Volume 2 | Issue 6 [October 2022]
Poems by Gayatri
‘Sabbe sankhara dukkha, Sabbe sankhara aniccya, Sabbe sankhara annata’ – the Buddha said. These (in Pali) are the trilakshana, or three marks of existence, characteristics common to all arising phenomena, the sankharas. Dukkha, suffering, is the first. Aniccya, impermanence, is the second. Annata, the absence of inherent self or eternalism is the third. In brief, everything hurts but nothing lasts.
Artwork – Gayatri
Hunger does not distinguish us in any way,
the scrounging mouse feeds twenty times a day,
a sparrow pecks half his weight in grain,
the bear hoards a coursing, warming vein,
for all who demand the right to feast
hunger does not sit in the belly of the beast,
so, keep the scraps. All in us that is insatiable
moves us shyly toward the occupied, exalted table.
“Look,” they say, “everyone has hunger; no space.”
We know. Hunger in itself does not make a place.
Hunger croaks in the huddled frame, choked voice
ghosts outside the gates, woman without choice;
nothing the hungry say is sweet. Sandpaper rasping
ask me nicely, ask me how I’d ask me, no grasping
hunger must be well-behaved, keen to play
know the rules of the game, know what not to say
those who eat without hunger, just because they can,
devour wild-eyed, blank-hearted, the soul of the hungry man
what breaks down the bodies of the ravenous,
leaves the desire unsheathed, delicate, diaphanous
a sliver of ambition that believes it cannot possibly go on
burning raw, stung by a breeze, dying fleck of an ember’s song
and then the hungry open their mouths and begin to sing
wonder from this world they wring, on torn angels’ wing and demon sting
swallow the sun, slurp the sea, devour the sky, gorge the earth,
From the swollen bellies of ferocious lust, the rapacious begin to birth
and then that table, plated silver, gilded gall, seems so small,
pocketing pies, guzzling champagne like gas, they hoard them all
the clinging feast that turns to dust in mouths that must
keep eating the fear they’ll run out, mistrust bakes an obese lust
what song can gush from those who cannot but consume
every last chair at the wedding seats want; there is no space for the groom in the room
those who carry the hunger within them like the nurturing mothers of ravenous beasts
that will exhaust them, cannot but ravage the realm itself, priests of indeterminate feasts
Oh hungry, anoint yourselves to the gustation of an entirety of creation
Oh begetter of worlds, handouts of the reserved table, are not the genesis of your satiation.
Artwork – Gayatri
I live like an overeager lunchbox.
My recesses navigated on the strength
of pickled olives and cheese triangles.
The savouriness of me, neat wrangles.
I nibble on pleasure left too long, even
my apple sticks breathe too deeply and brown,
smothered in almond butter, grainy, disparate
a gluggy cover-up for veins running honey.
A fistful of goldfish crackers
too many in my mouth. Lest
ill-preparedness defeats me
before wanting does.
I eat like I am always hungry.
My face melts like candy floss,
disappointment and joy, sugary strands
of who did what to whom, instant,
like bittersweet toffee.
What I know sits on my tongue,
plumped out with satiation,
a bursting grape in its skin,
full with the dryness of terroirs
lesser-known to me, ingestible capsule
flurried shadow, rippled with
the unfermented, possibility,
juice to quench the world.
I thirst like there isn’t water enough.
A dog chases the wheel of my bus;
I know how it feels
to catch or not,
to be caught in return
to be captive
to what moves incessantly
ball that will not bounce
that may not be thrown
will not be owned.
We know ourselves best
who run ahead of our shadows.
Put a lid on what eats me whole,
avaricious, skin and bone.
Lest I am satiated before I am known.