After those sharp edged words.

After those sharp edged words have been filedand kept away for another dayi turn to home, the only place i can bemyself, naked, shameless and alone. from these four walls dripping showers water washing away wounds and tearsi slip in though a side entrance lest i disturbanything else that may be home. The walls are…

Folded.

I folded away my sorrows  in that patchwork blanket my mother made, now worn and frayed, which you tell me  has seen better days. I folded away the creases of left over swatches of cloth used to make dresses when we were young.  That pale pink one with the blue flowers?  That used to be…

Monsoon

If I was a season, I would be monsoon, I would pour upon you in waves, flooding every cornice, flickering big fat raindrops All through the night. You would wake in the morning to water-logged streets paper boats, dirty slippers, ilish and khichuri for lunch. Yes, if I was a season, I would be monsoon…

When I think of you…

When I think of you I cannot be sadI think of the crack of dawnI think of birds flying in pairsAnd every lost soul finding a home. When I think of you I cannot be sadI think of enormous skiesI think butterflies flitting in the gardenAnd every lost soul breathing a sigh. When I think…

One day….

One day I will throw my arms and hug again  We will meet in cafes and chatter And moan about work pressures And chuckle at trivial things.  We will dance like no one’s watching, Go on trips, laugh with wild abandon And the only masks will be the faces We wish to wear that day.  For…

29 years…

I am still sitting there, submerged in water As the setting sun slants in, watching The coconut trees dancing in the wind. Still lost in my thoughts, you in yours Contentment seeping through pruned fingers Stopping to paddle, to swim to chatter Blowing fountains out of hands. I’m still painting myself into a corner As…

Peace at last.

It poured that evening after that crematorium The man there collecting the dead like piles of leaves Leaves that have fallen from trees bursting with summer While the garden lies untended, with no one to stop  And admire the flowers that were your joy and pride.  The skies darkened to black and rain lashed the…

Lost souls

I don’t talk about God with my mother I don’t tell her a lot of things like how I struggle to sleep, or laugh and go through another day. I tell no one that I am sad How I let my soul wander and it goes away. I don’t talk about how I don’t care…

Inside the tunnel

There is only darkness here And the low stench of mildew Fragmented by your illusions. The last glimmer of hope  You thought you saw As you rounded the corner Was only a reflection  That skittered off your eye…  There is no illumination here As you paw your way holding  Hands and slippery walls to guide…

The last mango of the Salt Lake house

was starting to rot. I cut carefully around the edges, juices dripping down fingers  Into mouths that eagerly waited to bite  into the sweet yellow flesh. No one lives  in that house since you left. It lies abandoned, a shadow of what had been, a house full of memories the walls a reminder of all that…

We are safe #CycloneAmphan

The rain lashed the walls of my face  Each drop piercing the skin as I chased  The old unused tent that threatened to fly  Off the terrace. Someone gave that tent  To my daughters for them to play, And there it stayed for years thereafter, out grown, But not remembered to be thrown. The clouds…

The things I have/13.05.2020

Daybreak walks in the city with me dragging my feet the driving lesson that became an accident Chicklets to combat the salt of the sea. Sun-kissed days in the summer sun lazy somersaults in the pool steaks and fries and chips with sauce rolls shared on half-day afternoons. That movie I begged you to take…

Maths.

“I am walking at a speed of 6 kilometres an hour.  You start after ten minutes and walk  At a speed of 8 km, How long will it take For you to overtake me?” Those sums  Were your favourites. Along with the tank  That rarely got filled and sometimes  Overflowed. How I hated that morning…

To the crow

I used to hate crows, scavengers of the earth squawking, snatching, swamping the skies when one died, shot by that stray bullet frightening us into the house. But then you said that crows were good that when they eat the food offered to the dead it is as though the dead have returned. Since then…

Ghosts

There are no ghosts, you said, there are no ghosts; only the memories and those we have left behind. Or have been left by by those who moved to another place from where there is no return. Yet, when the stars flicker glittering through my tears and the skies are silent at that moment when…

To the stranger in the dark.

Faces change over time grow up and move away But eyes? Eyes remain the same, windows to all that was. I think I see you cross the road our eyes meeting only for a second to move on, obscurity measured in a single glance. Maybe you too thought I was someone you knew from another…

Old wounds

There was a wound near the ear  That never healed. Each evening I would change the dressing The blood never stopped its flow.  He would not wince, even As I applied disinfectant trying  To be as gentle as possible,  As softly and as far as I could go.  His eyes glistened with pain and tears …

Abandoned.

