This Fall Into The Gutter

This endless swaying of the green treetops

The beginning of the world

The tie and the bridge and the tongue burning

The hare and tortoise race

Madness

Howling men and screeching spitting women

Children hanging from trees upside down grunting like stray dogs

I swallow the oceans with all its creatures and life

I switch on all the streetlights and then I switch them off

I hound all the bars all the shops selling skulls and bones and flesh

I eat 200 cats and 400 rats and 600 bats

I eat every strand of my hair running wild

Through the shops closing shutter

And now you can imagine my fall into the gutter.

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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).

It Is Too Silly

of these buildings

to come visiting

across the garden

when childhood

and youth

have gone

when middle age

has taken residence

in my body

giving me hypertension

now it’s that rocket

in the middle

of that garden

that knocks

on my mind

reminding me

of my boy glimpse

into the atmosphere

the world beyond

the sky

I could not see

well it’s that same world

where I’d like to be

O woe is me

I’m an old monkey

hanging from a tree.

My Mind Has Bitten

on a big thought

with that in its mouth

it has slumped

heavy

in a corner

the thought talks its own talk

words grow out of it

building

collapsing

my mind desperately tries to reach someplace

divided in itself

disappearing

under its own weight.

 

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

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).

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).

The Mist Takes Away

the palm trees’ worries.

They stand there dreaming.

 

You think of yourself

coming to an end,

slowly.

 

Then, the wet red roof tiles

of the houses below

breathe awake

stirring the bluewhite

in the sky

like water.

 

You see all this.

The cream buildings

bathed by the sun

smiling in glee

and the grey gloomy ones,

 

the old,

standing impassively,

and that leaves you

looking on quietly

with nothing

nothing at all

to say

to the day

waking outside

your window today.

 

 

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

Now The Dimness

has become a black stone

this is dawn

this mountain

behind which the sun rises

come steam in the desert city

of skulls and ships

see how the heat

scorches life

to rust

in this harbour

these white pigeons

how they sit at the parapets

and coo

what do they say

the barking dogs

the noise of the vehicles

have burnt my mind

to cinders

and the crows the sparrows

what are they saying

I hear the storm

rising in the red earth

and watch how the dust whirls

and at night now

the cacophony rises

the demons come out

dancing with wild abandon

their red tongues out

thirsting for rain.

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).