Vincent Van Gogh, “Olive Trees with the Alpilles in the Background” (1889) (via Wikimedia Commons)

Bright Lights, Big City

You’d wish you had a-listened 
to some of the things I said
—Jimmy Reed
no matter
which cocktails
you consume
in air
we understand
ourselves best
through the fruit
of our homeland
especially one
oft mistaken
for a nut
says a farmer
taking a picture
of me melted
on an islet
eating a kernel
of truth as the
blue ocean
a muddy
river with

*   *   *

Karthik Purushothaman comes from Chennai, India, and taught at William Paterson University and New Jersey City University after earning his MFA. Karthik’s work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and the Best New Poets anthology, and has also appeared in Boulevard, EVENTRattle, Subtropics, The Common, The Margins, and Writers Resist: The Anthology 2018. Uniting progressive activists and independent artists, Karthik hosts a live show in Manhattan every month, about which you can learn more by following @arealtalkshow on Instagram.

Wendy Xu is the author of the poetry collections Phrasis (Fence, 2017), winner of the 2016 Ottoline Prize, and You Are Not Dead (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2013). The recipient of a Ruth...