Friday, December 20, 2013


Kedarnath Temple at Uttarakhand

I have come to you in this darkest hour of winter
I hope you can see me
The ice within me is much like the ice that surrounds me
I hope you can heal me

You hold all the venom of this world inside so mankind may survive
I hope you can teach me
How to be a vessel for such corrosive knowledge
And still believe

Up this steep mountain I have dragged 

This debris of thoughts
And feelings and memories
To make a bonfire at your feet
                                                                                      ~  Sonali

Friday, November 29, 2013

Paper Boats on River Time

The moon was big and yellow and cheesy but beautiful

Over the silhouettes of pines rustling in the breeze

Supper had begun at four with carrot soup and croutons

And had meandered into a tub of mashed potatoes and the tryptophan

Flanked by chicken biryani and banana cream pie

At seven we wiped the whipped cream off our lips on our sleeves

Our lucky selves drunk on the camaraderie of family and friends

We'd watched The Oz on the VCR already

We weren't about to watch it again on TV

We sneaked off instead onto the deck to get some fresh air we said

My cousin and I, and out there the night was young  as we

It was all of seven or nine, or eight if you insisted upon equality

For you see, I was seven, my cousin was nine

And if anybody asked how old “we” were we simply said “eight”

And we shared everything equally

If we chanced upon a stash of fifteen jellybeans

We took seven each and bit the eighth into halves

If we had twentyseven marbles between us we threw away the “fourteenth”

But I digress

We were suffering that day from a bad case of cabin fever as it had rained five days in a row

The hurricane had swallowed up half the holiday week

But it had left us with a gushing creek at the edge of the yard

Two or maybe even three feet across, a mini Mississippi to my little Colossus

And as all flowing rivulets inspire the human kind to build vessels for to carry forth our dreams

This one sent us hurtling back into the house for a sheaf of papers

With which to build some paper boats to float on the stream slick with moonlight

"Be careful," said my older cousin, ever watchful of the younger me

I think now that it matters so much that we remain careful in everything we do

I can hardly believe we pay homage to those ships that came over vast waterways

Bearing guns and germs and steel and the will to kill the innocent with them all

We cannot reduce that horror to the annual worshipping of the Black Friday

How do we honor those who suffer still from the wounds of yesterday? 


                                                                                                                          ~ Sonali

Saturday, October 5, 2013

I Wonder

I walked into a spa on a busy street
With pictures of pretty flowers sweet
Candles were lit by the doorway
They offered me a lei
The Hot Stones and the Swedish
And a new age blend of something English
Has no word for yet while nodding meaningfully
Not fluent in masseuse I nodded meaningfully too
That ought to have been the first tip off
But my mind had been dulled by the pictures of
Pretty flowers and scented candles at the portal
And I was a mere mortal
Writhing in pain from a stiff back
Whom the gaggle of  ladies in black
Had sold a half hour at an introductory price
And I love an introductory price very well

The second clue was the serpentine hallway
Through a rectangular building all the way 
To a cubby with some interesting artifacts on display
She said,"Did you bring your bunny" and it sounded risque
Besides who brings their pet to a spa I wondered
But I thought perhaps they allowed pets to comfort
Those in pain 
And in pain I was

It dawned on me then I might be in the wrong place at the wrong time so I turned and fled

                                                                                                                             ~ Sonali


Friday, October 4, 2013


Swatches sailing down
Russet yellow mauve brown beige
Canopy now rug

Exotic fruitage
Please tease appease the senses
Recall Eve’s apple

Geese butterflies larks
Make it look so so easy
I could fly to you

Brittle chill thrills with
The first frost of the year and
I know I’m alive

Diaphanous mist  
Conceals you and me this dawn
As light within light

                                                                                          ~ Sonali

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Gift Of A Feather

A Hawk gave hope a chance
Peacock plumes decorated the gloom
Neelkanth perched on a tree for months
Dispelled darkness
Cardinals decorated a Christmas tree
A modern Phoenix perched on a chimney chute
Signals transformation


Monday, September 2, 2013

In The Fullness Of Time

The fulcrum of our decisions
Tip time over to one side or the other
Be wise
Don't upset the balance
Against your best interests

Honor money peace health
All are being stolen
While false protestations of love
Are being used as cover
Trust only results not promises

In time
You will learn to play this game
Of  weighted dice
And Kurukshetra will be littered
With the bodies of your kinsman

While vultures feast on their carrion
                                                                                                           - Sonali

Monday, August 12, 2013


Sunsets are very distracting things
I dawdle outside my door watching the sky turn colors
Of pretty chiffon saris in a showroom display
The azaan reminds me the day is almost done
At eight the aarti will commence at the temple
I haven’t finished reading "The Book of Job"
My professor asked me to annotate
My puppy wants to play catch
Dinner’s ready
I'd better go in
Reluctantly I gather up the dictionary
The Bible, the pencil, and ruler
I am transfixed by the lone star in the sky
So close to Heaven
A little left of the minaret 
Just right of the red pennant on the shikhara 
A twinkling little dot
I’ll have to come back and check on them stars again
When they’ve all shown up on this moonless night
Except the lights from the city
Will not allow me to see them in their full glory

