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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How The World Sulks

in the heat

like an animal

it’s too much

these dull periods

too heavy

makes me think

of life as garbage

rotten fruit peel

waste excreta

mud dirty napkins

and soiled paper

all this and then the noise

see how the vehicles go screeching

down the sky

and the birds how they fly scared

hurrying home

and the faces of the people

O it is just too much

the way the windows look

any moment now

a shard of glass

could turn you

to a piece of blobbing

blood and bone

you will go down

like everyone else

you will feel like a lame blind dog

you will smell

and you will

lose yourself

in the ensuing chaos

there you are

I see you

your bloodied body

almost gone

no arms

no legs

no torso

your face

fading away

your eyes

beginning

to close.

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).

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).

Now This Hot October Day

is bad

it will not let me think

it leaves me here

sitting stupid

and sad

I will not have this

I think of trees

and remember the time

I first encountered

a squirrel

and my wonder

at it

in the cool morning

behind my house

where I stood on

ground covered in golden laburnum

and the squirrel

grey fluffy cute

with black stripes

climbing up the tree

pointing into the blue sky

I look at the birds flying

small black ones

in flocks

and I know

I am one of them

I feel what they feel

I feel the wind on my body

and I know I am home

in this vast dome

and now as I write

the squirrel runs out of sight.

All Day

I thought

and turned

into glass

by evening

the world

couldn’t get

more mischievous

than this

I thought

and realised

that you didn’t

really get much

not even sleep

which conjurer

of black airs

broke nothing

into this

I wondered

all night

till I turned

to stone.

 

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

Yesterday I Saw Labour

Claus took me on his bike to Harry’s Farm

here in Kumily

and we climbed up the steep hill road

till he dropped me at the end

and continued to market

Stefan was making manure out of cowdung

and dirty and sweating

we greeted each other and he said

he has an hour’s work to go

sure I’ll watch I said

while he continued to work

he was mashing the dung together

under the hot noon sun

then someone from a house nearby

offered me tea

while Stefan spoke with another guy

and then we all chatted awhile

and they decided we should all proceed

to Harry’s Farm and they would work there

so then three of us Stefan Jomon and I

trekked along the mountainside to Harry’s Farm

how beautiful the green valleys full of vegetation were

vast and deep with tall pine trees

and soon we are at another house near Harry’s Farm

and someone offers me coffee now

while Stefan and Jomon continue to work

on a dung pile here

Stefan first mixes it up with a spade

then fills the dung into a big steel tub

then lifts the tub full of dung

and pours it into the sack Jomon holds

they work like that while I watch

and we chat from time to time

about my earlier visits

while they fill 16 sacks of dung

over an hour

and now from here they will

carry it to Harry’s Farm where we now proceed

finally I sit down on a chair

and relax

and Stefan chops up a jackfruit for me

it is so sweet and delicious

I thank him for it

while he and Jomon now continue

to bring those 16 sacks of dung

on their shoulders uphill

all this is manure for the pepper

and the coffee that grows here

I marvel at their capacity

for this backbreaking work

while they chat and laugh

about this and that

and I eat that sweet jackfruit

and enjoy the lush green landscape

they talk about deer hunters and

the gunshots they’ve heard

as they climb up the hill

they talk about predatory animals

forest officers and guns

while I listen and eat

I had first met Stefan years ago

while he was a boy in school

he loves this work

he says good health is what you get

he dropped out of school and chose

to be a farmer like his father

and now they come climbing up the hill

with sacks  of dung on their back

and when it’s finally over

we all sit and chat again

while Stefan strips to his black shorts

and jumps into his natural rock pool

for a swim and bath

soon he offers us homemade chapattis

and peanut butter and honey

all from the property

it is so tasty and again we have tea

and chat

Jomon says he’s 29

and if he doesn’t work hard and earn well

he won’t get a girl

he too is a school dropout

he’s also a wedding decorator a rickshaw driver

a dairy farmer and odd job man around

Stefan talks about his family

while I talk about my life in Bombay

and then rainclouds appear in the sky

and Jomon offers to take me

back to my homestay in his rickshaw

I thank him and Stefan then

and Jomon and I make our way

back across the mountain path

he points out a baby snake to me

and again at Jomon’s house I’m offered tea

while his nephew and niece work

both children between 12-14 years

they work on their dung heap

while I chat with an old man there

and chickens run in and out of the house

soon Jomon also joins us freshly bathed

and in new clothes and I thank everyone around

while Jomon now starts his rickshaw

and we go down the mountain road again

into town

when we reach my homestay

Jomon won’t tell me the fare

pay me what you want he says

I give him a 100 rupee note

while he thanks me and I think

how sweet life is

as a fresh breeze blows

and it slowly begins to rain.

The World Is The Ultimate Magic Show

such a lot it has to offer

now I’m here in Kumily

it has been raining in May

Claus Garden is lush green

and Claus talks about life and insects

suffering and death

about Germany and Europe crumbling

I am old now it doesn’t matter, he says

and I’m relaxing after a long journey

two-hour flight from Bombay, five hour taxi uphill

and after living alone for so long

I’m happy to be here and happy

to hear Claus talking

I noticed the jackfruit hanging

from the trees

all along the way

I saw green rivers smiling in joy

and boys and men jumping into them

now the crickets begin to chirp

and before you know it

it’s a chorus

and then a roar rising like a wave

and now I know nature’s symphony

and think of the waterfall cascading

down the rocks

along the way

dawn is slowly approaching

the cocks are crowing

I look at the lightening blue sky

and I look at it

it’s wet deep blue like an ocean

like nature’s cinema and the

beautiful green leaves and me.