Poetry: Anita Nahal

Anita Nahal
 Hard: Us, animals, and the aliens

The cage was hard,
tight, barely visible to some, here, there, in this world or not.
She wasn’t sure if she was an animal? If so, which?
Or was she an illegal immigrant? A criminal? What did she do?
“Let me out, let me out…”

The air seemed very close. Where’d the ozone gone?
The cage seemed artificial. Like a GMO.
The cage seemed fake. Like cosmetic implants.
“Hey, can you see me?”

The cage swung nosily on its hinges, rising with each
hard push. The cage was hard. Who was pushing so hard?
Exhausted from processing it all, she fell down onto tired slumber.
The watch was dead. And so was the car battery.

“Hey, do you know the time?” she asked hard footsteps near the hard cage.
Where did I keep my car keys? She scratched her dirty hair
What difference will it make? The dead car wasn’t gonna rise.
On all fours, she felt the solid, cold floor of the hard cage.

Some curious mice, some clueless cockroaches,
Some ruthless ants seemed to be minding their business.
Trying to not walk over her. She seemed too hard.
And it was already too hard in the damp cage crevices of theirs.

Some voices could be heard from afar. She did not know their language
“Hey, hey, whose there?”
Hard silence responded.
She pound it down to pulp and then swallowed it down her inhabitable throat.

Scars of many centuries roam among the particles
of creation, of ancient visitors, of planet volcanoes,
and formation big bangs.
Must be some very hard substances? Where were the hearts and emotions?

In a huge pot brews red
What’s underneath, not many want to know
She does. She says, “I may find my type there.
Maybe, beneath the fire they found a hard cave in which to survive?”

For now, she sits in a room with no lights turned on, except twinkling ones
The walls are not hard
The people are warm
Love is abundant.

Saturn might be moving quickly now. It’s taken many hard beats.
The silhouette of her black jeep outside calls
while droplets of tears, sweat and smiles glisten everywhere.
The overhead streetlight shows all. Hard giver. Hard seeker.


Chase away demons

Demons to the right
Demons to the left... Hey, Tennyson,
I gave em the marching orders...
The boots are heavy,
rains heavier,
the load we carry is sometimes, demonic.
Teeth barring, jaws clicking
No saluting,
just shaming.

Frost’s woods appear darker, shadier
More dense fog
More silence in the thick
More branches splitting at lightest touches,
and more innuendoes slithering into tiny spaces.
It’s tight
Not leaky
No air
Tough to breath.

I rise, again and again,
and the demons pull me down, again and again...
The trident in my hand
did not fall.
Neither did my grace.
I let the spilt milk run amok,
I wasn’t gonna be the one wiping it, again and again.

The head demon, stopped,
looked back and gave a nod.
Minor demons gathered around.
All heads were bobbling…

I looked away and sat on freedom,
on light breeze,
with perfumed flowers,
and a glass of red wine.
I bade goodnight.

No more demons to my right, nor to
the left flank they came.
Bitterness and anger have gone away,
so have the sadness and tears.
I nodded at demons all, gave a toothless smile.
And as I turned around,
I could hear the gather of dust,
the rusted blood,
and the bones crumbling upon one another.

It could be a scene from anyone’s movie.

Sweet adrenaline

Sometimes sweet adrenaline
keeps my eyes open.
I urge them to close
but they flutter, and open again and again.
Sweet from nothing but hopes and desires
being fanned,
being nudged.
And my skin pores feel blessed, always.
Even if not completely fulfilled.

Sometimes sweet adrenaline
keeps my heartbeats dancing.
I urge them to come back and sit
but they pretend not to have seen my gestures.
Sweet from nothing but hopes and desires
even when there’s no music,
there’s no dance floor.
And my heartbeats feel blessed, always.
Even if not completely fulfilled.

Pity, go take a hike…

A square shape
marked the spot at which
it sat in the “museum collection”
my parents jokingly called the old,
seventies record players cupboard.
My lips blew off the dust that stubbornly settled back on my face.
Relentless, I put on a vinyl by the iconic group, “No Losers”.

"Pity, go take a hike
Go take a hike
A hike, my man, a hike you take
No time to waste after the wake
It’s not gonna be me on the merry go ‘round
My honey’s missing on the turn around.
So, Pity, go take a hike
Even if it’s on a bike
Don’t come back to me
Till you are a mature tree, or better still, never to be."

