"oh, by the way- i didn't do it- but
the other day when i was doing dishes-"
(i heard his voice hollow out and bounce in an echo out of the kitchen sink)
my expression dropped immediately from the other room
"noooo" i cried "which one?"
he prefaced his answer by pacing a few pointless steps.
"i think it got crushed from all the other days worth on top of it or something- it was totally shattered at the bottom of the sink when i found it.."
"Which one?" i repeated..
( i already knew which had broke. )
"..the one you love."
i laughed weakly out of disbelief.
"i'm sorry mack-poodle, swear it wasn't me.."
his voice trailed off.
my care quickly waned
"will it come back in 8 months?"
I said beneath my breath with a smile
he rounded his head around the door frame and smirked down at me
Mrs Sharma is looking busy
Walking back from her yoga class
In Her right hand a bag full of potatoes
In her left hand, 2 kilos of onions
Its a freaking hot day in Delhi,
She stopped a taxi and hurried home
Aloo paratha her family's menu for today.
At home she went straight to her kitchen
Peeled and boiled the Potatoes
finely chopped Onion, coriander, ginger and chillies
Now where is the garam masala?
Here you are Mrs Sharma,
Salt Red Chili powder, Garam masala and some butter
Aloo Paratha with lots of butter,YUM YUM
Lunching at Sharma's home is Splendid
better than Mahesh Lunch Home in Juhu, Andheri.
Let's get started says Mrs Sharma
Let's make the dough
Make two chapati
add the filling to one chapati
and cover it with the second one.
Now Mrs Sharma rolls it slightly and heats it in the oven...
Let's ask Mrs Sharma,
Is food the elixir of life?
Yes very much she said
She feels like she is living for it.
As she spreads butter over the paratha
She says her mantra twice,
Eat healthy but don’t over eat.
She serves aloo paratha hot to her smiling kids
adds yoghurt to Mr Sharma's plate
she is so proud when she says to her family
Eat in moderation and eat healthy..
Smile and let's eat paratha Mrs Sharma's way...
She is equipped with sensitive nipples
and those other secret places
that ladies give out as prizes
to deserving guys as long as
they adopt the right disguises
of gods, gurus, intellectual giants,
goats, children, father figures, macho brutes,
sugar-daddies, supermen, seminal vessels,
house-repairers, jar openers, jocks, hate objects,
handy shoulders to cry on, emotional support systems,
sensitive, intuitive, yet strong silent types
who can also pay the bills,
tall dark and handsome total strangers,
toy boys, clowns, jugglers, jokers, millionaires,
wood choppers, rubbish removers,
bottomless reservoirs of reassurance
or just plain spunky studs when the moon is right.
In fact, anything but woffly wimps.
Oh God, no. Anything but woffly wimps.
Yes, but what about stoic, steadfast SNAGS,
you know, the Sensitive New Age Guys
who won’t face-shift for a shag?
Yes, well, let's try to sum all this up here right now.
I think that the woman is dripping
with a brimming reservoir
of luscious and sensitive resources on tap for
the man who can figure out her cosmic kaleidoscope
of swirling dreams and desires,
which is definitely not to say she can’t be totally independent.
Although please don't be confused.
Friendly boy-next-door types who are handsome,
aren't too hairy, who like to laugh, who have a boyish braggadocio,
who are students, who appear to be intellectuals,
who are not nerds,
and who can hump it in the kitchen, who can be oh, so cool,
who can convince a maiden that she is in distress,
and is in need of rescuing, and who has
a swaggering hard-on will do, too.
Oooh. You devil.
And if you think this poem is misogynist, misanthropic or myopic,
well, I’ve been around and by now, well,
I should be panoptic
because I’ve seen all the fads,
and really, it’s sadly too bad
about those poor old
But you know what?
even after all of this,
it would be dishonest of me to brag
that I know much
about women at all
because I'm really a total ignoramus
and I'm just another work in progress.
happiness is all i want
it's not a front
or something i can roll in a blunt
not something i can drink
not something to eat
or a quick feel
not a tug on the reel
a new steering wheel
but it's what i want
and i'm gonna find it
trying to figure out where to look
i've read a number of books
to see what in the world
i saw it in a kid
he was riding his bike
and another little boy with his father
flying a kite
i saw it in the face
of the kenyan who won the boston marathon race
i saw it in the eyes
of a young couple
and it was two guys
i see it in the sun
in the beaming rays
when it goes on my face
my face gets grazed
i smell it in the kitchen
mother's cooking dinner
the roast is in the oven
and the dog is by her side
i saw it in her face
in her eyes
when we came home from work
she'd jump off the couch
in a very quick spurt
and start barking
i miss it
i wish it was staying
i'm gonna find it
no matter how hard i try
i'm going to make it
through the world i'll glide
i always strive
but how do i get it?
