‘ Time collects in the circle of this wound. Here you shall sprout:
full of color, full of vigor, complete as all light. ‘

Mother, I counted your skin
like the ceaseless motion
of tongue assessing the irregularity of jaw

You are a convex liquid armchair
rocking back and forth
time squeezing your lap
Your seeking hands are like lizards,
stagnant, then running
Cerulean eyes, cheeks of crepe
Palm trees circling
the diaphragm
to form
my pillow of orange lights

You said through feverishly gray lips
that spring is here
that a flower has birthed in your womb,
water, turquoise pools
Mediterranean swirls and violet streams
That you have solved
the anomaly of friction
And now you are afloat
in a vacuum
long, large
and quieter every second

I watched through umbilical
blinds and colloidal irises
Meteors in your baked body
I watched you detonate
You are a quark
caught under
the drift of a failing bloodstream

I can hear you
hurting like mountain faces being torn apart
ice, vapor, ice
a viscous cold forest

Murmuring to me
that spring is here

Clocks in your mouth, needle to Polaris
I can feel you detach
like an organ
Your finger pointing to the cactus,
wandering within
globular streams
of my neonatal body

Telling me, threads of severed lips parting
that spring is here, right here
A wound, tiny and capable
That I am being born
I am being born in different colors
colors of you, your face, your gentle running skin
I am being born
and spring is inside me
© Aakriti Kuntal Image Source: Flickr


Through Time and Body

Does body cremate itself in time
or is it time
that is cremated in the body?

Restless hours hang by the door knob
Quietly observing the spin of skin
Spewing black tar over trails, transparent skeletons become of days
Flaky matter, fingers decorated on walls, imprints, plaster chipping,
Valleys and paint recoloring marble squares

The shadow walks like a detached face
Purest in the night
Atom meeting atom, color killing color
Softly, swallowing all sounds,
it finds a way into the larynx, fingers spreading in esophagus
Collecting the deepest lament of the voice

It draws a map beneath the eye,
the map of a noise, syllables squirming,
Rattlesnakes, seismic fractures in the
Invasion of air, invasion of dust

All light is a refugee in the body
Flitting scales, itch, flashes and glitter
All light is a purple throb

night slithers
Her ionized hair curtailing all movement of the skies

Stratospheric Seduction

Romancing with the evening
offering the body like a ritual

Streams of air
construct like rivers above the stomach
Fluids and sediments
lisping along the naval
Thighs submerged in atmospheric slush

I take my lacking fingers
and uproot the throbbing lip
of the swollen sienna
Lip crests above lip
Foreground              Underground
Potion, Lotion          Softness, Crusts, Crumbs
redness, tension, adhesives
Tenuous, elastic
dirt dust, dirt dust
congruence     orgasm

Inside the circumference of the naval
a forest is lit
Tubes and tunnels of temperature unwind
The lumberjack walks in arrogance
Life likes to take without permission
what it gave without permission

I inhale the slippery face of night
My nostrils cold
as mountain ranges

Life’s favorite romance is with death

© Aakriti Kuntal Image Source:

Observing total darkness

I took birth in the dark. Blankets of loss. Loss of all light.
Mother had told.

An onyx bowl. A cavity. I came with a face untouched.
Untouched by sight.
Or so for the next thirty minutes.

I had limbs of clay. Molten clay. Shaped like rooms inside a room. A tongue hung in the epicenter. The scream is an elongation of the first grief.
Megawatts. Electric currents. Wires buzzing.
My voice tore away like brown suns falling into a pyre.

Still trying to discern heat from the burns.
Still finding its way back.

Sometimes when I warm into moist nights I burn like a sliced orange.
Orange flames on a steel plate.
It’s supernatural,
the ability to sense darkness with shut eyes.
Waking again. Birthing again into a trembling state of panic.
Deception. Betrayal. Fear.

It’s supernatural,
the accumulation of losses. Loss of all light.
The ability to sense darkness with eyes lit and the air bright.
Like the room outside all rooms. Never fading.
The inevitable failure of all mortal joys.


© Aakriti Kuntal

Batman of Monte Cristo

I’ve come to know
you, your distant body,
its horizons
as you tread the uneven earth
Her lotuses always tearing your gel mouth

You, the Messiah, Batman of Monte Cristo
trying to save it all
to save yourself

I’ve known how to deflate in my
girth, sorrow meeting sorrow
As I think of you
walking again
Your cape of harrowing death, sickle bodies of broken Beethoven fingertips
across rivers: Mississippi and Ganges
Moist, weeping, ripples swallowing ripples
Pain is an infinitely adamant bowl.

Your skin is melting,
wax on a blank body, drifting shoulder blades
Its ceramic wavelengths burning across air suffocated fists of prismatic air, falling electrons, Diluted spectrum of agony
Skin ceasing to dust
Dust flooding my bones, dust chewing palm trees
Dust killing mountains

Your skin is melting
as you turn and bend and fall and fall and walk and fall and walk
Yet you take no notice, cellophane energies circling the iris,
Entire forests clinging to your
rotting hands, blood curled in starry cocoons

Telling me through embroidered bluish lips
how pain is the second skin of all beauty
And my two red feet,
once again,
wish to rise in dust.

Image and Words © Aakriti Kuntal


Hands-are-Shelves (viii) ( Final )

I found hope
on a soiled bed
writhing beside me
She said that her body was a madhouse
that she had harbored too many
That she was guilty
of unfathomable sins

I took the bed sheet
with its frenzied pattern of oranges and levitating leaves
Slid my head into its bat cave
Knots take knots with such endearment
It’s almost inhuman

I offered hope
the final lotus from my spurting red naval
Said it’s alright
My case of white teeth gleaming
like a circus for the inner child
I said it’s alright
that you take one more
where you have taken so many
My sisters are all now ready to fly

I draw carbon
with spinning arms of loose light
The whiteness of the night
piercing my shell eye
Slivers of lost glaciers
course rapidly through my liquid mouth
And just like magic
In a wink
I disappear

A murmur of fatal nights

© Aakriti Kuntal


Hands-are-Shelves ( vii )

The elbow balances itself
against the tide of time
Rising into orange mist,
the upturned mouth of Ganges

The bone cracked first
in the occurrence of hope
The strongest are often the weakest
under the lipid taste of love
As it walks the skin, its overbearing moisture
A figurine of sand
Devoid of all structure, shifting scales
Landscapes of hypnotic densities
Hot spring and nights of mating palm trees

I am a traveler
inside the body of hope,
My oars, ladles of dust
We do not know
We do not understand
the currents anymore
The currents are banshees of undue promises
They have snatched an entire ecosystem from my womb
and left my tongue twisted on a solitary tree
overlooking the sky
of a million falling swans

I wake up
to skinned hot nights
with navy blue cheeks
under a navy blue moon
a drifting shore caught in fishnet eyes
Like a moth after death
Questioning the purpose of all light?

My arms are rabid red wolves
descending atmosphere
As gravity eats the sky
I am awake, awaiting
my answers
with a basket of indigo bones howling under shaved moonlight

Image and Poem © Aakriti Kuntal


Hands-are-Shelves ( vi )

I walk
clementine circles of the palm
The palm is a pond
Cold distilled blues, purple haze howling
The disrupted cornea of a mountain
Frog after frog after frog sits, paddling feet occur in fumes
an assembly of dreamy amphibians

I am again
with my head of coarse grains
Traveling seas, inhaling grafted petals of dead salt,
dead salt in lost flesh, dead salt in lost gold *

I am again
Dwelling outside frigid ice lips
as the word on the way to a poem
What is my existence outside of memory?

I am again
deducted and multiplied
Picking my thoughts with a pair of tongs
Rings of fire entertaining my feet
Wrap them around my finger,
A bouquet of darkness
births from slit flesh

And I am again
As I think
what is this dream
that leaves its flesh among the jars of agony
kneads listless limbs into the dough of vacuum
All with a promise
of light under death

Image and poem © Aakriti Kuntal


Hands-are-Shelves ( v )

What is the reckoning of a misplaced arm
as the wrist
cuts through the atmosphere
Twice in each halved circle

Every harvest the body must disintegrate
Petunias in a fire sky
Boxes of red shaved skin, skin after skin, mind after mind,
body unto matter, dead wolves, dead fish, dead clouds

I pick the remnants, membrane dispersed in membrane
Roaming unabashedly on granite patches
hopping on a single leg, a toothpick scratching square to square
Perimeter of this redder enclave

Death came first as five thousand chopped winter heads
breaking the dam of that certain summer
into tiny coagulated beings of redness
A streaming face, sunrise into sunset, over and over and over

A nail on the forehead, iron fists
It came as containers of cold splashing blood
wearing mammal tongue
A sundial face of indigenous love
What is it that love cannot hold, cannot take, cannot kill
once sworn? Love even swallows itself.

It came
under the quietness of open skin, seepage,
a clock of dusty honeybees
Now swarming the roundness of my plump thigh
Lather of shimmery nectar
Infestation, murder, love

I sit outside patient time, breaking patient knuckles,
waving patient finger pens around impatient boundaries
Endlessly drawing on my own wreckage, life’s very own patient
Is there anything here that doesn’t hurt?

Image and Poem © Aakriti Kuntal


Hands-are-Shelves (iv)

The body hangs
above its organs
Like a crime

Time is a crime
As I pin the epidermis to the wall
the ceiling’s round face
Candles cutting clouds
I am walking
I am walking like a ghost moon
completing its rounds
Emerald green water
dragging its twenty-four feet
over bridges of faltering life

I am awake as I fall, fall under land, fall into seas,
Pregnant flakes of trimmed semesters
circumventing my ovary, ‘I’ have replicated in myself
My mango face like seasoned pickles
treating an aftermath in reverse

Fallen flesh, turning pale
blue seas above the fire extinguisher
cement factories in breast weight
Air killing planets
Ceilings Drop, lotus and onion
Blood holds to itself in free-fall
Blood escaping blood, body escaping body

Too many days make a calendar blind
and most anniversaries are of the dead
I carry the chewed edges of uneven days and rub a tongue
Count the years, anti-clockwise
in the second eye
Time is an altar
And my body hangs like a crime
Organ burning organ, blood escaping blood

Image and words © Aakriti Kuntal


Hands-are-Shelves ( iii )

Between pale finger skins, my arm hangs like a clause
single arm, cut, detached 
Outside the body, it roams 
A diffusion of light gone wrong

Fingers are not five, they are many
Proliferating lips like sickles on tips
prodding, taking, giving, holding, holding
Orange curls of seaweed and sunrise

I take a moment in time
Lock it under my thighs
Then I take another
straight to my crotch 
Then another into another, before and after
Sequences are mirage, the body roams outside of space,
always in touch, its tactile breasts 
are headlights twice 
       sequences are fractures scratching each other
The body has no numbers, only indentations 
each a strain of thawing blood

What do you offer but life to time? 
I sneeze. An arm falls. And then another.
I continue. I elongate severed. My time is vacant. 
Empty as the clawed eye socket.
Outside, rapidly blurring songs are turning purple on the membrane
of scorched windows.

And everywhere I look, only single colors flow.

Image and words 
© Aakriti Kuntal


Hands-are-Shelves  (  Picture Series ( ii ) )

Wrist by wrist
The blood sings
Talking of its lives
of its many births within
the arching sands of death's naked breaths
I hear the cackling
The blood gone dry
red chalk, red rocks in red teeth
Dropping, falling, free fall
You are Christmas
curtains and curtains of red
Sleek, silver rubbed on red, raw umber, burnt umber
I watch, 
your only spectator, your faithful companion
from the scales of ripped eyes
I watch your face, it's wry horizon
of white pus cells
I know the sound of the fall, it comes to me like sex
Like slow gradual hymns of pasted nights
on dragging windows and walls
Windmills in the mouth
shredding every hint of knowledge 
No language enters here, particles of air standing outside,
their red potato faces swollen in shame
I know as I am all red
A red song, that you once took in your arms mother,
Once you sang to me when the skies weren't poetry,
when the skies were just a faithful blue
Now they are scratched faces 
of too many
Too many wailing knives 

I watch,
my own faithful companion 
Stare at the redness of dimming lights
Planets around my waist 
What do you take from the grieving except the ability to grieve?

Image and Poem 
© Aakriti Kuntal