A Summer Salad

Prompt 14 (Half Marathon 2 Hour 2)

The fog rolls out over the Berkeley hills
From my aunt’s kitchen, I can now see her garden
Hungry and curious, I step outside

I work my way down the slopes, shivering a bit,
Marvelling at how these plants took root
They are resilient, way more resilient than I
Growing through sun, rain, and fog
All to ensure others get fed
They are lower in the evolutionary chain
But there is so much we can learn from them

The garden is a riot of color
Crimson tomatoes of varying sizes
Flames of squash right beside
Sweet blueberries overpowering the green of their bushes
Green herbs, each with a scent of its own

Back inside, I chop and mix furiously
The first bite is as fresh as the crack of dawn
I’ve been to the best restaurants in the city
But this nourishes my body in a way no other can

West Coast Swing

Prompt 13 (Half Marathon 2 Hour 1)

One. Two.
One and two.
One and two.
One. Two.

I move my legs, weary from the week
Matching my partner, foot to foot
At work and at home, I like to be independent
Determining my actions, resenting hierarchy
But here, I follow
It’s Wednesday night, the end of a long day
And there is nothing more comforting than letting my partner guide me
Tonight, I leave my fate in their hands

Freeze. Turn. Under the arm.
Anchor in place. Keep your core tight.

The instructor’s sharp voice jolts me into attention
I’m following but I cannot be complacent
I straighten my back and look my partner in the eye
And as we glide down the long hall
For the remaining few moments of the song, we move as one

We anchor back in close contact
As the clock strikes midnight, the tiredness leaves my body
One and two. We anchor in close position.
This dance has ended
But I feel energized for the next

Roots

Growing up, I was a storyteller, a writer, a poet. As a child, I read voraciously, encouraged by a mother who was an avid reader, and a house filled with myriad books. In the absence of siblings who I could play with, I spent hours reading, and dreaming up make-believe lands and imaginary friends. By the time I developed basic language skills, I began penning my thoughts on paper. It started with poems, then stories and articles, and then, finally an entire novel, published just as I graduated high school.

In college, my academic interests shifted to economics, and I now work in corporate strategy at a F500 company in San Francisco. I have found time off and on to feed my passion for writing. I was the Chief Online Editor for the Yale Globalist, a magazine covering international travel and politics, and at work, I use writing every day to build narratives using information. I am working on a second book on the side, but I often find it hard to find time.

Poetry was where I started writing, and it has always had a special place for me. I really enjoyed the Poetry Marathon when I did it in 2016, and I am looking forward to doing it again. My boyfriend and I are planning to do the second half marathon (we were not up in time for the first!), using the quiet of the night and several glutinous treats to keep us going. We can’t wait to get started in T+6.

Poem 12- The Ideal Contemporary Relationship

I began with a poem about the ideal dreamlike 16th century courtship between Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway, and I end with something more contemporary. Similar dreamy idyllic moments, but completely different realities. How will this story turn out? Read on…

My head rests against his breastbone

The canopy closing us in a cocoon of our own

Away from all forms of scrutiny

As I lean in to kiss him

My heart is like a lake brimming over in the monsoons

Filled not with water

But a positively caffeinated hormonal cocktail

I know I am not dreaming

As I smell his cologne

Perfumed diesel, after effects of a jeep breakdown and a spare tire change

A stormy calm

Before a calm, bubbling storm

I lean back

I look into his face

Pleasant, no doubt

But not what I want, not now

The canopy obscures us from outside scrutiny

But it also obscures the outside world and its treasures from us

And I am impatient and inquisitive to see the rest of it

The torrential monsoon becomes a faint New England drizzle

The lake has had its fill

I am ready to move on

 

Cinema dream sequences usually get the details right

It’s the ends they get wrong

Because in our world, there is more than one type of ideal end

 

“I had a great time.” “Me too.” “We should do this again sometime.”

We get up together, and embrace one last time

Walking back home in opposite directions

 

 

 

Poem 11- Through Genghis’ Eyes

My take on the homeless prompt, was not expecting that I would write this at all. Late night writing magic? Just spent a while googling Mongol culture before I penned this down, to add a little authentic touch to my imagination.

 

You laugh at me today, oh young nobleman

You laugh at us and our funny savage ways

 

You grew up with a hard roof above your head

I, in what you would presume is a flimsy tent

The icy winds were my roof

You grew up training under careful tutelage

I was born with a blood clot in my hand

And fought my first battles in the steppes

Soil and sky were my teachers; I was trained by the best

You grew up eating wholesome hot meals

On hard days, I survived on game meat

The predators themselves have fed me their strength

I may be a nomad

 

But I am not homeless

This earth is my home

And I am here to reclaim it from you

And tomorrow, when my army crushes you to death

I am certain she will be pleased with my gift

Poem 10- Oat(is a great)meal

I tried really hard to write something for my mom, but cannot do anything justice in this time frame. So figured I would do something lighter! Saving the other poem for later.