do i stop try?
or go harder?
travel waters unchartered
by any boat, bus, or marta
i seek happiness
it'll make me smarter
i'd rather it not
have a price
can't be bought
is all i sought
all i seek
and in the future i dream
Mummy what's for breakfast?
My tummy starts to ramble
Can you hear?
Hurry mom!! Soon I will have gas..
and gas is trouble... trouble...
Oh my poor child...
Come in the kitchen..
Pass me the Gardenia bread...
all i need is 8 slices of bread
a cup of low fat milk
one fresh egg
3 tablespoonful of brown sugar
and a pinch of salt..
Walla here's the mixer,
mix it well my child..
Now help me put the slices in a tin
A dash of cinnamon, in every slices
and here we are raisins on the top...
Help mummy with steamer now dear
everything is set....
In less than 20 minutes..
We will get your tummy settled....
Breakkfast! Rise and Shine!!!!
Beauty is not flowers, given by a lover.
Nor is it meadows and birdsong.
And definitely not the pantomime of Weddings, with their
Hyperbolic declarations and parodies of tailoring on
Bodies too well-fed to house them.
Instead, it is the soft curl of cigarette smoke, blue
And graceful against the grime of a steamed window.
Or in a poky kitchen, the remains of our meal crusting on
Our plates, too absorbed were we in conversation
To even remember the taste.
It is the chuntered breath, just after,
When we are both trying to ignore how bad
We smell, and getting slightly annoyed that our heartbeats are out of sync
And thinking how nice a drink or a shower would be.
It is seagulls beside a river, in a military line, with
White trails of shit, Jackson Pollocking down the wall
On which they stood, and how they all took flight one by one
Like dominoes as I approached.
It is certainly not sunsets. After all, they occur every day
And can be captured in a photogaph. It’s the accompanying silence
That makes sunsets special, and that is better found in libraries anyway.
It is somehow more impressive to silence human tongues than watch
The suns tired routine once again.
On a bus full of rowdy, starched schoolboys with filmy faces,
Posturing about experience, Beauty is the one boy reading.
Beauty is not safety. It is daring and bold. Or perhaps it is quiet and
Trying to be ignored, I don’t know. Perhaps we shouldn’t care a jot.
Beauty is that thing that should be ugly,
But is not.
the last time i was home
to see my mother we kissed
and unpleasantries pulled a warm
comforting silence around
us and read separate books
i remember the first time
i consciously saw her
we were living in a three room
apartment on burns avenue
mommy always sat in the dark
i don’t know how i knew that but she did
that night i stumbled into the kitchen
maybe because i’ve always been
a night person or perhaps because i had wet
she was sitting on a chair
the room was bathed in moonlight diffused through
those thousands of panes landlords who rented
to people with children were prone to put in windows
she may have been smoking but maybe not
her hair was three-quarters her height
which made me a strong believer in the samson myth
and very black
i’m sure i just hung there by the door
i remember thinking: what a beautiful lady
she was very deliberately waiting
perhaps for my father to come home
from his night job or maybe for a dream
that had promised to come by
“come here” she said “i’ll teach you
a poem: i see the moon
the moon sees me
god bless the moon
and god bless me”
i taught it to my son
who recited it for her
just to say we must learn
to bear the pleasures
as we have borne the pains
Nikki Giovanni, “Mothers” from My House. Copyright © 1972 by Nikki Giovanni.
2 cups of atta flour
mix it with a cup of lukewarm water
add a pinch of salt
Ready to knead the dough
Knead it soft, knead it hard
Throw it on the air
Roll it on the table
Rest it for sometime
While you check on your curry
Perfect TENGGIRI fish curry
Put it in microwave, Nuke it
the aroma fills the air...
Smells good... salive drops oppss...
Heat the pan now dear
8 chapati all together fresh in a bowl
one by one roll it well
make it really round
a little bit of ghee, hmm... smells like heaven
my daughter waits with a plate in her hand
one chapati ready,
two chapati ready,
three chapati ready,
Mummy I leave the plate on the table now
I want to switch on the tv
My daughter comes back
all three chapati are stolen...
