NM: In many of your online interviews, you’ve said something to the effect of when I want to tell a story I write prose, and when I want to make sound (or joyful noise) I write poetry. Last summer I attended a presentation by a musician about how the cerebral cortex will immediately defer to the sound of words rather than take the time to process meaning—very helpful, especially in emergencies during the pre-verbal stage of human development, and which, no doubt enabled our evolution. The presenter used a variety of soundtracks for the same film to demonstrate how sound, more than visual imagery, influences a viewer’s emotional response.
I was intrigued with this information as it seemed to be another situation where Science proves, sometimes centuries later, what poets have always known—in this case, that sound is the fastest loop to the emotional center of the brain. Your poem “Letters to Myself in my Next Incarnation” which doesn’t follow a real narrative, pulls us pell-mell down the page via sounds, primarily vowel sounds, which are the first rough-hewn blocks, if not the foundation of language. I’m thinking here of how babies coo before they babble. Can you talk about this “wanting” to make sound? How/when does this desire arise in the process of writing a poem?
AM: Glad to hear that scientists are on board with this idea of the superior emotional resonance (notice, another sonic term) of sound.
Sound, as we experience it, is actually a vibration in the air. The “little bones” of the inner ear, or ossicles, even have a “hammer” (malleolus) that beats on the eardrum. This shirring is interpreted as sound by the brain. The shirr is similar to the cicada’s thorax or the much slower flutter of the pulse; it is the rapid oscillation of life communicating to life. Notice as the heartbeat increases in frequency, it signifies an increasing emotional response.
Our experience of sound, then, is actually one of touch. And to be touched by something is to be moved by something emotionally. When I wish to make a sound for you as a poet, what I really want to do is touch you, to have you experience a physical shirr in your little bones, the ossicles of your inner ear. It may seem that the poem is spoken at a distance. In reality, it is inside your skull, physically touching the highly sensitive tympanic membrane. To see that membrane through an otoscope is to see the exquisitely fine shaving of an opal.
That is why the desire to make a sound arises. The poet wishes to close the distance between himself and his listener with his voice; to touch the nerve, literally and figuratively. When does it arise? Prior to the poem’s writing, certainly, but prior also, perhaps coeval with, the poem’s conception. Hence my obsession with forms and sounds and repetitions in poetry. Swafford’s biography of Beethoven was eye-opening, or more accurately, ear-opening—the man’s fixation on seizing and varying and playing with musical forms was something I recognized with an intimate shock. He did this through excruciating auditory torture, incidentally: Many know that Beethoven went deaf, but for years before this, through his formative years, his hearing actively hallucinated clangs, screeches, buzzes, ringing. He composed through that, over that, against that. The rest of us struggle against nothing worse than silence.
NM: Your the exquisitely fine shaving of an opal had me searching for images of the tympanic membrane through an otoscope. It’s quite beautiful—the sheerest silky peach scrim over it—it almost looks like an embryo—
and is approximately 0.1 mm thick, 8 to 10 mm in diameter, and has a mass weight of around 14 mg — and without doing some research I wouldn’t be able to know as precisely as possible what that would look/feel like without simile. Is it as light as a feather and as thin as a rose petal? It makes a case, at least for the likes of me, for #Nosciencewithoutpoetry.
So, simply put, sound in poetry plays the instrument of the ear via vibrations in the air. But, how is it we still have an emotional response to sound when we read poetry silently—to ourselves? Is the response of the same quality? Did the process of learning to read hardwire us to sound? Do you compose your poems aloud?
AM: Silent reading is a “late” cultural phenomenon in the history of reading overall. There is an account of the young Saint Augustine encountering the practice in Saint Ambrose. Confessions, Book 6, Chapter 3, close to 400 A.D.:
When [Ambrose] read, his eyes scanned the page and his heart sought out the meaning, but his voice was silent and his tongue was still. Anyone could approach him freely and guests were not commonly announced, so that often, when we came to visit him, we found him reading like this in silence, for he never read aloud.
This was odd enough to merit mention back then. Poems, even as late as the age of Longfellow and Tennyson, were almost “spoken word” scores, meant to be performed aloud in drawing-rooms; this was partly because so few people knew how to read, so for most people to access the work, it had to be read aloud by someone in the family. (Literacy rates, even in Western Europe, didn’t exceed 25% or so anywhere in the 19th century; it puts in perspective just what it meant to be a “popular writer” back then.)