"Pity, go take a hike
Go take a hike
A hike, my man, a hike you take
No time to waste after the wake…"

That song was playing loud and clear
when Pity stopped by the other day.
Sometimes it wakes up and starts jogging at odd times.
Knocking at my door, at odd times. Doesn’t sleep when it should.
“Don’t should me,” said Pity angrily at me.
“What’s got you so upset?” I asked gently putting my arm around its slouching shoulders.
“You aren’t disappointed in me, are you, just because I don’t say hi?”

Pity, heaved a sign, shook its feeble head and walked away, without a word.
The rock it was sitting upon was cold,
and the wind around it frozen.

Birds were sitting inaudibly, just staring into nothingness,
and the trees were hanging upside down.
But the fragrance of the classic old rose breathed itself down my nostrils
I took a deep Pranayama breath and let it go...

... misting the transparent ice in front.
As I wiped the haze, my fingers warming to an uplifted spirit
I saw chocolate ice cream,
peanut butter cookies, some Indian rice pudding, and other sugar heavies all vying to set the table.
Hindsight came in late, as always. “Well, I’m here, aren’t I?”
“Hurry up, hurry, it’s been too long…” said the sweets.
“Come quickly before the moment of healing passes.”

I wasn’t really dressed for company.
Nor did I feel like changing for company.
The screams and shouts, the laughter...the pleadings… grew louder,
and grabbing my slippers,
I ran out in my PJs
Duplicitous pity no longer getting away with games.
I had churned me some meditation as I hummed along…

"Pity, go take a hike
Go take a hike
A hike, my man, a hike you take
No time to waste after the wake
It’s not gonna be me on the merry go ‘round
As my honey’s missing on the turn around.
So, pity, go take a hike
Even if it’s on a bike
Don’t come back to me
Till you’ve become a mature tree, or better still, never to be."

"Pity, go take a hike
Go take a hike
A hike, my man, a hike you take
No time to waste after the wake…"

Remember, pencil drawings are not permanent

it’s not for me
to sketch your life
as it’s not what i
have lived, live or will, and
i may misjudge, misspeak,
but if you find
me knocking
at your door
i am there to learn more…


Fault lines, blurred lines

Most all we do fits, or tries to,
Within fault lines
Which mostly can be blurred…
And if my line, sometimes tipsy
Crosses over yours
I hope you will not kiss and tell, as then
The fault lines become
Starkly clear
And there is no room left
Even for reasonably liked
Blurred lines.


Democracy in decline

It’s not the here-there cavernous potholes
Nor the sometimes-dawdling services
Not even the sometimes 3rd-world-like public utilities
It’s the homelessness, and from diseases folks dying
In the “first of the first” world, that gets to me…
There are clear cyphers, all around, this proud democracy is in decline…

He walked in with very loose, smudgy pants
Halfway down his behind
He had no underwear
Only a big, torn, ashy blanket trying to cover himself
Besides that, his downward eyes
His soft murmur for coffee at the counter
His not looking at anyone
His incoherent mutterings
Talking with himself
Constant coughing...
Sent me spiraling into deep sadness
All over again…

Outside, a young woman was holding a sign…
“there is something wrong with America
where having food and health care are privileges
and owning guns is a right…



If you cannot cry
Knowing why I cry
If you cannot feel
My pain
My anguish
My truths
My lies
If you cannot cry
With me over my falls
Missteps, my faults...
If you cannot feel
Why I said and did something
If you cannot find your way back to me...seek me out

To convince me of your love
If you cannot cry
Knowing why I was sad
Or quiet,
Or harsh, or hurtful
If you don’t have the courage
To ask why...

If you cannot cry
Knowing why I cry
Then it’s not love.

Set straight

What if some of us are the color of wheat, brownie, or charcoal?
What if I am younger than you?
What if my gender is unlike yours?
What if some of us are not your race?
And…please… keep your eyes away from my breasts…
It’s the twenty-first century
Your senses antenna needs to be set straight
Your thoughts need to be stacked sensibly
Not just flying around like
Smashed dust particles in berserk haboobs
Or tired snowflakes in rude winds
Not just lying about like
Rusted pipes in an aging basement
Or old croutons in my salad…

Because, “people care about people who care about themselves”

Thus come…
Come to me now
with things
that bring acceptance to my
and make my
heart dance
arms soaring and all
with naked toes on dew dressed grass.

I let go…
I let go of
rusted anchors
of blame-steered looping ships, that loop, and loop,
and loop, loop, loop
regardless of back-bending yogini
that my goodness brings to your soul.
My soul just sits and waits, and waits,
And waits, waits, waits.

I don’t know your soul anymore. I know only mine,
because, “people care about people who care about themselves”.

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