Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Poem That Drove Me To My Knees

It was cold today in New York City, and I was not ready for this song.  But it came to me and left me breathless, and I've been choking ever since -

"LIGHT AS A BREEZE" - Leonard Blessed Cohen

She stands before you naked
you can see it, you can taste it
but she comes to you
light as a breeze
You can drink or can nurse it
it don't matter how you worship
as long as you're
down on your knees

So I knelt there at the delta
at the alpha and the omega
at the cradle of the river
and the seas
And like a blessing come from heaven,
for something like a second,
I was healed, and my heart
was at ease

O Baby I waited
so long for your kiss
for something to happen
oh - something like this

And you're weak and you're harmless
and you're sleeping in your harness
and the wind going wild
in the trees
And it's not exactly prison
but you'll never be forgiven
for whatever you've done
with the keys

O Baby I waited
so long for your kiss
for something to happen
oh - something like this

It's dark and it's snowing
I've got to be going
St. Lawrence River
is starting to freeze
And I'm sick of pretending
I'm broken from bending
I've lived too long
on my knees

And she dances so graceful
and your heart's hard and hateful
and she's naked
but that's just a tease
And you turn in disgust
from your hatred and from your love
and she comes to you
light as the breeze

O baby I waited
so long for your kiss
for something to happen
oh - something like this

There's blood on every bracelet
you can see it, you can taste it
and it's Please baby
please baby please
And she says, Drink deeply, pilgrim
but don't forget there's still a woman
beneath this
resplendent chemise

So I knelt there at the delta
at the alpha and the omega
I knelt there
like one who believes
And like a blessing come from heaven
for something like a second
I was cured, and my heart
was at ease

Monday, October 24, 2011

Manhattan Lullaby

Oh take me home this evening.
And heal me with your touch.
Wipe my mind free of thoughts,
Of her, her smile as she left, and such.

You see she broke my heart,
Right down to the original dust.
She ground it down so slowly,
Between her tenderness and lust.

Leonard Cohen's voice follows me,
As I wander Central Park.
I should have stayed away from her.
Been smart right from the start.

Even after finally returning,
To a beloved New York street.
I find myself waiting on every corner,
To hear the sounds of her feet.

Ah, forgive me.  Where are my manners?
I know it's frightfully rude.
To speak of another who doesn't want me,
While we're picturing each other in the nude.

So patiently you've been listening to me.
And been so generous with your smile.
Let's finish this whiskey together,
Let's be worth each other's while.

I promise I'll never say I love you.
I've been told my love's a lie.
So take me home this evening,
And sing me a Manhattan lullaby,

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Soul Vacation

Bless this man I call my friend and the excited giggle, jiggle, wiggle, as he watches me cross the street.  It's been five years since we've seen each other, and clapped hands twice.  We do that now like school children on the first day of a vacation.  And hug tight enough to make passersby stare and walk bemusedly by.  We do the reunion dance, incoherent joy in our hearts, drunken shuffle in our feet.

When we separate we stare at each other.  Searching for signs of the befriended boy, in the men we see staring back at us.  We walk to a great Latin American restaurant called Floro De Maya up on Eighty Third and Amsterdam.  We saw "It's good to see you,  man", at least five times before we reach.  We reach out and clap shoulders and rub backs as if making sure this isn't a dream.  How many friends do we have that can make us feel like this?

Oh Goddess, bless this food, and this wine, and the smile on our waiter's face, as listens to our jumbled, playful speech.  We learn the origins of all the new wrinkles and every new crack in our hearts as we eat.  I eat what they call Half a Chicken, and every bite makes a believer out of me.  And I thought of you darling, I thought of bringing you hear on a cold New York night, cuddled up in a taxi.  But it's a passing thought.  Because tonight is about old friends.  Tonight is about feeling like the boys we were when we met each other for the first time.  Remembering our hopes and our grand and silly dreams.  Dreams that we never gave up on.  Dreams we continue to achieve.  I look at him and see a fellow dreamer, that may have grown wearied at times, and raised his head to the sky and felt an emptiness looking back at him, as often as me.  But here we sit, laughing, rejoicing, toasting to the undying of our Light.  Bless this city upon this night, and the seven glasses of single malt whiskey we are about to drink.  Each.

We linger over dinner, no where else we'd rather be.  Who knows when I'll see you again? he says.  Just before planning a trip to come and see me in India.  And even if he never makes it, even if it's another decade before we manage to meet.  I'll remember this night and the joy I was able to give this man with the very sight of me.  How many friends do any of us have that can make us feel like this?  Oh bless us all Goddess with the gift of such friendships.

After dinner we walk down Broadway.  Shuttling stories back and forth.  And laughing at them all, with wonder, with concern, often spitting up the coffee we're sipping.  We walk like brothers, two men who couldn't look more unlike each other.  How did we ever deserve this?

Bless our tired, cracked, wearied hearts, and all the lessons they've learned the hard way.  Because despite the pain and the worry, and the heartache, joy returns to them as swiftly as the sight of an old friend.  It crashes against us, like a happy surf against the beach.

Boris, Bharat, Diony, Justin, Rahul, Sahil and Stuart.  I don't know if you'll ever read this.  But I love you all.  With a ferocity that I only ever feel, when your arms wrap around me.  Thank you for making this one of the greatest months of my life.

And I'm only halfway bloody through!!!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Santa Monica Symphony

Sounds of the surf,
Crashing against old, stubborn piers.
Sounds of the parents,
Dashing their pride against stubborn ears.
And the People of the Sun,
Shrieking in the splash of cold Pacific waters.
And the gulls fighting the pigeons for crumbs,
Like mothers and armies of prodigal daughters.
The quiet sounds of new lovers sighing,
Moist and heavy saying nothing at all.
The clamor of old lovers falling away,
Like tired leaves in the winds of Fall.
The babies gurgling with wonder,
The little girls begging to play on the beach.
The bells tinkling on the yachts,
Moored as far as my eyes can reach.

