Believe: Noorulain, Tearz, Jennifer, Julie - aaduna's NPM, Day 20


I carefully curved you in an arc,
your eyes and the wrinkle between them,
bathed you in India ink and rolled you thin,
sewed you into patterns, into poems.

Now, I dream of using the tip of my blunt needle
and my pinpricked thumb
to release you from this prison of my creation,
and let you diffuse away like jasmine scent
carried by our old city’s heavy-handed breezes.

Maybe I would find you then
on an indistinguishable road of this metropolis,
see you from afar and recognize
your eyes and the wrinkle between them,
the one I sewed and kissed and loved. But,
in the clamor of people and their voices,
will you hear me when I call your name?

I could just as easily lose you
in foreign faces on foreign shores,
if I unstitch each stitch
in rough canvases of old and new poems,
without form, without borders, without even origins.

I have nested too long in this land of polite distance
where I found you, at last.
I have forgotten
the city where mule carts roam the streets
and horse-drawn carriages swerve amidst cars,
the smells of recycled oil, street food,
the sight of naked children in monsoon rain,
old lessons and sweltering summers –
all lost in my penance of piecing you together
stitch by stitch.

Perhaps atonement lies in searching
for a way that takes me back
to the city in which we were born but not acquainted,
to pigeon cages and henna-covered virgin hands,
to you in your youth without the wrinkle
between your eyes,
to me in my youth without the grief
I have penned.

Now, I begin to unthread each word,
cut loose each suture,
so you can find your way home -
but remember
our childhoods we left behind
in the city of Ravi, of jasmines, of monsoons.

I will make my way back,
defenseless on air currents or in a stoic ocean liner,
traversing my fears over thousands of miles.
And then I will find you again
where I was meant to find you the first time – years ago –
amidst the pale pungency of smells and sights that we will relearn,
among native faces and rutted roads and littered rivers,
a chance meeting between two poets.

© 2014 Noorulain Noor                     
Milpitas, California                

Noorulain Noor (photo provided)

* * *


My thoughts collide, in the rec-yard of my mind’s prison
   I really don’t speak at all, what you hear are the inmates screaming
     These pages free-weights, forty-five plates
          I’m really just exercising demons

 And they think I changed my name to Tearz, because I cry across lines
    Shit, I die across lines
      My fonts change from cursive to gothic to wedding script then flat lined….
       This wasn’t intended for entertainment
Personal scrolls and lost letters a most intimate recital
  Passionate pages and piece ripped from my heart’s sacred Bible

My emotions have a way of taking control….
  Because I played piano in the dark for months 
                               just to hear my own notes echo off the walls of your soul
 Your love was tone-deaf…no harmony, no melody
                      Your bass lines never changed….
My jazz music the soundtrack for relationships that started dysfunctional
                                                       And ended estranged
And all I ever had in this world was empty pages…

So I composed to the rain stopped,
                                            Til’ all my pain stopped
                                                Through the random beat of gun shots
I prayed this out on my knees every night before I went to sleep
                 That’s why I skipped church on Sunday’s
                                     And testified in Coffee shops

These notebooks really hymnals full of songs for lonely lovers
       Turn the lights out, watch these words take life
                    You’ll find my heart beats through the covers
And I lost faith back when life killed my dreams…..
    Underneath these streetlights tears stream
      Yet through it all, I still learned to write and dream….
         Since way back when roses were read and violets were blue
             Before my thoughts grew from seeds and mutated
                 And my poetry started to trouble you

I still bleed to give my emotions a voice and clear the smog from my skies   powder blue
Until the clouds scream my name…
  Until my girlfriend’s parents see that I’m more than just
                                                                          “a phase she’s going through”

I learned to write and dream at the exact same time, transfer the images down my arm
This whole piece is the result of rapid hand movement
I learned to write with broken fingers, and to find comfort in the soulful lyrics
    Of blues singers
My lifestyle is obsessive compulsive, lit candles with therapeutic rituals
   My contents under pressure aerosol my thoughts
                 I only speak to exhale graffiti murals
                              For a world with no appreciation for art..

On the roof top drinking Easy Jesus, high as angels
                                           We were, “down for whatever”
Until that shot gun ripped through his North Face coat
                  And all you saw was the blood and the feathers.

And it was I with the ripped shirt and the two pair of jeans
    It was I who ain’t ate in three or four days
                                            My hunger starved my nutritional dreams
And it was I with the sheets in the window
     Frozen in alcoholic leans

So these pieces, my pages origami to form, waffle cones at night
    Just to support my thirty-one “I” screams
And my lifestyle built to struggle and dream so my character streams
     And…… my inner child?

My inner child was in the back of your class eating crayons
                 Just trying to add some color to his fantasies.

© 2014 Tearz                                     
Rochester, New York   


 View "Covenant" as Spoken Word:


© 2014 Tearz                                     
Rochester, New York   

* * *


Today we bring you home from
hospitalhell bundled in blankets.
I turn off cartoons
put my toys away
make some dinner (just in case)
stand at the doorway, thin arms trembling
as you roll to your bedroom
in a medicated yellowwhite haze
and do not see my new salvation army shoes.

You call my name, so I help you in bed
brush the hair from your eyes
kiss your forehead.
I wonder who’s tucking my brother in tonight
who’s wiping his angry tears away
and you, sleeptites in your eyes,
don’t ask me where he is.

At four o’clock we change your diaper.
I empty the pee jug by your bed
and try not to splatter on my shoes.
I heat your food
feed it to you with a small spoon
wipe the dribble from your chin.
I heard a lullaby on the Saturday cartoons
so I sing it to you as you drift.

Do you hear me where you are?
Can you feel the warmth of my unformed breasts
as I tuck my body to your side,
holding my breath so it won’t wake you.
Do you sense my small hand on your stomach
pushing in
letting out
pushing in.

Tomorrow we will take you
back to the hospital
and when you can think no more,
they will ask for my consent
to end your pain,
and I may be haunted
           by the flat tone_____________________________

© 2014 Jennifer Wolfe                                  
Edina, Minnesota                   

Jennifer Wolfe (photo provided)

* * *

litany against the silence
– for Trayvon, Emmett, Tamir

I am barrel bound    white silence stuffed   in my mouth   
(handkerchief of fear)
handkerchief of     hesitation-what-if   I

offend you what if I cause disruption   clamor   bilious  
pain   here I am
innocuous instead   self-titled helpless — no
I’ll screech       I’ll keen   open my arms and leap too into
that ring of crash and furl   with the little headlamp
of what I know   each life is cloud-covered   strange    inopportune

and each breath of each is a revered gasp     a glory half
formed from blood on the root     and at the knees — wretched   torn 
away     from touch   to screen   to scream   to spectacle

under terraces   of shun   and shadow   blinded by
sidestep   misdirection   frozen snow —  melted  only
by the underground   smoldering coal     of how we care

© 2017 Julie Ascarrunz                      
Lafayette, Colorado       

Julie Ascarrunz (photo provided)

 *   *   *
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