The world is too complicated
let’s simplify it
let’s make diagrams of reality
with boxes and ovals and arrows connecting them
and stick figures that represent the “stakeholders”
put a part of life in each of them –
work, love, sex, travel, party –
label the categories with bold big letters
and let there be




Be efficient
Keep things separate

Look                                                                 Don’t speak

Have emotions                                                                                                                   No words
Don’t be honest                                                                         But work

But don’t ever pause

Don’t ever have white space

Don’t ever doubt

Don’t ever feel

Don’t ever think

It’s really simple if you don’t

Life is simple, stupid.

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Woman, you, whose inheritance is pain,
loss and renewal;
You, for whom the shedding of blood
is normal, routine, expected;
Who live with pain, who hug it to your body,
cramping, crushing, aching
and yet desired;
You who live through it all
rising up at the end, your heart
full of love, empathy and peace;
You, you, woman … stone up.
Keep your legacy in your chest,
but don’t pass it on,
let it burn with your passion,
let it die,
let it die,
let the pain not rise again.
Drown them all – the words, the silence,
the disrespect, the agony, the harassment –
everything – burn it all.
Don’t stand for any of it – the pain, the loss,
the suppressed anger, the surrender –
don’t make it your partner,
ever again.

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What do I do?

As you go through life, you accumulate theories and models – of how the world works, how people behave, how you behave, what you like to eat, to do, to listen, to read and such. Granted, most of these theories are coded into our bodies, into the way our mood shifts when we think of doing a task or the way our face breaks into a smile when we think of a place or the way our body rebels when we are with someone. These are the theories we live by, often unconsciously, because day after day our embodied mind makes a decision regarding what to do about many things, with no effort from us. So if you smile when you remember being in a place, you will seek that place out. But if you cringe at the thought of a person, you will avoid them.

None of this is new or earth shattering, but this is just to say that we all have a whole “body” of “literature” (pun intended) to base our decisions on. But sometimes your reflective mind takes over and over rules the decision of the embodied mind. Then there’s an impasse. Which do you listen to? What do you do?

I like to think of these situations as “hypotheses worth investigating”. Anytime your personal literature is not clear about what would happen in a situation, how you would feel, you need to do an experiment. You need to test the hypothesis, because otherwise how would you know. How would you add to your body of literature? How would you grow?

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The Surface

a one-year old stands in front of a mirror,
smiles at the baby in it, who smiles back at him,
gurgles a few words of hello, and
reaches for his friend trapped inside the mirror world.

the shiny surface thwarts his efforts,
he bangs on it with his small yet forceful palms
and later, with a toy he finds lying around.

a single crack forms from one edge to the opposite;
the boy keeps striking to liberate his little friend,
until the glass breaks and falls at his feet;

now his friend is lost forever.

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a length of thread, a small wooden ball –
3 cm in diameter and 100 gms in weight –
tied to its end, suspended in air
at a 35 degree angle, on the top of a mountain

the wind wonders
whether to make it swing back and forth
or tear the ball from the thread and send it downhill

and the thread waits for its fate.

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The Wait

pieces of water,
their molecules colluding with each other,
keep their secrets close
and adamantly lounge within their tender home.

far away in the mountains, an old forlorn tree,
her branches stooped and fragile,
and almost on fire in the June heat,
wait for them to move.

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words from another poem

there are poems buried under sand dunes

in the desert, she walked on the burning sand,
pushing hard against the soles of her feet,
while words flew from chapped lips;
with nowhere to go, they fell on desert fires.

the desert wind heaps sand all over the words
and time makes poems of them
for explorers to unearth.

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