Mid-April Evening Heat

Sullen, I walk from room to room,

window to window,

bored after reading a book

I couldn’t get into all day.

 

My mind is scattered.

The maid is swabbing the floor

of the corridor,

the steamy staleness of my father’s room.

 

From the dining room window

I see the red roof tiles of the chawls in Mograpada;

they are hardly red anymore.

 

A flock of white pigeons have settled

on a roof near the mosque…

a man with a big stick appears out of nowhere

and they scatter away.

 

In the hall, the floor is wet.

It has been wiped clean.

Outside in the patch of lush green trees,

two beautiful white pigeons sit comfortably.

 

A small black bird flies across

a cable between two buildings.

A little farther away

seven or eight white pigeons have gathered

in a circle in the air.

 

Like the petals of a flower opening…

Like waves in the sky full of light…

And as I watch,

they are not there anymore.

 

 

The above poem is from my second book Circling the Sky (2013).

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The Flowers Left

in the sun

stretching

beyond

and beyond

 

the everyday

that comes

keeps coming

like ghosts

 

fail, fade

in these slow

thoughts

 

that come

and go

 

here where

the fragrance

is gone

 

six storeys

above the ground.

 

 

The above poem is from my first book Reeling (2012).

I Am Having A Conversation With Myself

in the hills

across from me here in Bison Valley

there are beautiful thick trees

over the side of the wide hill

they are there on the hill top too

how pretty the tree tops there look

in the morning mist

the different leaves slowly becoming visible

in the slow golden sun

so sweet so calm so carefree

and straight across from me here

high up in the hill

the trees are widely spaced

their light grey trunks rise silently and gracefully

into the tree tops

now catching the sun’s light

below there is grass

on the floor of the hill

I am reminded of the Georgics

I think of Virgil

in his robe walking the hills

I think of paradise

and now the birds sing

they whistle and coo

they sweetly tweet

and one bird that

just flew past me

left me a line

what a sweet little verse

tee taa tee tee too

thank you I say

to  life

as the sun now

burns bright golden

through the leaves of the trees

its rays blasting through

straight into my eyes

I close and then

feel the warmth.

There Is The Smell

of freshness in the morning

of moisture in the air…

the empty roads

the cars still in slumber

and the buildings with

no signs of life yet

I am reminded of laburnum flowers

on the ground

the smell I can taste on my tongue

and gardens fill up my mind

with dew

just then on the snaking stretch of grey road

from my window

a man appears

walking slowly

easy step by easy step

and the curled up street

slowly begins to wake.

 

The above poem is from my second book Circling the Sky (2013).

The Thought-Act

I was thinking of a forest

of dry brown leaves

rustling in the wind,

when it occurred to me

how the sun had decided

that it could have a different

radiance in my head.

I kept this with me, real or no,

I did not really bother to check.

Things that way were different

I thought to myself.

I drifted with the winds,

knowing them to be kin,

hoping they would carry me along;

Someday, I dreamt, someday

I would extend my hand

and crush a leaf.

 

The above poem is from my first book Reeling (2012).

This Is The Heart

that is a house

and there is grass around it

and an endless green wood

full of trees

in those trees

there are birds

that are chirping

and the blue sky

high up above that

has light glowing

here when a car passes

on the grey road

a whole new world opens up

and everywhere I see

all across the universe

there are children

skating from tree to tree

from the terrace of a white building

across pink domes floating

in the skies

pigeons enraptured cooing

cool winds blow

now lights are beginning

to come on in the houses

that look like mouses

and I live

on this road

it is evening

under these streetlights

and elsewhere in the city

the traffic is moving

these birds here

flying in the sky

it’s them

I think it’s just too much to bear

this beauty this sorrow

how do you feel about tomorrow

and then it happens

my mind goes

now there’s all kinds of shows

the whole sky can collapse

with its stars

and the darkness

without a shadow of doubt

is some creature with life

I become

and when I now

lift my eyes up

there is the moon

and Spiderman racing along the roofs

in all the windows

are dancing forms of light

it is quite a sight

it turns me into a kite

but soon these winds start blowing

there’s lightning and there’s thunder

and no more time to stop and wonder

the sky now has really opened up

and the rain is pouring all around

there is such a sound

I’m stuck at the edge of this ledge

I cannot sleep

there is no place to leap

so finally my mind

with nowhere to go

closes like a curtain

knowing at last that nothing’s certain

and into itself folds like a flower

unlike a falling lover

I’ll die when I die

bye bye.

The Elephant Men

outside the bar

do not see the buildings

falling from the dark sky

in a row they stand whispering

while we walk

everywhere the darkness appears

and stands still

till it is drunk by our eyes

and the rickshaws speeding

slowing in pools of their own light

drive through these empty streets

back into the sky

where the night today

has no stars no moon

no light to show.

 

The above poem is from my second book Circling the Sky (2013).

An Afternoon In Daze

It is a piece of golden comfort

floating somewhere.

The buildings, three-storied,

old and lime-washed, are surrounded by trees.

Hulking guardian angels of the locality.

On Adenwalla Road outside,

taxis are parked around bends,

the drivers asleep on the boot.

Another road shimmers ahead,

dazzling like a river in the afternoon light.

My father and I are walking…

there is a sugarcane stall here,

the smell of beedi smoke…

How brightly this scene glows and glows!

The jingling of the crusher

still ringing in my ears.

 

The above poem is from my first book Reeling (2012).

I Was Walking

down the streets

bored with myself

the shops the buildings

in the evening light

looked even more bored

with themselves

my hands were chilled

with loneliness

my mind was lost

in isolation

then I saw the moon

tailing me

I turned down a road

and there it was

a few paces behind

and when I finally

entered a bar

and went up the stairs

it rolled over my shoulder

and died in my drink.

Left Blue

by brown-and-cream trains

red BEST buses

I travel in black-and-yellow autorickshaws

taxis

through the neon burning

green orange fluorescent

pink

and think how much the withered darkness holds…

how the broken stars’ sob stories

keep the golden sand

awake at night

and the sea sniffling…

 

The above poem is from my second book Circling the Sky (2013).