Santa Clara

No matter where I go, I can’t
figure out things by myself,
be it a laundromat, a poet’s tomb,
or a ticketing machine;
like the one at Santa Clara station which
turned my anguish into tariff…

If she’d waited with my suitcase,
the walk to the train museum on the other
platform might not have seemed
as if I were dragging
my conscience just to buy some water

If she’d waited
with me for the train to Sacramento,
I may not have boarded the train
to Sacramento,
flown out the next morning
with a friend—he to meet his fading father,
and I, to schedule
my forgetting



Alaska Airlines has closed the gate.
We are late by ten minutes.
Stranded with us is another family—
the women are in hijab.
We learn their destination is Palestine,
via Jordan. My friend’s
destination is a hospice.
The caucasian lady doesn’t register
our panic. Or offer regret.
Her demeanor turns us into ravens
vanquished by an infinite field of snow.
The airplane is still on the ground—
it reminds me of a photograph, where
passengers appear suspended above
a coffin wrapped in the American flag.
In this morning fragrant with bagels
and Columbia grinds, we, who are
no martyrs, must find another way home.



Every half hour,
the smoking lounge;
His dad’s cancer, too late for chemo.

Air-hostesses cloud around us;
here, they
don’t give a fuck
if our meal preferences are Kosher or Hindu,
if seat belts can do kinky,
if aviation protocols gainsay universes
where our griefs are in-flight movies rated M,

one starring a man with a four day stubble,
blowing his smoke into
the netherworld,
& another who’s unsure of what
he’s turned his back to.

We are laughing because
education only prepared us
with machine-language and Fibonacci

we are compiled into defeat.


Ice Storm

-Springfield, 2006


All night, the freezing rain.
I hear it string crystals on telephone wires till they snap like
the necks of two negroes lynched in 1906.
Winter’s apprentices blowing glass into firethorn berries.

Meteorologists claim such icicles form when a witch/zhalmawiz kempir,
awakens from dogwood. That icicles aren’t necessarily rockets
fleeing the afterlife’s gravitation.

Within snowflakes, ladybirds tighten their scarves. Their cigarettes
fog my breath with the smoldering backs of horsemen.


This work was first published as part of the Basil ~ October 2017 Issue, of the Coldnoon journal.



Arjun Rajendran

Arjun Rajendran

Arjun Rajendran has authored two poetry collections: SNAKE WINE (Les Editions du Zaporogue, 2014) & The Cosmonaut In Hergé’s Rocket(Paperwall, 2017)His poems have appeared in magazines and anthologies like Caesura, Strange Horizons, Eclectica Magazine’s Best Poetry, Star*Line, The Missing Slate, Elsewhere Lit, SOFTBLOW and Asian Cha.