At that brief time
When you wait
For the audacious cane
To strike your skin,
And the rest of you is flinching
And cringing, with part shame,
And part pain,
Poetry dictates itself
In your mind. Short lines
Rip through, like bullets
From a machine gun.
The poem comes with the
Freshness of a life set free,
Whistling its way,
Painfully, like wind searing
Through the palm fronds.
The cane thrashes
Your skin, dancing cruelly
And bouncing in wooden joy.
Before you scream,
Or shake, the poetry stops.
And the Muse, is tentatively,
Laid to rest, much before the
(First published in Sulekha)
and may be we will
almost fall in love. . .
I will look into his eyes,
and he into mine—
my one single eye,
(the unfortunate other
blinded by a disciplinizing slap)
and we will agree, adjust
that Love can be Blind.
And he, healthy boy
well-fed, white with his rosy cheeks,
will wonder about me,
pity my bony body, those thin ribs
and feel my twisted ears
and the scars on my hands,
(reminders of the flirtation
of my skin and a cruel cane)
and perhaps lift my skirt. . .
Before he learns the greater horrors,
I owe him the truth of me—
So, I will say to him:
“I went to school”.
(First published in Muse India)
When memory decides
To no longer bear the burdens—
Of pain, or even plain indifference
She has her winsome wicked ways.
Some day, years later,
Life requires you to unearth
Some event long past and you
Set about browsing your brain
Like a desk-full of office files and then—
Come across a resounding emptiness.
Are not to be found. What
Greets you instead, through
Those yellowing sheets of typed matter is
The blank and ugly blotches of dried whitener
So carefully applied, then. It has a fading smell of
Chalk and chlorine: a blend, like memory, that works at
Your throat. You try to scratch it and the faintest hopes are
Betrayed as the caked pieces of the whitener crumble,
Displaying nothing, but toe curling holes where crummy paper and ink once contained you.
Posted in Poetry
Even your tongue,
Craves for the taste of tears. . .
And you are crying again.
Misery is (you always believe) the only genuine
Emotion and sadness, the way of the real world.
She wouldn’t have any of it.
Sage in the cubicle, healer of sorts.
Three years your junior. She makes soul-talk
Sound as prosaic as aeronautical engineering.
At the end,
‘Stop this right now.’
What will you say of your feeling
Living with a sister who terrorizes
Even manic depressions out of your mind?
(First published in Thanalonline)
“I am happy, life is good.”
Heard at the end of a therapy class. . .
The heavy-duty brainwashing and you
Remember your crores stacked away. . .
Your Harvard airs helps in large doses
Soon, the colors peel away and there is nothing
To do than wrestle with your yearnings.
“I would like to make love.”
Wanna fuck? It is easier saying it this way
For something that you paid for in cash
And cheques and credit cards.
Forget the lesser action, the lack of poetry—
What mattered was how you let go
Of your hate and heat and hunger
But never had the courage to talk
To her of love or loneliness. . .
“You are trespassing on my territory”
You guarded it with LoCs and walls
And barbed wire fences where hatred
Danced like high-voltage electricity. . .
You killed creatures and cleared forests
And wiped away the darker people
And those of dreamy tongues with
Your agenda of a war-a-week, the
Worlds-to-win and vengeance-to-wreak. . .
Your Mushroom clouds and wmds and
Poverty drafts and armchair chivalry and
A collective manhood of nuclear warheads
That explode and penetrate. . .
To make her yours and yours alone,
You pushed her deeper into harems
Where she could see the sunlight
Only from the lattice windows.
Domesticated into drudgery she was just
Another territory, worn out by wars. A slave
Who maintained your numbers.
“Let’s make love.”
~all that you thought~
What’s taking her so long to undress?
~all that you said~
I m gonna fuck till ya faint. . .
“Oh how nice to have made love.”
~breathless~ Iminahurry. Cyasoon.~panting~
Here are the words, again—
I am happy. Life is good / I would love to make love.
You are trespassing on my territory/ She’s mine.
Let’s make love/ Oh how nice to have made love.
On sunny green fields these are the only
Six sentences the male of a grasshopper can ever say.
But what have we done with words?
A gray rainy day—
On a road less traveled the patrol tracked down much:
Him (him is now an it, a crumpled cruel corpse for women
To beat their breasts about); the wreckage (four black wheels
That speak of despair and a mangled red car-body awash yet
Soiled and the cold apparitions of smoked glass and steel);
The crime record—
He stole at home he found no work he pimped his sis he
Mortgaged his mom he raped a girl (the myth reads so: like
A crow calling its kindred he invited the last of his friends to
Join the feast, the fest, yes the plunder between her thighs)
He stabbed his professor dad he lived on air and alcohol
And insulin and morphine—but it was the marijuana that
Murdered him as he screamed at the vengeful rain that
Teased away his nirvana, the excuse of an existence. . .
No pair of exacting eyes to see the trees drive into a rage into
His car that once swallowed whole black roads but for the
God on his dashboard temple who had since returned to
Formlessness, to a hundred and eight tiny crystals that held
Psychedelic rainbows that outshone all the trapped sun. . .