                                                                                              ~ Sonali

Sunday, August 11, 2013


facetious self
lost in translation between
what is what was what ought to be
regrets everything and nothing
the chirrup of cicadas
inside of the cranium
create a harrowing din

                                                            ~ Sonali

Saturday, August 10, 2013


The air dipped a brush into the dark blue lake
And began painting the sky
Beginning in the east
Strokes going westward
When accidentally
It touched the sinking sun
And spilled a little of its tangerine
Into the thinning inkiness of the west

From the pewter of yesterday’s moon
It cast on the canvas a minuscule drop of silver
That winked growing stronger each minute
Then came another
And another
A growing population

Now I wait
For a silver sickle
Grown since yesterday
For I know
The air is only pretending to paint
'Coz I play along

This charade goes on
Irrespective of me or you
Or what we believe or choose to disbelieve
                                                                        ~ Sonali
Wallpaper sunset, sky, evening, star, night desktop wallpaper

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Koi Pond

You touch me
I quiver
Ripples carrying shooting stars

Beneath the translucent veil
Thoughts red and black
Dart about
Hoping to come to a fruitful conclusion

A floating lily
Catching sunbeams fills to the brim
Light spills over
A drop of hopefulness touches the surface
A buddha is born
                                                       ~  Sonali

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


I tied my troubles
Into a fat bundle
And fastened
The other end of the rope
To a hot air balloon

Sunday, August 4, 2013

After The Drinking Of Elixir

So you have tasted the nectar of the gods
You have eaten off the tree of knowledge of good and evil
You have seen the ghost of Christmas past
You hold the keys to the kingdom of your loftiest imaginings
And yet you hesitate?
I understand you were inebriated a while
But consider this
There would be no road maps
If some didn't venture
Where no one has passed before

They mostly took a scenic route
A little food perhaps
A little bundle maybe
A dash of common sense
And as much of themselves as they could on that journey

                                                                                                 ~ Sonali

Thursday, August 1, 2013


                                       Part   I

Lame duck vs. dumb luck

I Aphrodite
♫Beautiful but flighty♫

Walking through the forest
Trust me I’m no florist

Head of Hephaestus
Poisonous as asbestos

On a silver salver
Beautiful disaster

Here dear Athene
An offering for thee

Part II


Sweet Aphrodite
I thought you’re high and mighty

Thank you for the present
It’s the perfect accent

Among the family heirlooms
Gold silver Pegasus grooms

And look a matching pair
No more solitaire

The gift of Medusas’ hair
Perseus brought me there

                                                        ~ Sonali

Aphrodite and Athena

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Tiresias revisited
Tiresias unbound
Tiresias interrogated
Tiresias absolved of all wrongdoing
Hera’s left holding the chopping block

Monday, July 29, 2013


Barging down the river a mile
I once met a crocodile
Whose smile
I didn’t really care for

I asked my maid in waiting
If she’d do a little baiting
And have the ax man
Do away with that which I abhor

Now I beam a benign smile
It’s pure pleasure there’s no guile
Believe me
I love my shoes, my clutch, and the beautiful Nile

                                                                                          ~ Sonali

Illustration - Arab Republic of Egypt, the coin of fifty piastres, shows the queen Cleopatra


Sunday, July 28, 2013


I am not
The titular head
Of a banana republic
I am the republic
                                                                                             ~ Sonali


Ever notice ?
Evil monkey see evil
Evil monkey do evil
Evil monkey see good
Evil monkey do evil

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Rodent treadmill on warp speed
Fur flying
Feet slipping
Heart pounding meaninglessly

Is there anything sorrier
Than my little gerbil
On his little plastic train
            To nowhere?


                                                                                     ~ Sonali


Bug on the windshield of Life I am
Irregular blot
Still wet and gooey
Contemplating the landscape whizzing by
Taxing what little is left of my mind

                                                                                      ~ Sonali

Monday, July 22, 2013


                                                               All neurons firing
                                                               Unusual clarity of comprehension
                                                               All faculties working in unison
                                                               Full throttle living
                                                               Peace within
                                                               Peace without

                                                                                                                                  ~ Sonali
maha mrityunjaya
Third eye |

Sunday, July 21, 2013


Previously published in Calliope

I gave away love I didn’t have
Wiped away tears my eyes couldn’t shed
Sent missives with postage a few pennies short
Learned to play poker with just half a deck
Gave gifts of peace I didn’t own
And found the spark I had lost --

That all-disturbing photon of light
That melted my defenses
Against an unrelenting world
And found if you trust you are trusted
If you love you are loved
If you hate you are hated

I broke down the walls
And let the world fall in
Sprouted wings
And learned to sing
A new song
Come sing with me 

I unraveled the knots within
Through long sleepless nights
Laughed hard at jokes never told
Looked at life anew
And learned to smile again
Smile back at me

