Tonight, the TV reports, herds of cattle throw themselves into the flames of the Amazon and roll out in batches from an oven at click to deliver. Mother is still scrubbing the dishes at the sink, her hand rotating slowly as I eat my burger. My friend calls to say she got the job at the big oil and gas company. She asks if I want to celebrate with her at the new vegan restaurant in town. I take the train to meet her on the 14th. My god, you’re big, she gasps. It’s the new hormonal birth control, now where is that damn restaurant. She orders a broccoli and I order a leg. After my fifth vegan I realize that my friend is gone. In fact, the whole restaurant and the streets surrounding it had disappeared, and I could touch the tip of the empire state building when I stretched my am. I keep eating until I break off from the East Coast and float away. Soon anarchists and queers come and build houses on me. They grow tomatoes and chase chickens for fun. I miss mother. I hope my sister helps her with the dishes sometimes.
I put on my spectacles last Thursday night To go to the Sex Club. I fed the cat, boiled some water for tea, watered my succulents, and then Drove fifteen minutes to Joanne’s. I brought brownies because I knew Beatrice Was allergic to chocolate. Donald was wearing the jeans that showed off His butt. His shirt said, “Meet Me At The Sex Club.” Mimi the president insisted on selling The Sex Club shirt For twenty-five dollars even though I said we should go for twenty. And now only three people have bought it and we still do not Have enough money for our annual luncheon. We sat in a circle on foldable chairs with notes on today’s topic, “Female pleasure and equality.” Bob had recommended A book during last week’s meeting and No one bothered to read it because what does Bob know. Rajni volunteered to lead the discussion because she and her Husband Raj went to some sex camp up in New Hampshire And now she knows everything. As everyone except Beatrice Nibbled on the brownies, Bruce crossed his arms. I’ll start by saying that the neck is a very important erogenous zone. Joanne objected and said he was being presumptuous. Ever since I got caught in a house fire as a child my skin Never really recovered. She pulled down her Turtleneck and everyone gasped. She started sobbing. Deep in thought, Bob said, This is why fireproofing your house is important. Everyone nodded. When it was time To go home Donald asked what I would be doing Tonight. I twirled a curl in my hair. He went beetroot and asked if I wanted To come see his plants. We can have some tea. It was then that I remembered I did not turn off my kettle. And that was how my house went Down in flames last Thursday, And how I came to be living in Donald’s guest room. His succulent is pretty neat.
അമ്മ (Amma) My Amma’s Malayalam is Trivandrum slang, shifting between simple churidar and formal sari in a blink. trishurpooram cacaphony is her laugh, words the speed of onam boat races on slow crashing waves of kovalam beach. It is every spice bubbling in my Ammuma’s cheenachatti, both sweet sharkara and sour achar Chutni podi with chilli podi by her hand. Her Malayalam hits hard Ammuma’s soft palms, Appupa’s rare playfulness; Her Malayalam is a 22-year-old recipe, came along to flavour a desert.
My Amma’s english is accented with Malayalam, from ancestral beef fry to salmon grill Other worlds and words with a twist of her own Kovalam softened by corniche calm, chilli podi, sounds of two cities, date syrup and desert sand filling the gaps in her english “Yalla pogam!” She yells “Mafi Mushkil, Aathma!” Sharkara lacing her laugh, it echoes loudly in between the buildings of Hamdan St.
Appupa said my laugh is like hers, I carry it safe in my voice box. My Malayalam is a mirror of her slang, her lullaby my tongue Trishupooram still resounding in them.
They complain they can’t understand her, her laugh too loud, her accent too strong for their weak ears They demand us altered for their palate demand silence, compliance for their tongues to handle.
Amma did not move for me to be silent; our laughs are trapped ancestral joy, they died for the spices you came to our shores for, they died. Our laughs are eulogy folded into our voice boxes.
Does your tongue burn? Here, have the water– our laughter will not drown again
അച്ഛാ (Acha) My Acha’s malayalam drips on the page, fountain pen sprouting rhymes, rhythms, words of a Love, land, loss, gain, home, no home, new home, old home, dreams to come, dreams left behind, shore he came to, shore he left, a sea, a kadal that watched him come and go over and over and over– the second half of his life, the first half he refuses to forget.
He polishes an english accent with experience, age, command and Malayalam slips in, a jewel found: film comes filim, his english crashes under Malayalam exclamation, the language of his soul sees no barrier.
An architect of words, an architect of worlds an architect on two shores, he built poems, he built places, built a love for words in his Molu, built a home, a city for his daughter.
This new city gentrifies her tongue; he wonders if he can build a bridge, a boat for his daughter lost in the kadal between the poems of his soul and this new city she speaks of.
please see where the blood is darkest on my drawn brow it turned my rose gold eyeshadow a warm amber and the flash makes it shine like the color was poured in a glass
the blood on my face diasporic traveling down my cheek, a bumpy continent — like it knew where to walk from the sharpest point of my temple down not straight down I guess I rolled a little on the sidewalk after I fell and I spread it some it’s a map complete with a steady flow, a gushing and swollen source of life a gash giving birth
the only thing I own is the sticky scar after the blood turned brown on my towel hardened but the wash took it off
I sent word that I was bleeding that pain has started growing on my head like the only tiny flower and the silence I received told me to bury the sprouting thing
I lost the metaphor along with some luggage that I never carried and children I was never meant to bear
I mean to say that sometimes I feel like a weak vessel for the world’s crying so I fall onto the sidewalk and into the stupor into the fermented rye, into a thick dimension of smoke And I lay on the sidewalk and spread the blood in my attempt to pose for the maw of a snapping camera
She’s my dominatrix, I her slave. Bound & gagged, hands tied, mouth wide. Drive home & she’s all I’m thinking about after the bag of Fritos, half a Hoagie sandwich for lunch. She calls to me telepathically. Smell her creamy goodness from the driveway. Put down the burgundy leather suitcase, take off coat, throw it anywhere, I don’t care. Kitchen still like I left it: Dirty plate, syrup-covered pancake, a piece eaten away. Too late in the day for flapjacks. Purchased her cheaply at the Food Emporium last night. Freezer door ajar. Dig past thighs of chicken, bottle of Vodka, frozen vegetables to get to her. She’s a cold bitch by now. Spoon penetrates, scoop out bits of real strawberries. Bring to lips, in mouth, on tongue. Delicious delight, united & this is only the beginning of her sweet torment.
Written by Shane Allison Collage courtesy of author, “Chocolate Candies”