I Went

down into the streets

to get a haircut

everywhere people

rushed by

motorbikes cars rickshaws

they went by the salon

behind glass I saw

pretty women

on their way to work

and when I had had

my haircut

my very short haircut

the wind ran round my head

I lifted up

into the blue skies

from my high chair

I breathed white clouds

people fled from my head

some shying to look at me

some happily amused

while one or two were clearly

angry and threatening

I went home and took

a bath

I shampooed my hair

till it stood like a forest cool calm

silent

and then the world settled

in my head

and the day curled up to me

as I read

a book in bed.

 

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

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The World Is As Fresh

as a green leaf

the air is a kiss

the buildings are blocks

of love smiling in the morning

the train is so much fun

under the sun

my heart beats

and the Arabian Sea

flows in all its power

then the houses of the poor

and the trees

and the ghosts say hello

to you in Bombay

and you are no more

the person you were

bicycle bells taxi horns

the endless streets

and the voices of people

you become

a wraith haunted

along with the prisoners

of love the captive living

you know their pain now

you know what it is to be alive.

Trying To Take

the greyness

out of the water

till it is colourless

at the end of land

where it merges with the sky that is grey

 

trying to take the greyness out of the sky

I travel in

a city of grey

waiting

like a photograph

that is probably not there.

 

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

The Piercing Arrow Of Unhappiness

My mind is a lost mountain

I have no clue of its colour

my body I don’t know

am I a crocodile

what is my language

what do I croak

and why are

the crows cawing

did this green morning

take my life

why are the buildings

so gloomy so grey

they must be sad

like me

they must be mad

like me

O what a sight

such an unhappy light

there is no more sky

it is dead it went to sleep

long ago the children

sat in the old

and crumbling staircase quiet

how the heart stings

in the silence

I search for myself

hello lost I cry O world no more.

Trees

are so beautiful to watch

anytime of day

anywhere

especially from

a local train in Bombay

they look like grand carefree beings

benign beautiful godlike

in the afternoon their leaves shimmer

in the golden sun

and when they sway in the breeze

all those different leaves

various greens

browns

in all shapes and sizes begin to swim

and you forget yourself

and are refreshed

and at night

in the darkness

they hang against

the deep blue sky

sleeping

and when the wind blows

they wake and shimmer again

like the stars

go home go home traveller

they sing with the moon

go home and sleep

sweet dreams.

 

The above poem is from my third collection The Branches (2015).

When We Meet

in the streets

where hollow buildings

aflame ask

what do we do now

what do we say

 

outside the city

where land meets sea

birds are tearing the sky

to pieces

and all the alphabets

have fallen on the ground

 

lines lead to squares and circles here

in the deep division

of the multiplying mad world

 

round and round

the clusters of burning lights

flowing into the darkness.

 

 

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

How The Heart Cries

for human suffering

it is so bad

the misfortunes

I feel eyes

watching me

all the time

my mind

is disturbed

but there is

only myself and my pain

and the suffering

is such I feel

I wish I could be a bird

but the horrors

become a mountain

they flay me

as I stand fighting

I will die

when I will

I shout

and then

I hear the birds tweet wildly

and Bombay explodes in rain

the dark city dances like a ghost

I go quiet and watch

the unhappiness begin to wash away

until my body and mind are silent as a tomb

and I feel the cosy comfort of the womb

O cradle of civilization rock me now rock me now in this rain

and thank you thank you so much for stealing away my pain.

First Rain

of 2014

June 4

I have cleaned

my house

and sit on my bed

that has freshly changed

bedsheet

and myself

bathed

in my T-shirt

looking at the world outside

in the rain

how the light has changed

so early in the morning

to something so different

I sit here searching

what is it

I wonder in my heart

and it is so beautiful

this deep valley opens up

that goes on and on

and a cock crows

and I listen to the ensuing silence

I look at the houses

yellow green blue white

but it’s mostly the smell

and the coolness

and again the cock crows

and there I go

through the streets

through the swishing vehicles

their lights blazing

reds oranges golds

and all those fluorescent streetlights

like dreams

passing by the buildings

the gardens

of forgotten days

when I would walk in my windcheater

amidst the fallen branches

on the footpath

the crushed yellow laburnum floating

in puddles

I would look up as always

at the balconies

and sometimes find someone

picking clothes from a line

how sweet that used to be

but often it was the trees

and the dripping raindrops

dazed in green

that quickly carried me away

to those spots of skylight

where I wandered on

and walked till I reached the moon.

 

The above poem is from my third book The Branches (2015).

In The Morning

there is birdcall

in the sky

they are celebrating

with chirp and song

and whistle

the paradise of summer

in the mist

beautiful white buildings stand

like they were eternal

in the trees gulmohur bloom

bright red

and yellow laburnum flowers

adorn the streets

and now the sun

slowly rises through the blue

in swathes of gold

but only I know

how it feels

sitting here

at my window

only I know

my burning life

turning to ash

on my tongue.

The Focus Is On A Point

Donkey Kong

Octopus

the day is longer than the verandah

summer is hot

and I know

what it is to be sad

life I cannot fathom yet

but I see the buildings and the trees

I see the roads and the cars

and the faces of the people and I am happy

only now this summer I remember all this

sitting in my room

the laburnum outside is a yellow carpet on the trees

there is so much shit in the world

chemical warfare in Syria Kashmir is burning

an iron griddle falls on a little girl’s head in Bombay

a piece of her skull gets lodged in her brain

what horror I think lying down in bed

as the afternoon sun breathes like a dragon outside my window

and then the doors of my mind close

the words I read and write become water

I hold on to my life

I can barely recognise

to claim

this is not the person I am

this is not the world I know

I think

and this is what life is

I realise

as it slowly begins to get darker

and the birds start playfully wheeling around in the sky

while I sit alone at my window watching.