Monday, December 19, 2011

Every day ends

A thud of the axle.
Goosebumps of rain
shiver into life on the window.
Wipers flail their arms
like the oar-men of Onam.
En route the intestinal turnings now.
The city suffers a leaky gut.
Whirlpools of dark water
become the door knobs to invisibility.
The last foothold.
Its size changes constantly.
Our ship connects many islands.
A slithery snake with fangs of light,
it bites its way out of darkness.
And our hope, shiny and hard-
a dead starfish-
decorates us amidst everything.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Watch your step

An immigrant bird
White as a handkerchief
Stands with its one leg in air
Not to ripple
and drive away the fish.
Its early breakfast.
The deer's ears are twice as alert.
Some noise which only it can sense.
May be wind's footsteps!
There is no twitch in its legs.
Not yet. A heightened silence
before a bolt of running.
A commercial break
in cawing of the city crow.
Gravity eases its pull.
And a drop that ought to fall
hugs the leaflet, for one last time.

This place

There is this place
well lit in the tunnel.
It says you're special
and should continue.
Like a mother
who tells you to behave
on the first day of school
the walls guide you towards light.
There is no turning back.

Lights will soon be switched off
but a dream
of their warm touch will continue.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A listening tree

For a long time, nothing happens.
Suddenly, a bubble rises.
Bursts everywhere. Inside me.
A shadow tugs me along
for a little more distance.
The uneven path
is painted with untied ends.
Questions linger on
like the litter after a party.
Silences seep in unchecked.
I look at myself
and the journey till now.
Everything flashes back
in a restive spirit.
I am now spread
on the sky dome.
Pixelated memories
blow up into dizziness.
Universes of possibilities
expand and contract.
Everything zips past once
as I reach crossroads.
And a great scaly tree stands calm
listening to my thoughts.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Unclear nuclear

Probably, perhaps definitely.
You would be reading this
or even better, listening to this
under a coal miner's head lamp.
And wouldn't be facing
those regular sighs of marsh gas
the ancient dead emanate.
Those dead
sustain us, the living.
Pretty tired, they might vanish
like a sick-of-it-all character
who runs away from home.
But we have to go on living.
Find ways that can sustain
that golden spark once struck
between the two stones.
The temperature of our warm blood
needs to be kept up even in the dark.
As every hand gropes about
for the relieving sound of the matchbox.
We need something more upright
than a melt candle.
The blazing ends of a fuel rod
holding out a sun, on Earth.
Yes, an unknown monster
like the fire that we started out with.
Our optimism and pessimism
The children of our necessity.
But what needs to be done
has to be done.

All this yapping is fine.
But who will pay?
For whom?
And with what?
Till then, the full fists
and empty stomachs
will be on the roads.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Everything in place

The world is more.
More in everything
that I can think of.
More imperfect
than I can capture
in lines that fall apart.
More perfect
than the sentence
that I can banish it to.
More good exists
than what's shown.
And more bad
than what's on display.
More beautiful
than the sprightly Daffodil.
More deadly
than the giant mushroom.

The world has everything in its place.
And especially me
right here at this threshold.
Taking it all.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thoughts on rails

Sadness engages
even the careful.
Happiness ensnares
even the unawares.
Fair. Unfair.
The train of argument goes
through the tunnels of self-doubt
and the straining light of epiphany.
Destination unknown.
Stops are many.
Some get down.
And some remain.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Shroud of poetry

Despite the shrouds of poetry
written for millenia
over sand and stone
parchment and paper
I can still see its raw face
clawing out of the coffin
to break my stupor.

Everyone is busy, almost worried
about this business as usual.
What size, what dimensions of a hollow pit?
That anyway doesn't guarantee containment.
And who can stop the hunger?
Of the worms that wait
like condemned prisoners
and uncomplainingly hollow out the eyes.
Or the flames with their many tongues
seen through a bleary eye, gulp the bait.

The ridges of the wrinkles
that have seen the same act
still make way for the moisture indicating life.
Life takes the same route
through the same narrow passages.

Everybody's stomach will upturn.
And everybody else will feed on it.
It is a common hunt for the living.
Who can't help but handle
by the only thing that is closer: living.

The silences will give away
to talking and bantering.
The old walls will still stand
And the special passes that are given out
expire in the wake of mourning.

And it will divide itself
into thousand ghouls
and the living will compete.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Every shade

Sadness prefers winters.
Takes these little walks
in the mossy darkness.
A cutting wind rips apart
the unscarved faces
into peels of laughter.
Distant rattles ground to a halt.
The grass is alert to the foot steps
and the dew forms like sweat
out of a patient wait.
Nothing escapes its memory.
A cage of realities.
Every particle has its place
and every shade its face.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Right half

The right-half of my brain
swerves too much into poetry.

The dew is a low hanging fruit
and instantly is in the cart.
Rain is always in touch.
Winter is around the corner.
Summer reaches out through the window.
Emotions run wild across the keyboard.
People in my head, crowd it with action.
Life and death have their boring tussle.
Often there are writes on writing.
Misplaced metaphors, on second thoughts
look teary eyed, while similes
break into mocking smiles.

