Hari Bhajan Khalsa received her B.A. in Creative Writing from Vermont College in 2005, after a hiatus from school for thirty years. She has been a fellow at the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts & Sciences and Associate Artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts. Her poems have appeared in over 30 publications with her poem, I Would Tell You selected for The Best of the Web 2009. Her chapbook, Life in Two Parts was chosen as a finalist in the Main Street Rag Annual Chapbook Contest. She splits her time between the sprawling city of Los Angeles and the little mountain town of Sisters, Oregon. Her many passions have included (but are not limited to): yoga, dressage, life coach, world travel, mediating, blogging and currently managing and editing her new website, www.yogamint.com. 

In the Fifth Street diner, windows
wide to the guttered slush and pale-bone
sky, the day shift passes like nickels
and dimes—buzzing coffee and sugar,

grilled cheese and slaw, cups of
and sides of, all up and down the formica
counter, out to the smooth-hide
booths, ring the register, pocket a bill

or two in the waisted apron. Click,
clicking across the linoleum:
slinging fries, choco malts and the one
o’clock pie. Wind up the smile,

the hustle, tend the regulars
and occasionals who lunch with chatter
spilling through lettuce and dills,
straw slurp and chomp. Four plate

juggle and sideways slide, order
up, take out and slow clunk
of the clock till the last tab’s out
and slam the shutters, clamp the lock,

mop up and count up the take—
jitter, all foot throb and brew
waft, out of the fry, the ogle, into pine
pitch air and car spew, to bide

and poke along, hugging the tatty
collar the round way home,
beneath a wedging honk of geese,
the scarred and bloated moon.
From Life in Two Parts, first published by Inkwell     


Navy, midnight, baby.
Three doors in this motel,
more turquoise
than true. My eyes
not yours, not my mother’s.
The way storms
never doubt themselves.
Common birds.
Moorish tiles.
Le mer.
Smoothing over to save
the moment.
Music strung out on men,
more likely
women, gone wrong.
And what about foggy mountains,
mountain dogs,
Companion of
black— the two of them
proudly marking
the mutable.
My only complaint—
the refusal to be mastered,
be anything very small,
not snowflakes or mint—
preferring the more
magnificent—like robin’s eggs
or diamonds,
how atoms split,
the searing midday sky.

From Life in Two Parts, first published by Spot Literary Magazine


In the bottom bin of the Frigidaire goes
the golden papaya, roll of sushi, Graven-
steins, half a cantaloupe, brie. You talk about

trouble. Captain Cook took the islands. Waves
of missionaries offered up the pox, Jesus
on the cross, cloth to cover Oahu’s brazen

breasts. No wonder the papaya edges
away from the rub of the so-firm apples,
guards her gelatinous cache of black-eyed

eggs. No wonder the boldfaced pommes roll
right after her, flashing luminous skin,
their convincing ability to gush. In sixty-nine

I left you in the old world.  Now,
I float chest up in the insatiable swell of the sea.

From Life in Two Parts, first published by Tiger’s Eye

Hari Bhajan Khalsa poet at Moonday Poetry

© 2010 Hari Bhajan Khalsa

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