July 17, 2019

Shawn Anto: The Tests of Life

Shawn Anto:  The Tests of Life
Moka Pot

I used to play these games
lungs became a trap
for darkness.
I used to hold my breath
waiting for the moka pot
spurting alive.
Suffocate negative lines over a world
day by day hoping
pot by pot.
These simple and harmless tendencies
start off as one motion
an egg uncracked, porcelain.
One must suspect harmless
become harmful in throat
breathe one-two, one-two.
A moka pot bubbling over
it is the inside that matters
hi-jack cells, vibrating.
Endless dream, endless violent end
not so, not-so I promise
I hold my breath, welcome it, attachment.
Sculpture of Incision
     stare red eyes down, under a shattered crown, we collapse
     everything around golden & memory particles dispersing 
     like tired eyes of their fear.
     a choice of no in this room, you exist a dagger into fragile side
     a remnant of ruined carving, ancient & miraculous what I would give
     up for you—what I wouldn’t.
     a stitching into stomach cemented down into worry
     little lightning marks ravaged a marble wall, into a hall
     you put up no fight—you open wide.
     an arrow buzzes passed a head of heaviness countering
     every argument with more history, an unusual air, with your thoughts
     bare out in a room, you pause, finally.
     dragging shiny knife across soft, brown flesh
     clay under red hue, blistering and dripping
     reminder of decision too quick to call.
     we leave our martyrs glistening rubies like that
     with their flaws out naked as if taken from the womb
     mother of the world, undisturbed by this calming cut
     into a secret place hidden from a test of time that left our power
     out after sacrifice, after every new world was formed.
Sunday Ritual
 I’ll lose my path, so aimless, ever-changing in my
 goddamn head, a curve of the spine, practical joke of a prayer
 if it weren’t attached, could you see my bones?
 the mud under my feet
 makes me sink, further
 someone’s mastering me
 without ever knowing
 which relationship is 
 true, a power struggle
 one way down, this x-ray: awaken & observe all my flesh.
 I talk to you every week
 Savior & friend, so imaginary, right
 at your altar, the silence
 harsh aching me, questioning
 what your senses are telling me
 telling you, you are ruling
 higher in color and sound
 it’s gray and oh so quiet
 a test, afraid to fail, draw a line and what’s next? 
Portrait of the Trespasser
 “they say betrayal” – Dawn Lundy Martin
             a hand will reach from a labyrinth searching
             practically begging for light.
             convince one’s self otherwise of a flame
             pouring out of a home, vegetation crip
             ash and dust full of youth’s plea.
             a web transfixes itself to a body, bone
             emerges from a singular name.
             someone bleed out a Keralite, granite
             stalactite, hanging from the rafters of a home
             so sure of its whereabouts, blood-line
             envious but respectful as one has to do.
             He is no one, one no one knows
             except cousin, stoic on a porch
             an old home rose and ruined
             vividly humming in a dream
             one can seem to let go, holding
             strict dagger to throat.
             here brown boy comes to the States
             a trace of his tongue still tracing
             a sun out of unholy place, a little
             drip of language cutting, just carving
             begging for entrance, upon a steep climb
             there is gold, flaking his skin with doubt of
             itself into a mouth, not yet known of sweetness or truth
             always angry searching for a place to redeem
             what was left back in God’s Own Country. 

* * *

Shawn Anto is from Delano, California. He’s originally from Kerala, India. He received his B.A. in English & Theatre at CSU Bakersfield and will pursue his MFA in Creative Writing at Columbia University this Fall. His writing has been featured or is forthcoming in Reed Magazine, O:JA&L, Mojave Heart Review, and elsewhere.

About theJack B. Rochester

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.