10.27.2015

poem: parallel lines

parallel lines


I used to think
I needed
love
to come to me
in order to breathe.

looking back
I see how
I gave it away
too much
too easily.

I want us
to love
each other
without
having to
say it.

I want it
to exist
simultaneously
instead
of waiting
to get it
so that
I can
give
it back.

love
should be
circular
not
linear.

but
it seems that
that is how
we have
taught
each other.

we used to
love
in parallel lines
that would
cross
like
an embrace.

now
we dance
in circles
around
each other
to avoid
intersecting.

I don’t know
how
to go back
to the
starting line,

if we
can ever
make
shapes
with the
geometry
of us
again.

10.26.2015

café ramblings



this past saturday was amazing. my book "launched" and I was really fortunate to be able to read some of my poems in front of real-life people. it was a very validating experience for me...to feel like people really thought my work was good and maybe even like it is art.

I can feel the creative energy of this vata season flowing. I was writing in my head (as usual) while driving to work this morning. it turned out to be (at least for right now) two separate poems that I was somehow writing simultaneously... well, in my head, at the time, it was one poem, but once I got to work and actually had a chance to start writing in earnest, the lines became two different poems. they're still rough right now, so I feel like I need to give them a little room to breathe and grow before I share them.



I'm also reading this amazing book of poems by maggie royer called the no you never listened to. it's soooooooo good. so good. so.good. it's extremely raw and honest and even though I've not had the same experiences as her (as the poems revolve around her sexual assault) I can relate to her honest, vulnerable purging. and reading good stuff makes me more creative, and ultimately a better writer. number one rule of writing: read. read. and read more.



I'm sitting in this little local café as I write (madhavi is participating in a scholastic competition down the street) and there's all of this amazing art on the wall and a fire place going and an espresso machine making frothy sounds and hip music playing (well, it was hip, but hootie and the blowfish just came on... seriously?!)... and as I was just about to start writing about how I've come to the realization that living a "writer's life" would probably be too hard for me... I started to feel a burn in my chest like it's the thing that I want more than anything. to sit and write. to feel as comfortable and at peace as I do right now in this moment all of the time. but I guess real life isn't really like a coffee house, right?

at the stay gold café and lounge in belmar, nj



10.20.2015

alternate endings

I wrote this poem a few days ago, but can't decide what to do with the end. here are both versions. just because.

version #1

***

survivor's guilt

it's something I
     cannot fathom
being a survivor
                 of you.
when I
           inadvertently
                               encounter
            a photo
            of you and
                        your latest
            victim
I do not feel sad
        that I got
             out,
        that I survived
               and she might not.
instead I think
                to myself
I'm so glad
that it's someone
else in the fire
and not me.

***
version #2

***

survivor's guilt

it's something I
     cannot fathom
being a survivor
                 of you.
when I
           inadvertently
                               encounter
            a photo
            of you and
                        your latest
            victim
I do not feel sad
        that I got
             out,
        that I survived
               and she might not.
instead I think
                to myself
better
        her
            than
                  me.

10.08.2015

working my way through $100 worth of magazines and existential crises

my day in a nutshell. yes those are tween fancy cat ears. 
I recently went on a bender at barnes and noble and spent an insane amount of money on, yes, magazines. and when you buy super pretentious magazines and actually read them, it takes a long time to get through them. anywho, one of my purchases is always poets & writers. I don't know why... I honestly only read bits of it. I realized as I was flipping through it today that I found myself basking in the mfa ads...daydreaming and wishing and regretting that time back in 1999 when I had a full naropa application filled-out and ready to go, and then I didn't send it. shrug. I don't even remember why... but if I had done it then, I'd have my mfa already! and then I think about how I applied to the nyu mfa program and didn't get in. oh, but then I think about how I applied to the farleigh dickenson program and got in... and then didn't go because gita had just been born and I couldn't go to the residency... I don't know. part of me feels like what's the point? #doublerahu and no expectations of success, right? but then part of me feels like #yolo, wtf, why not?

I don't know. my husband would probably kill me if I even mentioned going back to school. plus, why do I even want to do it? you don't need an mfa to be a writer. and I'm already teaching at the college level (well, albeit community college adjuncting...). is it just for my ego? maybe. probably. but what else is there, really? I know that I'm on a professional treadmill right now. I'm runningrunningrunning and getting absolutely nowhere (thanks, rahu). but I could get an mfa and still go nowhere - as was proven by paying a lot of money and spending a lot of time getting my master's in school counseling - oh, right, I'm supposed to be a school counselor right now but my karma sucks and I'm not!

so, yea. back to I don't know. what if I just picked three programs and applied? just threw it up in the air and waited to see where it all landed? it's something to do, if nothing else. right?