But certainly it’s not just the raw phonetic quality that evokes the emotional response in the reader; if so, poetry would literally be music, and the distinction between the two art forms would collapse. Poetry would be able to evoke a response purely through modulation of the primal monosyllable of grief, O, like the isolated vocal score of Rachmaninov’s Vocalise. But there is a distinction, and that is what radically decreases the audience for poetry compared to music. Even a massively popular poet today—a Rupi Kaur, say—falls vastly short in name recognition and cultural reach, compared to a musician of just middling popularity.
That other something is meaning, of course. The sounds of words (either heard directly; or heard figuratively, through the eyes, in Ambrosial silence) always have this other element, which the sounding of an instrument is devoid of. The argument could be made that reading prose in silence can evoke the same response, emotional or otherwise, as poetry experienced in any way; and I agree, it can. I am certainly in favor of dissolving the boundaries between prose and poetry, as I am the boundaries among genres—the prose poem Abecedarian, my prior feature in Plume, would suggest my freewheeling attitude toward these ways of sequencing words. But in my stricter, more traditionalist moods, I do think that the (porous) border between prose and verse, if not between prose and poetry itself, lies in pattern, in repetitions and periodicities—those mathematical elements that comprise poetic music. That poetry overlaps with prose but distinguishes itself, in the final estimation, at the level of sound. Recurrence is everything; charm is karmic. Even the reappearance of a vowel sound in quick succession triggers something in the ear and the heart. And that something is an emotional response, though not necessarily a solemn or serious one. Even in the most serious poetry, there is this paradoxical undercurrent of play that we see most fearlessly in the way Shakespeare deploys puns and heavy ornamentation in moments of crisis, whether it’s Hamlet’s psychosis or the murderers in Macbeth. Even when the end is the communication of grief or longing or horror, the means, in poetry, are delight.
NM: Delight—absolutely! fooled (me) into wisdom using pleasure from your poem below! And your free wheeling Abecedarian featured in Plume’s Issue #35 of May 2014 https://plumepoetry.com/featured-selection-abecedarian/ certainly remains one of my all times favorite poems precisely because of its witty playfulness, its genius of delight! Readers, please check this amazing poem out—it will make your day brighter.
You know, I’m struck by how the speaker’s tone of voice in these featured poems— particularly the second section beginning with the line Sift the chaff of faces, voices, friendships—puts me in mind of Rilke’s Duino Elegies—I’m looking at the Leishman/Spender translation—particularly The First Elegy. Maybe it’s the omniscient, disembodied perspective which allows the speakers a retrospective of a past life or of past lives, and with that a certain wisdom? A wisdom they are compelled to impart? —in the case of your poem from a Self to its next incarnated Self. Do/did you hear the same tone as well?
AM: I certainly like that Rilke connection, if only because it is so flattering to have evoked that great writer somehow, even if unintentionally. I think that Rilke is such an interior poet that he often is addressing—even when he is crying out to the Angel—that very interiority, the pure and central Self—in Sanskrit, “atman.” This atman is the element that, in the Bhagavad Gita and other Hindu scriptures, reincarnates, doffing the current body and slipping into a new one. So in that sense, I, too, am addressing my atman in these poems, my Self. The poems are self-reflexive by projecting my voice beyond my present self. Yet simultaneously they also address the Rilkean “Angel,” the divinity itself—because another tenet of the Gita is that this Self is also the Other: a mystical “Identity,” or same-hood, of all life. So every living being is also every other living being and is also God. Every love poem is also a poem to God, as the Bhakti poets of India like Meerabai and the Sufi poets like Rumi knew well. In my sequence, every poem to the self is also a poem, simultaneously, to the other, even though that other is myself. Whatever wisdom I have gained from this life, I am desperately trying to preserve it in poetic form, so I can read it and benefit from it in my next life. Some of the poems are me, now, giving advice or exhortation to a future me. The poem you mention is me saying to my future horny teenager: “Wait until you find your soulmate! Be patient! She’s looking for you, too!”
NM: This is very beautiful and moving…and again I hear the same tender parental tone from The First Elegy in Letters to Myself in my Next Incarnation in all sequences, but certainly in the one you quote above. I don’t hear that voice in say, your Abecedarian or Rilke’s Panther. Could it be that both these poems were written earlier in the poets’ lives? Does this poem mark a point of departure for your poetry?
