Monday, June 29, 2015

I don't know

I have said it a million times, pleading
my ignorance on almost everything. 
I have said it a million times 
with a shrug of my shoulders to
shirk off any responsibilities. 
But the one that I have in mind now
is a different kind of "I don't know". 
This one flies on mighty wings 
of knowledge and curiosity and
is a lot harder to say than all the others.
The masters of art and science are 
as always ahead in saying this one 
and urge me to repeat after them. 
I oblige, lean in on the cosmic static
to see mystery written into everything. 
I unproddingly say "I don't know"
and collect the necessary firewood
that'll keep me going, as I practice the phrase. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

She said Oh

She said "Oh"
and later explained that
it is that feeling between Yes and No.
And I should stand still like a statue
in a mythology and she will turn up
by the end of the story and touch me 
with a golden whip and spring me to life.

I should hold on, she said, to the pedestal that 
I am screwed to. Unable to move or improve. 
Or even swat a fly that is wrecking the nerves. 
The hands stay where they are, one scratching 
the head and the other supporting a drooping chin.

"Oh!", she said, "you should stand till the end."
It is in the statute of the unfinished statues. 
They still have in them some rock left 
to be chiselled and hardened 
by the forces of nature.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Are you afraid of the dark?

Anything goes. 
Nothing lasts for ever.
The naked face, bloodline, 
rage of angels and this
morning, noon and night. 
The sky is falling 
and the stars shine down. 
Tell me your dreams, 
the best laid plans. 
On the other side of midnight, 
a stranger in the mirror. 
If tomorrow comes,
the master of the game. 
But the windmills of the Gods 
blow away the sands of Time. 
Left are the memories of midnight 
and the other side of me. 

(The words in this poem are all the wonderful titles of novels and films by Sidney Sheldon)

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Good qualities

The way the room reacts when he walks in.
The way she gracefully handles a situation.
The way they have a huge capacity to bear 
so much of stupidity. The list goes on of
the good qualities in the people around. 
I try to apply the old parental maxim: 
don't be foolish, learn from others, and 
I am soon the Frankenstein's monster walking
around, front loaded with good qualities. 
But I often get a suggestion now, 
from friends and well wishers: Be yourself. 
I have a suspicion, they are only telling me 
not to be this monster of unbearable agreeability. 
They are secretly praying for me 
to know my imperfections. 

Mistakes maketh a man, the old saying goes
and the whole world is now chorusing it to me. 
The foolishness must not be set aside. 
It is to be worn as a symbol of existence. 
Even I tend to support the right to be foolish 
and maintain that it is the right from which 
spoke out all other rights. And it is 
the only right over which we often hover 
for comfort and meaning. 

Friday, June 12, 2015

How easy it is

How easy it is to write about hunger 
when the stomach is full and it is 
one of those pleasant days. 
This lack of direction as it is,
is much better than the days when
one is stuck like a compass needle
in the direction of the basics. The days 
when the clock strikes three times 
dividing it into meals and a cold night. 
When hunger curls the body 
into a comma of rejection but a 
ruthless needle ticks and keeps time. 
When the rain soaks one to the bone
and the wind only delivers 
the news of a coming storm. 

How easy it is, on a full stomach 

to flick the inside remote and get to
the channels of happiness, sadness 
love, hate, attention and gossip. 
So much better display than 
the hunger, dehydration and hallucination
and utter destitution under the stars 
which appear unreal with the night.
How tucked in it should feel to make room
for a broken heart and the return of love.
To touch each other and feel a twinge
of passion on a night that is all ready. 

And how marginal the rest of the world feels
with a book in hand and with affordable glasses on. 
Peering down on lines that talk of an imaginary land
more exquisite than this celebratory moment
that is full of strength for further hunger. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Pronouning you

I try to write down names into a poem
and realize it does not work that way.
Nouns in particular seem to die and decay.
But pronouns sail well against the tide. 
There is always, a me writing and you reading 
even when only a fragment of it survives. 

And it is always a fragment that survives
not just in archaeology but in everyday. 
The salience of the past breaks up into
tiny tales before scurrying into oblivion. 
The body turns itself anew even without
our knowledge and every morning before the
mirror, only a fragment of yesterday survives
in our reflection and retrospection. 

And due to all this there is now an urgency 
with which I complete what I started and 
write what I want you to read.
Let you know that I think about you
before every sentence takes its place
and before it even makes any sense.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Clasped pair of hands

They remained there for hours
while I was sipping coffee
and the evening slowly fell back
into the recliner of a summer night. 
Chairs were drawn and redrawn.
Orders hurried their way on wheels
and the bills were late but unforgettable.
They remained there 
while the electric hum of the night 
mixed with the mosquito buzz 
and the cowards rushed for cover. 

I too was there noting down
in the margins of the moment
a little blueprint for a poem, 
and later sailing it onto 
the sea of the unfinished 
hoping it would come back 
with more jest than before. 

They remained there 
even in the dead of the night. 
Even after a poem closed its shutters
and the dream patrol began. 
Her diamond ring sparkling 
and his finger exploring 
the map of her palms. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Put away

Indecisions that are put away, turn 
into decisions that were to happen.
"That way and that way alone",
Captain Hindsight speaks out loud. 
So loud that the very reason for 
summoning him to the scene is 
forgotten forever. 
Yet some indecisions become 
a constant pebble in the shoe. 
A thorn that is unreachable to 
the pluck of the victim. 
They turn an ordinary dull day
into a battle to get through. 
And each page of an event 
that we turn feels like
a heavy book to be checked out 
from a distant library, whose 
working hours are beyond us.

Monday, June 1, 2015

A new page

Each hour that one is alive is also
the death hour, realized or not. 
The heart is not getting any lighter.
The brain evidently is not growing. 
Both are cleared once in a while 
but that's only turning a new page.
Not getting up to be a new book. 
And the gene pool bubbles only
for some time, waiting uncaringly
to lend a few spoonfuls of cells. 
One is a mere coin flipping in the 
dark pocket of cosmos and our 
lives are perched on family trees
swaying in the breeze that is
ever so pleasant and untelling.