SLOW TIME SIMMER
Spring 2023 | Hari Alluri Reads "Slow Time Simmer” – MQR Sound
Hari Alluri reads his poem, "Slow Time Simmer", from MQR's Spring 2023 special issue, "SomaFlights".
Bumbling at thresholds like any, “to god,” I might drop in pidgin tongue on toe. Dearest Adalao, restlessness remains the way I meditate: hopscotch & dream-smoke, trouble-cause & flam. I got those Hi-fi speakers, baby! For listen—that’s what my body is. Cold, gangly & fidget as this city gets when hurt, would you help to weigh me down, blanket from the sun? I know, how you say? Asking is a lot. Any type of prayer not made from sweat. This unbelonging spirit in a jar of clay. I kneel to reach, I lift the lid, feel at how it’s etched. If ours is both creator & deity of loss, may I fire up a little wonder in your name? Sometimes ocean burns, & I glance your bangka first arriving in this world—a beach that’s still in lava form, for now. After Willie Perdomo, with an interpolation of Prince
THIS ELEMENTAL BLADE—
& blade is a form of voice, yes-no? Hear lost names in fallen leaves? Check. If stuck on the inside of a church looking for evidence that sharpening of needs exists, examine this knife we used to poke perforations into a bearded saint the Goddess peaks out from. Syncretized, but which? The one & ones we need: say need, say flesh, you’re speaking loss. I wink. If your gago karaoke lineage tells you: sing that loss in others’ words, mean your own beginning. The venue could be underground: a tunnel, converted. Also could be where the mat was—on another childhood floor before migration. Choreograph a dance to go along, you know? The worst is when that Italian kid comes to our Third World apartment complex parking lot & wins the breakdance battle. If only I had more baduy in my line, maybe I’d be better at this laughing thing I claim. I thirst. Other times we’re talking flesh / français for gold, boo / after the heat, cool & cool water on any mortal body part that aches. Other times I re-drink brew I’ve spilled for oracles within. Who else am I calling on but the ugliness it takes to take the world inside yourself, put it out where mortals die from what you’ve made. I’m here for that. No doubt, I’m here. Remembering the knife a boy was told to give his thumb because he learned what only Gods before him knew: that if the teacher denies & sends you off, you find the river’s clay, sculpt yourself a teacher—better—the features carved precise with that same knife. Carving, embrace loss. Say atang, say need: water’s to return, I wink, tree-roots’ urge to dig what those mutualistic myco-ethnic forms break down from stone. Say earth. I also mean volcanoes finding ways to surface so the inside doesn’t only burn. We’re all a knife, as in the gentle chipped away so we might blade. Those sculpted hands who make it butterfly down my high-school hall. Those hands who pulled the coral from our ocean. Say again: the church whose walls they put them in, the one I only read about (salamat, manong—can I call you that?): “We have an entire body for carrying.” Another secret hidden in the statues who replace the ones those hands were forced to burn. Say grip, say yearn & learn. Say teeth, say loss. This name, its palimpsest: Ancestor of Wandering. The lines deepening in our feet. These feet with which we carve our paths. The first knives we were given. After Karla Cordero, Michael Lavers, Seema Reza, Merlin Sheldrake, Mendel Skulski, and Vanessa Angélica Villarreal / With language from Patrick Rosal and Earth, Wind & Fire
To read the rest, you can purchase the Spring 2023 SomaFlights special issue here.