A.M. Interesting question that prompts me to do something I don’t usually do, which is retrospect on my writing….. When I put on my literary-critic hat and observe my own work so far as a poet, I see that I don’t have one style or tone, nor have I undergone a transformation from one style to another over time. Nor do my poems have a consistent tone, which makes putting together a collection a real pain; other poets often have the same style and tone, the same voice, from poem to poem, and I am always pushing against that expectation. (In the end, I just end up shoving poems into a gigantic previously-published-but-not-collected-in-a-volume file–it’s over a hundred pages at this point). I am an anthology of poets vying for keyboard-time.
With Rilke, there is a very early Rilke, a Rilke of his thing-poem (Ding-gedichte) phase (from which comes I think “The Panther”), and then a late phase of the Elegies and the Sonnets to Orpheus (which are, apropos of what I said earlier, simultaneously sonnets to his inmost self). All the same poet, but you can often pinpoint just when in his career a given poem was written, based on internal evidence.
With my body of work (such as it is so far), that transformation from one thing to another isn’t there. I can write a piece in any way at any time, depending on what kind of music I want to hear; I like to surprise myself. There is a chance I may write something like Abecedarian or this very sequence again at some point in the future. I showed up exactly as I am now back in 2009 with 0’,0’ [Zero Degrees, Zero Degrees]. Many tones and styles proliferate all at once, but most if not all of them were already present in that first volume; and these styles and forms make appearances in subsequent collections. There are ghazals in my first collection (2009) and ghazals in my forthcoming collection (2020), but there is only an incremental improvement in actual technique, if any. Sometimes I hold the form constant and vary the tone; my work in blank verse, from a technical standpoint, has never really surpassed some poems like “The Miscarriage” (2005) https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/46348/the-miscarriage I published in 2005; the recent “Detachment” (2019) http://32poems.com/poem/amit-majmudar-5/ is the same verse form, but the tone and subject matter are utterly different, detached and philosophical. When it starts to feel easy, the challenge is gone, and I try to add new moves and themes to my repertoire. I seek out new forms and tones constantly to see what literary self emerges as I play with it. I am a relentless experimenter, so every moment is a departure. Rilke: Wie hab ich das gefühlt was Abscied heisst. How I have come to know this thing called departure….
This multiplicity, by the way, is the most Hindu thing about me, so your question perhaps inadvertently dovetails with the Letters to Myself sequence: The Hindu idea of the ultimate divinity, Brahman, is of One manifested in infinite ways in infinite forms, sacred and earthly. So all the pantheon’s Gods and Goddesses, all the world’s human beings, all of nature’s living species are all one Brahman. Time, too, is circular in Hinduism; so it makes sense that my various styles and tones periodically “recur” from book to book. I should point out, though, that I never set out to be this way. I would love to be some other way, some more recognizable and affable and “like”-able poet, if I could–which is another way of saying I’d love to have more readers than I do. But I can’t be other than how I am. I was (re)born this way–archetypally Hindu. Even my personal habits and tendencies, down to my diet and physical austerities and my obsession with the Gita, uncannily resemble those of ancient Hindu ascetics from twenty-five hundred years ago. It is all momentum from my past lives.
NM: So, the One is like the Tao, and nature in this way—the essence is the same, but constantly manifesting in different forms and sounds? If time is circular in Hinduism, there is no linear progression, just change and renewal. In which case, yes it makes perfect sense your various styles and tones periodically “recur” from book to book.
So, if the speaker in your poems is speaking to the Other who is also the speaker, and speaking to God who is also the speaker and Other, is the speaker also the One comprised of the Trinity of Self, the Other and God?
On another note, I think I write with my ear, but I’m not sure if a poem arises out of a desire to hear music—but maybe it does. Tell me more about I can write a piece in any way at any time, depending on what kind of music I want to hear…Can you give a concrete example of how this desire arises, and leads to a poem?
AM: I do not know how this desire to hear a verbal or poetic music arises—I wonder if the aesthetic hunger is infinite and omnivorous, and my creative urge might be an urge to feed that appetite. They say that you should write the book you wish had been out there for you to read, and that seems like good advice. I certainly did that for Godsong, my translation of the Gita, and Sitayana, the recent mythological novel I published in India.
