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.

The Mad Woman

with her dark black face

in the night

her ragged hair

and her bags

was deep in conversation

with herself

in the stench and the grime

of the platform

at VT station

when she caught me

looking at her

her face contorted

she shouted out an unearthly sound

and my heart froze

until she went back to her argument

slap slap she started beating the walls

with her slipper

slap slap slap slap

the platform echoed

till my train arrived

and hurtled me home.

 

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

The Wild Mind

keeps rolling

through the world

of white buildings

and all that variety

which the moon

now will soon shine on

how beautiful

how calm

and how sad

all this is

and last night the flat above mine

got flooded

I was collecting water

in three buckets

and swabbing the floor

from the leakage

and then there is all this delight

and anxiety in the afternoon sun

the colour of burnished gold

the colour of memory

the colour of poetry

the colour of song

the colour of sadness

the colour of death

while the sky paints itself

into such a stillness

I awaken into such quiet bliss

I have never felt before

here you go partner

for all that

the train seems to say

awakening me aloud

with its horn

once again

and the small brown sparrows chirp

sweet whistles of melody

a black crow cancels out

cawing in an arc

I sigh and sigh

until a recurring image of the sea

comes by

and somehow tempts me

to try

a breakfast of eggs and bread

to clear the confusion in my head

go on go on

the waves seem to say

it’s a nice way

to begin your day.

 

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

Dreams, Diaries of Loss

That is what they are

always the remembering

the thinking in space

but here you probably have something

I mean the day’s done dead and all that

still, the moon comes to weep on your shoulder

you know this gives comfort

this remembering

picking up your umbrella ready to leave in the rain

you know these tears you cannot weep are not yours

drink a glass of water

pick up your umbrella and go into the rain

the road the ride everything you take with you in the backseat of the autorickshaw

going into the night that melts like ink in these streets

in your mind

is the way things work

this giving away that you know you live for

the gathering the going.

 

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

If You Are So Buoyant

you’re not going to write a good poem

I tell myself

let’s see

I answer

typing with two fingers

you always do that

I tell myself

and I see the sun

above the ocean

in my mind

the orange brightness burning

like no other colour

the water so beautiful

in small sweet curves of transparency

my heart grows joyous

like the moon shining

in the dark

and I feel so happy

are you not like the deer then

I ask myself

silently watching

the world

and I wait and listen

while the sparrows chirp

outside my window

and a train goes gliding by

so silently

like a ghost skating

in the morning air

and I type with two fingers.

 

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

Lovely

time I was having

when my neighbour called

to complain about the other neighbour

and messed up my mind

now here I sit staring

unaligned

and I feel like some skin-covered flying saucer

at a tilt

and there is darkness all around me

and one lonesome blue planet

that is all.

 

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

Last Evening

I had dinner early

and hit the bed

I couldn’t sleep

I was feeling too bored

so I got up and

went to Juhu Beach

it was wonderful

the sun was still burning yellow

in the sky

the waves were silver

the sand was golden

and it wasn’t crowded

I walked along

and spotting

some stairs

leading to a building

went and sat

down there

it was beautiful

soon I was joined

by two northeastern children

a tiny sister and brother pair

the sister older

threatened to beat me first

then quickly became my friend

and chanting nonsense rhyme

jumped down the stairs

one by one

I leaned my back

against the wall

the poet in me delighted

the loneliness in me unlocked

and looked at the sea

my heart beginning to warm

and then I found myself laughing

when I was shortly joined by

a shaggy brown stray dog

who came looking

rather purposefully

for something

all in a pant

and finding me instead

quickly slithered away.

 

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

Now It’s Like This

I look at my face

in the mirror

and it’s a waste

what is the world like

just sunlight and green

and grey and blue

and white

and me

how I feel

so many buildings

I tell you

just so many

what a knot

O by the way

when they fall backwards

what a tumble

they make

how you go

through air

straight outside

and then once again

inside this jumble

see my hands

my fingers

how the index

and middle one

tremble

see this rain

in the morning

this silence this day

my ashtray

my shoes and my socks

inside them

my black shorts

hanging from a hook

so lifeless

the chugging train outside

blows the sky apart

I see the light blue struck with silver

shimmering like water flowing

and then I find myself in this boat

beginning to float

travelling to new places

that play

with the barriers of my mind

untying anything

in a bind

of those things

I now sing

ding a ling a ling.

In The Morning

I lie down in bed

and look out at the sky

a crow caws

I find it so musical

it opens up the universe

for me

turning my heart to memory

to water

to waves

and the world throbs

to this beat

and it is so relaxing

and delightful

I write with glee

like a skater

like a fisherman

and see how all this

all this slowly disappears

and memory returns with trees

in the evening

in the rain

and now I know there is no rest

I have to be

a bird cooing

and I am stuck

so I wait

and railway platforms

bus stops

and several other places

come to mind

and I look at the crowd

I look at myself

and find it has all become

a bit too much

and I have nothing

really to say

and stare

in this air

of free confusion

blowing

and just then the rocking trains

and their loud horns

echoing down the sky

bring me back to my room

and I find myself

still writing

and there are more crows

in the sky

now cawing

and then a cock crows

from the chawls here in Mograpada

a slow long call

in the clear cool air outside

it is like an avian symphony

in the sky

I listen

to the quietness

it makes

inside my heart

I decide to put aside my art

I stop writing

and go out into the day.

 

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