower. 2 + 2 = 4, not 
1972, the year of your birth.  
You’ve learned this before —
bright short threads.
 Your desire to fashion space, 
redesign your childhood —
put on hold. No longer seek
solutions in moldy newspapers,
overflowing furniture, empty bottles 
and tins accumulated by your mother
over years. You wanted only 
to bring in light.
How to bring it into the womb?
Now, behind drawn curtains 
dissect endless highways of nerves 
colliding in jumbled pools,
piles of clutter, arrested motion
un- mapping your vision. 
Form to formlessness —
the world turns blind. What would
Nietzsche have said, you wonder.
You loved to mold your body
into cosmic geometry —
Trikonasana, Ardhamukhavasana.
Absorb the ocean’s ebb and flow.
Loved to taste life from eyes, nose, mouth,
                                             cunt, ass.
New life you will never grow. Strangled. 
Your D.J. mind spins traces of color,
sounds. Meaning dammed
in bloodless pools.
Ancient paths usurped by new gods:
Cytoxin, Rebiff, Avonex, Copazone.
A rainbow of pills now mark the hours:
blues for morning, pink for afternoon.
White-robed guardians extract
penance: nausea, depression, a liver perhaps.
No desire save to kill yourself.
small price to pay for an extra day alive.
body forgot its original path, and you are blind
Without maps, surveillance
using scalpels, stethoscopes, MRIs —
only the new Gods have directions.
 Stubborn child, you refuse to accept
your body’s transgressions.
Kali, Saraswati, Sita, Lakshmi, Devi,
sweet mother — how did you let this happen?
How to bear this double betrayal? 
No more dictates from New Gods!
Call forth ancient mediators.
From village to city bring
roots, leaves, bark, berries —
recall celestial music, revive
sleeping rhythms.
Hear me liver! Hear me body!
Hear me sleeping mother —
wake up! Reabsorb the hemorrhages
into the flow of life. Direct my will
in the way of stars. Give me this!
Give me this! Give me this!                                            — for Anuradha Sahni


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