In Jerusalem, and I mean within the ancient walls,
I walk from one epoch to another without a memory
to guide me. The prophets over there are sharing
the history of the holy . . . ascending to heaven
and returning less discouraged and melancholy, because love
and peace are holy and are coming to town.
I was walking down a slope and thinking to myself: How
do the narrators disagree over what light said about a stone?
Is it from a dimly lit stone that wars flare up?
I walk in my sleep. I stare in my sleep. I see
no one behind me. I see no one ahead of me.
All this light is for me. I walk. I become lighter. I fly
then I become another. Transfigured. Words
sprout like grass from Isaiah’s messenger
mouth: “If you don’t believe you won’t believe.”
I walk as if I were another. And my wound a white
biblical rose. And my hands like two doves
on the cross hovering and carrying the earth.
I don’t walk, I fly, I become another,
transfigured. No place and no time. So who am I?
I am no I in ascension’s presence. But I
think to myself: Alone, the prophet Mohammad
spoke classical Arabic. “And then what?”
Then what? A woman soldier shouted:
Is that you again? Didn’t I kill you?
I said: You killed me . . . and I forgot, like you, to die.
Mr X slept with a lot of stress
Crunching his nerves into ten.
Then, on waking he found
He had nothing at all.
No work that killed him daily
No wife that didn’t understand him completely
No children to disappoint or cry
No boss to tell him to straighten his tie.
There was no body
No fingers no bones
No hair no horns.
In that stillness
The darkness jammed his mind.
Filled every crevice and corner
Till there was no breathing space-
Because that body was no more like
You and I.
It was just a physical being
Unseeing, unfeeling, unfeeling.
Copyright ©Devika Todi. All rights reserved.
I have waited over a hundred nights. Sketching my heartache inside the blur of their blacks. I can not say your name again. So much time has passed. The door has broken in the entryway. It can not open again. My soul is stuck inside those eroding hours. And here it will stay – with all of the monsters that you gave me. I pray their teeth will be as sharp as knives.
This may seem merely like a child’s imagination that gives life to dolls. But it was more than that. I intensely conceived those characters with no need of dolls. Distinctly visible in my ongoing dream, they were utterly human realities for me, which any doll—because unreal—would have spoiled. They were people.
And instead of ending with my childhood, this tendency expanded in my adolescence, taking firmer root with each passing year, until it became my natural way of being. Today I have no personality: I’ve divided all my humanness among the various authors whom I’ve served as literary executor. Today I’m the meeting-place of a small humanity that belongs only to me.
This is simply the result of a dramatic temperament taken to the extreme. My dramas, instead of being divided into acts full of action, are divided into souls. That’s what this apparently baffling phenomenon comes down to.
I don’t reject—in fact I’m all for—psychiatric explanations, but it should be understood that all higher mental activity, because it’s abnormal, is equally subject to psychiatric interpretation. I don’t mind admitting that I’m crazy, but I want it to be understood that my craziness is no different from Shakespeare’s, whatever may be the comparative value of the products that issue from the saner side of our crazed minds.
I subsist as a kind of medium of myself, but I’m less real than the others, less substantial, less personal, and easily influenced by them all.
When the sun goes down
fling off their red dresses
and put on their black dresses
the wind is coming
over the sandy streets
of the town called moonlight
with his long arms
with his silver mouth
humorous at first
touching their faces their dark petals
until they begin rising and falling:
the honeyed seizures.
All day they have been busy being roses
gazing responsible over the sand
into the sky into the blue ocean
so now why not
a little comfort
a little rippling pleasure.
You there, puddled in lamplight at your midnight desk—
you there, rewriting nature
so anyone can understand it—
what will you say about the roses—
their sighing, their tossing—
and the want of the heart,
and the trill of the heart,
and the burning mouth
of the wind?
Only by a continual effort can I create. My tendency is to drift toward immobility. My deepest, surest inclination lies in silence and the daily routine. To escape relaxation,
the fascination of the mechanical, it took years of perseverance.
But I know that I stand erect through that very effort and that if I ceased to believe in it for a single moment I should roll over the precipice. This is how I avoid illness
and renunciation, raising my head with all my strength to breathe and to conquer. This is my way of despairing and this is my way of curing myself
Autumn is eating a leaf from my hand: we are friends.
We are picking time out of a nut, we teach it to run:
and time rushes back to its shell.
In the mirror it’s Sunday, in dreams people sleep,
the mouth tells the truth.
My eye descends to the sex of my loved one,
we gaze at each other,
we whisper out darkness,
we love one another like poppies and memory,
we sleep like wine in a seashell,
like the sea in the moon’s bloody rays.
Embracing we stand by the window,
and people look up from the street:
it is time that they knew!
It is time that the stone grew accustomed to blooming,
that unrest formed a heart.
It is time it was time.
It is time.