But the calling itself stands a monolith.
I tie my talismans around it.
Continue a common superstition
and sharpen my wit
against the whetstone of a blank page.

The right-half of my brain
swerves too much into poetry.
And often after this thought
I sweat over a puzzle
to make a come back.

(This is my 400th poem. Self congratulatory in its style.)

A Mother's hands

A mother's hands are rough
from the raw material
she is offered to shape up.
There are scales of jagged skin
falling off a cliff like years.
Sacrifice that I never understood
is always present with its quietude.
Her womb extends far
embodying the continents
her children are spread.
She sees no difference
between the grownups now
and the children then.
She who tried to understand
the babble with dripping saliva.
Now listens intently over phone
what you have to tell her
about this big, big world.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Our progress

Our old negotiations have not changed.
Sadness beside happiness is cozy enough.
Uncertainty has its toothless laugh
in the middle of a truth finding apparatus.
Roots of our fears hang by
like the flowing hair of resting ghosts.
New journeys are made across
the old stretch marks of love.
Our arch rivals, ourselves, still exist.
Our limbs are lost to machines
But the skin engulfs newer flesh under its belt.
The unattended call home still unsettles us.
The search for fundamental particle doesn't end.
And stagnation has its algae in progress.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Carried away

The girth of the grandmother's waist
is too large for little hands of the child.
He tries to lift her in a seeming pretense
but with serious effort.
Amused, she laughs, pats him
and arranges his tie
carried away by the breeze.
And the school bus is never late.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Not very far

Reality is a rope
that burns my palms.
And I climb forever.
Moments, the empty corridors
in a train, move in full force
like the vocal chords of a lost voice.
Things are pushed aside
to a corner of solitude.
To a circle where
I see myself grappling.
The falling rain is incessant
feeding the streams of doubt
that rejoin into oceans.
The windows are many
but the view is one.
Even pushed against the wall
I can't see that very far.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Another smudge

The boatman of Vaitarani
rows over flowing stories
between life and death.
He writes them down with an oar
dipped in everyone's blood.
Tallying, good and bad
is none of his business.
A boat and an oar at his hand.
That's his reality.

The starts he knows
are full of noise
The ends, every time he assumes
to be little different.

But he rows on
and writes on.
Another sludge in the river.
Another smudge on the paper.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A December

The city wears a shawl
of wintry loneliness.
Quick steps all around
pierce the condensing darkness.
Doors swallow the bodies in a hurry
and souls are left behind for a moment
as if making sense
of the journeys till the threshold.
A solitary car pummels down
the beams of light
in its tussle with the looming mist.
The mid-night moon reaches out
to no one in particular
through a fronded cloud.
And what is present in real
measures for eternity
the vastness of absence.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Never gone

Wounds are never gone
without a trace into oblivion.
The smooth table that I am writing on
has scars of the many attempts
to tame the life it once held.
A branch is broken off like a limb
and the sore void of its shoulder
stares now with a Cyclopean eye.
Violence, in all its active and passive forms
is varnished with meaning.
And transacted like this table.
Supported on the four legs of reason.

Our necessity and comfort
till undone by death.
And then the wait for a new claim.
A new owner who might lay
hands on this and eat it
like a hollow wafer
filled with sadness and life.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

These eyes

Have seen much darkness and light.
Gazed at almost all the stars on the dome.
They have been searching and searched for.
Ghoulish times have laid their glint on them.
Owlish wisdom has swept across.
And the Universe before them, arranges itself
into lines and lines of raw verse.
Which are picked up, polished as a fruit
and gifted to posterity
by this grandmother of poetry.

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Report

Sprawled out in laziness
On the shores of boredom
The here and now, contemplate
The goals unreached
The loves unexpressed
The hidden wings
And all those other things.
Curled up in a disconnect
each feeling is examined.
A moment is returned to
and given back to neglect.
Past is pulled up
from a stroll it is taking
in the tucked away sepia gardens.
Questions are put across.
As to what it meant.
And what it means.
Nebulous times are recalled.
Grimes are justified.
Wellness is declared to oneself.
And life in general is carried on.
Reportedly, nothing happened.

Monday, September 19, 2011


the much avowed silence
they will start again.
From the mid-furrow
that a grandfather left off.
From a grandmother's lap
that lies vacant
in an unmarked mound.
The stories told by them
and about them, wake up to life.
And have their wings spread
from end to end.
The little character sketches
drawn out of mythology and boredom
form a continuous stream.
Hopping from knot to knot.
Thought to thought.
Of a rope hanging in mist.
We are to listen intently
for anything that can be picked up.
It is that story time again.
And sleep doesn't silence us so soon
At least, till we have added our part.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


A place not so nice
but we've all been there.
The one that lurks in the shadow
of a joke we share.
Much has been said about it
Common place but not too common.
Our hopes, like streaks of a firefly
measure the extent of its darkness.
And our private successes illuminate it
in those moments of eternity.
Full of us, checking in and out
Nowhere, a place that is everywhere
Never wears a desolate look.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Half light

In the half light
of a personal past
I see her
The crazy woman of the village.
Smiling at us
hurling advice
and crying, complaining
about the mis-treatment
by the master of the house.
A summer-visit by us
from the city
seemed her only sense of joy.
But to us children
she appeared
even more childish.
A mechanized doll
pretty with Jasmine flowers
well dewed
but unable to prune to the deserve.

