Saturday, December 31, 2016

From ourselves

From the baby pool of inconveniences and regrets
that I swim in I can only wish a happy new year
without knowing what you went through.
Just assuming your shoes are as comfortable as mine.

From the ordinariness for which I am thankful
I foolishly greet that your wishes should fulfill
without an inkling, that your wish is to not exist
at all to escape the recurring conflict and pain.

I put a clip of memory on the moth-like moments
that outlasted their lifetimes without realizing
the crumble of their fragile wings. A glass heart
after all holds my happiness frozen in its step.

The toss of time and the winds of change and
all the idioms of passing are sheltered in greetings.
But you, you are the one searching for shelter
in the dark, escaping the fireworks of a civil war.

The turn of a year, what does it mean, for you are
already hallucinating in hunger and wishing for a
random wander of kindness which by a remote
chance might save us all from ourselves. 


(Syria)

Friday, November 4, 2016

Of foxes and jackals

Foxes know many things
I am sure that they know this too.
Cutting the corners of cunningness
they are the custodians of worldly ways.
Jackals too belong in this august company.
This is a reaction to those two particular
jackals spinning off tales in the Panchatantra.
They've wandered again into my psyche long after
that childish curiosity about talking animals.
This time too they were deep in conversation
about not just what is good but what is possible.
They sneak in everywhere I look or overlook.
Two people talking, I can only imagine their bushy tales.
Mysterious Once-upon-a-times created even out of boredom.
Their conversation ricochets across centuries
taking me along with other animals
in the forest called human nature.




(Karataka & Damanaka from Panchatantra; "The Fox and the Hedgehog", Isaiah Berlin)

Friday, August 19, 2016

In sickness and health

No longer it is just curling up from the shivers of the fever.
Now, the sponge bath finds its way to the hottest parts.
A cold eye keeps its watch for the first drops of sweat
while something is always in the making. Bed. Hot dinner.
Conversation still not being the healthy form of communication.


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Grandmother who refused to be photographed

Not sitting down for a photograph
she has set a tough task for the gen next
who’ve finally put down the spade of survival
to a little rest to reflect in the shade of prosperity.
No record of her exists except in stories shared by the earlies.
Many versions of her reside in her children who remember her
as tough, kind, gentle, cranky and biased. But she in her line
was strong enough to survive and loll now in spirit,
at the most nonfunctional of things: writing about her.
I can sense her knowledge that this admiration is false.
These thoughts about her are self gratifying and do not
ensure any kind of survival in the hardened world.
She doesn’t brandish life advice like an average granny.
Only one message if any, loud and clear: Do Not Disturb. 


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A sharper axe

A good many definitions of poetry have gone by
That private grief is all over the public shoulder
What makes this and not that one a poem
I question while it's in the womb and no reply,
except the pregnant muse getting hormonal.  
The red wheel barrow is heavy with critiquing. 
Daffodils have not given up their sprightly dance 
in the  face of eternity.  The leaves of grass 
are growing their beards. The Emily dashes 
still take us by surprise. What is etched 
on immortality has not lost its sheen.
But every poet throws his axe into the river
Hoping some god will appear from the lore
With a sharper axe and a working poem.


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Without you

The pawns of childhood fall prey first.
The grownup pieces form the next line of defense.
We try castling by exchanging our memories.
But the distance between us stays
and the checkmate continues its shadow.
Coffee stains the evening sky while we part.
And the world turns black and white.
With you and without you.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Crumbs

Anonymity is that luring jungle
around the address plate.
The trails are well lit at their mouths
with a ghoulish smile behind friendly teeth.
The crumbs strewn around 
lead to the house of nobody 
where none lived since bygone times. 
None will do this: leave crumbs, 
and wait till everyone follows.