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 


& 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.

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