Undesirable tea for undesirable people. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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III.

The third most undesirable part
of visiting India
are the hurried fantastics and late-night parties
before packing up the parade
and readjusting to the other half of the so-called motherland.

Here the people are all dried out, anomalies
carefully cultivating exotic fruits with their umeboshi hands.
Taking morning walks in the morning and evening walks at dusk.

The children, well-adjusted. the teenagers, all exemplary.
If you threw a rock randomly, chances are the person you'd hit
wears sweater-vests and drinks their tea unspiced.

II.

The second most undesirable part
of visiting this half of India
is the constancy. Standing
out so horribly against the white cars, white cloth, white hair.
Gaining the title of “schamuck challo” for being too sparkly and frightening to the oldsters.

Recycling conversations with past national icons,
humanitarians, revolutionaries who've long forgotten how to be
the selves they believe to still exist.

As though the ability to scintillate has slipped through the
cracks, replaced by taking tea thrice a day
so that quiet sipping will mask the chronic silence.

I.

But the most undesirable part
of visiting this fragment of India
is making bland tea the one thousandth time –
purely water milk and tea leaves. Served with
marie biscuits on a tray.

undesirable tea for undesirable people – oldsters and doctors
with convenient sons. Uncontaminated by exhilaration or depth.
Indistinguishable from their beverages.

Desperately clinging to course books, as though applied
mathematics will miraculously burst through the smog and swim them through the air,
fatefully taking them to colder climates.

It is because of these three things
that I shall never be from this India, it's just
too lonesome and they'll revoke my visa. Someday
I'll serve exciting things to exciting people.

Which is inevitably why I find myself slipping before sunrise,
out the back door to feast on ripe plums, gulping in the illicit, alien air.
Intoxicated by the restlessness of the uninhabited world.

Then into the servants quarters to borrow the spices long left behind,
mentally shipping out postcards – promises of excellent tea to extraordinary people.
Together, we savor the delectable hours.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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