10.07.2015

blank

it's not so much that my mind is blank as much as it is just exhausted. I feel like if I can't give you, dear reader, something of quality then why even write? but then again, when am I ever giving you, dear reader, something of quality? ha! this whole week has felt very nonstop. I feel like I spent the whole day doing stuff, but I have very little to show for it. and tomorrow is going to be a long day too - one I'm not particularly looking forward to either.

remember that show where the girl could freeze time? what was the name of that show?! anyway, sometimes I wish I could do that. I think she used to like snap her fingers or clap her hands or something and then all-of-a-sudden everyone but her would freeze. I need that. so I can freeze time and take a damn nap!

I guess I shouldn't hold my breath though, right?

10.06.2015

lists are my go-to

some pieces of today.

1. as I already inquired on fb: how is it only tuesday?! (this was actually one of my first thoughts this morning)

2. I thought the bhutas didn't come out during the brahma muhurta? I swear I got clamped this morning - around 5ish. it felt really real. but then again, maybe it was just part of my dream? - which was also super weird. but I don't remember it clearly enough to explain. but I do remember feeling like I was shouting the maha-mantra and "RADHE RADHE!!" really loud, but I wasn't because I wasn't actually awake... and I was feeling the clamp!

3. I hate the new credit cards with the chips in them that you have to stick into the machine and leave there. it really irks me for some reason.

4. ever not remember what you did in the shower? like you're standing there and all of a sudden you're like, "whoa, wait a minute? did I shampoo my hair already??" yea, I'm pretty sure I washed my face twice this morning.

5. I need like three more hours in a day. maybe four, actually. even if I spend them doing nothing or sleeping, I still need them.

6. I ordered 51 copies of my poetry book today. it's weird. and scary. and crazy. and idk and stuff.

7. now that it's getting crisper outside, we don't leave tulsi out or put her out in the morning. so she doesn't go outside until I get home. I moved her three different times so she could get some direct sunlight.

8. is it friday yet?

9. I wore the bunny dress today.


hey little guy.

10.05.2015

freewrite: sooooooo...

I had no idea what to write, so I just started writing. this is very disjointed and flow of consciousness - welcome to my brain. ha! anyway, writing every day is hard. when I asked gita what I should write about she said "cows burping". so yea, you can see where that ended up.

***

so, yea. here I am. again. my little office is cold year round it seems. in the summer our downstairs holds the cold from the a/c, and it seems like in the colder months it will be harder to keep warm. but I'm here none the less. my eyes are heavy. I meant to iron my dress for tomorrow - a cute black babydoll/swing style dress with grey bunnies. but now I'm too tired. I guess I'll wear something less wrinkley. I've been going pretty much nonstop since I got home from work - where I also feel like I was goinggoinggoing all day. though most of my "going" at work seems to be while sitting at my desk. when I think back, I didn't do anything particularly strenuous - I'm reading A Child Called "It" with my residents and we blazed through 27 pages. that's a lot for them to read in one sitting - it's basically reading bell-to-bell, which is intense for them. but we all want to be finished with the book so badly that they just powered through. I did some online browsing. madhavi needs jeans. there is a shirt from american eagle that I've been eyeing since the summer. I'm almost finished with the book I'm reading and trying to decide what is next, which means amazon scrolling. but I didn't buy anything. then checking emails, balancing my checkbook, grading papers, making some last minute changes to my poetry book manuscript. and then all of a sudden I'm home goinggoinggoing. emptying the dishwasher, chanting my japa, bringing the ladies to go get pumpkins, then making dinner - monday is one of my only free nights at home, so it's one of the only nights I have to cook. tonight was cornbread and four bean chili. plus gita needed a new batch of soup - she only eats lentil soup, basically. so there has to be some ready for her thermos for lunch tomorrow. I had to just go up to say goodnight to gita and she kept answering everything with "humpback whale" attached. like I said, "goodnight, gita. please stay in your bed tonight." and she replied, "ok humpback whale!" umm, ok? ha! she's such a weirdo, especially when she's punch-drunk tired. I think I'm going to end now. I've been trying to make a habit of reading for 30ish minutes when I'm home in the evenings, from 7:30-8. it doesn't happen every night, since, as I already said, I'm not home every evening, but it's nice to do when I'm here. so yea, I'm going to do that now. read, drink this cup of tea, and then zone out.

10.04.2015

thanks, rahu.

I've known for a while now that my next major astrological period wasn't going to be a good one. and it's all about one planet: rahu.


