Now This Emptiness

is an old greying building

in the rain

and I climb up

its old wooden staircase

only when I reach the top

the terrace

will I be able to fly away

then I will be a bird in the sky

a kite a star a moon

orbiting the earth

I will be a cow an alligator an elephant

I will be vast silences of snow

of places and things I don’t know

but I will fly

into the darkness

and into the light

till I am free

from being me.

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My Mind Is A Monologue

of memory

dialogue

imagery

right now

and when I cough

from smoking

it totally disappears

and then starts

all over again

pretty soon

and then there is sky

that comes from nowhere

random combinations

of vague images

that haunt

that get stuck

that float in and out

slowly creating silence

slowing creating colour

red and blue

earth and sea and sky

and in this complete silence

a boat rows in black shadow

how beautiful the earth is now

these hills in the darkness

the pine trees and their branches

rising like smoke into the sky

how the stars hang shining

and black langurs climb the mountains

enchanted with everything

and I soon feel

I am at the bottom of the sea

and there is no greater feeling

than this beautiful blue

caressing me

I see the stars come searching

for this warmth

how they undress

and go to sleep

on the seabed

and then I find

myself turning into a whale

I take to the ocean and I swim

in the magic sleep of darkness

my mind is water

and then I stop and look

and find my belts hanging from their hooks

and I look at my grey cupboard full of books

and I open my window

and take to the sky

and I fly and fly

disappearing from view

only to find myself again

lying in bed

looking at my hairy legs

at my stomach breathing

under my orange T-shirt

and I find I am unusually calm

very relaxed

my feet warm

making funny faces

at me

and I smile to myself

thinking this is definitely different

and I feel very good

and there are these wonderful sounds outside

an aeroplane in the sky

soft

soft snatches of vehicle beeps

and then a hawker

blows his horn

and I am gone

and the sparrows are chirping

the crow is cawing

and then the pigeons coo

I love you

and sunlight climbs the sky

like a wave

and now the whole world

is shining bright golden

this is what I seek

I feel the need to speak

though I also think I should give it a break

it’s only the beginning of the week

so thank you so much

it has been simply sublime

I’ll catch up with you some other time.

 

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

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).

Words

I imagine

what they

look like

in my mind

are they red black

is my mind

is it wet

is it like a mouth

words are all

I have

I tell myself

in my cave

I pave

my way out

with words

in the morning

I sing with the birds

so musical

in the sky

and with the clouds

I fly

to this

quiet place

where there

is no sound

and the world

looks so round

so beautiful

so delightful

so full

of enchantment

words make me forget

this life on rent.

 

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.

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).

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).