I stare at the word ‘MOM’ without moving anything but my eyes. I reread the message. I want to cry but can’t. I read the message for the third time and continue to stare at ‘MOM,’ feeling emptiness and love simultaneously, unable to figure out which feeling came first.
Such anguished sentiments recalled as heavy words that turn the stomach, become the effective thread that Ahmed pursues to explore something of the disjointed experience of dealing with his own emotional anxiety with that of his mother; as her words become the unruly zeitgeist for the entire series, what I have forgotten could fill an ocean, what is not real never lived.
Carter says he spent his 18 years in prison preparing for his release. He read books on subjects ranging from law to real estate. He learned the art of making dentures and became exceptionally good at it. He now works for a dentistry corporation in Saratoga Springs.
Rajive grew up in the 1970s suburbs of New Jersey. He tells me, “There were no other Indian kids there. There were three Asian-American kids in my school and I was one of them.” He runs his fingers through his hair and lights a cigarette, “the other two kids were named Alex and Noah, so naturally I was acutely aware of my difference from a very young age because my name sounded foreign to the other kids.”
Sajila was four months pregnant when the photo shoot for this piece began. She had to starve for several days during her pregnancy as her financial condition worsened. The poverty-ridden family were not planning to have their family extended; nonetheless, Sajila continues nurturing her hope to have another male-child this time.
"I’m watching a crowd of several hundred teenagers droppin’ it low and throwing their hands high to THE best of Southern Rap. Every Friday, the National Guard Armory at Cross Country Road in Charleston, S.C. hosts Teen Night, which brings out the city’s youngest and most opulent. Brightly colored weaves, shiny gold chains and gold grills stack the entry line; candy-painted Crown Victorias and sparkling rims flood the parking lot. There is nothing grander happening anywhere else in the city..."
Kolkata is a tongue that licks filth and turns it to clay, molds it into cups for tea and goddesses to be worshipped. These devis—be they named Durga or Kali or Lakshmi—are of clay and worshipped as clay; born from and returned to the river silt. They are made in Kumartoli district near the river, where the streets shape the armies of goddesses who give meaning to the city. They will see and be seen. They will be worshiped for a week and then enthusiastically thrown in the river to re-emerge. If their paint is toxic, their toxins will be absorbed. The river exhales her clay and inhales our prayers.
"The gift came to me in the form of a matra at the age of three. It became freestyle rap at the age of eight. It dictated the beginning of a career at the age of 12. It inspired me to learn the guitar. It guided my hand via spray cans and paint brushes throughout childhood. It has shown me the world, allowing me to stop along the way to meet people who amaze me to no end. It has placed me in the company of greatness, and has taught me to be humble. It has given me everything, and in return I give it everything."
Chirag C. Dani was raised in the South and Midwest and dreamt of playing shortstop for the Atlanta Braves. After realizing he couldn't hit a slider he shelved the glove and picked up a pen, thinking if nothing else he could rewrite his story. Though he'll always be an Indian Iowan, he decided to venture out east and join the finance industry after graduation. Years later, his passion for writing has never waned and has provided that therapeutic outlet of expression, creativity and originality. So he writes, and reads what he has written, then erases every bit and starts all over again.
I revise and revise, hone and hone until I can hear a poem sort of hum—then I know it’s done. Some take a lot, some take a little. Weird sort of thing, but a poem will generally let you know when it is either done or dead in the water. Revising is like kneading bread dough. Too little and bread falls flat to much and bread is too hard because you’ve broken it down too much, worked at it too long. When you have a poem you know will be really good if you can just figure out what it is you are trying to do, but you don’t, or can’t know yet what that is yet, one of the hardest things to do is to just leave it alone for a while.