At This Time

as the morning unfolds

the white skies

and cool air

the cock crows

and Diwali firecrackers

burst in the background

the sun yesterday

burned me

blazing into my body

my head

I am still hot

and I await luck like a dog

the buildings are bones

that belong to others

I pee in the gardens

while the stars up above laugh

the moon howls through

its white and silver circle

a perfect expression

chilling my heart

you’ve got to live Dominic

I tell myself

you’ve got to fight

you’ve got to earn your life

on your four limbs

and breathe fresh air

I wag my tail

I trot

I run through

the streets of Bombay

like a wild hound

barking.

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The Firewall

is on fire

hearing-aid tractors

blow to nothing

in the stillness

which is still nothing in your mind

hello you say to your shadow

forgotten lost in dust

where the gas cylinder used to be

the redness with its view

charging at you

in the afternoon

this sullen day steamy sunk

so seemlessly in your blues your blacks

walking through

the old ghost

of the world

its scaffoldings its distances

and the sky so sorry

so tired

only wants to sleep

in your eyes.

 

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

It Has Been

raining inside my head

for over two days…

all my thoughts are drowning…

I sit in my living room

and stare outside the window…

a new building is under construction

dark grey it’s a large skull

with 25 eyes

I keep staring through the rain

through the dull wet morning…

then a man appears in one of the windows…

he too just stares and stares.

 

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

I Walked

and walked in

the noonday sun

till my clothes

turned into a river

I swam through

the heavy traffic

asking for directions

no one knew the place

I wanted to go

I walked back and reached

the railway station

with crowds swarming

all over the bus depot

the streets the restaurants

the tea-stalls

the street-food sellers’ carts

rickshaws puttered everywhere

then someone pointed out

the building

well I had passed that place

but never thought

it would be there

off the street

in a cluster of several others

I was looking for a seven-storey building

and not spotting one on both sides

of the road

had walked on and on…

finally entering its cool foyer

for a moment I thought

how nice it would be

if I could forget myself

forget my purpose here

if the lift with its sliding iron doors

forgetting its function too

could take me straight to the sky

where large white clouds were blowing

unthinking in every direction

unmindful of anything

that happened here.

 

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

Spark

was the word

the man said

imagine the picture

the vest

the god

the fluorescent tubelight

the green walls

the grey grey Wednesday

he said the spark

had caught

it had scored the music

he could see the other houses

sailing in the moon

their windows open burning with light

the red BEST buses

creating a roar

and the lines and lines of washing

singing in the wind

he said he could now hear the music

setting the stars on fire

making them jump and dance

in the municipal gardens

where the children made new friends

and cheered and played

he said it was the spark.

 

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

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.

She

folded back

into herself

a page crumpled

and lost

in some bag or box

from this darkness

she mumbled

how much the world has changed…

how much the world has changed…

my old neighbour doddered into

my living room

she had got locked out of her house

I’ve been here before she said

yes many times I told her you’ve forgotten…

the drain in my house started gurgling then

like it was trying to say something

for long it thundered

then went quiet

when the old lady left

there were just the empty chairs and me…

and the afternoon fled into the night.

 

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).

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).