Young fishermen dreaming,
Of the fish yet to be caught.
As they lean back against the rails,
And lay their poles upon the boardwalk.
The handsome one cracks a joke,
And the older one laughs into the wind.
They clap each other across the shoulders,
An old Spanish song they begin to sing.
Then they turn their gazes north,
And stare at Malibu across the Sea,
And their eyes pool with so many hopes,
Glistening for all the world to see.
The hushed murmur of cars,
On the Pacific Coast Highway.
So unlike the cars where I come from.
And fleetingly I miss Bombay.
And the sound of my own laughter,
Rises to join the symphony in the air.
There is so much music in the world,
In the little things, anywhere, everywhere.

It's 4 a.m. and New York won't let me Sleep

I lay upon the floor,
Under an open window.
And the chill of the autumn
Came in to share my bed.
We lay together in silence,
Listening to the clamor outside.
Twice the sirens wailed,
As trouble walked the streets.
A pimp slapped a woman,
She implored and begged,
Then cursed as he walked away.
Her heels beat their weary beat,
Down my still busy street.
Somewhere in this building
I heard old lovers quarrel.
Somewhere in this building,
I hoped new lovers found love.
I stroked the calluses on my feet,
And smiled at the memory
Of every step I had taken.
The air grew colder,
So I threw off the blanket.
Casting off the memory
Of Bombay and her violent sun.
 I remembered a song,
"Sorrow found me when I was young,
Sorrow stayed, sorrow won."
But it's hard to feel sorrow,
With Autumn giggling,
At the same old jokes.
And New York City, my love,
Standing vigil outside the window.
She leaned in and smiled.  And said
She had seen the things I had done
Since I was made to walk away.
She heard my stories,
She wiped away my cares.
She traced her fingers across
The scars on my soul.
And she told me she was proud.
Some roads she said,
You cannot walk without,
Paying the toll.
And she stroked my brow,
Like you used to.
And she called me the name,
That you used to.
And she told me to forget,
But I still missed you.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Anticipation of Love by Jorge Luis Borges

(Undoubtedly one of the most tender, poignant, and heartbreaking poems I have ever read.  A real literary treasure.  I am still lost in the joys of rediscovering America and all the people who thought they would never see their tall, clownish friend again so I have not had time to post my own works, which are being written and edited on bits of paper, ticket stubs, and napkins, as always.  I just have to collect and compile and present to you.  But until then...)


Neither the intimacy of your look, your brow fair as a feast day,
nor the favor of your body, still mysterious, reserved, and childlike,
nor what comes to me of your life, settling in words or silence,
will be so mysterious a gift
as the sight of your sleep, enfolded
in the vigil of my arms.
Virgin again, miraculously, by the absolving power of sleep,
quiet and luminous like some happy thing recovered by memory,
you will give me that shore of your life that you yourself do not own.
Cast up into silence
I shall discern that ultimate beach of your being
and see you for the first time, perhaps,
as God must see you -
the fiction of Time destroyed,
free from love, from me.

Monday, October 3, 2011

America, My Love. I'm coming.

It's been three years since I've been in Bombay.  Almost five since I was living in America.  Goddess, it's been so long that I forget sometimes the man I was there.  I forget what the steam felt like coming out of the manholes at night on those suddenly deserted New York streets.  I forget the taste of a two dollar slice from the shops that stay open all night long.  I forget Central Park in Spring, with all the beautiful girls out walking their beautiful dogs, and the young couples finding themselves breathless and awkward under the laughing trees, and the old couples sitting quietly together, and how they'd look at each other and smile, a lifetime of love and understanding passing between them.

I forget San Francisco and it's manic fog, and the bells on the street carts.  The feeling of hanging out the side as they trudged uphill.  And the ache in my legs from walking up and down those steep, steep streets.  And the smell of that Senegalese restaurant down the street, with the grill men outside, sharing a laugh and a cigarette.  And the breakfast burritos from the Whole Foods across the street, and the feel of Solomon in his feline joy, asleep on my chest as I awake.

And tomorrow I catch a plane, and I try and wipe away three years of Bombay stress and Bollywood heartache.  Remember the joy of who I was, and see the joy in knowing who I've become.  Tomorrow I return to the country I love as a man.  I'm filled with so much hope, and positivity, and anticipation, that it's making me afraid to go to sleep.

This trip is sorely needed.  Somewhere over the last three years I strayed from who I was meant to be.  Not in a grand, disappointing way.  But in the way of a pilgrim who stumbled from the path for a moment, lost in the laughter and the lust and the allure of a roadside inn.  I need to remember who I am outside of acting.  I need to sit in my favorite coffee shop in Gramercy Park, and write for hours.  I want to sketch everything that I see as fast as I can.  I want to walk from Harlem down to the Villages and then back up again.  I want to see the street corners I stood as a bouncer, stamping my feet to keep the cold at bay, as people went laughing inside.  I want to stand where she and I waltzed while I sang Sinatra's "It Happened in Monterey" badly.  I want to walk past the restaurant where she told me she was leaving the country to go home across an ocean for good.  I want look through the window I saw her getting into that cab, where I didn't move for an hour afterwards.

Tomorrow I fly towards a friend who's face will light up like a child's to see mine.  Tomorrow I'll learn again what that kind of friendship feels like.

I have so much hope and so much to discover.  I have so much love, in this weathered and bruised heart of mine.  Goddess fly with me.  Keep me in the Light, keep me in the blessed shade of your arms.