21 March 2021
Poetry is a means to traverse oceans and experiences; we are transported into another life when reading poems. I find the idea beautiful: the fact that we can feel together and dream together, even as we remain physically apart, never ceases to inspire me. I write poems in order to conceptualize the maelstrom of events that often occur simultaneously. From reconciling the intersection of my Indian-American and woman identities to unraveling the complexities between ancestral tradition and evolution, my poems imagine existence in myriad forms. In celebration of World Poetry Day, I wrote the poem “Remembrance” as a continuation of and response to “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou. With the spike in anti-Asian violence within the United States—which has a long history of oppression of black, indigenous and people of color—I wanted to create a piece rooted in revolution. “Remembrance” calls directly to the past in its reminiscence of Angelou but also realizes what rising from the ashes looks like in the modern day: how rising is a unifying act, born from an acknowledgment of those who have come before.
Today, I hope that you find time to write and read poetry. Whether you take a few minutes or an hour, know that wherever you are, there are others doing the same. You are all consuming emotions in their rawest form and are releasing them back into the space in which you live; you may not leave as you began but know that this will be a positive thing. Poetry is slow and requires patience. It is not a luxury; it is meant for all. Claim poetry for yourself and know that if you choose to wield it, you may well change the world.
After “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou
the poet remembers a sonnet turned storm.
the day survival became the sharp melody
of hope soaring like the ashes of an urn
forsaking your wicked eulogy at the door.
we rewrite the lines.
i remember painting sunrays onto my skin
where your scars have begun to fade.
in the smoke i send my tortured twin.
in the sky is where i remain.
we realize our lies.
the poet remembers an ocean blooming from dawn.
how seeds violently thrown
at the wind can still yawn
wide and well into the shining unknown.
we repair these lights.
i remember the spines you stole
and the bones you played
when you tried to fold
my unlatched mouth beneath your blade.
how the poet too remembered my
you will not storm.
you will not scar.
you will not shine.
we reclaim our lives.
you remember to fear the thrum
of what was born in the dark.
all of what became of this trembling time.
the husk of history becoming.
you remember the falling leaves
as civilizations bloom from the wound of crimson heroes.
the stubborn blood clinging to the ground.
how it remembers the damp of their footsteps.
the sound of seafoam singing at the shore.
the whisper of arrival.
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