Poetry by Sweta Srivastava Vikram
Smoke in a poet’s heart
I laugh at drunken poets
who write verses in smoke
with fireflies inside their eyelids
as they cruise through broken hearts.
I mock romance writers
who stop to breathe
at every turn their dear beloved takes
at the end of the scene.
I pity lovelorn artists,
who paint murals
slender like wheat,
with naked hands & blistered feet.
I scoff at sculptors
who build bottomless statues
with their swinging arms and capes,
pursuing the sour smell of their lover.
Cloudless allegations and hushed tones hover over me--
wanting to know if I consider love
an abandoned spray at the lip of rivers
that have forgotten the scent they once carried.
In this life
I have learned one thing:
love, like the autumn breeze, shows up
in places you least expect.
It smells sweet
like honeysuckle sprayed on bare breasts.
But because I don’t know
how to live through my words,
or make unsaid confessions to the setting sun--
I softly toss my hair,
smile at my shadow--
silence knows my lover’s name.
Sometimes poets fail us
When some poets unzip in public,
only filth falls out from--
underneath their tongues,
behind the gums,
pores of their hands,
the silhouette of their feet,
the nib of their pen.
Maybe I expected too much
from poets, people who hold weapons--
ink and words in their veins,
verbal charm sown in their lips
creating an illusion of a perfect world
where they drink
societal pain, rub healing verses on wounds.
Sometimes poets fail us.
What else would you say
when a pen condones death at a reading,
holds the floating bodies responsible,
nicknames tragedy, payback for Pearl Harbor,
applauds the plague of tsunami
in a room full of zombies wearing blindfolds?
If you can’t fold your palms
and whisper silent prayers
for those killed and the living dead,
seal your mouth with sand,
relinquish letters that preach bigotry.
A true poet doesn’t hate,
ignite a fight, then run away.
Sweta Srivastava Vikram (www.swetavikram.com), featured by Asian Fusion as “one of the most influential Asians of our time,” is a best-selling author of 11 books, mindfulness writing coach, social issues advocate, wellness columnist, and a certified holistic health practitioner. Born in India, Sweta spent her formative years between the Indian Himalayas, North Africa, and the United States collecting and sharing stories. She writes about women, multiculturalism, and identity. Louisiana Catch (Modern History Press 2018) is her debut U.S. novel. Sweta, whose work has appeared in The New York Times, amongst other publications, across nine countries on three continents, is an award-winning writer and graduate of Columbia University. She is also the CEO-Founder of NimmiLife (www.nimmilife.com), which helps people nurture their overall health and wellness, while elevating their productivity, using alternative healing sciences of yoga, Ayurveda, holistic nutrition, mindfulness, and yoga. She lives with her husband in NYC.