I don't remember doing this, but I apparently endorse "rahu for president 2033"

I've been trying to keep a positive attitude about the whole thing - one astrologer (not the one I'm currently taking advice from) told me this would be a good time for me - spiritually. though we all know that a "good time spiritually" usually means lots of material suffering, so that's kind of a trap. ha! needless to say, since my rahu period started back in May of this year, things haven't been all that peachy. so I figured it might be good to reach out to my astrologer in vrndavan and see what's up and if maybe there was anything to be done (and by anything, I mean a fire yajna. if you're not familiar with what this means, the quick explanation is that the astrologer, who is also a high-class priest, does sacrifices of different articles (not animals!) while chanting mantras for a period of time (sometimes many days) in order to calm or appease the malefic planet in question.). I emailed him the other day and finally got to skype with him yesterday. as a side note, skyping with someone who is in vrndavan is kind of awesome just by itself - it's like vrndavan coming through the computer!!!

actually, first I got a disconcerting email from him that quickly explained that my rahu period would go from 2015-2033 and it "doesn't seem good period for you". I don't know about you, but an 18 year period that doesn't look good is kind of terrifying. luckily, even though he was real with me about it, he kind of settled my anxiety a little.

maybe I should make a short explanation of why rahu is bad. I don't know the whole story completely, but my understanding is that back in the day, rahu wanted to drink amrita - which is like the holiest nectar of the gods. the sun and moon saw this and they were like, "oh hell no!" and went and told vishnu, who swiftly cut off rahu's head before the nectar could be ingested. rahu felt some type of way about how the sun and moon snitched on him, so he's made it his (eternal) life's mission to battle them at all times.

this is important because some people say rahu isn't inherently bad. or that they had a rahu period and it wasn't bad at all - that maybe they actually had lots of positive things happen. of course, as with an astrological situation, it's a person-to-person situation. it just so happens that my major issue with rahu stems from the fact that the sun is my ruling planet and sits happily in my first house. so when rahu comes along, he just wants to fight with the sun. you know, because snitches get stitches.

but I digress.

first the kind of badbad news. I'm not only in an 18 year major rahu period, but a three year rahu sub period. double trouble rahu. this means that basically the next three years are going to suck ass. my astrologer said to basically have zero expectations of a positive outcome for anything. I won't feel like myself. he equated it to being in a really fast car that's stuck in traffic - it just wants to go, but literally can't. I can look forward to my mind being in a fog and feeling really depressed. oh, and probable marital difficulties. that's always a bonus. he emphasized that this is not the real me, and that I will often think to myself, "what is happening to me!?" and people will start to act differently towards me. so much to look forward tom right?!

and if this all wasn't totally awesome, then came the answer to one of my major questions - about my health. I was careful to not give him too much detail as I wanted to see what he was going to say. so I just alluded to the fact that I've been having some health issues that I was really concerned about and whether or not there was a connection. without telling him anything more than that he explained how rahu sits in the first house looking down at the seventh house and this explains problems with the lower organs. plus, each planet rules an internal part of the body (sun=life airs, moon=mind, etc) and rahu resides in the lower organs. this basically explains everything - last year my papsmear (sorry if this is tmi, but whatever) came back abnormal. I had pre-cancerous cells that had to be removed. this was, of course, terrifying. and the procedure was not only painful, but left me unable to do any kind of physical exercise for almost two months. when I went back for my follow-up pap, it came back clear, so I naturally relaxed a bit. I just recently went back for my annual check-up and my swab came back abnormal again. my doctor explained that the levels weren't as high as last year, which is good. but he was concerned enough to do a biopsy. luckily, the biopsy didn't show high levels of the cells, so he wants to just wait. but still. I'm simultaneously freaking out and in denial. but good old rahu is apparently hard at work in there.

so what's to do? I'll have a rahu yajna done - an 8-day fire sacrifice that will hopefully keep him from banging on the door for at least a year. my astrologer says I'll probably have to do one every year just keep rahu in check. I guess if that's what it takes. it seems like it's either that or putting some rocks in my pockets and walking to the river.

in the spirit of keeping everything on the light side, here are my proposed tshirt designs for #doublerahu20152018



10.03.2015

meh.

the problem with trying to write every day is that I have to actually have something to write about. I suppose I actually have a ton of things I could write about, but writing requires a certain kind of energy that I just don't feel like I have tonight... or most of the time for that matter, which is probably why I don't do it as much as I should. I'm not sure how I feel about the fact that a good portion of my writing has become just making lists. five things I did today; ten things that annoy me; today's to-do list; what I need from the grocery store, etc. it is what it is, I suppose. maybe I should just be grateful for the process and just do it without overthinking or talking about doing it.

five things I did today:

* skyped with my astrologer (a whole post in itself!)

