my eyes are closed / & i won’t lose my temper, want a world where my people aren’t background, refuse / to be an extra in someone else’s weekend again.
carrying on collecting prayers, repeating om shanthi & imagining i’m inside
some pastel temple. white peacocks flash their beaks in the verdant
anywhere, & the boy cranking a megaphone his mother painted
blue & poppy with a dried grass paintbrush—he has a name, receives
no check-per-play, & on YouTube a male commenter writes : travel to India
is one of my dreams, this video makes it stronger. i vow & vow against this hymn—slow motion
& splicing & for some reason Beyoncé lording over slums. drunk & high when she gestures
a clumsy Bharatnatyam—all draped dupatta, metallic lip gloss—i’m being too extra
in public again. yeah, i want y’all’s permission to take it back—her airbrushed crown,
our wedding jewelry—but here are so many white faces, tilted up as in ecstasy, & i can’t
argue, there is a certain pleasure in consuming packaged Otherness, like catching the bouquet
when there’s already a ring on your finger. no point asking
for what won’t be given—instead, i pray : no Bharat as a scene up for the taking—
as they say in the States, bless your head full of dreams for visiting. my eyes are closed
& i won’t lose my temper, want a world where my people aren’t background, refuse
to be an extra in someone else’s weekend again. like the scene, timeworn, where my white ex
queues up Bollywood compilations, screws an invisible bulb, laughs & later
punches me in the face. how i forgot & was then reminded : this was his shot. again
i am lost & cannot help but leave the bar, walk myself down the street,
my mother’s prayers the soundtrack to my slow journey home. & still
am haunted by caricature : an old-school film reel.
low-cut red gown barely holding in Bey’s tits. a bunch of villagers
eating this shit up. Christopher, i’m begging you : take off
your mandala-clad leather jacket. all this playing dress up got me feeling i’m trapped in the story
of every white boy’s colorful past, sitting in a plush theater seat, watching my own life
derail. wipe the color off your face, Chris. let your legs wind you
backward, onto the plane. let the garlands not be props. let kids on concrete roofs smile
& re-palm that ethereal paint, crowd around someone who’s less of a ghost.
romance something of your own.