The lashes every night
that is drunk on people's mistakes
only burnt her skin
into a terrain devoid of feeling.
She would cry out
into an emptiness
which clutches my arm, even now
in a strength and urgency to act.

And out of helplessness
I now daringly presume
that she is finally resting
in some peace of a distant solitude.
And her skin torched by the whip
is alive moving in the underground
forming rivers, mountains and fields.
The geography of suffering and pain.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Fit for love

All this for her.
The rippling body
that of a Protein X container
he is aiming at.
The distance he runs
pushing the limits of exhaustion.
The weights measured so accurately
A feather would make a difference.
He is after symmetry, definitely.
Every evening after the practice
a guitar is hung in silence.
To be able to serenade one day
is his dream.
Few songs and rhymes are penned down
with the words love and her eyes.
Mostly her eyes in the evening light.
A general good behavior is in vogue.
And there is this waiting
around coffee tables and book shops.
The things which brew a conversation.

And finally, he is looking into her eyes now.
With all the little things taken care of.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The disease

Is poetry just a symptom
or the disease itself?
It has nothing to offer.
Except that feverish haze
when I am at it.
An unwritten enormity
is a siren's song.
It always wrenches me
to pour it into words.

A poem feels best
when unexpressed.
Given the shape
it crouches in its smallness.
One would expect it to have
those deep searching eyes.
Piercing the reading public.
Nothing like that exists.
More over, it shrivels
into being non-great.
And slips into enormity.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

9 dead, 11 injured

9 dead, 11 injured.
Things might change.
Stay with us.
Dead will disappear.
Injured will die.
The cordons are not permanent.
Stay with us.
Things will be let out again.
They are coming, yes, the leaders.
They will hug the grief away.
Touch a bruise here and there.
Stay with us.
The photo-shoot will be good.

These dead are really brain dead.
They don't put up a good show.
A limb here, a limb there.
A limbo altogether.
Are they dead?
No one knows.
But most definitely are.
We are told the next day.
The headlines are munched
and the crowd dispersed.
People, they are tired.
Of the dead and the living.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

It'll go on

Life falls on the way side
and is unable to break always
into a rapturous song.
The one well-rehearsed in simple Past.
And beaten to death in the Present.
Beauty in everything, as it is
ceases to exist.
Boredom pervades it all.
There is nothing special I feel
Only my solitude, peel after peel.
I abandon conversations
to their foolishness.
And move on to devour
the heaviness of silence.
Things take this cue
Turn themselves in a different way.
Proving to me
they'll always have their say.
And the show will go on.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Slipping by

Rain lashes on heavily
and there's no cover
except the loneliness one feels.
Bound together in an unease.
A young couple is restless to get home.
The older ones are splitting the time left--
Too much and too little--
counting the drops leaking from the roof.
"Many rains ago....",
they saunter off into a wander.
Flitting like moths
into an unfelt distance.
The sparkling tongue of the road
extends into darkness.
And things slip by in a general hurry
towards a blanket of warmth.

In this downpour
memories take shelter in our minds.
Loves are lost and found, and lost again.
The "could have" moments flash by
Not that re-living makes any sense.
But the vacant place left by them
implodes yet again in silence
within the alcoves of hearts.
Countless sensitive things rise up
as the smoke from an asphalt skin.
Sighs and plans
to only move forward take shape.

The rain stops for now.
Things are left to the past.
Letting us go from its grip.
And everything waits around.
For another downpour.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

This and that

This is a world of indifference
Nurtured for nothing.
And you only wait.
Doting on questions
Why this and that?
Curiously perusing every page
of experience, the book of probabilities.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Flash in the pan

Who are these people
writing down in solitary ways?
Losing out on time
Months, years and pretty dates.

All purposeful writing
should end in a comma.
When she walks up to you
and pushes you into a coma.

Friends are long gone
making the best of the time.
But these park benches linger
witnessing this desolate crime.

Unbearably motivated
things will go out of hand
And like all manuscripts
end up in a strange land.

While sisters ponder
their brothers' wantonness.
And mothers wonder
the flash-pan brilliance.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

In simple terms

Not even the weakest link
in the long chain of events.
It is eternally uncertain
what has gone into
making each of us.
What intent? is a valid question.
There are more questions from us
than the answers that we find.
Collective intelligence is lacking.
and an overall direction
just disintegrates like cinder.
Any root cause analysis
quickly leads into a monologue
about the big picture.
In simple terms, there is no answer.

Friday, July 22, 2011

There he is

A Poet only now living to the brim
suddenly bursts into writing about
death in various forms.
Like a hard-pressed magician
he pulls up this mean trick.
When confronted, he will argue
it is the fact of life.

