This poem was published(?) in the Positive Spaces anthology, a collaboration between Kinaara literary magazine and Open Spaces India, in early 2011. This is an audio performance of the poem.
upward from the skin of my feet, greying and insecure, patched
and weaving, veins overstrung, ocean-flow
and covered. i cover the skin of my lips, frozen over in
memory of summer, crack, this sheen of wetness
to freeze closer.
upward from the metal, rings tossed, marked by
the corrosion of water-met solid: the grit of rust on tongue,
the arch of teeth into gums. upward from the red-tinted
world i see through sequins, this screen i do not know the word
upward from the press of colors mixed,
eyes fixed in spectrum,
the unruly eyebrows with their
foreign sweep. foreign
as designer patches, brown and rough, "made to be fad-
-ed," the ooze of thong, of ass, of coiled stomach.
upward from this, these yellow popcorn smells of
sector seventeen heyday.
like red sand and stories gunned into rough paper
i tease memory, forgetting the slap of soft water and
the rings around the plastic mugs, buckets. upward from
the deepset stones of my floor, the whirs of fans against
the sudden claustrophobia of shine.
it's all so new and strange these days
i am my space, i am my space.
bedraggled curtains versus the lacquer, the certified
departmentalstore goodbra. purple stains
and mosquito bites. i am my space.
upward – you know the brown ring around the
tube -- IVs running heat, frothing, to collect.
i am my space.
upward from the patch, the stickers on walls, the
posters, upward from muppets, nickelodeon, marykateandashley,
upward from handmedown dresses, dreams of paris,
tapes of abba, upward –
always running upward –
i cover the skin of my lips, the skin of my feet,
the skin of my hands, you look white, i cover i bare my
indian skin, of course you're indian, i bare my collarbones
i shrink inside my "ethnic"
clothing, i weave through ready markets with half-heard
language unlearned, i shrink inside my skin
this is my own space