the last sin
  pale ashen sky
a bleary eye
clouds of recurring screams...
i am a zoo
  an octopus leviathan
tentacles into an ocean
of unformed emotions...
syphilis and love  
  syphilitic pall
stifles the clear blue
i contort...
shell and pearl
  amidst highs and lows
in life's ocean flows
a shell peony-mouthed...
i am an unmarried mother
  fed on stings
of barbed milk morality
my child-plankton...
the lovers
  cell upon cell
bridge of their union
hung on the pillars...
  ogre of age
and time cavil
at a warm picture...
the young today
  innocence thaws
at the altar
of ambition...

a cabwoman in Manhattan

a snow swept NYC evening slush outside Macy’s
blistering cold winds knocking the sails
out of my benumbed ears
yellow cabs swish past business as usual
it’s getting messy and cold
and i gotta reach the hotel on the 57th street
there i see one coming and lo it stops
a sturdy black woman is at the seat
and we are off to our destination

don’t remember her name
was it Rita? she also had an Indian name
loved Bollywood potboilers and Indian music
and had danced with AB in NYC he even gave her a kiss
she said she looked stunning in a sari
and had acted as a significant extra in a Hindi film
they were looking for a black skinned girl
who could swing her butt and i was available

and maybe next time she would sing for me
that is if i would like her to
i probed deeper and she told her story
familiar territory a twisted American dream
of broken home battered souls
drunken father teen marriage abusive husband
those sodden belt marks show
when i wear a sari she said

months later it now dawns on me
thinking of that snow swept NYC evening
and that big black cabwoman
her fascination for Bollywood and India
she is just like one of us a kindred spirit
escaping from the reality of her grimy world
seeking refuge in technicolor dreams waiting
for a prince charming to take her away
on a black stallion her silken tresses
flowing in the wind

hey queenie cabwoman
fire your life with hope
dream on it helps to carry on…

hey pretty woman
maybe there’s someone waiting
at the corner of ground zero
in the snow swept Manhattan
one blisteringly cold evening

(2 October 2005)