 

You are a two minute gateway to an explosion of tastes

Caramelized with Iranian dates on a cold winter evening

Or served with kiwi and pineapple in a summer paradise

Classic with blueberry or strawberries and honey

Or plain and simple apple, cinnamon and dry fruits

Often sweet, but sometimes savory

Mushroom and cheddar, or onions and bell peppers anyone?

With a dash or oregano, parsley and salt?

At first glance, you may be plain and uninteresting

But once adorned

You are a bowl of absolute pleasure

Keeping my taste buds and waist bags in check

The god of my kitchen, my solace on rough college days

 

Poem 9- Escape

Like wood in a jungle of concrete

Is my imagination

Breaking the monotony

Excel sheets, G-cals, bland academic papers

Demand equals supply at the equilibrium price

 

My imagination creates disequilibrium

What if the equilibrium choice is not the right choice?

What if I escaped?

If I were to step out of the bubble-like glass structure I am in

And examine the grains of wood

What would I discover?

What if I escaped?

Can I escape?

 

Like wood in a jungle of concrete

Are the vivid memories of my childhood

When my only worries were the next storybook I should read

Whether I wanted chocolate chip or vanilla

When home was where I slept

And the world my playground during the day

I was blissfully ignorant then, I am knowledgeable now

Am I?

 

 

The world I live in, the world economists hail as “perfect”

Is a bit of an anomaly

Am I surrounded by unlimited choices, or none at all?

What if I escaped?

Can I escape?

 

Poem 8- Clumsy Moves

Thank you to Jacob Jans for that word generator. Here’s my take on the Pantoum, not very original, I’m afraid.

I just finished a quick workout
Thus excuse my weird analogy
But if the last seven poems were part of a marathon
This eighth poem is resistance training
Thus excuse my weird analogy
I’m a bit too tired to think of anything better
This eighth poem is resistance training
The workout that I hate the most
I’m a bit too tired to think of anything better
But it is important for me to flag
The workout that I hate the most
Is also my greatest source of satisfaction
Yes, it is important for me to flag
Although this form confuses me, it is my,
Is also my greatest source of satisfaction
An enigma of words, sets and repetitions
Although this form confuses me, it is my,
My sloppy plank and clumsy crunch
An enigma of words, sets and repetitions
That I have unsuccessfully tried to navigate
My sloppy plank and clumsy crunch
May only be a little less worse than this poem
That I have unsuccessfully tried to navigate
But no, I will not give up on either

Poem 7- A Binge Eaters Universe

This is something I have struggled with and continue to struggle with, but am slowly coming to terms with. The poem reflects my attempt to add some humor to my situation.

 

I walk into the sweet shop

And see all my old friends

Cakes, chips, instant ramen pots

On aisles at every end

 

Pick me! Pick me! Pick me! Pick me!

They all seem to scream

What am I doing? Why am I here?

I’d promised myself I would eat clean

I’d promised myself I would eat clean

The day before, and two days prior

How else will I ever get lean?

Yet my goals sink in the mire

Of voices, nasty voices, voices of my friends

 

I’m sweet and crunchy, says the cookie to me

We’re not even fried say the kettle chips

I’m three scoops a dollar today, says the tub of ice cream

How are you still thinking about this?

 

How am I still thinking about this?

Why am I still thinking about this?

Am I even thinking about this?

No.

I am thinking about…..

 

That paper that needs to be fleshed out

The midterm results that will soon be out

My laundry’s not done, summer’s coming up

And I still do not have a summer job….

 

An hour later, with an aching stomach

Heaving, I scale eight flights of steps

Disappointed, angry, cursing my luck

Why can’t I control myself?

 

I make goals, break goals

So many goals, so many rules

And I tire myself, my mind, my soul

Till I feel in control.

In “control”.

 

Is any life crisis, let alone mine worth this angst?

I don’t know, and am too tired to care

Any dinner for you? I say no thanks

Food now seems like a nightmare

 

When will I stop? How do I stop?

When will this obsessive cycle end?

But the next day, I am back at the same shop

Hearing the voices of old friends

Poem 6- Oasis (Halibun)

He saw water wherever he looked. Yet his throat was parched, his head was spinning, his bare feet smarting against the and as he walked- to life, or to death?

 

Not a mere mirage

Sweet cool water, cool palm shade

Paradise at last