A little girl sat on the swing set When I took the dog before dawn. I almost missed her quiet face But the moon was still in form Her face was streaked with tears In her hands she clutched a cloth With which she tried to cover her face Fear upon her visage wrought.  I…

This song

This song was lost On the beating wings of a white dove, In the crying eyes of a failed love, In the helplessness of a hushed cry, In the silences of a dense sky. In every heartbreak I have owned. The song was star-crossed But the lone dove found a place to rest, Lovers stopped…

No poem today

I will write no poem today I will just chill, not fret about meter And spend the morning Nursing my coffee and Sudoku. I will not write a stanza today No deep thoughts to construe, No yearnings to express… No quatrain or haiku. I will binge-watch a TV show About haunted houses or spies And…

The poem I was writing

Died a senseless death The body waits In the crowded funeral homes For the rich In lime covered mass graves Of the poor Tortured and twisted In the agony of birth Breathless and blown By gathering storm clouds The cadaver awaits A decent burial.

Cages

I did not wring its neck, but The blue budgie died by my hand When I opened the gate of the cage,  Where it stayed on the balcony.  A crow pounced on it all at once Ripped it to shreds while I cried  Struck with horror. I was a toddler But I already hated the  cage.  …

I: Itinerant : The roads I take

On my way to work I often shut my eyes and in my mind I am on a road that does not race through a concrete jungle Where there are no buildings or the jostle of cars Where roads wind through mist ridden hills Lined with pine trees that rise above the clouds Curving through…

H: Hazard: This poem

I wrote no poem yesterday,  The words dried up, constricting  My throat, like the onset of a bad cold,  A hacking cough and fever.  Fever is a bad word now,  Being sick is a colossal mistake.  The cousin passed away last week No, it wasn’t the Novel Corona virus She had been suffering, and was…

F: Faces: Limitations

My eyes are mere windows With which I watch the world,  My face is but a mirror,  Behind which I hide my soul.  Charm me not into believing That I am anything more than that Let my dreams not become bigger Than something I am not.  Treat me kindly, still  Lest I shatter into pieces…

E: Edges : Time

Time moves differently here,  Slowly, sluggishly, lips clinging To the edge of the glass. Time weeps unshed tears here Fears that went unnoticed Bursting open scabs on the wounds Time laughs at mankind here Those who think they can divide us Do we not all bleed when hurt?  Time sees our true selves here As…

In praise of women

Who is she?  Who is she that shines at night  Glittering, as upon a stage? Who is it that braves the crowds  Every day on the local train?  Who is the lady who hides a breast  Under her sari as her child feeds?  Who is the woman wildly reaching For the alms you throw at…

C: COVID-19: Lockdown

Even as I slept I dreamt about the poem I’d write Today. In the silence it comes back to me “How to make a garlic sizzle”. Of course  You melt the butter and let the pod hiss  In the pan. I realise of course it was just a dream Who writes of garlic and everyday…

B: Blotchy : Messy

I always hated to stay  Between the lines The lines on the page The lines of my face My colours splashed   Outside the box Messy, they called me,  And messy I stayed.  I had my share of trouble  Straying from the lines The lines that life drew Confining me in walls I will not be…

A: Amusical: Tone Deaf

I would give and arm and a leg To play the piano for you again.  You would lie back on the sofa  And my little fingers would pick out the tune.  Alas my fingers are now too soft The notes just squiggly shapes  Music beaten out of my life By choice, or was it compulsion?…

Timeline (photographs)

Scrolling through timelines  I realise how we mentally compartmentalize Events in our head. Look at these pictures…  That was the last dinner we went for together Here is the wedding the year after Ma died.  See those are of the first vacation without her, This was the last holiday with Baba. It’s funny How the…

To Amisha (Someday Rapunzel)

Someday Rapunzel will chop off her hair And leap into the forest, undeterred by thorns That lay waste the garden outdoors The garden she never knew up close The garden just beyond her reach. And  She will taste the wild berries and learn not to gag She will explore under shrubs and trees and hide Among…

Just the moon

04:00 Hours IST. 26.06.2021. “Just the moon” you say, “no aesthetics even. Just showing off the zoom on your camera.” Ah, but it was at four in the morning…When skies were silent and still The dawn was just a brooding sighAnd no photograph will ever show The sweet smell of the flowers,The freshness of the…

Mass cremation

I want to steal some lives From the pyres around me Steal some smiles from those Who died breathlessly Reaching out and finding No hands pressed in return And I want to hear their stories Yes, each and every one. And scream their joys From the mountains So the world will not forget The weight…

Erasing Bodies (in a crisis)

After the dead have been put away,  Their bodies lie as shells on a beach, The limbs that danced with life  Shut down forever, waiting to be picked up, Cremated, donated, buried or thrown For vultures to feast. I call  Upon the bodies I own, my past loves My mistakes, even that drunken phone In…