Tall Stories

walking down the street

at 4 pm

buildings windows grills

are a must here

these are paintings that

the children have made

see where this one leads us to

a boat another set of children

see the stillness of the water

its involvement its curiosity

and the long darkening road

at evening its quietness

humming songs for all the light there is

that the children can see

the green iron railings ringing out

its mad drumming of joy

rising right into the arms of the stars

spread out in the sky

where mother moon sails through clouds

to make it to your home.

 

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

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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).

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.

Solutions

always belong to the world

of whirlpools

air

you have to get used to nothing there

all I do is stare

calm evenings on platforms

in those days they played

movies in the sky

wild laughter

rang all over the locality

it’s such a pity

I tell you

this morning today

trying to get my washing machine

to start

around the bathroom I lurk

with a sinking heart

and on this page I splatter

my mind

and hope that you will be kind

and as things go

remain my friend

instead of foe.

 

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

How

much fun there

was in the boating.

 

How the green lake

kept getting deeper

and deeper till you

saw the dark water

merging in your mind.

 

So much fun we had that day.

 

A boat got stuck and they

pulled it out.

 

The sunlight was

streaming trees

all around.

 

The blue sky running

with our voices

somewhere.

 

 

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

I Am A Pyramid

of flesh

with a head

and a white t-shirt

sitting cross-legged

on my bed

writing this

my small yellow room

is calm

with the AC on

my two grey cupboards

I look at

then my teapoy with my toiletries

and water

and next to me is this

old yellow chair

from my childhood

where my thoughts

begin to wander

leisurely like air…

and when

I come back

here again

from there

I find

the white screen

of the computer

is slowly

turning into sky

beckoning me to fly

so goodbye.

 

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

And Now The Mind

is here

just behind the ashtray

good morning day

for long I have wanted

to kiss you

feel your dew

on my lips

no more I think

the body has failed

the mind dissolved

now it’s just this endless wandering

like I’m doing now

right now

through this white desert

trying to find all these words

for company

for direction

like lamp-posts

or all day I will just be talking

to myself

not reaching anywhere

like this I can wander to a bus-stop

and even get into a bus

for a ride

and see where it takes me

now when the day just folds

itself over me like a blanket

becomes night

my body clock broken

my mind such a mix

of memory and time

my life bursts open

burns

becomes bare ashes

and then just

skeleton images I have in my mind

caricatures of myself mirrors

repetition

rhyme

a connection

ignition in time

and I feel liberated

only when I write

like riding my bicycle

as a child

through new lanes

those moments

of discovery

in the morning

finding those new buildings

lime-washed in the sun

those trees

what fun

and now it’s nice

once again

and it smells so refreshing

this early morning warmth

the coolness of this coconut water

and the silence

and the silence

so beautifully broken

by these pigeons

their bush of fluttering wings

rising in one sudden moment

my mind gets completely blown away

and then I ride through sky

the wind rushing

down the roads

the buildings speeding

the vehicles

in their silent seas

the palm trees

and their swaying leaves

whispering

come

come Dominic come.

 

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

Gandhi Market

Amidst evening and footpath stalls,

the toy-sellers have their wares out.

My mother will buy me a gift

for my birthday, any toy I want.

There are buildings and there

are lights and there are people.

The sky changes from blue to pink

all along the stretch of concrete.

God’s hand runs over it, I think.

God’s palm that is making the sky

change colour,

and on my own palm

I have an aeroplane rolling,

sparks of gold fly in its red windows.

 

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

Right Now

I would like to be

in that huge airy market.

I want to be there

under its high roof;

the fisherwomen cackling

with their customers

and big fish hung from iron hooks.

I want to hear the sound

of knife chops on

worn wood,

the floor wet and slippery,

and rivulets of blood flowing down the drains.

I want to see black plastic bags

exchanged for cash.

I want to be there,

I want to be back there right now

in Wadala market

and watch the cat walk towards me

with a fish-head in its jaws.

The World Is A Picture

torn

the internal pipe in my bathroom burst

and water poured out of the walls

it cost me 5000

then my washing machine went

and I let it go

I said I will live in this broken world

amidst these walls

these buildings these people

these skies all over

these railway tracks

these houses these trains

these millions shuttling past

the mental energy

the noise and the silence

and soon the stars come alive here over my building

and start to sing

and then the moon sails in

like a dream and I am entranced

at the sheer scale of the light shining

dazzling my mind a mountain of song

and this is her voice the world’s

her millions singing choruses of wild harmony

and all those roads those planes in the sky

I think

the weapons the wars

what about all that

did they all just disappear

I ask myself

the boredom the madness

the complete loss of comprehension

what about becoming the wall

becoming stone concrete brick

or just nothing at all

emptiness in the sun

and then finding no answer

soon through the nights of my childhood

I set sail once again rowing through memories

through trees of flailing rain

pouring now once again so loud

so deafening falling from this same sky

these strips of shining water

rushing down all over

these castles these lakes these forests these roads

these motorcycles these horses these bandits

these guns these soldiers these wars

see there is no more place to go no peace

I tell myself

all is here all the sheer sad songs of mother moon

the unborn the living

the billion voices the dead the dying

the crying

I tell myself

you’re stuck here

you’re lost

you’re crazy

and when people ask you

how you’re doing

you say cool

like a fool.

 

The above poem is from my third collection The Branches (2015). You can download The Branches for free here: http://www.lulu.com/shop/dominic-alapat/the-branches/ebook/product-22413518.html