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).

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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).

All Over The Grey Buildings,

the yellow-orange ones,

all over gloom dreaming.

In the evening,

in the square,

pigeons are picking on feed

in the buzz of the market.

The lanes of descending darkness

are broken by the whir of cars

and people walking past the shops

with the lights coming on;

the merchandise, the customers,

the tailoring shop, the bookshop,

the grocery stores, the saree shops,

the restaurants, the tea-sellers,

the vegetable sellers, the fruit sellers and

the flower-sellers outside the temple

calling out their wares

have now brought the moon down to Matunga.

 

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

Now This Is How It Is

inside I’m full of sadness

my mind is weaker

than a blank page

the sky mocks me from up high

so many years

I rose before it

and now

here once again

I sit

on my bed

writing this

the rains

are blowing

the emptiness

about in my life

the world lush and green

waits like a shy bride

and I see nothing

but the endless

haunted road

its beauty

its terror

and sigh

and in my mind

I see lorries go by

and think

will I go like this

into the night

full of stars

will I roar free

into the dark

will I tell the moon

horn ok please.

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).

Belapur To Bandra

In the darkness of the bus depot

the bus arrives

its interiors lit fluorescent

beautiful green

I am travelling in a bus

after ages

and we turn and turn

road after road…

the neon-lit streetlights

and buildings go past…

while the bus makes a sound

like a wave…

my fellow passengers

are such quiet men

such sweet women

in this late night ride

reminding me of so many others…

O what is that guy up to

in his life…

what is she doing…

and the dead whom the sea

remembers so clearly

so eloquently

so well…

and there we already are

turning one last time

down this narrow near-midnight street

parked with cars asleep

the driver blares his loud horn

a rickshaw gets out of the way

and we race into Bandra bus depot

burning brighter than a festival.

 

The above poem is from my second book Reeling (2013).

Mid-April Evening Heat

Sullen, I walk from room to room,

window to window,

bored after reading a book

I couldn’t get into all day.

 

My mind is scattered.

The maid is swabbing the floor

of the corridor,

the steamy staleness of my father’s room.

 

From the dining room window

I see the red roof tiles of the chawls in Mograpada;

they are hardly red anymore.

 

A flock of white pigeons have settled

on a roof near the mosque…

a man with a big stick appears out of nowhere

and they scatter away.

 

In the hall, the floor is wet.

It has been wiped clean.

Outside in the patch of lush green trees,

two beautiful white pigeons sit comfortably.

 

A small black bird flies across

a cable between two buildings.

A little farther away

seven or eight white pigeons have gathered

in a circle in the air.

 

Like the petals of a flower opening…

Like waves in the sky full of light…

And as I watch,

they are not there anymore.

 

 

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

This Is The Heart

that is a house

and there is grass around it

and an endless green wood

full of trees

in those trees

there are birds

that are chirping

and the blue sky

high up above that

has light glowing

here when a car passes

on the grey road

a whole new world opens up

and everywhere I see

all across the universe

there are children

skating from tree to tree

from the terrace of a white building

across pink domes floating

in the skies

pigeons enraptured cooing

cool winds blow

now lights are beginning

to come on in the houses

that look like mouses

and I live

on this road

it is evening

under these streetlights

and elsewhere in the city

the traffic is moving

these birds here

flying in the sky

it’s them

I think it’s just too much to bear

this beauty this sorrow

how do you feel about tomorrow

and then it happens

my mind goes

now there’s all kinds of shows

the whole sky can collapse

with its stars

and the darkness

without a shadow of doubt

is some creature with life

I become

and when I now

lift my eyes up

there is the moon

and Spiderman racing along the roofs

in all the windows

are dancing forms of light

it is quite a sight

it turns me into a kite

but soon these winds start blowing

there’s lightning and there’s thunder

and no more time to stop and wonder

the sky now has really opened up

and the rain is pouring all around

there is such a sound

I’m stuck at the edge of this ledge

I cannot sleep

there is no place to leap

so finally my mind

with nowhere to go

closes like a curtain

knowing at last that nothing’s certain

and into itself folds like a flower

unlike a falling lover

I’ll die when I die

bye bye.

I Was Walking

down the streets

bored with myself

the shops the buildings

in the evening light

looked even more bored

with themselves

my hands were chilled

with loneliness

my mind was lost

in isolation

then I saw the moon

tailing me

I turned down a road

and there it was

a few paces behind

and when I finally

entered a bar

and went up the stairs

it rolled over my shoulder

and died in my drink.