* went to a lovely baby shower brunch

* took a bad-ass nap

* took gita to get her halloween costume

* kept breathing.

I guess that's that for today.


10.02.2015

lilith fair

this afternoon while I was driving madhavi to her dad's for the weekend, I got the urge to put on some music. I often drive in silence so as to better hear the chatter in my brain - but it felt too quiet all around. I couldn't really decide what to put on and as I was thinking about it, this conversation I had with two of my god-siblings popped into my head. we were eating lunch together one afternoon this past august at the bhakti immersion retreat, chitchatting and prajalpa-ing and though I can't completely remember the context, I said something about how I never really listened to hard-core music before I met the devotees. I think in my first year or so as a new bhaktin, I listened to a little shelter and 108, but meh, not my speed. so the obvious question from my friends was about what kind of music I was into. I'm always a little embarrassed to answer this question, because there aren't many devotees who share my musical taste (for some very odd reason). I think I answered something like, "I don't know, like girlie music - tori amos, alanis morissette... like that." they both kind of laughed and one of them said, "so like lilith fair music?" and then we all kind of laughed together - though I think they were both laughing at me. ha!

anyway, stream of consciousness... this made me think of ani difranco and I realized I hadn't listened to her in forever! so I put on some playlist that I made ages ago and just soaked up how awesome she is. how could I forget???

madhavi didn't like her at first - but after a few songs in she said she wasn't so bad. and then I was thinking how I should make her a playlist of awesome 90s(ish) girl music...I mean, taylor swift is great and stuff... but she wouldn't be so awesome if it wasn't for the ladies who came before her!

I have to really think about it more, but here are a few of the songs I would put on the playlist:

* tori amos - silent all these years

* alanis morissette - head over feet (but acoustic... because.)

* fiona apple - sleep to dream

* pj harvey - man-size

* ani difranco - both hands

* bjork - like someone in love

* liz phair - extraordinary

* lisa loeb - stay

* natalie merchant - carnival

there are so many more I could add. these were just the first artists/songs that popped into my head. and if I added more recent stuff, this list could go on and on! #90sforlife ha!


90s girlie music me. taken at the talent show my junior year, when my band, ophelia's soupe, won playing a tori amos song! 

p.s. I've never been to the lilith fair. just for the record.

10.01.2015

coffee is a choice

I've been thinking about blogging for the past few days. I have time during the day when I can, but I usually just spend a lot of my day wasting time on tiny bits of nonsense here and there. under my picture on the right hand side over there ----> it says something about "seeking sanity through writing" and I was thinking how I hardly ever write. not that blogging has to be exclusively the way I write or create... but my point is that if I'm not doing it, then I can't complain about not feeling sane - whatever that means!

at some point today I realized that today is the first of october and the beginning of the month is always a great time to start projects and stuff. so I thought why not just write today...? actually, my first thought was that I should try to write something every day this month. but I'm hesitant to say that or commit to it. because we all know how much I'm not so great at sticking to things like that. but maybe I will. who knows. it would be really good for me, I think, if I did.

here is a list of things that I don't do regularly that I think that if I did I would be more calm, peaceful, and sane.

* write

* yoga-asana

* read for pleasure

* take a bath at night

* breathe deep

* eat whole, healthful foods

* be silent and more internal

* go to the temple and be in the association of devotees and friends


why don't I do these things? or some of these things more regularly? none of them in-and-of-themselves are complicated or hard. I don't know. I think my excuse for so many years (at least for some) was that we lived in that teeny-tiny condo and I didn't have a proper space for myself. but now we're in our house and I have this super awesome and fabulous office/yoga space that is ALL MINE! and honestly, I'm so grateful for it. I honestly feel so peaceful sitting in here. granted, it's only been within the past week or so that it's really been "together". I had it mostly cleaned up, with the exception of a few things, but I spent time organizing more last week and now it's even more peaceful.

so what's my excuse now? I think my emo-bi-polar moods often influence my laziness. it feels so much easier to crawl up into a little ball watching dr. phil while eating nachos than it does to turn my brain on and do other things. but even as I write that, it doesn't make sense. I don't know. maybe I don't have an answer. or maybe I just have deep samskaras that I haven't worked my way out of yet, much like a drug addict. shrug.

but why dwell? I'm here now. and for this moment that's all that counts.

oh, hey. just sitting at my desk writing in my office.

p.s. I didn't know what to title this post. I overheard gita telling my husband "coffee is a choice!" I don't know what she was talking about, or even if that's what she actually said, but it sounded funny, so why not?