She screams out loud
WHO STOLE MY CHAPATI?????
And the chapati war begins.....
Even in the clutter of chores
In the whistle of pressure cooker
In the clash of dishes and utensils
In the aroma of spices
In the color of vegetables
In the routines along the kitchen platform
In the rich gravies and the brew of juices!
Look out for yourself
In the clean mirrors
Along that fine line of kohl
In the strokes of the mascara
Over the gloss of lip shades
In that dot of bindi
Hold on to yourself
In the newness
With time, space and people
Molt...not skin off!
Wear a new color over the base...de-color not!
Even in the dark
Can you not see thy radiant self
Glowing appraised from within!
You be your master
Look for traces of yourself
In your eye's mirror!
Of late, I am into such a transforming mode....
Enjoying the newness of life and also the path of finding my own different self!!
I am experiencing the human condition
Or I would be, if I knew what such a thing was.
They say poetry is an art form designed to show emotion
emotion of course representing such a thing as a human condition
but my poem is broken
I must insert 25 ccs of suffering more,
50 ccs of subtlety more,
and 100 ccs of emotion more,
not to mention the 600 mg of lithium,
the 25 µg of Wellbutrin,
and the 100 mg of synthroid I put in myself.
But my poem is broken.
And if poetry is a form of the human condition
and I cannot form my poem
then I cannot form the human condition.
This is an inevitable factor in the world of man
most people tend to forget it, but it is so
the more I cut myself off from the world around me
the more I become what the world needs from me.
Then comes righteous silence.
Silence is golden but only in small amounts
Silence is only golden when the faux silver of duct tape must
simply not do.
Emotion is a human condition, but I must take the pills.
After all, if these pills are not effective,
they’ll simply electroshock my brain
in order to find my human condition
Who am I?
Why am I here?
Forget these questions--
hey, hand me another beer.
But surely--or Shirley--the animal crackers in my soup
are just as sick and tired as I of being a pawn--
afraid of the magic space wizard destroying us all--
they are just as afraid of the inevitable,
that indeed, everything all along has been true
and tis all forbidden
Afraid that perhaps the friendly raccoon’s intentions
are not so honest as they appear when we first move
to our new woodland home
Perhaps my animal crackers in my soup
are more afraid I will lose myself
as I stumble down the rabbit hole
looking for the man who burned down my home
only to discover he truly was the innocent
(In this crime, at least)
Or perhaps as I stare these pills down,
muting my human condition has come easier;
no longer am I attacked by strange men
for a golden woman carrying a blue staff
No long must I boldly proclaim
that I’ll go out through my kitchen
when indeed, for someone with my body
(human condition aside)
belongs there, if only to make a sandwich.
If only there was a dictionary definition in the back
of every high school textbook
and we are made to ‘put it in our own words.’
Defining what should be such a simple thing
should be rather easy then.
But nobody said it was easy.
We were all told that we were special
but I have come to the conclusion that
saying everybody is special is really saying
that nobody is.
And if nobody is special,
should not our own human condition be the same?
or is is simply that no,
humans are manufactured on a mass-produced scale
for the pleasure of those powers that be?
Yes, they have a tough game with tough rules,
and they’ll win (and I’ll always lose)
but am I a design flaw? Something wrong in manufacturing?
I’ve traveled to these human distribution centers
and there were many babies wrapped
in blue or pink cloth dictating from birth
a key aspect where the human in question
has no choice.
And their human condition has been dictated to them
but I paid no mind
(I ignored the stains on)
I allowed human condition to be dictated,
knowing most of these children will grow to be
a design flaw like me.
And waiting on a mother swan to come
and tell me I am beautiful, and indeed
I have been in the wrong place the entire time.
And as I left this distribution center
of humans, and the human condition
I asked myself
“What god would make this world?”
“What god would make this world
with so much suffering and pain and make us
unable to identify for fear of what will happen to us?”
“Was it an angry teenaged god who played a game
only to find that his friends were murdered around his ears
and he must have to build this universe by himself?”
“Was it a god who lived in a world all alone
only to hate any form of life beyond himself?”
And as I asked myself these questions
I prayed that it wasn’t true.
That maybe, this is just exclusive to my
inability to find my human condition.