Spring has long left him and his words.
But he still tries to break some lines
about the morning joys.
While the dark muse
looks on inquisitively
for a foothold between them.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


The fear of mortality is constant
like the dial tone in a telephone
Till the crackling voice
Full of life, says something.
Pleasant or unpleasant.
It doesn't matter.
The voice that had gone out
to work, to win bread
to fetch vegetables
to run a random chore
Has to come back
With a sprightly tone.
If not, what else will?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

As I write this

As I write this
It happens again
Snatching the few lines
that I have in mind.
It guides the striding foot
of the pen, to a vagrant scenery.

There is, in front of my eyes
the yellow-black zebra footpath.
The waiting ground
of our growing up years.
And today, now, yes, presently
We are waiting for the return bus
and the girls are walking across
after the school, with their heads down
counting the pebbles, but smiling
for all the attention we give.
A friend is following his crush
on a newly acquired bicycle.
Others are cheering him to go-get.
She cycles faster now
into some by-lane of memory.
We start teasing each other
till the bus lumbers along
and squeezes another day out of us.

Past gets away
with all its tricks
while I try to make sense of it.
Knowingly it will misguide me
and land me in a new neighborhood.
It often laughs at my familiarity of its scape.
An old prison it is for me.
With a long enough chain.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Good Place

Is this a good place to be
you will often wonder
and wander hypothetically
around the possibility of "What if.."
That road which life never took
will always throw up questions.
Though it is a much taken one.
Beaten to death by others.
Mere passers by, you would agree
Not so special like you.
You could have made it big in that line.

Simple happiness would smile at you
from the boring road that you had foregone.
A sweet and simple sadness
might wrench you into looking back.
The road not taken is a dangerous thing
you would remind yourself and the world.
It might have lead you into monotony.

Now that you can fold your ordinariness
into something appealing to yourself.
What is it that you are looking for?

May be a right question
that might prove epiphanous and
get you running for the other road.
Without searching for an answer.

Friday, July 1, 2011

I have a voice

But, what voice?
When you use words
like "silent scream" just as words?
When you impersonate the voiceless
and write of their suffering.
Unknown and unfelt
A rain withheld.

My only assumption: They have communicated.
To your imagination.
And prompted you in a strange way
To voice their absence and narrate
the true scenes of distress.
But I suspect that you'll soon
be out of touch with this distance.

I suggest you go back to your rhymes.
Yes, they are much better.
Reality there is without its pangs
And everything else just hangs
flapping like a calendar
in the windy Time.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Such hypocrisy!

In an outwardly form of Pessimism
how you hold that sinful Optimism.
Like a dried plant
maintaining a secret store of sap
you long for the monsoon.
Circumstances stitched by Time
gang up to form an organism
That hounds you into escaping.
There are others you've noticed
who have fallen prey.
You reduce expectations
but beat them each time to survive.
Once in a while you pull up
to an island of solitude and pretend
to be not looking at the clock.
A survivor's guilt takes over
as you admire the journey so far.
But again, you announce to the world
Your hopelessness and lack of hope.
Fake that you are pessimistic
while you have been confessing
"So far so good."
But again, what else can you say?
Remember, others have fallen prey.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Short-Bio

A short-bio is always necessary.
It would tell the world
how serious and portly
your statements could be.
Whether they are the products
of regular nihilism of youth
or wearily hanging loose skin of age.
You could be born yesterday
and scrawl heavy words across the page.
Like a kid that imitates adults
move heavy objects around.
But you wouldn't be right about it.
Rights and wrongs that you write
on stone tablets, will be a laughing stock
beyond that mountainous moment.
Blood that you imagined
is the color of a cough syrup
and we all know that.
You couldn't pretend to save anything.
Except your ignorance from ridicule.
And yes, a short-bio is necessary for us
to plug-in into your shoes and play along.
You should do it definitely
attach a few lines about yourself.
Let them be your emissaries
with whom we would trade our time
which is running out like never before.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Travel restrictions

Beware of the distance that you would go along
But extend compassion to the fellow traveler.
Conversation about the weather is dead.
But global warming still holds out.
The passing image of you is blurred anyway
Try as much you can to keep it that way.
Opinions without judgments are staple
Trying to disseminate wisdom is trouble.
You could be tortured by baby monsters
But swim you should like lobsters
against all this with a painted smile
as your ordeal is leaving you by the mile.
A big book, much like a hardened brick
Would do the necessary trick.
Literary fiction and its obscurity
are your best friends here for sanity.

Depending on your color and hesitation
Acquired politeness and gesticulation
Opinions would be out
placing you in the ladder.
In the next station tea would be offered.
And you are expected to politely refuse.
That would complete the image of you
and puts the world to a comfortable sleep.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Despite all my efforts
Sadness remains non-verbal.
I coax it to explain
how it feels
inhabiting different peoples.
It just babbles non-answers.
I take chances
Try and reason with it
Ask it to show me by signs
And permit me to read its mind.
It rejects all my pleas
with a haughty head.