That advice about books is something I extend to poems. So, to give you the concrete example of the poem I am working on now: I wished that there was a blank verse monologue from the perspective of the Nephilim, the “Giants” or “Fallen Ones” who are (in Genesis 6) angels who fell through sexual desire, that is, they took human wives and bore children. How cool would that be? But that poem does not exist. It is not the kind of poem that contemporary poets write, nobody’s written that kind of thing since Milton, and even if somebody had written it, how would I go about finding it? And would it fall short of the one I just imagined in my head? So I set out to write the thing down myself because I want to read it, even if my version must fall short of the one I just imagined in my head. In my ideal unrealized version of that poem, “Nephilim,” I’m hearing this fallen (-in-love) angel say things like
I learned what I knew of love by watching wolves
on all fours she bore up my high noon later
I crawled beneath her dugs & suckled there
like I had Romes to found
….That’s as concrete as I can get—the lines I wrote immediately before I clicked over to this email. That’s how they came about. A wish to read something, a wish to hear something, and no choice but to roll up my sleeves and write the thing myself.
NM: Ok—now I get it… with your I want to make sound and depending on what kind of music I want to hear I was thinking literally of the sounds of words as they make the music of the poem-thank you for clarifying.
From the lines above, it looks like you’re well on the way to realizing your ideal version of the poem Nephilim via the persona of the in-love angel…which brings to mind the debate simmering among writers—particularly poets— about “the right” to write from personae who have had experiences the writer couldn’t possibly have. Or, as Amy Beeder notes in her interview with R T Smith re: his varied personae, “There’s a conviction now, among many, it seems, that writers should “stay in their lane.” ” https://plumepoetry.com/r-t-smith/. I wonder if you can speak to this?
AM: That’s a topic that raises my hackles, and I will try to be concise and avoid the rant that this topic demands. I assert the sovereign prerogative of art. The creative mind, at its most powerful, explodes through its selfhood and enters and exits other perspectives freely, imperiously, downright promiscuously. This psychological and verbal “promiscuity” offends puritans of any kind—whether the literal Puritans who tried to shut down the London theaters in Shakespeare’s day, or the identity-Puritans who try to shut down writers for writing stories or perspectives of a race, religion, gender, or other background not their “own.”
This is identity poetics, the counterpart and inevitable outgrowth of identity politics. It strikes me as an anti-humanistic and fundamentally anti-literary trend, but our universities, particularly our humanities departments, are ideologically very strictly policed; there is just as much uniformity of thought there as you would find in a madrassah. There does not seem to be much dissent, or at least no dissent that anyone dares voice publicly; private conversations have led me to believe that many writers and professors in that milieu, particularly those aged forty and above, are engaging in some form of ketman, such as Milosz describes in The Captive Mind (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Captive_Mind).
I deplore the trend, but I am self-aware enough to know that I myself have benefited from that trend. My most famous (I use that word loosely—let’s say “widely circulated and anthologized”) poems all dovetail somehow with my identity as a brown religious minority. Those were the poems, ones like “Dothead” and “T.S.A.,” that the culture took up immediately, beginning with The New Yorker and rippling out from there. I have noticed the most successful nonwhite poets generally proliferate poems of racial grievance, but I have chosen not to go that route. There’s just too much other stuff to write about. Other people and other traditions interest me too much, perhaps because I consider them manifestations of my self, and God—for as you inquired in your earlier response, yes, the speaker is all three, the Self, the Other, and God. All selves, all others, all Gods are—proprietary. And I, the poet, am the one whose property they are.
So I swerve across lanes, driving drunk on language. One poem I write from the perspective of Krishna, one poem from the perspective of a Biblical angel, one novel in a man’s voice, one novel in a woman’s voice…. It’s thanks to this multiplicity of selves that I escape misrepresenting myself.
NM: Readers—buckle up for this wild joy-ride! Although this poet is drunk on language, have no fear; we are in the hands of a master, and he has both of them on the wheel.
Letters to Myself in my Next Incarnation
Hello again from who you were
Before. Hello before to who
I’ll be again. I think we both knew
This was going to be awkward,
And not just grammatically.
I wanted to write you a note
To familiarize you
With the controls,
But the body is a vehicle
The soul relearns
How to drive by crashing
Into other bodies.