I slipped free of that last shackle
Winked back at the mysteries of life
Took one long draught of that elixir
That keeps the shadows at bay
And danced the night away
Come dance with me

                                                                               ~  Sonali


Previously published in The Writing Disorder
A little boy six or so
Playing soldier out in the backyard
Builds his fortress with young green branches
Arching down from an overgrown bush
And a cotton dhurrie he borrowed
From the kitchen floor
He marshalls his troops to victories
Around the carrot patch
The rosebushes
The plum trees
And settles down in the shade
With a cup of the bluest Gatorade
He grows up and goes to war
His talents as a leader among men
And his courage and forethought
Earn him a place among
The best of the best
He surveys his accomplishments
And wants just one more little thing
The simplicity of that existence
Where one carried no train
Behind him
No worry
Before him
Because the little child within the man lives
                                                                                                                          ~ Sonali
Telescope by ~vladstudio on

Friday, July 19, 2013


Sorry I screamed so loud
I mean I'm glad you came to see me
I screamed because I thought I'd die if I didn't
Well I screamed without thinking really
I thought I'd die if I didn't see you
How many miles did you walk to see me
Must've been a million
And all you saw were my tears
I wish I could hear you
But I can't for this thick wall of glass between us
Longer than The Great Wall of China
I hope you can stay
But I'd understand if you must leave
I'll go away with no answers
It grows dark even as we speak
So you wouldn't know I'm smiling now
I am
That deafening sound of silence gives way to
A deepening sound
It is indigo
A benign vortex
Pure silky luminescent
Like the ripples on a placid lake impinged upon by a single pebble
The closest thing to a softly whispered secret
Did you hear that
A hum
And now the door's closed I suppose
I hear nothing, again
But I don't feel helpless anymore
                                                                                                                   ~ Sonali

blue night moon moonlight min beautiful moons lake rocketship landscape HD Wallpaper
blue night moon moonlight min beautiful moons lake rocketship

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


I was reading a book, many years ago, on personal transformation that asked the reader to write about each major life event describing our emotions. This was what I wrote for "Faith".

The landscape expands and rearranges itself
Alice has drunk the “Drink Me” and shrunk actually
She sees mountains of puffy clouds
Benign luminosity
She steps up the bottommost cloud
And she does not sink
Another step and it holds her well
Up, up, on a stack of clouds
“It’s a mountain," she says
"A stork’s bundle for a day
A silly dream”
She nears the top
And sees a face
A happy Rushmore-like face
She’s so surprised she slips
And falls into a pile of clouds
And looks to find
She’s held in the hollow of God’s hand


Saturday, July 13, 2013

May God Bless The Clouds Out Of Reach

Encircling the globe
Runs an unseen river of unshed tears
That empties itself into an unseen ocean
May there be peace for those who suffer

                                                                           ~  Sonali

Friday, July 12, 2013


Published earlier in The Writing Disorder

There’re some of us
Who cannot stand
On two feet
Like the homo erectus
Because we are the lotophagi

We cannot think
Nor act nor speak
Nor live according to our wishes
But we do the master’s bidding
Who feeds us the lotophagi

We’ve bartered our souls
A little at a time
And unwittingly given a little
Of the body and the mind each time
As a package deal of the lotophagi

We see pictures
Of street children
Sleeping on the footpaths
Of Mumbai or Kolkata or Hyderabad
And we’re looking at us the lotophagi

Numbed beyond human suffering
Our codes of conduct are not
Those that serve our best interests
Or those of our offspring
We’re broken as the lotophagi

It is time to reimagine the scenario
The lotus sutra proves it is not the lotus
That is evil
It is those who misuse it
And that are the lotophagi

Look that captor in the eye
Let the light of your soul shine
Through your brokenness
And say
I am no more enslaved

                                                                                           ~  Sonali

Thursday, July 11, 2013

It's Not Much Of A Life Without You

Daisies are the friendliest flowers
But I didn’t plant any this year
Instead I lavished time space manure
On gorgeous little sunflower stand-ins
Black-eyed susans
Beautiful in their own right

And here’s my puppy
All of six months
Being bad
She dug up the flower bed
Harried the cat
Chewed up my flip flops

I get her fancy new collar off
Put her in the sink
Wash the mud off
Deal with the wet dog stink
The mirror’s fogged up
The sink’s clogged up

But that mess has to wait
I HATE cleaning
I could’ve thrown the baby out
With the bath water you know
I say to my trusting pooch
She wags her tail

She’s cut through the crap
She knows I’m nothing without her
Words mean nothing to one
Who knows the language of the heart
She’s all fluffed and dried
Asleep on the carpet

I do what mamas do
Hold my breath
And clean the sink
I feel like a lot of negativity
Left with that dirty water
The mirror’s not foggy any more
DOK 01 RK0675 01 - Yellow Labrador Retriever Puppy And Calico Kitten Sitting In Flower Pot In Garden -
                                                                                                            ~ Sonali