Somewhere between Paris Hilton and the Kardashians, Lakshmi swims in an uncanny river of Covergirl and Maybelline. Between the Western Station and O’Hare Airport, Laskshmi pulls eyeliner out of her vintage fanny pack and draws a unicorn between passengers who sleep between the nightmare of the American dream and Disneylandia. Between Lady Gaga and Lady Di, Lakshmi throws stones. Between acts of beauty and acts of courage, Lakshmi winks with her insanely big brown eyes. Between the Gilded Age and the Epic of Gilgamesh, Lakshmi unravels the mystery of junkies and junk food. Between Tablet I and Tablet XII, Lakshmi scribbles a mini epic staring her brothers Ganesha and Karthikeya as lovers reaching their hands out toward each other because they don’t want to waste the life Vishnu gave them. Lakshmi laughs like an idiot because she is not the carefree Jain Goddess of Beauty and Make Believe. Not a coward or schlep born out of frustration and chaos. Not a stone tablet or statue of art. Not a chance.
Between then and now, Lakshmi reasons with seals and pepper-sprays for peace and quiet beneath the aurora borealis and Aurora, Illinois. Between the two poles, Lakshmi raises her mighty magnet hands against the impenetrable night to attract the birth light concealed in the shapes of shadows. Between the Blood of Bashar al-Assad and the Panjwaii District, Lakshmi fails to distinguish saints from sinners. Devas from asuras. Machine gun from washing machine. Indian from Indian.
Lakshmi sings for women to spin their halos around and around and around. She challenges them to sing happy as rain as they pray for the ascension of fossils and fools. She challenges them to unfree themselves from the safety mat of yoga and farmers markets. Between the stun gun and the crowbar, Lakshmi weeps for Rama and Krishna. For quantum physics and quantum love. For the murdered civilians and the servicemen who killed them. For Santa Claus and his army of slaves. For light and for courage. For generosity and for providence. For consorts and avatars.
Between Monday and Friday, Lakshmi weeps for the atoms of sand that layer the desert and for Michael Jackson’s glove. Between the piano and bar, Lakshmi belly dances with a pink elephant and crotchety owl entourage. In her glamorous pink sari, Lakshmi hums oṃ śrīṃ hrīṃ klīṃ tribhuvana mahālakṣmyai asmākam dāridrya nāśaya pracura dhana dehi dehi klīṃ hrīṃ śrīṃ oṃ. Again and again and again. Until flight 1557 lands in a blue hammock.
I’m not gonna write a year in review because no one cares what kind of year I’ve had. It began like this and ended like that. That’s it. I didn’t get pregnant. People were born. People died. Ma drank this. I smoked that. I don’t even care about New Year resolutions or brushing teeth. In fact, I believe in breaking resolutions that bind one to unattainable goals. Goals that are overrated like goalies are overrated. I don’t even believe in teeth or years.
I believe in the continuity of experience, but I don’t believe in time. I believe in butterflies, but I don’t believe in ghosts. I believe in the paranormal, but I don’t believe in religion. I believe in Santa Claus, but I don’t believe in elves. I believe in looking back, but I don’t believe in regret. I believe ma and I will be young forever, but I don’t believe we are permanent fixtures of some man’s wild imagination.
Each day is a step toward the Midnight City. Each dream is a city of dreams. We are who we are, ma says. Stuck in stone warring in our stupid boots all afternoon.
When I finish this post, I will go outside with ma. We will jump into our imaginary swimming pool. Backstroke. Butterfly. The doggie paddle. Ma will inevitably splash water into my eyes and I will wipe my eyes. Ma will splash water again into my eyes and I will cry from the sting of chlorine as Katy Perry sings, let’s go all the way tonight. We’ll be forever young, ma will say, you’ll see. And I will see her believe in Katy Perry. Believe in ghosts.
I won’t dare tell ma the truth. That I don’t believe in forever. That I only believe in now, the ever-present, not what’s next or to come in the ever after.
Life, ma will say, is all we got to live for. I know, I will tell her as I look into her bloodshot eyes amazed by her brilliance. Then I will dunk her fat head into the deep end of the pool.
Happy New Year, I will tell her, but she can’t hear shit underwater.
Sorry I haven’t posted in a whale. Ma lost my computer so I couldn’t access the Internet from inside my head. Ma also bought a new car. Well, she stole the car but it is new. For real. She even got a full tank of gas with it. We’re in hiding near a lake staring (or starring) at a man who says he will destroy the world with his fist. We laugh at this man and his fist standing on the lip of a lake in the forest. Gump. The police are looking for the car. Looking for ma. Looking for stolen property and what is proper. I won’t tell you where we are but we are in the real world, not MTV’s Real World, but the world in which we listen to birds. We are in Chicago and Santa Cruz, which is the birthplace of Santa Claus. I don’t know what to do with ma and her new 4-wheel drive. I don’t know where we are, but we’re having fun. She told her girlfriend, Amanda Bernstein (the B is silent) not to worry, not to panic, just relax and chill. Code for a freak out. I let ma drive until we arrive in another dimension because I don’t have a driver license or training wheels. I’m too young to drive. Ma forgot her ATM pin number. I ask her what’s her favorite 4-letter word and the code comes back to her like that. Ma and I are approaching a new manifold dimension of we, a dimension where ma and I can have milk and cookies in peace. Together. Without running from the police. My fingers are crossed in the shape of two legs crossed. We’re laughing like Thelma & Louise. Or Luis. My nose itches and I have to pee. Then rest for to(ma)rrow.