Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.
This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple “I must,” then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse. Then come close to Nature. Then, as if no one had ever tried before, try to say what you see and feel and love and lose…
…Describe your sorrows and desires, the thoughts that pass through your mind and your belief in some kind of beauty – describe all these with heartfelt, silent, humble sincerity and, when you express yourself, use the Things around you, the images from your dreams, and the objects that you remember. If your everyday life seems poor, don’t blame it; blame yourself; admit to yourself that you are not enough of a poet to call forth its riches; because for the creator there is not poverty and no poor, indifferent place. And even if you found yourself in some prison, whose walls let in none of the world’s sounds – wouldn’t you still have your childhood, that jewel beyond all price, that treasure house of memories? Turn your attentions to it. Try to raise up the sunken feelings of this enormous past; your personality will grow stronger, your solitude will expand and become a place where you can live in the twilight, where the noise of other people passes by, far in the distance. – And if out of this turning-within, out of this immersion in your own world, poems come, then you will not think of asking anyone whether they are good or not. Nor will you try to interest magazines in these works: for you will see them as your dear natural possession, a piece of your life, a voice from it. A work of art is good if it has arisen out of necessity. That is the only way one can judge it.
― Rainer Maria Rilke
Meditation says step out
None of the stories you tell yourself are real
I walked into the woods
Where I could be with the silence, the birds and my stories
It’s funny how much we love heartbreak as much as we avoid it
If you love everything.
If you hate everything.
If you do not know where to turn.
And you will turn,
Imagine there were no cracks in the universe.
Imagine that fit snugly together and had a that it was meant to be.
Imagine now that the opposite of that in actuality the opposite of that is happening.
A swirling mass of messy particles bumping into each other existing in all the places at once and simultaneously nowhere. Imagine.
By the End
By the end of this poem I will know what I am doing.
By the end of this poem you will know what I am doing.
- What does it mean to resist? When our head interferes with our heart, in our art, when our flow is interrupted, when there is disruption in our receptivity, we are resisting.
- Writing itself is resistance.
- I went to Barefoot College in Tilonia, one of the poorest villages in rural India. I saw puppets educating elders on matters of social justice and musicians educating children on social change.
- A kathak dancer, Mallika Sarabhai goes to villages all over India. She educates women on menstrual hygiene through theatre.
- I vomited on stage, an Aftertaste of my arrival in America. It was a play about the international experience.
- When I was seven, I wrote an angry letter to my grandfather when he wouldn’t listen. We cannot talk back, we need to respect our elders my culture preaches. I scrunched my letter into a ball and threw it at him. He threw it out of the window.
- I spoke about reclaiming my voice, my accent at Naropa.
- My parents challenge customer care representatives everytime they answer the phone. My parents’ accent “confuses them”. Dear America, must you only understand the norm?
- “What is the relevance of writing? Will it get you a job?” my father said.
- I speak perfect English. Are you waiting for me to talk in Hindi, will that make me more exotic? Will that make my activism special? Chutiye saale
- Two Indian Americans speak about the terror attacks in a school in Peshawar in broken Hindi at a silent vigil. My friend from Pakistan walks out. Must we always voice that which we don’t understand?
- Must we always have a cause to resist?
- Can’t we just lie down on the grass and enjoy this sunny day?
- Please don’t call my approach radical.
Learning to love a lover wasn’t very different from loving my parents.
Both too close, too emotional, too intimate, too messy.
Today my aunt asked me to change my home address from India to New Jersey on my resume for a job at Chipotle.
My cousin said, “My appetite after coming to USA has increased. I can finish an entire rice bowl at Chipotle.”
Assimilation has varied forms.
Dear Justin Bieber,
Dear Miley Cyrus,
Dear chronic backpain,
Dear ex lover,
Dear future lover,
Dear Pema Chodron,
Dear Anne Waldman,
Dear Reed Bye,
Dear CA Conrad,
Dear Social Justice Warriors,
Dear white people,
Dear junk food,
Dear Mom and Dad,
Dear incomplete sentences,