Its unending misery
it refuses to share.
Instead, before leaving
spills coffee all over my table
Thumps really hard
and warns that it doesn't end
with these broken lines.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Last laugh

I have all the things building up
like little insect homes in the sockets.
A wasp of choice flutters
uncertainly around the formation.
Life, of course, like my shadow
wanders off oftener than me
into uneven terrain
tugging me along
with an invisible strength.
I rein it in only when
I am in the dark.
Brooding and evolving strategies
as if to win in this game.
I am out and snatch few wily wins
but you know, the last laugh of life.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Worldly matters

And the world for you
doesn't have any particular form.
No face that you can recount
and rant later on.
Twenty odd people and
That's your world.
And only anecdotal evidence
in bits and pieces, that you exist.

There isn't a let up from things
and each day a surprise springs.
And like an impossible promise
I am kept aside to dust and miss.
Peels of know-how of this world
dawn on me as the time is whirled.
The more I scamper and scrawl
the more my mind has to crawl.
Grope around for the switch
and get a shock without a twitch.
Of this world, there is a form in mind
to which almost always I am blind.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Let me write

Let me write all the poetry
my hand would allow me to.
My mind as it is
is never completely written.
Always leaves something for itself.
I could have written five more
lines here. But, no.
There is a strain to hold back
and let it be a raised pen
shouting out ambiguities.
In protest and helplessness.

To find a silent blind spot
is what I am always after.
I shoo away other thoughts
clustering like nuclei
in a just born universe.
And concentrate on a brink
of an idea and try to
reach you in mid-air.
Where I know you too are
Falling through all this.
This emptiness and noise
This compromise and choice.

In simple things I find the threads
to tie yourself up for a moment.
A spidery web around your thoughts
which you would notice while clearing up.
And before it ends. That's it.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Past is past

The meditative looking out
of the window has only
the absent sparrows chirping.
A cold wind of past cuts
across the barricades
built over the years.
Past is past you wonder
taking the sun in the balcony.
But it presents itself as present
in the garb of relevance.
You might be lured into
mending fences with it.
And that's a definitive trap.
An apparition we could tolerate
than a full fledged fleshling
breathing and living around us.
And luckily,
an audience with the past
to make peace
to be absolved for a part of you
is a rarity that is mostly denied.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Triumphing alone

Truth must've been written down
in an unbreakable code.
Our methods of attack
stand impish before that elusion.
At times it sheds weight
Becomes more acceptable
to be a dinner conversation.
But normally it is a product
of hard bargain and weird stickling.
It could change people
spring them into action
with all the worldly things.
But alone, it hardly triumphs.
Is there a gravity-like urgency for it?
At least in our imagination it does.
Falling through all the clutter
Missing many of us
It dawns only on Mahatmas.
And we pick up our lives
as if nothing existed.
A sort of triumph.

What it does

Living will do to us, what
amnesia does to an anecdote.
It'll leave us in a limbo
We would be left ourselves
Fending off the world
in our daily drama of survival.
For years to come and go by
being vulnerable wouldn't change.
Silence will age with us
to acceptance and in the end
living would kill us.
But as we burn our bodies
as this candle
we'd have lit the dark corners
of our perspective, this world.
We would have known a little more
about our childhood dreams.
A little deeper we would've traveled
into someone's heart.
We'd have proven to ourselves
the defining theorems of our lives.
And finally a luxury
to leave without a mark.
Without spoiling
the dream of eternal peace.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Reprimand

So, this is another poem about us?
Memories question me
with a toothless smile.
For so many times
What could you write about us?
They sneer.
Can't you just take a walk or something?
Instead of drawing up connections
between your past and our present?
You don't let us ferment to strength.
Always cautious, you have to step in
and sap the energy out of us.
Lay things straight and be a spoilsport.
The other day you pulled up a memory
of flying a kite for the first time?
Was that really necessary?
You tend to agree that nothing comes out
of such inane remembrances.
But still you bind yourself to them
like a ship to water.
And how foolish you are to poise
yesterday's joy against today's sadness.
Should you be informed again and again
that yesterday has only an antique value.
An invalid coin not fit for circulation.
The geometry and composition of today's things
are different and seems very clear
you are not ready yet.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


I know I haven't changed.
Life turns up heat
and I still take flight
away from it.
Renegade like a lone survivor.
An under current of silliness
and amateur approach
is a well retained cave painting.
There is a mask I wear
along with my clothes.
Fashionable to the current times.
Survival still is my primary goal.
People around
seem to have grown up.
Almost everyone is ready
to take on the vicissitudes.
And their masks seem much better.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Completely blank

We are walking
and our shadows
seem to do the talking.
Those dark forms
pass over the uneven ground
like my thoughts over actions.
A slight drizzle paints a silvery glow
around our silhouettes.
We are spotted by Time
in this passing moment
and dissolved into mist.
Nothing of us survives now.
I could tell you
a thousand other things.
Unverifiable rites that happened.
Forsaken now, those past moments
slip away like the universe.
Distances, when they actually were
could still be a measure of nearness.
Now there is a complete blank.

