Speaking in Tongues (Poetry)

I learnt to breathe in Romanian
but I swallowed the secrets of English with my breakfast
sprinkled German consonants on my lunch
and took small French sips of my champagne

And now I cannot unsay
or jump in tangential arcs from one rooftop to the next
with gleeful glance at the abyss
rushing up to stun me at every move.

At times I fear
to speak at all in words
of more than one syllable.

But if, by the side of a poem,
there is a sharp intake of breath, that too
is the echo of my mothertongue.

You Can Never Go Home

Landscape from planeIn the country where my tongue

should feel limber,

my mind goes slurry.

I hear the gasps between words,

feel the teeth in the smiles.

 

In the land of sensuous beauty,

I spy abandon, breathe in decay.

I opt for potholes while above

a sky of such wonder

casts up its blue tablecloth of hospitality,

flecked with golden smudges.

A generous hostess.

I groan in over-fed wantonness.

 

potholesIn the soft arms of my mother land

I detect only flab.

Since when did cynicism poison my well and render

my cattle so sick?

How did love grow so shallow that mere breezes

can topple the ship of my faith?

 

I don’t believe ¬†they care much about my grimace,

or ruefully take in my artful sneers.

They live each day anew, alight

in flames I can no longer name.

I shiver unburnt.

And in the thirst

for life of my people I am humbled

out of the girth of my own navel.