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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.