At This Time

as the morning unfolds

the white skies

and cool air

the cock crows

and Diwali firecrackers

burst in the background

the sun yesterday

burned me

blazing into my body

my head

I am still hot

and I await luck like a dog

the buildings are bones

that belong to others

I pee in the gardens

while the stars up above laugh

the moon howls through

its white and silver circle

a perfect expression

chilling my heart

you’ve got to live Dominic

I tell myself

you’ve got to fight

you’ve got to earn your life

on your four limbs

and breathe fresh air

I wag my tail

I trot

I run through

the streets of Bombay

like a wild hound

barking.

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It Has Been

raining inside my head

for over two days…

all my thoughts are drowning…

I sit in my living room

and stare outside the window…

a new building is under construction

dark grey it’s a large skull

with 25 eyes

I keep staring through the rain

through the dull wet morning…

then a man appears in one of the windows…

he too just stares and stares.

 

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

I Walked

and walked in

the noonday sun

till my clothes

turned into a river

I swam through

the heavy traffic

asking for directions

no one knew the place

I wanted to go

I walked back and reached

the railway station

with crowds swarming

all over the bus depot

the streets the restaurants

the tea-stalls

the street-food sellers’ carts

rickshaws puttered everywhere

then someone pointed out

the building

well I had passed that place

but never thought

it would be there

off the street

in a cluster of several others

I was looking for a seven-storey building

and not spotting one on both sides

of the road

had walked on and on…

finally entering its cool foyer

for a moment I thought

how nice it would be

if I could forget myself

forget my purpose here

if the lift with its sliding iron doors

forgetting its function too

could take me straight to the sky

where large white clouds were blowing

unthinking in every direction

unmindful of anything

that happened here.

 

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

Spark

was the word

the man said

imagine the picture

the vest

the god

the fluorescent tubelight

the green walls

the grey grey Wednesday

he said the spark

had caught

it had scored the music

he could see the other houses

sailing in the moon

their windows open burning with light

the red BEST buses

creating a roar

and the lines and lines of washing

singing in the wind

he said he could now hear the music

setting the stars on fire

making them jump and dance

in the municipal gardens

where the children made new friends

and cheered and played

he said it was the spark.

 

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

She

folded back

into herself

a page crumpled

and lost

in some bag or box

from this darkness

she mumbled

how much the world has changed…

how much the world has changed…

my old neighbour doddered into

my living room

she had got locked out of her house

I’ve been here before she said

yes many times I told her you’ve forgotten…

the drain in my house started gurgling then

like it was trying to say something

for long it thundered

then went quiet

when the old lady left

there were just the empty chairs and me…

and the afternoon fled into the night.

 

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

See The Dream

won’t go

see the sparrow

sitting on the grass

hopping onto the railings

and then over the grey road

to someone’s kitchen window.

What I’m trying to say is that

it is better to know this

when the heavy evening

having lost her happiness

comes to you

there quiet in your bed

it lays down in

the dark with you

then you know the meaning

of sorrow

the day changing its clothes

bored

and the stars racing in the sky

having outrun your sleep

see how this world drifts

unmoored

and when you wake in the

morning

the sparrow comes and

tells you this

then how easily

the whole thing

becomes a song

just like that

how the planes of joy

crisscross the sky

how the mind once again

comes home

and dances

delighted.

 

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

And From 6th Mile Road

there is that view of Tamil Nadu

its plains and farms and houses in mist

Claus and I are on his bike

we stop and I take pictures

here in Kerala high up in the hills

it is bright lush green

there is thick vegetation

jackfruit pepper and cardamom abound

leaves of various shapes and sizes

it is so beautiful

and at Shailendra ’s house up the dirt path

we sit and chat about this and that

his black dog licks me with its soft pink tongue

there is so much love I think

then we meet Adarsh from next door

who brings tea

and now we all sip tea and chat some more

then we all walk over to his place

Claus, I, Shailendra, his wife Seema, Adarsh

and now Adarsh’s black dog jumps all over me

there is so much love I think again

and the dog is so excited he is relentless

panting it climbs all over me

all the while its master orders it to get away

but the dog comes back again

and climbs all over me

travelling solo

so far away from Bombay

so high up this quiet hill

I stand still

and feel the love.

Three Dancers

in brightly coloured shoes

scratch their scruffy hair

till they shake off a train.

In the dark at Oval Maidan

Rajabai Tower’s clock

rings its half-hour chimes at 9.30.

Beautiful red BEST buses

their interiors lit fluorescent green

go skating round the ground.

Like fallen beads from a chain

sparse groups of men in twos and threes

sit under the stars hanging hard.

And the trees so free

swaying so mightily

turn into rockets

ready to fly.

 

The above poem is from my second book Reeling (2013).

All Over The Grey Buildings,

the yellow-orange ones,

all over gloom dreaming.

In the evening,

in the square,

pigeons are picking on feed

in the buzz of the market.

The lanes of descending darkness

are broken by the whir of cars

and people walking past the shops

with the lights coming on;

the merchandise, the customers,

the tailoring shop, the bookshop,

the grocery stores, the saree shops,

the restaurants, the tea-sellers,

the vegetable sellers, the fruit sellers and

the flower-sellers outside the temple

calling out their wares

have now brought the moon down to Matunga.

 

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

There Is A Block Of Sun

on one wing of my building

a long rectangle of light

from the bed in my mother’s room

where I lie reading

I see another block of sun

on the building opposite mine

and in the evening

across the choc-a-block

stretch of buildings

in Jogeshwari

all the way into the far distance

the light plays and plays

with the faded colours

of whites, orange-pinks, blue-greys

right till the very end

where nothing more can be seen

but the sky

hanging like a sleepy eye.

 

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