Tag Archives: school

Aftermath

(to consuming six glasses of orange juice)

the next morning in school during your
english exam you take permission to go to
the toilet where you throw up all the white
and creamy breakfast milk. only it tastes
sour and looks like bits of maggoty curd.
weeks later, you get to know two things
one of which will change your life for ever.
first, you scored the highest in the english
exam. second, you became a gossip item.
you still don’t know what affects you more.

because of your boldness and brashness
and bunking classes your ulcerated vomit
is taken for morning sickness. the sourness
extends when you hear hushed whispers
passing around. girls younger than you,
point at you and speak such banal secrets.
in staff-rooms, and in ungainly corridors
teachers chatter of your child, so vividly
imagined in the backdrop of your really
empty womb. slander is a slaughterhouse.

even best-friends seek answers as the
rumours inflame. your anger is mistaken
to be toward a crude imagined lover who
disowned you. you know the nauseous
truth of your thighs: you are virgin. But
evidence will not be revenge, for, so many
smoky eyes implore you to supplicate, to
admit alleged truths. impeaching faces lay
down rules: don’t shout or scream, but
swallow the shame. next, confess the sin.

sin yes they will shred your innocent life to
that yes you may fume or froth or boil or
simmer yes you are their staple soup they
need you just this way yes your fury takes
its toll annihilating you not them yes anger
and hatred seethe in your untamed tresses
yes you know how gossip chokes even the
tethered dreams yes something breaks in
you yes dear yes you start the brute search
for sleeping pills and chaste suicide ideas.

(First published in Cerebrations)

Advertisements

Composition

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.

Then,

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
Composition is
Complete.

(First published in Sulekha)

An angel meeting me

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 worry
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)

Returning home

And you see the two-crows-for-joy-pass that are sitting on
overhead cables and the evening moon,
a mere silvery slice against fluffy translucent sky.

And the remains of your school where you spent your twelve
longest years and lived through everything.

And the bus-stand you had to draw for your art-class in yellow
ochre or asphalt grey and the emptiness that now occupies the
place where a tiny café once stood.

And the tree where they fed you lunch before you learnt to walk
back home. And I thought of my parents.

Brilliant people talking of the intricacies of their life and the corruption of
morals and the bygone days and hunger in their childhood and their deaddear-
departed parents as if to teach you what to talk to your children.

(And you are their child,
so you speak their lines.)
Still returning home,

And there are rusty mammoth girders that outline the sky like
the derelicts of lost dreams and crossed hopes.

And girls so flimsy pretty yet unsafe in the little worlds of lip
gloss and love affairs that you could have smoked them into
oblivion.

And the dry decaying dead leaves crushed with varying noises
and carrying a spent smell that clings to your hair.

And the shy forest noises that violate your fixation over sight
and sound and smell and touch yes touch.

And I thought of my lover.

A primitive man who would invade
your aloneness on insomniac nights
and challenge your assumptions of
love and your sophistications and fill
your ears with the four letter words of
his ancient language that have begun
to sound to you like earth songs to
which your body awakens.

(And you are his love,
so you listen to his lines.)

On the way home, the small
lessons you learn of life. . .
Love, or the promise of love,
its lack of choice.
This large world.
And its littleness.