And The End

of the universe

is what I’m

thinking about

such is nature

and we are

part of it

one day there

won’t be anything

like death that takes life

lives that you love

so painful it must me

for my mother

in the hospital

I think

so weak she is now

asking for water

in this low voice

in the video my sister

sent me

and I cry

when I think

she will be no more

someone who gave

birth to me

someone who

bred me

someone who

loved me

will go

and she is in such agony

in such misery

wailing

I cannot bear it

and I think of the universe

its darkness its depths

that will take her

and I wipe the tear

from my eye

I am not ready to bid

her goodbye

but I’ll have no choice

I tell myself

with death

what can we do

and I think

of the black universe again

and see my mother

as a shining star.

Now After Days

I return

here

and there I was

at the heart

of life

death can be terrifying

to some

delirious

they cry

mother mother

I’m dying

I can’t make it

I’m going to fall

and the heart itself

is so unpredictable

like life

moving like mist

showing you

your journey home

water water water

you cry

O such pain

something happened to me

where are we

mother mother

and memory

is another killer

on the prowl

like a panther

it haunts your brain

returning again

and again

making your eyes wet.

The Sun Shines

so brightly on the mountains

and the birds are chirping

so happily

the nights are beautiful

black and deep

and the trees talk so softly

among themselves

you can’t hear them

and everything in the blue sky smiles

the big white clouds slowly moving

like magic

and the mountains are so green

so beautifully shaped and big

you can’t hear them either

though they talk

through their mass

to each other

and they are all signs of peace

they send their greetings

and then there is the mist

that moves across them

they too are saying something

which we can’t hear

but we know because their words

get imprinted in our minds somehow

and you can read them silently

as they make sounds of quietness

soothing in your head like still water

life is transient they say

take care

have a good time

be at peace

and always look at us

from life to death

from death to life

see how we flow with such ease

because we know that everything

is on lease

so good luck

with yourself

they say

and they keep moving

in that slow pace

across the mountain face.

Now Life Is Crawling

in the day

I watch the green mountains

the sunlight

and the world

becomes still

it does not move

and I find that

I am dead

and what is this Dominic

I ask myself

and the answer

is who?

and I realise

I am some kind

of puppet

that my body

and my mind

was temporary

and that was that

and before that

while I was alive

I saw how scary

death was

and I would have to

prepare myself

I realised

and that I should

make the most

of my time here

I told myself

and take the

burning flame

of life in my palms

and see how

precious it was

and then I fell

into the abyss

I screamed

but no sound came

from me

just the night falling

with myself

and then I remember

seeing the dark blue ocean

and screaming again

but again there was no sound

like earlier

and I was that close

to the water

when all went dark

and I disappeared

from this life

and became nothing

and realised finally

that we are neither

dead or alive

that we are truly above

all that and we can

live or die as we please

life is always on lease

we can take any form

we are all we are one and we are never done.

The Forest Is Alive

with the sound

of the cicadas

and the trees

stand still in

admiration

the mountains

are dazed

under the sun

the blue sky

floats free

in sheer delight

and big white clouds

smile

life is beautiful

like these multi-coloured birds

that flew past my house

this morning

brown and red

and white and big

and I feel light

as laughter

as a dog barks

and an autorickshaw

goes past the street

and the dog

continues to bark

and the electricity

which had gone

comes back

and I am then

reminded

of my illness

the claws

in my throat

and I think

about my death

and the leaves

of the clove tree

outside my house

are still

and the sound

the cicadas make

now seem like

a giant serpent

a wave that will

swallow me whole.

