i have my own weird story about Princess Diana. when she passed in August twenty years ago, i was living in western Nebraska. i loved my little job with a little family-owned motel near the base of the Scottsbluff National Monument. i remember thinking the day she died,
i've got to remember this. for whatever reason, i gazed at the heavens during a break in a little nook Clyde and Mary made for smokers. the sky
was baby blue, the clouds were clustered puffs of white, the sun was high noon, as perfect golden as any child could draw in primary colors all. i thought of Princess Di
dead. it truly was sad, how she went, the circumstantial evidence of a royalty marred by passive-aggressiveness by her in-laws. so many people die every day. some are famous, most are not.
her death affected me i just figured it was mostly because she was female, like me, and because she was such a shining light,
a true beauty in presentation of how great human beings can be when we follow our hearts, even if we are mocked or disparaged. she was an example, maybe, of someone who did rise
above it all. i took those moments that day to think about her briefly and then went back to work. then at night,
the dreams began coming about a month after she died in France. in one of them, she and i
talked at length in a treehouse together, with a flashlight between us, fireflies and stars our partners, truly a storybook kind of scene and in another, she was bloody, quiet
and i was the one mostly talking, telling her things would be all right as i tried to wipe the scarlet from her face. in still another dream, she was acting as though she was a lifelong friend and not a princess at all.
it was a mash of dreams from the heart of a woman only 31 years old, me, and she was running around in my psyche. i remember telling a few people about my dreams of Princess Diana.  
well later, in October,
i found out i was pregnant and the date of conception mirrored the day she died, right around that time, within one week, no more. the baby daddy found it wild. we both recalled late August well, for our own life events and for the funeral of a princess in England, the motherland of so many. at odd moments over the years, i
have recalled the closeness of her untimely death and then the heavensent and sweet birth of my little blond girl, the latter a long time dream come true.
i'm not suggesting anything mystical. it's one of those weird things in life that has discernible thought-worthy components. my daughter, like Diana, is beautiful.

Julia, one of many, many babies conceived in late August, 1997.

Sixteen's glow
now the river's flow
I love to swim

tepid and soft
she holds me aloft
I float on moonbeam.

Love to hold close
snuggle my nose
between her breasts

they aren't as high
but I mustn't lie
found no better rests.

No way I would hide
if not by my side
life feels a dull stuff

the unwritten rule
is she makes me full
so I'm never half.

By a simple glance
in a million one chance
we happened to meet

love I wouldn't call
not to make small
this undying habit.

The parched earth echoed the wails for the dead
as flames devoured the crowd of corpses
mouth agape with unquenched thirst.

The sky had mercilessly looked away
having spit fire on them down below
sparing not one waterhole on its way
and the mother if only she could
use her tears for the baby to drink
but her eyes had turned dry as the earth.

Yet dark as the depth of love
the King's pond mirrored the princess' face
and would still beam the moon in her eyes
strangely hiding from the wrath of the drought.

One night sleeping on her ivory bed
her silken skin cooled with rosewater
the princess heard a voice:

When the fury of God
blinds him to the pains of men
an angel rises to break his heart
stakes her life to rend heaven apart
so his tears on earth fall as rain.

The windless night was deadly quiet
watched by moon in awe wide eyed
the trees sparkled in firefly's light
when the princess stood by the pond's side.

For awhile her eyes roamed around
resting on the marble's gleam
the sleeping grass her sweet playground
a home smelling all earthly dream.

She felt like swimming through the air
love glowing warm in her peaceful eyes
till she reached the end of stairs
that bore her frame with deep sighs.

The heaven broke down with thunderous rain
the seeds sprouted filled field with green
upon that land wasn't a drought again
never before had such harvest been seen.

In the depth of night if you hear a cry
from the clouds pearly by dawn's embrace
know God's tears will fall from the sky
as dewdrops mourning the rain princess.

Julys have come and gone
in the hills of Shillong
and from the browned ORWO
the skinny boy with an oversized cap
smiles as if there's no tomorrow
but this moment
wrapped in fog and drizzle
holds everything within
the now filling life to the brim
making growth a needless shape
absurdly redundant
and never more real
than the eyes
peering from that shot of time
ecstatic in happiness
rejecting a future
too intangible
to be valuable.

Shillong is a hill station in the state of Meghalaya (abode of the clouds) in India.
This work is inspired from a photo of mine taken there in July, 1978, I chanced upon from an old album. I feel I've moved too far from that boy to bear his identity any more.

They bring with them the baggage of men
the lost children attempting pathetically
to recreate the aura of time long gone.

If you discount the roughness of skin
travel past the thick hedge of beard
penetrate the silt on the eroded eyes
you can delayer the hardened coats
and get to see  faces barely recognizable.

Some were once too close to be missed
their names and all
but most you could hardly recall
and it agonizes your thought
were they in the same class or not.

You smile till your jaws ache
fetching stories from the blue
dazzlingly colored and half true
for they are all in the mood
to joyfully succumb to falsehood.

You could tell from the body language
who's  in the backburner
and who on the front page.

Forty years break and make men
but they feign happiness
to be united again.

As the first drop fell on me
I looked up at the black canvas
gathering and rumbling ominously.

But there was supposed to be another
not far
but right over my head
to defend me against the weather
pattering insane
between me and the rain.

Did I by any chance
leave my umbrella here, sir?

I ran to the shopkeeper.

We all suffer this predicament
was his smiling statement
losing grip over our mind
letting things be left behind

and then came the mischievous addendum
as if my trouble had inspired his mood

go for good
once you let them go
woman and umbrella

they never again show.

Silhouettes emerge from the night lunar tide
lives still wriggling in their net
ghostly figures from the sea silken wide
reaping riches from the waves in spate.

The night a luminous smile wears
the belly is fired up for a bite
dried leaves would burn under stars
brewing another day under moonlight.

Mariners when not venturing into deep sea
release passions on the shallow shelf
harvest hope though the catch is measly
breathing in the winds the aroma of kelp.

I feel having long belonged to this place
wading breakers in the phosphorus' glow
gathering in my net a strange happiness
craving home when the tide is low.

Bankiput on Sea, April 8, 9pm
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