Posts Tagged ‘poems’

When the air begins to change in New York

from blistering cold to lukewarm

the way ice water pumped up, from beneath the dirt

hits your humidity drenched face

in Bangladesh on a summer morning

while beads of sweat cling from your back

and cats lie with legs outstretched on the veranda,

smoke and the smell of roti catching you, welcoming,

I stop waiting for the bus —

And stroll down cement sidewalks,

past frame houses with colorful shutters and small yards

under the shade of green ash,

the corner deli filled with students craving grease to stuff their faces

and sex, drooling

not paying attention to street lights

or stop signs

or school boys passing their rubber balls,

smiling to myself

filling the air with compliments

remembering conversations that never happened,

wishing they had.

– Shammy 3/20/13 4:33pm


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Shot Glasses

I bought them in bulk to cheers and drink

With my mates from the states. My first adventure on my own

Through the streets of London,

Picadily Circus

where all the lights and things were

From a shop made for foreigners like me.


The banks of the Thames sprinkled with European couples

On one of their many holidays.

Overcast, with breakthroughs of light

Rain unannounced and gone before you run for cover,

That’s London for you.


Past the Tate Modern, munching on my broccoli and cheese pasty

Under the rows of trees there is a bench

And a lovely couple sat there,

Posing with one arm outstretched.

Further down,

The belly of the Tower Bridge opens up to let the ship through.

Ships of goods, ships of money that won’t go to anyone who needs it.


The tube to Liverpool street in Old London

Where I meet you for a drink or two

At a hotel bar full of suits

Sparks flew and our nights turned into days

And back to Crawley we went

To your two bedroom apartment, with my flowers waiting for me

On the kitchen table.

– Shammy 7/29/12 5:26pm

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We are so dramatic.
It is water that runs through us,
The mucus that clogs my lungs
The headaches
The cracks
All fixed by a tall clear glass.

The thirst.

Do you thirst?
You will when you see all that I can do
But I won’t feed you
Your heart is one that cannot be cleansed.

Frozen beauties,
Lost in time
Condensed in memory
Is all that will be remembered in the end.

 – Shammy 10/23/12 10:16am

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When I was eight we took a bus,
My classmates and I
Screaming in joy every time we hit a bump
Across the bridge, through the next town, and then the next
Past green and yellow lanterns lit in the sky

Against silver clouds clouded with grey
Till we reached the home of the blue heron.

“If we are lucky we will see one today,” said Ms. Strapoli.

Trampling and trespassing through the trees with our tiny feet
We inspected,
Past the tall stalks of emerald green grass
that lost their blades in the rain,
Muddy darkness clumped on the ground,
the sky


grew heavier still with anticipation,
All the while we searched for that curious creature
My equal in height but not in mind
Painted blue for us to find.

– Shammy 12/8/12

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One cannot rely on the web of lies so carefully spun and placed into our memory.

Perception is deceit disguised with kisses and eyes.

I realize this now because I can no longer remember who you are.

Yes, I remember your name and the smell of your clothes

But I can’t seem to remember the masked disdain in your words

the deceiving puzzles hidden in your ghazals.

My feelings now are mangles by simple moments,

both good and bad, both misled with no context around it,

just a smile or a tear,

a warmth and lingering darkness but no truth.

No, never truth.

It’s unattainable

Buried away in the crevices of my mind,

out of sight, out of reach,

now clouded forever

Only to be remembered in the slightest of bits, on lonely nights trapped inside our failed fairytale.

– Shammy 11/13/12 3:47am

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Vietnamese. I am Vietnamese.

no. American. I am American.

I speak American.


Bi-lingual by birth,

my parents spoke Bangla in the house,

English in school.

You’re so lucky people would tell me, you’re so smart,

 you know so many languages.

They knew only English.

disappointing. Vietnamese.

understanding, minimal.

speech, non-existent.

writing? Fuggedabout it!


We settled in Brooklyn,

in an apartment above an adult video store.

I would pass it on my way to school,

my friends would see it when they walked me back.


They lived in houses that were theirs,

had rooms of their own, with beds, fitted with sheets and excess pillows to throw around merrily at each other,

not caring if they tore to tiny little pieces

scattered around the floor.


The floor,

that’s where I slept with my sister, with my parents,

We had a bed but it was in the other room,

the one without heat where my brother stayed alone because his head was hotter than ours and his skin much thicker.

Too many sounds.

Too many tones.

One slip

and the whole



you miss your horse?

no. I haven’t got one.


 Yes I have seen them in pictures being ridden by white people as a pastime.

I spent my pastimes in the kitchen helping my mother

On the floor scrubbing the tile,

and in my books studying.

Studying harder than my friends did because I needed to.

A scholarship, for a college education or else…

How can I expect to become anything in this land filled with strangers?

you miss your rice paddy?



I don’t have one. why would I need one? I’m seven.

Paddy fields,

 isn’t that where they all think we come from?

Us Asians, we are the garment factory workers, the farmers, the poor, impoverished third world coming here for a better life. Isn’t it true what they say?

Our dreams must be different than theirs,

our hopes,

our influences.


Are we not all the same underneath this tanned skin?

You miss your ghost?

no, I do not miss my ghost.

that doesn’t even make sense. how does that even make sense?

Yes, when I was young they said so many things

The other kids,

They would taunt me because I didn’t look like them

Because they overheard something from their parents

From their role-models

But how would they know what it meant? They are just kids

Just like we were,

But no

We weren’t, we weren’t allowed the same liberty

Were we?


you miss your mom!



no, I don’t miss her.



that’s what I was saying.

that’s what I

was saying.






But it doesn’t matter, don’t you see?

No matter what we say we will never sound like them and to the small minds, we will never be the same.

Isn’t that the sad truth?

It’s what I’ve come so far to learn

The sadness of truth is inevitable, but hope is what we came here for,

Hope is what keeps us alive

For one more day

Isn’t that it?

– Shammy and Lucinda 11/7/12

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I went to England to die.
I wanted to jump off the white cliffs of Dover
Into the channel
Without a struggle for breath
Just a downward decline
I thought I would see the light on the water tops
Waving goodbye

And then a soothing black would take it all away.
I went to escape this prison you put me in
The uneasy mornings that I wake up and know you have been here
Creeping during the night
At the foot of my bed
Black stood up against black
Only you were blacker than any black I’d ever seen
For my toes, for my ankles, anything to hold me down.
I remember the wind
.                In the middle of July
.                               My hands shaking on that familiar rock
.                                             Clear waters whispering my name
.                                                           All I had to do was let go
And so I did.

– Shammy

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