And The Sun

blasts earth

with its light

showing its might

and the birds chirp in joy

though inside me there is sadness

and pain like waves washes over

my heart torn apart

the world is divided into misery

and more misery

and reality is all powerful

only death will be able

to bridge this gap

and the crying that it brings

is despair blowing wildly

in the air

while in the body

the mind takes refuge

and you can hear it

hear what it is saying

you can feel the trauma

you are lying down in bed

and you’re saying you’ll fall

and the heart beats in fear

when you feel the end is near

you want death

to get on its legs

and run away

you’re saying

I’ll die I’ll die

and you cry

and you call

for you daughter

you call

for the doctor

you call

for water

and what can I do mother

what can I do

what can I do to death

although I’d like to stop it

it will come it will come

I think as I massage

your body and my mind

grows heavy

and I am sad.

Darkness And Light

alternate in the day today

and mist moves

all over the green mountains

sometimes rain sometimes sun

fill our lives as I go about filling water

in my tank and my neighbour’s chickens

cluck about picking food from my property

but now finally I am at liberty

to write and fight the demons in my mind

and when the birds chirp I think they are so kind

because it makes my heart freely fly across the sky

and that reminds me of the other evening

when I saw the moon partly hidden in the clouds and

I couldn’t tell if it was full or half and that puzzlement

made me laugh and then a few days before that

when I went to Kattappana I saw everywhere

jackfruit hanging in bunches and everything was green

but my mind was troubled and I felt the world was mean

and now once again it has begun to rain and soon everything

has darkened and brought with it a kind of pain

like when I walk tired along an empty street

and life in my mouth tastes bittersweet.

The Worms Are Howling

and I can hear them

my neighbour’s TV

is the biggest schizophrenic

on the planet

the birds are so sad

they are crying

and when they go silent

you can hear the sky

its voice is trembling

and it gets on your nerves

and you are horrified

at what your body has become

you wonder if it is you

where on earth have you gone

you ask yourself

you wonder what is happening

to you

then you look at your face

in the mirror

and you are frightened

at what you see

you are not yourself

and when the dog barks

the light in the sky

becomes the house of wickedness

all hell breaks loose

fire I consume

my insides burning

I have no choice

water has changed its element

it is no more what it was

goodbye I then say to all the houses

I have lived in

my voice strained

and I turn and shout

who wants my broken body

my shattered mind

and my tongue turns to ash

in my mouth

and then I see

the light in my head

go out without a sound.

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.

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).

The World Is A Deep Green River

only last evening

I saw it

while listening

to Stan Getz

there’s nothing

so big and beautiful

and green

so freely flowing

and translucent

coming from

a place

so nice

it feels so good

this soulful music

this lonely life

and the jungles

of Brazil

are full of leopards

and trees

and the oceans

and the sky

begin to sing

the sadness

and the lovely

green river

flows by

and then

it is night

and the stars

come out

and shine

the moon

blows by

so high

and I have

never seen

the world

so big and

so beautiful

I have never

seen a river

so green

flow by

and before

I know it

the booze

is out

the palm trees

are swaying

and couples dance

in crazy ecstasy

along the

green river bank

birds of red green

blue purple

and yellow

take flight

into the night

drunk on this music

deer come to watch

peacocks strut excitedly

Stan Getz

your beautiful music

I will never forget

the world outside

my window

the buildings stand

their windows sparkling

fluorescent Stan

and they are beginning

to move

O Stan

we are now

a ship

sailing on

your green river

and here we

come towards you

Stan

over the moon.

 

  • For Stan Getz, jazz saxophonist (1921 – 1991)

 

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

The Evening’s

come to rest

in this room

my glass in its

pool of water

under dim red light

has golden whisky

silent like the walls

the pictures come alive

the side-table

and the speakers

high in the corners

cough through static

some dead singer will croon

of love

of loss

and then the bar will bristle

the conversations start to flow

forks and spoons

clatter on plates

when a glass would

fall to the floor

from someone’s hand

who couldn’t hold it anymore

and soon we’ll find the swimming ceiling

the spinning sky of misery chasing happiness

past the pale white moon

and the stone cold stars

that will finally claim us all.

 

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

Uncertainty

in my mind

hangs like a silent cry

in my heart

in my stomach

the universe is dark

there are no stars in my eyes

no moon in my sky

only emptiness

only absence

and here I sit hunched

over my computer

thinking of the sky’s whiteness

in which black birds fly

and it turns to blue in my mind

and I see sunsets and palm trees

and slowly drift into sleep

and then I suddenly dream

I am a river

a green river

under those trees

and when the moon sings

at night

I dance and sway

rippling in cool waves of thrill

and in the afternoon

under the sun

I shimmer like an emerald

playful warm

flowing calm.

 

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

How The Heart Cries

for human suffering

it is so bad

the misfortunes

I feel eyes

watching me

all the time

my mind

is disturbed

but there is

only myself and my pain

and the suffering

is such I feel

I wish I could be a bird

but the horrors

become a mountain

they flay me

as I stand fighting

I will die

when I will

I shout

and then

I hear the birds tweet wildly

and Bombay explodes in rain

the dark city dances like a ghost

I go quiet and watch

the unhappiness begin to wash away

until my body and mind are silent as a tomb

and I feel the cosy comfort of the womb

O cradle of civilization rock me now rock me now in this rain

and thank you thank you so much for stealing away my pain.