To be or not to be

A refugee you could be
in the silence of anonymity.
There is nothing wrong
you could tell yourself.
Almost like a personal myth
Go on and opiate your way
and cover some ground.
But look back you should.
There are rivers of fault lines.
Dark forests growing on their banks
and you, wandering like fireflies.
Searching for adequate darkness
where that spark of light you hold
might suddenly be relevant.
The purposelessness of the quest
would swell the coffers of your doubting.
That search needs a name
you might regret.
A home it can go to
in the clamor of wilderness.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Our curious case

We grow backwards in time.
Dream up fantasies as children
about the different paths we could take.
A restlessness to grow up
To be something. To be someone.
Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers, Pilots
Astronauts, Biologists, Travelers
Treasure hunters, Teachers, Farmers
Drivers and Gas station owners.
A world of pretend play in there.
And yet, nothing changes in years.
About us. About the urge to dream.
We are all something in that list
but our eyes are set on the distance.
All the way into the past
To the elements of childhood.
With a mnemonic telescope
we reach farther to our origins.
Past offers us such a leisure
in a continuous chase by future.

Suddenly we burst into
a conversation with ourselves.
We giggle at some memory
lingering in a spot
untouched by time.
Many places from the past
which never closed down.
Like our eyes set on the distance.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Success in love

It is hard to remember
a successful love story.
It slips into a routine very quickly.
A failure: Yes, we could remember that.
Could go on and on
Recollecting, refurbishing the tales.
They would be kept fresh
like it happened yesterday.
There's a price we pay for immortality.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Poetic anger

When breaking away is impossible
When there is nothing plausible
What will come to your mind?
What thoughts would be on the grind?

There is anger, like a mad rage
Opinions shed their plumage.
Sugar coated facts dissolve
And there's nothing eligible to absolve.
What actions will you prescribe to?
Will you wander into knowing
what you cannot do?
Will there be a glimpse of the unknown?

A poetic anger might take shape
A rhyme or two you would ape.
It may soothe you into submission
But will it offer freedom as its mission?

What eludes you into sweaty palms
does the same to all, under its charms.
There is not a single being
which hasn't gone through this grappling.
And of course there is no closure
Just the idleness to saunter.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The seed for extinction

Is always with us
like a shadow
waiting for light
to illuminate it to clarity.
It sprouts like a thousand suns
and slips into our fears
hanging on there and clinging like death
to the coat tails of our existence.
We perform on a grand
Shakespearean stage, this world.
And there are doubts, reasonable doubts
about our abilities as good actors.
We are each others' audience
in a sound proofed island theater
driving itself to a monotone in the cosmos.
A hard bargain, we expect at most
when the crow bar knocks our doors.
Could we slam them on the face of it
by proving how essential we are ?
And how our vaporization
into less than fundamental particles
would have serious consequences.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Poet's feats

A poet multiplies his worries
and they crawl about
like severed heads
searching for their bodies.
In a quandary all the while
he carries with him
something closer to nonsense.
He mixes unholy thoughts
in holier than thou places.
Asks questions obliquely
and sighs are the most common replies.
Poetry for him is a side job.
Never has his work quenched
the pangs of hunger.
Almost a callous attitude he displays
about all the goings on.
And carries on the work
as if nobody is looking.
There are audience sometimes
in really uncomfortable seats
to watch all his horrible feats.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Love in hind sight

Yes, it must be love.
That uneasy proposition I felt
years ago in college.
Those moments of locking myself
away from others
and waiting for something
to take form and knock.
I drew myself into solitude.
and the distance, punishingly
brewed the feelings to utter strength.
That, all that was love,
whether true one or not
dawned an eon too late on me.
I am now up.
Up against the wall of life.
Surviving its travesties
and absolving myself
of the cowardice I once sported.
Not that I have grown
any farther away
towards courage and initiative.
But I now leave in me
a special place for love.
That void, which once seemed
uneasy without a supportive know-how.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Daughters, sent away

And there are no cries
beyond the usual tone
on the call with her mother.
Occasionally, there are tears
and vain attempts
to chip away sadness
into an invisible form.

Years, they harden.
In love and in hate.
They give way to children.
Growing symbols of stifled freedoms.
They are loved and cared for
as an escape from the routine
and in a hope for change.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Materialist

To pay for the trouble he was
in his previous life
he emerges from the recycle bin of death.
He walks time and again
taking all possible forms.
At least once in the merry-go-round
he would have eaten his own kind.
Rebirth as un-evolved creatures
doesn't teach him to repent
for the wrongs he has done.
Like a tragedy, he fails everyone
and traverses wantonly in the survival chart.

