mirror-image

zabicki_5

i treat white words and black smiles as one
when the moon looks like a lamp,
a river of despondent virtues
&potential sins,

i look like a mirror, an image of an image,
drinking from the same chalice
as a millennium of systemic subversion, my stigma
is attached to my body, and
i carry it around like a baby
in a cradle, like a queer impulse
of my hope, like open eyes that
do not shut in the dark, like my skin’s
craving and engravings on my skin.

i do not mix
love
(as reductive as it is)
with pity,
i do not change my face
as i once did, i pickle my smiles
and feed them to your glances,

i am an expression, not either, nor both,
but all at once, the first one twice, the second
in intervals of time (joined to my hip),

i am a hole to take you in, to engulf
and succumb to this impulse
to see death, in its non-binary
view — this itch to know,

and to know well,
that i am the one, who
i am, who i see,

without a mirror, without the sky,
not transparent, nor opaque,

but still visible in the shadow
of my own light.

.
© Anmol Arora

Image Source (Hand Mirror by Gwendolyn Zabicki)

For my prompt at dVerse Poetics this evening, where we are celebrating some amazing Black poets, as part of the Black History Month. I’ve tried to emulate Audre Lorde’s style in A Woman Speaks and used one of her lines (in italics) — “I do not mix/love with pity.”

sanctification

holding a prayer close to my cold chest,
i have put my lips on roses that do not
open their buds, and cheeks that do not
reach to meet my sutured-smile of hope
for love, and all that yields to its touch,

it’s a liberation of a sky riddled with mist
to shine through, and carry the kernels of
a belated sun in its womb, as if a strange
specimen of breath, finding it hard to hold

on to for a sympathetic spring of acceptance,
of unhindered rising, and a welcoming sight
of truth, of places & people, i can call home.

© Anmol Arora

Image source (Torso (The Minotaur) by Michael Leonard)
For Music with Marian: Revelation at With Real Toads

in the ambit of flesh and desire

your hands caressing my throat
like it is your own,

gentle but rough,
little by little,
angling to my form and function,
fever-fervent and fastidious,

the calluses of your palm with a tight-
en-ing resolve, recovering spaces
between my hefty breaths,
the carotid pumping faster
                     for relinquishing
                     control over life-lines,

your eyes penetrating
my mind in an inebriated fullness,
the hourglass, broken,
the vagaries of time forgotten
in its absurd arbitrariness,

— i seek you, i need you, i want you —

i want the length of you against the girth
of me, the walls to be torn off, and
the electricity to wreck my anatomy — 
                                   my red lips chapped and bloodied to
                                                            your mouth’s savagery,

pick up my pieces, and claim the night
before it scatters to the winds,
and hum the dirge of this happening,
and moan as if this ache is all that is,
                                   this wound is all that we carve
                                   and draw from each other —

purple-bruised, volt-blue on a soft-brown skin
              merging into the skin of all things,
       submerging into a spell of an age-old
(lost) modus-operandi, for consumption,

                   — death, little by little,
                   living, by dying a little more,
                   and collapsing into heaps of
                   shins and skins, bones and beings,
                   and to forget that it ever existed —

      this venerable malady of sex and grandiosity,
      till loss is the only desire, the only particle
      left of me.


© Anmol Arora 2018

For my Guest Post/Prompt at dVerse to be published later today; I am entreating the poets to explore the idea and theme of desire & sexuality in poetry, especially through the perspectives of gender and sexual minorities.

Also linking it up with the Tuesday Platform at With Real Toads.

Image source (Neck / Livingston, 1988 by Robert Mapplethorpe)