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Showing posts from April, 2011

CaPoWriMo-17 (To Arsenic)

They say you are doped
Into silicon to make my computer run -
Thirty three electrons rushing about madly
That make silicon's fourteen
Lethargic ones sit up and get about;

You helped Madame Bovary,
Emperors Bonaparte and Guangxu,
And innumerable Bangaldeshis
Find release from their mortal coils
Even as you cured libertines
Of the syphilis that shamed them;

You pervade my life
In paints and polishes
And pesticides and pyrotechnics -
Creating and preserving beauty
Even as you truncate my breath.

What would I be with you, arsenic,
And what would I be without you?

CaPoWriMo-8 (City of Dreadful Night)

Bodies sweat in the heaving crowd:
Hunger, anger, anxiety, thirst
Mixing with smoke, diesel and dust,
Stranded commuters curse aloud.
The night surrounds them like a shroud
Their day like all the others cursed
Their ambitions eaten by rust
Stuck in a jam, their heads are bowed.

Microwaved food, conditioned air,
Cold water and LCD screens:
Building a personal paradise
In a suburban nameless lair
I make for myself pleasant scenes
and dream on till the sun shall rise.

(Published in Setu Bilingual Journal, August 2017)


I'm fat, bald and sonneteering,
Confused, half-bewildered fool,
With love's games you're engineering
My naivete as your tool.

My dandruff does not bother you.
You loudly claim indifference
To my moustache and tummy too.
For looks you claim no reverence.

But you do stare at shampoo ads,
At supermodels' six-pack abs;
You follow all new hairstyle fads
And miss no chance for elbow jabs.

So do I trust your words or eyes,
For what is truth and which are lies?

CaPoWriMo-12 (To HTML)

You are to me bread butter and jam,
As also curd rice and pickle;
I love the smoothness with which
you transmit emotions across
oceans, undimished;
the way you bring together
thousands of citizens
to overwhelm aged despots;
the way you have made me feel younger
as I am a student again
learning your myriad ways;
the way you unseen, unheard
change the way I think,
I see, I hear, I know;

You only care to come forward
when there has been error, sin
and wrongdoing,
sometimes as little, irritating

or sometimes as a great epitaph
to monumental blunder;

HTML, I know not your words,
your grammar, your idioms,
but you are the tongue
that has come to feed me.

CaPoWriMo-11 (Digital Diary)

weren't you in school with me through

and in college through

and in my first job through
bosses' anger
sarcastic remarks
late nights
mad clients
commuter fights

and yet I dumped you for
mobile phones
email accounts

and let you lie in a drawer
as a battery-less corpse
your LED soul dead forever

CaPoWriMo-10 (motherless andhadi)

mother is on vacation
in a foreign country
away from son and husband
leaving me to do the dishes

do the dishes - mind the spoons
don't land at the bottom
the tamarind doesn't clog the sink
the vessels don't clatter and clang
and bring on angry neighbours
while the clothes are washing

the clothes are washing
coloured one in first batch
towels and undies to go in the next
and then to be hung out

to be hung out
the outer clothes on the balcony
with a ladder and a stick
and the inner ones dripping
in the rear balcony

in the rear balcony the broom and mop
stand there grumbling silently
about the dusty stain bedecked floor

the dusty stain bedecked floor
piled over with books and gadgets
screaming loudly to be re-placed
on their respective shelves
which gloat and induce guilt
about the undone dusting

undone dusting and uncooked food
and unfolded clothes and unbought groceries
and unpaid bills and undisposed garbage
how did she manage them all
i need to know but
mother is on vacat…

CaPoWriMo-6 (Pallankuzhi)

Were those your bangles I heard
as you wiped your brow
or were they the clinking of cowrie-shells
as you put them in holes
seven by seven?
I thought I heard you laugh
making an unexpected, clever move
or was it the sound of pearls
falling, one by one?
Was that a cry of victory
as you have won the match
or was it your honey-voiced anguish
never willing to lose
fair or otherwise?
That was clearly the board tossed
in indignant, violent protest
and utter denial that you lost;
or did you just claim
with eyelashes pleading for agreement
that you tripped on a floorboard?
But there is another game afoot,
isn't it - a love game you play
with my heart-breaking imagination?

(Pallankuzhi is a popular board game in Tamil Nadu)

(Published  in Indian Review, April 2011)


कुछ यादें, कुछ घन्टों भर की यारियाँ,
कुछ बातें, कुछ बहलाती सवारियाँ,
छुक छुक करती, हिलती डुलती ले जातीं
जब चली जातीं हैं यह रेलगाड़ियाँ

Let none sleep tonight

Let none sleep tonight,
this dangerous night,
when knives shine in the moonlight
and glass shards pave the street;

Let none sleep tonight
this treacherous night
when brother must bribe brother
and no woman walk unmolested;

Let none sleep tonight
this hungry, lonesome night
when babes are torn from mothers
and fathers denounce their sons;

Let none sleep tonight,
this uncompanioned night
when the sun is a distant memory
and a million hearts beat like crickets;

Let none sleep tonight
this mournful, deathly night
when the colour of day is drained
and men wander in naked bigotry.

This night is as all nights,
yet may none sleep this night.

CaPoWriMo-4 (EBITDA for Che)

gaunt jesus face
to seduce on sight
beret and blazing eyes
to cry revolution

a million dollars
for black stencil design
on red t-shirt
ten thousand for dyes
twenty for cloth
and five for printing

six million dollars
half million in interest
another half in taxes
none in depreciation
and one in amortization

two million and sixty-five thousand
dollars of capitalism
selling teenage revolution

Published in Amaravati Poetic Prism 2016

Sadasiva Raya

Sadasiva Raya, helpless prisoner -
Dressed in rich brocade and shining ornament -
Sadasiva Raya, Supreme Emperor!

Though every year he came and fell at your feet
Your will was not law in yor own apartment,
Sadasiva Raya, helpless prisoner.

He chose what you ate, the people you could meet
But proclaimed you lord of land and firmament,
Sadasiva Raya, Supreme Emperor!

To the Vijayanagar no force could beat
Aliya Rama Raya brought defilement,
Sadasiva Raya, helpless prisoner.

When enemy looters pillaged every street
All you could do was cry in pain and torment,
Sadasiva Raya, Supreme Emperor!

When at Talikota he died in defeat
Thought you to celebrate, or loudly lament?
Sadasiva Raya, helpless prisoner,
Sadasiva Raya, Supreme Emperor!

CaPoWriMo-3 (Yellow Banian)

You lie there crumpled
Like an abused and discarded girlfriend.

dirty secrets we've been in together
the sting of cold air on a nude body
followed by the searing depression
of a testosterone flush
hidden forever in the yellow remains
to wash away into the gutter

you lie there crumpled
like an abused and discarded girlfriend

you once uncomplainingly
stanched nose bleeds
burst away pimples
dealt with tears
and rain and soap and mud
covered up signs of masturbation
and stuck by me
my hot smelly sweaty body
when others blanched

you lie there crumpled
like an abused and discarded girlfriend

CaPoWriMo-2 (Persecution Syndrome)

They think I'm full of naivete
they've prepared poison, gun and knife:
My name is on a machete.

They think I hear not what they say
Conspiring to take my life;
They think I'm full of naivete.

My brothers the first to betray,
And so my father, son and wife:
My name is on a machete.

A game of cat and mouse they play
In every smile they hide a knife:
They think I'm full of naivete.

They say they love but scheme to slay.
Among my friends bloodlust is rife:
My name is on a machete.

But I'm alert by night and day
I shall not let go without strife!
They think I'm full of naivete:
My name is on a machete.