Those others-yes,
there are always others-
who escaped the throw into the bin
lie low like un-picked litter.
No fun for them.
Never mind.
Their's is a skewed trajectory all their lives.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Another poem about life

Life is a perennial myth
that filters through time
and arrives at our doorstep
with an early morning thud
of a thick newspaper.
The scientific of the minds
would pause
might even take a long pause
and wonder about it.
It is a chain of random events
A stack of delicate dominoes.
Everyone agrees.
But what is close to you and
what has formed you
has already solidified.
Nothing random about it.
It has a name, a belonging now.
Pose a question: What is life?
And there will be answers flying
like frisbees in a mad playground.
The popular ones challenging
everything else and the stronger ones
trying to outdo at least once.
What is its purpose?
This question alone makes up
some of our best and worst moments.
It is told and retold
Assured and reassured
Planned water tight.
But after all this
we would ask ourselves what it is.
And there is silence
with a clock ticking away.
It does keep time
but evades our questions.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Fallen apart

With thick cement holding promise
stones were placed half a century ago
One over the other to make it a home.
Given in now to the onslaught of time
the wooden beams are bent without duress
and creak gently in the ensuing wind.
Don't stand there, I am warned.
They can just jump on to you for support.
As it seems, fate has played a clenched fist
destroying another childish construction on its shore.
One after another, the habitants have left home
preserving a continuity about what is human.
Head of the house, dead long ago.
Daughters, married off to the distance
Warring sons, separated.
Moving on and moving apart.
And the mother is left behind.
Living on little and living little
amidst a violent time
that is weeding out
the remnants of her home.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A regular person

Never been that regular a person.
All the things people say, they enjoy
are lost on me, day after day.
The morning freshness and the
dew drops under first sunlight
never catch up with my late rise.
In both rain and sun
I only run for the nearest shelter.
Not that I disallow little drops
and pencil rays directed at me.
I am largely private to this public display.
Admiration comes only later though.
Living for the moment scares me.
Every thought in me spirals across
to catch up with its ancestors.
I am mostly made of worries.
A modern man, you would agree.
My past and future are in a bitter battle.
And I seek refuge from time to time.
The words that I describe myself with
are so loosely arranged like empty vessels
with round bases in the kitchen racks.
A slight wind could rattle them into noise.

A trapped mouse

A mouse, like the muse
is trapped on stage.
Poetry is read to an audience
largely assembled for Nirvana.
The sweat and toil of the poet
go unnoticed in the evening banter.
The room is filled with
open minds and closed definitions.
No one is driving a point hard.
But even a slight pressure of doubt
could prick the balloons into a burst.
Questions raised, fall on deaf ears
and there is a point made
about the point of view.
The poet's eyes scurry
end to end, across the room.
The mouse moves from gap to gap
entertaining a discerning eye and the muse
sits like a bride, awaiting judgment.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The stranger in you

Whatever you do
There is a stranger in you
Surprise, always kept at bay
Blames you for all this delay.
Push a limit here
Draw your self a little near
There are looking glasses all over
Waiting for you to cross-over.
A form of you, not that truthful
is lurking in the sunny meadows.
A voice from the heart, all rueful
is hiding in a zebra of shadows.
Music from a blaring trumpet of winning
muffles the experience of losing.
All that was well
shoved under the carpet
has dark circles under its eyes
of sleepless inquiries.
To grab a piece of peace
Meet the stranger in you.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Silly machinations

You challenged the old hand of time
With silly machinations of eternity
An age, drunk on youth
on a night out of its mind.
All has come back.
Primmed up for the carnival.
The pain of upkeep of the promises made.
Scars of yesterday's crossing of hearts.
Have a look, will you?
What was loved and hated is on a rewind
In a soulful ripple on the gaping mind
A quiet Himalayan lake.
Never frozen.
Never at rest.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Hyena

Fear knows no faces
It would contort everything
into something smoking in the dark.
The simmering end of the cigarette
appears like a sticky Firebug
around peoples' noses.
With their best weapons in hand
they wait for what is called an eternity
for the strange dog to take the turn
off the temple street.
Mothers with their children
run down the stairs
and stay locked for long.
The animal is known to have lifted children
from the surrounding villages.
We whisper stories about
how grandmothers knew this all along.
We can hear the flickering
of the kerosene lamp made out of
a cough syrup bottle.
There is calm that night.
The cattle, half a foot away
fall asleep standing.
We too yawn a countless times
and give up hope on catching the animal.
And finally sleep visits us.
The next day, the village is full of stories
that the animal had been caught.
Killed with some plough blade and buried
in a safe direction from the village.
Each of the older kids claim that
his dad or uncle was involved in this heroism.


Much life has run out among them now
Married off young, they lay scattered
like the pack of birds after a sling shot.
They meet during the numerous ceremonies
Births, marriages and deaths.
Remembering to hold high their father's name
their freedom knew only the walls of the house.
The vast fields they worked in
contained them in binds.
Once in a while, a wandering salesman
would be asked a question or two
on the well-being of each other.
Their lives went on with children
The day to day worries
Rains, crop and the seasons of life.
Unlike in a cruel and fast paced world
their names did not appear in obituaries yet.
Troubles they had plenty, but
nothing we know of them.
With their wings cut-off
they didn't reach any
But only gasped for breath
when all of them met.