The Yellow Tree

the brown tree

and the green tree

one behind the other

look like a bouquet

a cone of beauty

the cicadas are now

like a wave

delighting us

as the sun shines

all over the forest

and the sight is so haunting

so many colours

so many trees

and the birds slowly begin

to chirp

the leaves of the clove tree

quiver in the breeze

and once again the cicadas

begin their wavelike chorus

it is like the surf of the sea

and then there is silence

for a long while that

you see the world

is washed in gold

and you become the heart

of that absence of sound

only light in which you are lost

so peacefully you can die

it doesn’t matter

and then the cicadas are at it again

though now they have changed their tune

they seem to be less musical

monotonous

as though

they were at work

on something

as though they were trying

to dig their way

through to some escape

like they were hurrying

to get there

and I thought about their tenacity

and at once they went silent

and then I realised what it was

all about

it was like life

you played it

because you loved it

and left it to live.

Absence

is death

when you are

not there

though the earth

continues to go

around the sun

and cattle continue

to graze

on the forest floor

and rain falls as always

and the seasons change

presence is life

wakefulness

and to be able to feel what others feel

like when Ruby the cat died yesterday

and before it died I could feel

its last breaths it was lying wrapped

in a bedsheet on a chair and my friend Claus

gave it some water and was very sad

and I could feel Claus’ sadness and I could feel

Ruby’s dying breath and the stillness when it died

and then the sadness all around I felt in my heart

and then Claus dug a hole in the property and two

hours later he wrapped Ruby in the bedsheet

and I could feel the stare of its open dead eye on me

and then it began to rain and I could feel Claus’ pain

and his wife Omana and I stood watching under my umbrella

as Claus put Ruby in the hole and shovelled mud over it

and now I could also feel what dead Ruby could not feel

I mean the earth covering it and then Claus planted a starfruit sapling

over the earth that Ruby was buried and shovelled

more mud over it and when we turned about to go back

into the house I could feel the eight years of Ruby’s life

leave us all and we knew we would never again hear its mewing call.

Life is Boredom

making many of us

wander aimlessly

in the world

but the black monkey

in the tree

climbing

to the highest branch

and sitting there

for hours without moving

is something

that makes you think

how does it do it

so still

meditating on the blue skies

and you know

that in a way

they are superior creatures

capable of contemplation

and the cat

you find

is also a superior creature

not a wasted move

how it lies lolling

on the warm floor

of the terrace

relaxing

how it can

immediately go to sleep

as you lie awake

at night

you think these things

aware of your mortality

and the cat’s and the monkey’s

and finally the world’s own death

as you stare into the darkness.

Now Nothingness

comes to haunt me

once again

life is darkness

and death

what would it be like

how will the mind go

will it turn into thunder

and lightning

in the sky

will it hurt your head

will its wild appetite

wreck your body

you man woman child animal

will it burn like flesh

will it crackle

or will it howl like

some demented demon

dancing its war dance

against life against death

will the birds know

will they whistle

will they carry you

on their wings

and fly

and leave you in the sky

will you become

the same bird

you once saw

as a boy

and watched with wonder

and longing

till it turned

into a dot

and disappeared.

The Rainy Season Is Finally Here

my maid said today

and I said yes

one dark brown cow

is grazing on the valley floor

in front of me

it is so beautiful

and comforting

to look at

and now as the sun shines

the bulbul sings

so sweetly

such exquisite notes

liquid red

dancing orange

and now on a different tangent

it tweets its sweet voice

on and on and it is so

entertaining

there is such melody

it is simply exhilarating

and then I must

tell you about the mists

here in Kumily

how they form

immediately after the rain

they are like

big thick whooshes of white fog

rising into the green trees

of the forest

slowly passing across

the mountain faces

reminding us that the

world is a phantom place

and perhaps that is what

the bulbul is singing

and it is now in full flow

as though it heard my thoughts

and were reciprocating

in notes that were

so close to language

that is what I have been

saying all along

the bulbul sings

when I was born

when I got out

of my mother’s womb

I knew this world

was not real

it will not survive

I will not survive it

I knew that and yet I am happy

the world is all apparition

and magic see how

I speak to you Dominic

the bulbul sang

and I was jubilant

and the fact that I would die

did not bother me

and the fact that it would die

did not bother the bulbul

so these our voices we raise

and these our songs we sing

no matter what

the dark clouds bring

we give you our joy

let our voices ring.