eyes beat heart wide
n sine co-patience
blink rare breath laugh
un sin go pay shun
deep shared step speak open tongued rhythms
story tell in the pattern of a mischief
round each other’s oldest voices caress
abi bellybuttons shoot
rain follows snow follows shine hollows
clouds hollow graves into roots hollow
cracks into tar fallow talk hollows
dreams nightly migrating birds hallow
sky copper indigo follow trickster heart
conjure lion’s roar from spitting cobra’s belly
used to hack
all the others
from my body
my balisong now
The poet explains several special words:
abi – Nigerian pidgin, from Yoruba; final interrogative particle on a yes/no question
balisong – a.k.a. balisong batangas, butterfly knife, fan knife or veinte y nueve; a swing-bladed folding pocketknife used in Filipino martial arts and for self-defence.
jai – I use jai in the sense of “Long live” (Hindi). It can also be translated as “Up with,” “Hail” or “Victory”. Often it’s a part of call and response chants.
Hari Malagayo Alluri is a poet, activist, facilitator and filmmaker who migrated to SouthVancouver, Coast Salish Territories, at age 12. He will be at Surrey Muse on July 27th. Hari’s writing appears in several publications.