This is what they call wisdom,
And by they, I mean fools
Like us, and by wisdom
I mean, like Plato,
Memory. What I love here,
Poems and women mostly,
I know you can’t remember,
But they were worthy of my love
Because they fooled me into wisdom
If you are reading this
I am already
Dead. If you are reading
This I am already
Living. Stranger, I
Have no advice for you.
I only wrote this
Because I was lonely
And wanted someone
To talk to,
Even if it was only
Myself. Why do we
If not to pass along a valediction
From the echo
Whose echo we are,
If not to say
To the echo
We expect to become
We’ve been running this baton
Zeroed in on the event horizon
For a thousand meters,
For a thousand births.
It’s a relay race where every runner
Falters, lunges, falls
Face first. I scraped my features bloody once
That heals my face into a stranger’s.
It looks to all the universe
Like this is someone else who’s taken over,
Young again, with neither hamstring cramping,
Lit like a fuse by my failing lunge.
Teammate, you have stood up on my feet,
And this baton has never left my hand.
It isn’t a baton at all
But a scroll as old as the Dead Sea
Salted with so many tears
The bodies of the dead,
Weighed down with obols on their eyes,
Float on the current, serenely as sunbathers,
And gather seashells on the opposite shore
Where a sign says Children Only,
Where a sign says Diving Mandatory.
We are only messengers,
Two of a sequence,
Running from the past
And carrying the past.
The scroll we hand off in this relay race
Is a love letter to the best self we race to become
Encoded as a list of once and future names.
The man who ran from Marathon
Fell dead at the end of his run.
I, too, have brought you word of victory.
The word on his lips as he died was Joy.
Sift the chaff of faces, voices, friendships
Until you find her. Dancing with that woman
Was the only reason
Tripwire desire didn’t get me this time.
Duplicate, dupe, I know you well enough
And hope this poem finds you early,
So I can tell you: Kid, be patient! Slow down!
She’s looking for you too
Right now, she’s busy
Waving off the moths
Hot for her incandescence! All those boys
Are just the background noise
She listens past to hear
Your past and hers, harmonic in the moment….
So patience, patience, stop yourself
From taking what’s on offer
In the future where you’re lost to me
But never will be lost to her, a future
That like my present, I imagine,
Has everything on offer cheap and fast.
Slow down. You’ll recognize her, trust me,
Even if it isn’t right away.
I recognized her after eighteen years.
In this life, I’ve got pictures of us
On a lawn in Dover, Ohio,
Playing as toddlers, playing toddlers
When really we were braided ancients, sampling
Parallel play, sampling
Crushes on each other, sampling friendship
Until the air began to torque between us,
Full-blown tornado of remembered love
Snapping us free of childhood
To spiral us skyward in a single cord,
Umbilical and nourishing a single future
That she will cradle one day in a hospital gown,
Exhausted after giving birth,
Your arm in turn around her shoulder:
Three bodies, father, mother, newborn
Nestling one inside the other,
My past and all the pasts before mine, too,
Inside your musically patterned present
Nested, life in life in life.
At the end of every flatline
You and I
Arrive in rhyme
Words to a Requiem
Our choir of one
We embryos in amber strung
On a single
Twin is pushing on a swing his twin,
Hour is pushing through the sky the hour
When, Future Me, I think of you
Swinging before me on the layground swing.
My hands, my palms so deathly pale
Turn out to stop the white light in the tunnel.
I push you on your way,
I push you on your way,
And I am weaker, weaker.
But I am you before me,
And you are me behind you,
No different in our beings
Than my twins are in their genes.
But you, who come after—you have precedence.
You are the reason I am living.
You, my endpoint, are the fixed point.
The swing-set frame, the woodchips
Scooped raw from a summer’s worth of scuffs,
The jungle gym, the playground, the ground
Swoosh back and up from chains
Your weight holds tense.
The sky lurches into your field of view,
And you can feel it in your stomach.
I hear you laugh but cannot see your face.
The earth slides back in place,
And I push off and push away,
And I push off and push away
Until I’m perpendicular, I’m overhead, I pause;
Then tip beyond the zenith, woodchips
Sprinkling everybody’s sneakers.
Sippycups fall out of strollers
That swoop full circle to make the catch.
In your orbit, on your ferris wheel,
I see your face, my sun and hub—
Not my color, not my gender, but for all that,
Me. You didn’t fool me
In that costume. We are twins
Who happen to be born
A death apart. This is a letter
Written in our private language.