The dark corridor

Like the midnight rain
and a sweet, slipping dream
Past snuggles up to me
and finishes the self-portrait I intended
as an answer to all my questions.
It grounds me
Roots me into a soil
Arrests my attention from drifting
in a continuum of confusion.
It typecasts me into
what I could have been
without the "but for..." of chance .
It is filled with experiences of
my countable journeys
into the rickety and cobwebbed cage
of memories- The village home.
Its thick main doors open
creakingly into a dark corridor.
So dark, we are looking down
the throat of a gigantic creature.
I grope for the columns
that would guide me to the room-
Cleaned, the gunny bags removed
and few essentials kept for
us visiting from the city.
Half the leaves of the family tree
have turned their backs on each other.
I am informed, as I dig into a heap of rice.
The route for a later stroll
is subtly sketched for my benefit.
I am told the houses that I could avoid.
The backyard of the house has
old diesel pump sets strewn across.
Standing as fossilized monuments
of an ancient effort.
Often, their might is dragged into conversation
about the escape I have in the city
which suavely offers, none of such delusions.

Devil's own

Large eyes
That is what I would describe her as.
Much white in them
they look like the albumin of an egg.
They pop out even more
when she has the seizures
in the name of the Devil and the Divine.
Shaken, we retreat to a corner
Our knees wobble involuntarily
We run away as if escaping
a death in the house.
The throes still pulsing our bodies.
The elders try to calm her down
Swearing at her, pleading her
Even trying to inflict bodily shame
to get her back to senses.
Nothing works.
Neighbors stream out steadily
to watch what's going on.
They chitchat how bad karma
or other such insolence on her part
pushed her into this state.
Her husband has a mortal fear
for her and a sense of shame
of being watched and discussed.
His love and affection
seem to hang in a limbo
between an overpowered mind
and a disconnected body.
Eventually, she calms down
like a tranquilized animal
People go around her, spit thrice
so that the Devil never comes back.


The old widow grinding betel
under her half-digested teeth
sits in the verandah of the house.
She calls me and asks who I am
Not my name,
Whose son
Whose grandson I am
Calculating in her mind
How much land?
and looking at me, thoroughly
through her cataractous eyes.
Her infirmity makes her look harmless.
Contrary to the dreary stories
I hear about her heydays.
Like the second wife of a lazing Nawab
she had traded with axe
several lives, that were in line to the throne.
Others' children were only breathing troubles
silenced later with oily hands
in a motherly massage.
She wouldn't move an inch out of the house
but heads were cut out
and the blood stains buried in the darkness
refusing to be on any one's hands.

The Murder

Unlike in cities, a conflict there
is not within the walls.
It has the engines of an epidemic.
Who took whose eye
Who gave the money
Who lit the match
Everything is marked
with the axe of their anger.
The stains of life and death
are rustically stubborn
despite all the new scrolls on the TV.
The anger they say
stays in the marrow, generating
new cells seeking revenge.
The conspirator grows old, spends
an year or two in the jail
and then, almost forgives himself.
He stays on the ground
but nothing happens.
As if he had taken a life in vacuum.
There is not even a sign
of distancing stares.
But one day
when he is coming home
by the last bus.
A night halt in the outskirts.
He is chased into the fields.

A long absence

It rains after much wait
thumping the wooden beam ceiling
like the persistent cough of a grandfather.
Children wake up crying
soon cradled by the eldest.
With the torches, men go up
and check for any loose mud.
The funnels in the roof-
Sun streams through them during the day -
are now covered with the broken pot shreds.
A thick opaque curtain of rain
blocks the silhouettes of people
rushing for a shelter.
Not even a leaf moves in the downpour.
The Banyan tree stands in a trance
even as its penance is answered.
There is a thud heard
from the old temple, where
another beam slips down
to drench the inner sanctum.
We huddle near the window
for the front seat view of the spectacle.
Rain reaches out to us
in an occasional spurt
and makes up for its long absence.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Lasting stories

The fireflies at the end of the tunnel
signal that all is well.
Shoes are put on
There is a careful gait along the wall
groping for the etched directions.
Whispers, whispers.
Hot air, someone's breath.
Warmer now as it rushes past.
A low grumble breaks out in the dark.
Solitude blotches out all light.
A huddled silence surrounds.
There is a quickening pace.
Another crevice holds the foot.
A meek presence and vast absence
outweigh as commiseration.
Rocks bruise the skin.
Not too much to be lasting stories.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Short Sigh

About the times that have gone by
I always write with a short sigh.
I bring out the color and kitsch
of the opportunities missed for zilch.
Entitled to all the cribs of the world
I gather excuses only to be hurled.
An innocent by-stander one might be
But all the havoc he would see
As a tall tree misses some winds
and falls outright desperate for wins.
Though the great fall has no meaning
there's always a philosophical leaning.
Why things happen is a passé
Why won't they happen is an impasse.
Now, I believe, one would understand
and feel the loss of my magic wand.
Nothing works, I know.
But can't sit idle in the show.
There is something collect I must
Like an ant I will roll in the dust
Till I find the boulders to build the hill
and write about my failures still.