1988 and Other Poems

Title: Speaking in Tongues
Author: Kiran Bhat
Publisher: Red River
Pages: 214

1 - 1998

children of my age played kickball or baseball.
I tried once in a while,
but could never properly kick the ball.
it would usually not go very far,
or it would go in the entirely wrong direction,
into the grass
or the dancing flowers,
or the peanut fields
or the mud.

mosquitos bit so much.

I was always under the playset
pretending to be fighting with Dragonball-Z characters
causing war to erupt between my toy soldiers,
waiting for the next toy to be bought

those days underneath the playset
I never felt lonely.
I felt in power
in control
by being completely by myself.

I learnt early
that it was often better to be alone
than to be with people who would never understand you,
and to truly develop into who I was meant to be,
I would have to learn,
for better or for worse,
to be aligned with my emotions, first and foremost.

2 - My Indian-born cousin asks me; Do you think people understand you?

My Indian-born cousin asks me; Do you think people understand you?

Kiran says:

When one sits on the bed,
One calls it comfortable,
But they are laying on a bed sheet.

Skyscrapers glimmer from the distance,
But the foundation of any building is dirt.

People see me for my way of acting -
My skin color, my gestures my accent -
Then make some ideas of who I happen to be.
They may treat me badly, or treat me quite well,
But they don’t know me.

Not to mention, if I can’t understand myself,
How can I expect others to understand me at all?

Kiran concludes:
You must simply accept how small you are
In the space of the world,
And when someone does not understand you,

Remember how little you understand them as well

Kiran Bhat is an Indian-American author, traveler, and polyglot. He currently lives in Mumbai, but he has been to 147 countries, lived in 25 other places on the planet, and dabbles in twelve languages. He is known as the author of we of the forsaken world…, but has published books in five different languages, and has had his writing published in journals such as The Caravan, The Bengaluru Review, The Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, The Brooklyn Rail, 3:AM Magazine, SOFTBLOW, and many other places. You can follow him on Twitter at WeltgeistKiran.