New New Year’s Resolutions

It’s true that anything can be a weapon

And anything can be an unlined face 

Turned up to face the waterspout of a clear sky,

Of an unclouded Sun.

Anything can be beauty.

I want to write about mold in the sink

And the sadness that allowed it to bloom.

I want to write about the cost of not caring.

I want to write about how wonder and majesty 

Can bloom in the midst of garbage,

How life can emerge from rot,

How dying things house wisdom.

I want to write about naked experience,

And the skeletal, ragged remains of the spider

That got caught in its own web and that lives on in death,

Splayed and crusted to the wall above

The bathroom closet.

I want to share the strange grief that

Pours from me, that holds vigil over the life

I never experienced, but that shone at me from a corner of the stage above my head,

Every time I turn on the light in the middle of the night

After a sudden urge to urinate, and my sleepy face

Is attuned to things that go bump, bump, bump.

I want to tell you about the mountain of unopened letters

That go straight into the metal container that opens with 

A press of the foot and closes softly of its own accord.

I want to tell you, even though some industrious part of me

That is a vestige of my crafty foremothers

Dreams of creating an art project from daisy chains of 

Generic form memos folded in thirds.

I want to confess to a crime

That was trivial and disgusting—like

The pile of unwashed dishes that formed soft strawberry fuzz,

Delicate as clouds of blancmange from a fancy dessert shop

Full of things my mouth stumbles over in taste and pronunciation.

I want to admit to my halting pace. 

Or the curdled milk on the top shelf of the fridge, 

Its putrid redolence of life in death.

It’s like a baby’s defiance in the form of soft-serve

At the bottom of its soggy diaper. 

A body cannot apologize for what a body does.

I want you to know the pains I’ve taken 

To hide all this from you—

The scraps of human offal: skin, boogers, earwax—

Shoved solicitously into a dustpan that never stops collecting

Signs of trespass.

I want to break the mirror when I 

See my feeble form within it, the dark shadows

Beneath my eyes that betray the hours

I’ve spent obsessing over order.

I’d like to imagine that in a hundred years,

This house will no longer be here. 

The symbols of my impatience, my incapacity to sit

With a thought or an object or 

A relic of my mortality for an uncomfortable ellipsis of time,

Will have been swept away by a final reverie, 

A meditation from which the mind and body won’t escape.

Perhaps you’ll see my body, withered and bent,

Covered in layers of lichen and spider vein,

Which poke up from a sea of broken floorboards.

Perhaps you’ll see the rosebushes and lanky gorgeous tendrils

They call weeds 

Sharing space with the soft aged broccoli 

And decaying rolls of paper towels.

Among these many lives I could not save 

Or tidy into a fixed diorama of homey cheer, 

Something honest will emerge.

Humor me, considering that I did not customarily stop

To gaze at speckled-blue robin eggs

Or walk the length of a tree to 

Treat myself to a rare glimpse of nature undressing.

So may what I write live beyond me

Like a bolt of cloth thrown up into the sky

Unraveling in an unmarked future 

In which time does not fester into regret

In which everything is given space to 

Be, to change.

I’m Nirmala Nataraj, a New York–based writer, editor, book midwife, theater artist, and mythmaker.

As someone who has woven in and out of a number of different word realms—nonprofit communications, advertising, theatre, publishing, and community arts, to name a few—I know that liberation is possible through the stories we choose to tell. As a first-generation South Asian American, I myself exist in the liminal spaces between cultures, art forms, and languages—and it is this multiplicity of narratives that informs my personal and professional approach.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to my newsletter

My desire is to create a community and network of weavers, artists, dreamers, and makers—outside of the corporatized world of social media, personal branding, and incessant marketing. If you would like to receive resources on writing, editing, book coaching, and personal mythmaking, subscribe to my newsletter.
Newsletter Form
Copyright 2024 © Nirmala Nataraj. All Rights Reserved.
Made with ❤ by 
Agree Design