Book News

It’s been almost two years since I published a book, but I’m pleased to say my dearth of words is coming to an end this summer.

My first collection of poetry – I, MACHETE – releases August 18th, and I’m kind of beside myself about it.

Here’s a little blurb about it:

In her first collection of poetry, Madhuri Pavamani crafts an intimate portrait of modern-day womanhood. Tender and bold, bewildered, sometimes light, I, MACHETE is a celebration of love, a frank discussion of loss, and a feminist call to reclaim oneself.

I can’t say much else except that it feels both exciting and terrifying to put my words back into the world, I hope you love the poetry, and stay tuned, because next up is my cover reveal.

It’s designed by my uber-talented friend and fellow RIWC alum, Johnalynn Holland, and is brilliant. Much like her.

xx, M

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Half Love (a duplex)

My life run rich with men who half love
I pick them for their inability, their lacking

Lacking any sort of intent, or ability, to commit
He slips between my sheets and rests his head on my warm thighs

Days later my sheets still hold his scent, my thighs crave his heat
The sweat of our lovemaking, our crude sex everywhere

Everywhere and anywhere I seek the ghosts of love
All I find are bloody hands and tear-stained cheeks

Your blood is on my hands when you write these notes
Filled with keen longing for days of warm kisses and laughter

Our laughter in the kitchen feels like a warm kiss along my throat
While I make coffee and you fry eggs and we pretend domesticity is
our friend

A kind warning: domesticity and I have never been on friendly terms
No matter what I say, half-loving my men is life’s greatest truth

Have you read Jericho Brown’s THE TRADITION? If you love poetry, you must. It’s a work of wonder, and has changed my life in too many ways to count, but most apparent (to myself at least) in how I now see words. And what I can do with them. Or try to do with them. Like here… this morning I woke up and looked at the first line of the poem, a line that came to me yesterday on my walk to yoga, and decided I was going to try and emulate Mr. Brown’s “duplex” format of poetry. And from that stubborn resolve, emerged this poem. I don’t know if Mr. Brown would like it, but I think it’s a decent first attempt. I’ll keep at it for sure.

Pick up his books at your local independent book store – I swear you won’t regret it.

xx, M

Mortal Combat

 To all the men I’ve loved before,
I lied. Those two words are my only truth.
That time you poured me a drink
And brown heat scorched my
Throat and I laughed at something
You said low so I had to dip down
Close, your breath hot on my cheek
The thrill of it heady and warm on
Your thigh, a murder of crows
Unleashed in my gut, swirling and
Laughing and diving into the sweet
Nectar of your tongue, the mellow
Of our kiss. Did you lose yourself in
All the madness? (I know I did)
When you smiled across the table and
Offered me a ride home, and told me
I was making you break all the rules
Set between you and your lover, and I
Smiled back but said nothing, the
Curve of my lips must have looked like
Surrender because right then you
Believed I fell. (I did, too)
How many times have you stripped
Me naked in my kitchen? How many
Times have I insisted I love you? By now
The pots and pans know the sound of your
Footfall, the walls reek with the smell
Of our sweat. We are everywhere and
Nowhere that matters. We are oblivion.
Didn’t your mama warn you about
Girls who strip down to their c-section
Scarred bellies and thick thighs, toss their
Bra to the floor, and let you run your
Hands all over their bare asses on the
First date?
Even when I said I love you, wrote letters
Professing a profound need to be
Wrapped around you forever,
What foolhardy nonsense had you
Believing a word of it? Girls like me
Don’t be loving no one. We ain’t even
Learned to love ourselves. We use sex
As a weapon, my pussy is my sword. I
Told you I love knives while you rode
My sharpest one all night, and even
When I cut you deep, you left my house
With a foolish grin on your face.
Sweet man, mortal combat this is called,
Not love.

I told y’all these most recent pieces aren’t pretty, but damn if they don’t feel like heaven hitting the page. 

xx, M

Expectations

 I am not a dog person
or a kid person
sometimes not even a
people person,
but I have this dog
a parting gift from
the ex-husband
adopted on the cusp
of his madness
left in my care because
even though I don’t
like the dog, I’m not
heartless. Right now
he’s watching me,
the dog, that is, not
the ex-husband,
staring really, and it
makes my skin crawl
and reminds me of
all the little things
I cannot stand about
being needed, and
necessary. He knows
I’m leaving for work,
and he expects a treat
as I depart, but dear
sweet dog, expectations
can be a motherfucker.

May is not National Poetry Month and yet, here I am, still writing poetry. Which fills me to the gills with quiet laughter and a sly smile, because this time last year, I was writing nothing. Not one word. Just editing things in a very circular manner that reminded me of treading water or running on a wheel, going nowhere fast. And even though this piece, and another I’m working on right now, aren’t the brightest rays of sunshine in the universe, they make me so happy. Apologies in advance if they have the opposite effect on you.

xx, M

Reading Series: A Celebration of Words


On Saturday, May 18th, I’m going to take the stage with several of my Rhode Island Writers Colony alumni for an afternoon celebrating words. We’ll each be reading for about ten minutes from current works-in-progress, everything from nonfiction essays to children’s fiction to poetry.

