This Afternoon

Don’t be careful.
Definitely burn down the house.
Find others waiting to catch fire in a thoughtless world.
Launch something beautiful to places you didn’t know you knew.

Definitely burn down the house.
Dream, explore, and play in an instinctive state.
Launch something beautiful to places you didn’t know you knew.
Water simmering coals on the way down.

Dream, explore, and play in an instinctive state.
Find others waiting to catch fire in a thoughtless world.
Water simmering coals on the way down.
Don’t be careful.

Shloka Shankar, 2020

Remixed works:

Quotes on first drafts, by Chanelle Benz,
Ray Bradbury, Jennifer Egan, Ursula K. Le Guin, Kurt Vonnegut, and others

Like Gravel

Wet things smell stronger.
The blossom, pressed
in a book, has been done
to death.

When I was born, you waited.
My head heavy,

heavy with the light
of late afternoon.
The grasses in the field

have toppled. There’s
no accounting for happiness.
A wound is sometimes
buried, dispossessed,

like gravel on the bend.

Shloka Shankar, 2019

Remixed works:

Lines from poems by Jane Kenyon

A Sleep of Crowns

Cover your needs.
Descend to your roots.
[your... your... your... your with your...]
Bleed willingly (that’s a good thing).

Answer the brook.
Lips to secrets meet,
the wounded answer–desire.

Your whiteness (of course
it isn’t) in a seasonless world;

feeling what you feel,
hurry. Release

the I fragment.

Your eventide,
a sleep of crowns.

Shloka Shankar, 2018

Remixed works:
Kahlil Gibran on The Courage to Weather the Uncertainties of Love, by Maria Popova
John Steinbeck on Falling in Love: A 1958 Letter of Advice to His Lovesick Teenage Son, by Maria Popova

Hamlet in 15 Seconds

Every once in a while,
imagine life as a hard, rigid,
inflexible caramel center.

If you can help it,
make your way through
a swirling maelstrom
of volatile surprises.

And by all that is holy,
practice a death-defying leap
through a flaming hoop
while reciting Hamlet

in under 15 seconds
when nobody’s around.

People always clap
for the wrong reasons.

Shloka Shankar, 2017

Remixed works:
Chaos Theory: A Unified Theory of Muppet Types, by Dahlia Lithwick
The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger.