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  •  -- grey squirrel --
    grey squirrel, Oct '09
    R.I.P. Mar '10
  • Bollywood song of the moment

    Vishal Bhardwaj's and Gulzar's Pehli Baar Mohabbat, sung by Mohit Chauhan, from the film Kaminey (Scoundrels)
    "...baat badi harkat ki hai
    pehli baar mohabbat ki hai
    aakhri baar mohabbat ki hai..."

  • UD song of the moment

    Jay Sean's Ride It
    ...just listen.
    Ride It in Hindi

October afternoon (edited)

October afternoon

Inside rain’s light,
eyes closed,
held warm by love,
a little lost in reality-sounds —
    the streets’ soft stuttered roar,
    a jet behind clouds,
    a bird,
    a horn,
    the whirring of a saw —
I heard a voice,
your cello’d song.

© Heather Quinn 18 Oct 2009 (edited 6 Jan 2010), all rights reserved



Emmanuel farishta,
the cries of bluejays
came this morning,
a month before time.
Fragrant seeding grasses,
dry leaves,
a salt-laden wind,
are already here.
Emmanuel my love, kaise ho?

© Heather Quinn 26 Aug 2009, all rights reserved

While you sleep (edited)

While you sleep

While you sleep,
cicada songs rise and fall,
a crow flies in
from north-northeast,
calling as it goes,
redwood’s sweetness
kisses the air,
 -- wild beach rose (rosa rugosa) at Wikipedia -- a harbor breeze brings drinks
of bruised roses and salt,
and eddies of leaves
and white butterflies
shadow-dance a casual piece
This Is How Ash Trees Rustle.

While you sleep,
the winds tie heat on
like sails,
and running high aloft
shred fire
into pale haze,
boundaries between
here and there.

© Heather Quinn 18 Aug 2009 (edited 8 Jan 2010), all rights reserved

At home in my heart

At home in my heart

couldn’t I see you?
from everyone but me,
take my eyes.
I’ll still see you.
Shades never hid
your face from me,
once I learned
who you are.

I was born for this.
An agent of love,
I see patterns and breaks,
feel truth
in lies, and otherwise.
wild and loving,
I trust.
at home in my heart,
how tight have I
held you?
I let you go, hai na?

Here you are,
wild and loving still,
I trust,
and free, free,
never far,
maybe always
at home in me.

© 19 Jul 2009 Heather Quinn, all rights reserved

Summer in three movements (edited)

Summer in three movements

Prelude and theme

Summer washes me with rain,
dusts me with grains of sun,
gilds me with honey-colored light.
Dressed-up evenings come,
to pull me, refreshed and dazed,
down into dreams
that fog up, and disappear
between here and there.


Here, at the party,
we sway to bass lines,
answer cryptic dhols
with singular dances,
fold ourselves deep
into nights that taste
of white roses and,
just a little, of envy.


The twilights are sharp and bright
like mint and basil,
and sandwiched in clouds.
And you, my lemon-ice,
listen: rain’s starting —
hear the whoosh in the trees?
Gulls, a hawk
and bread-fattened sparrows
are getting wet again.

© 25 Jun 2009 Heather Quinn (edited 8 Dec 2010), all rights reserved



Earth covers me,
thick, fragrant.
Unctuous sleep
comforts me in its arms.
Who is this —
this angel
whose wings shield me,
who folds me in a dream,
in softness?

© 19 Jun 2009 Heather Quinn, all rights reserved



Missing you
etches me.
What’s left?
Precipitant silver.
down to me,
through loving you.

© 5 Jun 2009 Heather Quinn, all rights reserved

Spelling your name

Spelling your name

The lyrical act
of spelling your name
is a poem,
a poem.
How else
can I tell
how I woke
in the night
needing a quilt,
and found I was
the cuniform grave
of your name
in the folds
of the sheet,
how it felt,
the shapes
of the given
and surname
so different,
so yours,
and how sometimes
my hand
found your face?

© 4 May 2009, Heather Quinn, all rights reserved

On a string of hours

On a string of hours

on a string of hours
one end:
anchored by your call
the other:
held by Frederick Seidel’s work
I crossed a chasm
one side:
the when-you-were-there-last-year cliff
the other:
springing across
without knowing I’d stepped out
I’m here
if you never again
if you don’t want
then or now
I’m OK
and if sad makes me mad
in a Hamletian sense
so be it then
but I’m home

© 14 Apr 2009, Heather Quinn, all rights reserved

Simple (edited)


In your hands, I’m simple now —
just fields of black India-ink
laid on rice-paper cream,
a heroine in skintight garb.
There — you’ve drawn a line,
an arch where my ribs would be,
a stroke to cut my skin,
to find my comic heart.

© 6 Jan 2009 (edited 2 Jan 2010), Heather Quinn, all rights reserved



This hall,
the sun slanting in,
a sea breeze
lifting the curtains
to salt the air,
this place
of dancing winds and light,
this open space,
is you in me.

© 4 Dec 2008, Heather Quinn, all rights reserved



a falcon flew.

His mile-long
figure eights
moved clouds
from west to east,
and bent the sky
in soft blue light.

The arcs he made
were love of you.

© 3 Dec 2008, Heather Quinn

Broken shell

Broken shell

My scarred heart
is becoming more whole.
One drop of love
from the shell of your hands
turns scar
to sacred.
Has one of us changed?
It’s only the light,
it’s two-thousand-and-eight,
it’s the late-summer night.
Have you seen how my love
makes a mirror?
Can you see
how I see you
I’m always the same,
meaning always in change,
and closer,
and softer,
and dreaming of you.

© 31 Aug 2008 Heather Quinn, all rights reserved

Blood oranges

Blood oranges

tales of love,
a poem or ten
not fine enough to send
as envoys,
took themselves away
in honest pique,
and left a hug for you,
that says it better
like broken leaves
(a cribbed line)
in autumn-time,
your eyesight whispers
through my mind
(another kinda crib)
in whirlwinds,
localized kaleidoscopic
edges of your life,
like pain to me,
in me,
a magic pain like oranges,
blood oranges
with opening floral notes
followed by a song of orange-love
that ends in jackfruit’s bitter tang,
before I know it’s done,
you feel like that to me,
like oranges,
blood oranges.
the hurt you bring,
the way it breaks my skin,
is love to me,
in me.

© 1 Jul 2008 Heather Quinn, all rights reserved

Sonata and two

Sonata and two

at first, a vision
under my eyelids,
leaf-and-tendril forms
running over and through me
like a tide:
hope and sadness
mixing in gray-green foam,
this is where I go mad.
where do I look for you?

seconds: facing off
how could you be jealous of a child?
how could you?
sunshiney play, thrown stones and tears, aren’t for you and me.
I’m a chameleon on your tawny branch.
you’re a lizard too, ruby-jeweled and changeable,
covering and uncovering my light,
with roughness and song.
how could you be jealous of a child?

three, you in me
you sculpt time.
I want to be
held on your warm palms and cool fingertips,
held tight against your skill,
under you, your bone and muscle pressing,
grinding in an opposite mark,
your leanness
cutting into my adoration.

four, away, away
you’d taken on too much
with that big heart of yours.
now I’m a place not to be.
you still hold on,
while I hold my breath.

a fifth (coda)
with a similar courage,
hearts alike
but contrasting in experience.
you’re strong and resilient,
and me, I’m quiet and soft.
peace is my gift for you,
and striving is what’s in you for me.

© 28 Apr 2008 Heather Quinn, all rights reserved

It’s raining in New York

It’s raining in New York

It’s raining in New York.
Gray views,
solemn slightly mordant sounds,
wet black streets
cleaned to a shine,
by sweeper machines
and downpours,
the way it feels to walk
in nature
in the middle of
unnatural landscapes,
and me
lying here,
between words,
of how I feel,
alive because of you,
in promises not lost,
lies not told,
and fierce persistent
gentle love,
the sound of you,
like wind.

© 1 Apr 2008, Heather Quinn, all rights reserved

Like petals

Like petals

Like petals
of pink clover:
soft, curved,
so small
they’re almost
yet real
as the sun,
two hello’s
touch me,
soft, close.
to you,
for you,
two small petals,
soft, curved,
as the sun,
thank you.

© 26 Mar 2008, Heather Quinn, all rights reserved

The well

The well

there’s a square well
that holds my soul.
I walk around its edge
with toes that touch the earth,
and empty space,
above the water there.
in my open hands,
offerings: words and
always-silent, always-moving,
fingers’ art.
every time a corner comes,
I see you.
like shreds of life,
my efforts to break away
from limitations
trail my steps,
whip around my feet,
tell where I’ve been,
threaten to trip me up,
and show me where to go.
after years of no’s,
how can I be
what you need?
every moment
of my learning
takes me
closer to death,
farther from you.
may some God
take my hand,
kiss my cheek,
wash my past away,
make me ready,
and lead me to you.

© 19 Mar 2008, Heather Quinn, all rights reserved

For the first time

For the first time

For the first time,
   I face the edge of
      me & the world,
drawn like a line
   of Conté red
      on pale paper:
If I cross I’m dead.

Holding my arms over
   bowed head, all these
      years of self defense,
I didn’t know
   there was a line to see.

I stand alone
against my own two

      My future comes
together in
      a twilit night.
      My lost footsteps

All the spaces
   without my voice
   hear you sing.
In them,
   my breaths come
      slow & deep.
   Over my heart,
      yes, above my
   your handprints
   That’s how I know
you’ve seen your own
      red line

   down your
left hip,
my tongue
wants to slide,
   fitting my litheness
   to yours.

   In your hands,
my world shifts
   to a country house,
old orchards,
   and high grasses;
      a gate painted
red & white like
a Venetian mooring
and me, running
   the taste of rain
and flowers;
      the salted taste
            of you.
A sketch of
what I could
      have been.

© 26 Feb 2008, Heather Quinn, all rights reserved

I am the most lonely

I am the most lonely

I am the most lonely
of all beloveds

reading My Name Is Red
I stop every half page
for half an hour or more
to drown in
clear and faint
as moonlight

single-malt Scotch whisky
with lime-and-salt tang
and a mango finish
wouldn’t taste
as good as you
my pomegranate
my elementary dear

in this hunger
I am the most alone
of all beloveds

bless you my wonder
may all Gods warm and carry you aloft my love
come feel your anguishes like iris beards
baby’s eyelashes
nothing can give you pain forever
you are God’s beloved
and many others’ too

© 2 Feb 2008, Heather Quinn, all rights reserved

Like a bird

Like a bird

Like a bird
you scatter, jaldi,
in the wind of time,
riding change
like hawks ride thermals.
In your strong, resilient
structured self
I find such delicate
it makes me cry.
It’s partly why
I love you.
Always free,
for me,
a bird is never
held or caged,
nor wing-clipped.
Silhouetted on the sky,
oriented to
the map of life,
you hold me still,
my head thrown back,
to see as much of you
as I can see,
against the blue.

© 21 Jan 2008, Heather Quinn, all rights reserved

Fly fishing

Fly fishing

like a wily fish
you live
in night’s pool
mind flashing

watching you
the sprite in me
unravels a spider’s web
for one strand of silk
ties on a hook
and casts
to see if you’ll bite

there’s a toy they make
in Mexico
from a twist of wire
threaded through
two hoops of tin
one ratchets the hoops
up the wire twist
over and over
till the hoops
make a bubble of light
your art is like that

you play
real and magic
in a single twist of light
my sleepy fish
my bright sun

© 27 Dec 2007, Heather Quinn, all rights reserved

Soft basket

Soft basket

I dreamed I saw your name.

Over my shoulder,
slung by its handles, this soft basket
woven of grasses, striped,
shaped like a plum but larger,
almost empty, holds

a stone
a shadow self that comes and goes
and you
a river
the places where I touch the ground
and you
ocean mists and the sound of surf
metal-hot summer sun
and you
glowing moon in a blue-black sky
holiday lights
and you
Walnut half photo from Wikimedia, click to see original
a walnut or two
an apple tree

pomegranate-tart and sweet,
the latent power in your body’s line,
the grace, the cello voice,
your torsioned hot complexity,
the depths of you like a well-played dhol,
your always-feeling heart.

I came and I ran my fingers through your hair,
we softly kissed between your words.

© 8 Dec 2007, Heather Quinn, all rights reserved

Clouds, like Toledo

Clouds, like Toledo

From the Major Deegan, going southeast
a mile below the bridge,
a sky of wind-driven clouds,
like Toledo by El Greco,
rose over the river and the island beyond.
On high bluffs opposite,
bare smoky trees,
their billows shearing west
as the wind
sheared the sky to the east,
were softly splashed with paint-gun leaves,
alive and bright in sheltered nooks.
Swinging east at the Triboro Bridge,
a 270-degree tri-borough view:
Manhattan, to the west,
stood shocked and overhung
by banks of massive grays
that made its towers toys.
Brooklyn, to the southeast,
lay quiet under ranks
of pale-gold fires running fast to sea,
a boiled-up rage of ocean, sun, and wind.
Queens, to the east,
sugar-smiled with pink-white cotton puffs
floating on a smear of pearl and blue
that told the winds had calmed
over Long Island Sound.
Going east on the Triboro span,
a wish arose, a quiet ache
to have you see the view.