I’m writing it to tell you
The first few pushes
Are all I have the strength to give you.
Kick forward, pull back,
Kick forward, pull back,
When all you see is sky before you,
Jump off the swing,
Jump off the swing
And O, my soul,
Swinging through space
Navel to navel
We are lost astronauts
Between our helmets
Full of womb roar static
No way of knowing
As my eyes dim
And yours grow wide
Whether now is the past or not
Through the cord between us
Like the one breath
Passed between conjoined twins
Melded at mouth and nose
Resuscitating one another
Kiss of recognition
Space Shuttle Endeavor
Smaller and smaller
Reflected on my helmet
On yours the swelling sun
That calls us closer
Five four three two one
In Norway near the equinox
is the best time and place to watch
the transmigratory pattern
of souls across the night sky.
They don’t go quite at the speed
of light, more at the speed
of glow, in search of the navels
of wives and girlfriends snoozing
on the collarbones of their lovers.
Every navel is a wormhole
into our alternate universe,
and the unborn soul ingathers
like a recorded gunshot
played in reverse on mute.
Beyond the Kuiper belt,
at the behest of some
the souls flustered as one
off a lake of frozen mercury
and swirled back to this world,
buoyed on each other’s wake.
They have the earth imprinted
deeper than a memory.
come winter can
they’ve never settled on
deep in a Mexico
they’ve never visited.
The dead are one aurora
shuttling between a north
of water clocks, a south
of water steaming away, a north
of sundials, a south
of hydrogen fusion.
In the night sky over Norway,
kicking the luminescence
off my legs like a rescue
diver shedding his jeans,
I am seeking my next parents
among the battle dead,
the glorious, the wrung sponges
of young couples cooling
in each other’s sweat.
I want a father dreaming
of firecracker chrysanthemums
a blue furlong beyond his boyhood.
I want a mother dreaming
of a goddess on a tiger.
Part of this is instinct
and part of it delight:
Stranger, signal me
from way on down the tracks.
Wave me in with orange wands
because I have been flying
an eternity to land in time
at last and grow the hands
I need to feel your face.
I want to give this one more try.
I want to get this right.
My body is a pawprint in the snow,
My memory, a snowman in the spring,
A little time, and then it’s time to go,
So sing, my momentary Snowman, sing
The song that goes like O and o and o,
For shape is brief, and time is everything,
And everything is melting into flow,
Where graveyards, gone to gray, must go to green
Again, and all the memories regrow,
For shape imprints, implies a life unseen,
A charm against the cold, the pock of paws
Continuing as footprints through the scene,
Where children stack a snowman in the thaw
And sing to springtime O and o and o,
The shape of time, the letter of the law,
The song I shape from memories of snow.
When I recollect
In the still of your quickening,
I will condense, remade
In an underwater image
Truer maybe to myself
Than I have been in this life.
I have lived out my life
Seeking a self
In no one else’s image.
By the time you read me,
I’ll have felt your quickening,
Fetal, fatal. Collect
My words and reconnect
With me where I quicken in
Your wrists. I have remade
My reflection in your image.
You’re how I reimagined myself.
Stranger, outlive my life.
Foundling on the temple steps
With all your birth tokens
Walking dossier, your face
A rogue’s gallery,
Of noms de plume,
My future homonym,
My future human
Meme, my futile name’s
Loose translation of a gospel
To begin with,
From an amber egg,
I pile up these metaphors
When a metaphor
Is all you’ll ever be
I didn’t pick my parents,
But I am picking yours.
With all I do,
I save up for a berth, for passage
First class west to the New World
Where a house is waiting for you.
Are knotted to the mailbox,
Now a little loose
And bouncing in the breeze.
Both parents, all four grandparents—
They’re recording your arrival
On their phones.
Love, safety, self-discipline,
Prosperity, good books, good genes:
I wish you
All the bourgeois, suburban blessings
I’ve wished my kids
Because I’m parenting
A fate, I’m narrowing a list
To send you to.
I didn’t used to be a decent man,
But fatherhood improved me.
When I was younger, kid,
I spiked the karmic punch,
And now what’s in me
Is bound to be in you.
But don’t you worry,
I’ll be good for you from now on.
You, my spirit changeling.