You’ll be able to ask questions about the Rhode Island Writers Colony, listen to a pretty amazing group of writers do their thing, and hang with us for a while. Trust me, we are stellar. You want to do this.

Also, it’s free. Though, should you feel moved to donate a little something to the Colony, none of us is going to stop you.

Another also: there will be drinks and snacks, for those of you needing some extra enticement, when words alone might not suffice.

Stop by, drink some wine, listen to some words. And help us celebrate the magic of the RIWC.

xx, M

Day 30

GODDAMNED WAR
 
I started a piece on dreams and
Words and how they’re coming to
Me all the time, incessant, and it feels
Romantic, as if I’m being seduced, but
All I kept thinking on was you. Even though
I know better. I always know better. The
Last page of my journal has notes scribbled
About loving you madly, feeling you in the
Churn of my gut, and knowing you.
Don’t.

I love you. I love you back. That’s my
Response to your imaginary note. Even
Though I know better. I always know
Better. Than to finish a sentence with
An adverb. To use an adverb ever. When
It comes to you, all rules go out the
Window.

Fifty-seven. At least this many times a
Day you cross my mind. Remember
When I said if you think about me
You should act? Even though I know
Better. I always know better. I never hear
From you. Your silence speaks volumes.
You don’t think on me, and for sure
Not fifty-seven times a day. Tomorrow
I will only allow myself forty-two moments
Devoted to you.

(Who am I kidding?)
(Ha.)

Your laugh feels like time stopped and
Keeps moving, where one leg stands in the 
Past and the other the present. And all of it
Matters. Even though I know better. I always
Know better. Your smile is a most delicious
Curve, your hands, they are perfection. And I
Am not a jealous woman, possession knows no
Home in my flesh, yet the thought of those hands
Learning another irks.

Yesterday I listened to a song you selected, and told
Myself you picked that song for me. Even though
I know better. I always know better. I played it again
And again and again. So much, it felt like being inside
Your skin for a few beats of time. How silly, and true.
I did that. Such nonsense.

There are myriad things I could write, I should write,
So it feels trivial to write about you. And love.
Then I remind myself: love in these times is revolution.
Brown love is goddamned war. So I put these words down,
Scrawl them across my paper, let them flow as they will.
I revel in love and you and me. And us... but there is no us.
Only me. Sitting here with these words, and time, and
Memory. Alone, loving you. Even though I know better.
I always know better.

Today is the last day of National Poetry Month, and I must admit I’m sad to see the month disappear. I’ve enjoyed the challenge of writing a poem a day. My writing muscle feels stronger, eager to continue what I’ve begun. I intended to end the month with a piece about words, especially about this dream I had that was all words, splashed across my mind’s eye, in no special order, just scattered everywhere. And it felt like love. I started to write that piece, but kept coming back to love. And someone. Even though I know better. I always know better. I like the haphazard repetition of the phrase, it’s layered and purposeful, and that makes me happy. Unrequited love does not.

xx, M

p.s. – to everyone who’s stopped by and read some of my work, thanks for going on this journey with me. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Day 29

SIXTH GRADE

when I was younger
in sixth grade to be exact
a boy in my neighborhood
aimed his gun at me while
I waited for the school bus,
pulled the trigger, and fired.
He was a pale thing with
frizzy red hair and a pink
slash for a mouth. Skinny,
with slouched shoulders,
and a fatigues-green
button down shirt with
the sleeves cut off. That’s
how I see him. I’m sure he 
had other clothes but 
does it matter? Strange,
the details we recall from
the dark recesses of youth.
The gun wasn’t our first
incident. Me and that boy.
But it was our last.
He didn’t hit me, and I didn’t 
die. He used a pump-action, 
high velocity BB gun, and had
he been a better shot, he could 
have killed me. I wonder if
he practiced? I wonder if he
missed on purpose?
It created a storm in my young 
life, that boy and his gun. One made 
up of lots of white people asking me 
what happened, how, why. I don’t
know what I said, or what that
boy said, or his mama, or mine,
all I recall are mouths. 
The grouper-like lips of my
assistant principal. Did you know 
they’re your pal, until they’re not? 
The gaping black hole of the small 
town judge’s mouth. I’m not certain
he asked me to approach the 
bench, but I can clearly see his deep-
space-like mouth, lips so thin they 
were invisible. And the shooter. 
Of course, the shooter. I know what 
his mouth looks like and his baby 
teeth are showing

April is National Poetry Month and that time of year when I challenge myself to write a poem everyday. This poem came to me in three parts. First, the memory of being shot at while waiting for the bus one morning. Second, the last sentence. It woke me up from a dream last night, a dream about this incident and that boy. And finally, the idea of childhood and memory, shades of gray and the art of the story. Here, someone did in fact shoot at me while I waited for the bus, and I was questioned about it, and we went to court, but that boy, the one from my dream, and my memories, the inspiration for the last line of this poem, he wasn’t the shooter. According to my mom, he was the kid who reported it.

xx, M

p.s. – there’s no time to edit these pieces, and if they’re not perfect, so be it. At least they made it out of my brain and onto the page.