View of Toledo by El Greco
View of Toledo by El Greco, at Wikipedia Commons — click on the image, to see it full-sized.

© 4 Dec 2007, Heather Quinn, all rights reserved

Beloved puzzle (edited)

Beloved puzzle

stone fountain
On the edge
of a fountain’s
wheel of stone
where the water
spills, singing,
a flame-colored flower
watches the sky.
Even in rain,
it stays.
Like that,
my love is delicate,
strong, poised.
His life
is the fire of art,
and wild as love
is his heart.

© 13 Nov 2007 (edited 7 Jan 2010), Heather Quinn, all rights reserved



every important truth you’ve told me
has popped
like a spring-loaded puppet Jack
from the smooth-surfaced
decorated box
you represent yourself to be
non-compliance ripples through your innate harmony
like a collar of ruffles
tied round your neck
in days gone by

I love you as you are

in me there’s a place
a small lake
quiet and sweet
set all around with grassy lawns sloping down
and trees
the sky overhead shades from blue to blue to night
its moon and stars are yours
its sunlight too
the water’s good enough to drink
you can take a swim
lie on your back on the grass
or float in the lake
any old time
its name is “rest in me”

© 5 Nov 2007, Heather Quinn, all rights reserved

The edge of a leaf

The edge of a leaf

you touch me
and stay,
  like an autumn leaf
  on rain-wet stone:

      separate, seasonal, subdued,
        glorious, same in beauty,

  you touch me.
  I stay
  like an autumn leaf
    on rain-wet stone.

© 15 Oct 2007, Heather Quinn, all rights reserved

The Edge of Leaf poem and illustration are original works of art, created by me for the man I love. They are copyrighted. Do not use these works without contacting me and getting my permission.

Soundless voice (edited)

Soundless voice

Whenever you growled,
sher, my soundless voice
spawned pearlescent
words that rained into
your wood-carved hands.
You sang, and I was yours.

Your voice still lives in me.
Do you keep a walnut box,
carved with flowers and trees?
Are my words inside?
Do you shake it sometimes
to hear my soundless voice?

© 27 Sep 2007 (edited 7 Jan 2010), Heather Quinn, all rights reserved

Lunch with you

Lunch with you

foxtrot wolves
mongrel sweets
forest clearing
linen sheets
pillows of grass
untied shoes
view of the sky
mind on cruise
tiny bird chillies
holy fuck
lemongrass basil
ginger for luck
design price mail
what can I say
lunch with you
late in the day

…aa chal din ko roke
dhup ke peeche daude
chaanv chhue na
o saathi re
(from O Saathi Re, lyrics by Gulzar)

© 18 Apr 2007 Heather Quinn

(an old ditty, dedicated to my speed-of-light spammer on 23 Jul 2009.)



The shimmered streams of Rehman’s
Yenna Solla Pogirai
twist and dance upon on its rich bass drone.
The plaited harmonies of
Yengae Yenathu Kavithai run like liquid
underneath the sweet carved notes of Chitra’s voice.

An ice-white moon skidded through the sky,
my steps rang out like metal,
then I felt my spirit shatter.
At home I tried to write, and gave it up.
I welcomed Rehman, as a friend
who gave me warmth and peace.

Disarrangement redux, now.
Saffron, blue, green, orange, reds
make me wake, and stay like spices in the mouth.
So you will know I’m real,
I shout, I am not she, I’m an artist,
here is where a phoenix makes its home.

The voice of Rehman when he sings
“swades hai tera” and “khoye khoye dil se tere”,
is acting like a pestle on my heart.
Oh, rich bass drone that underlies
the shimmered gold of Yenna Solla Pogirai,
bring me warmth and peace again.

© 1 Apr 2006 Heather Quinn

To hear AR Rehman’s music, try
In his Hindi Music Directors listing, check Swades to find Ye Jo Des Hai Tere (the lyrics are on my songs of my life blog).
In his Tamil Music Directors listing, check Kandukonden Kandukonden to find Yenna Solla Pogirai and Yengae Yenathu Kavithai.
NYC, corner of Broadway and 110th Street (Cathedral Parkway), where, on an icy, windy NYC winter's night, I saw the moon that inspired the poem above.

© 1 Apr 2006, Heather Quinn, all rights reserved