Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from February, 2012

Division of Labour

The division of labour between poet and person
I think, is very cumbersome:
The poet is of course free -
To live in a truth of his own contrivance
Strewn with an abundance of roses or miseries
As he sees fit;

The person often has a wife and child
And so the slavery of billed existence.
But he is the one with the eyes and ears
That the poet so parasitises on
To turn sights into spectacles
And sounds into symphonies

Or all into a dystopic, pus-filled rant.
It is in this obscene dance of words yet
That the person finds freedom -
However fleeting - from his personhood
Entrapped in flesh, that presents him mirages
To drudge on.

Cumbersome indeed then, this schizophrenia
Of being real and imaginary
In the same fragile frame.

Published in Amaravati Poetic Prism 2017
ed. Padmaja Iyengar,
Cultural Centre of Vijayawada & Amaravati

Going home

Railway toilets plastered with washing soda;
The rasping of nylon streamers against
Fly racquets; Chinese toys beating about
Before the vendor quickly bundles up
And flees; Jasmine garlands and Incense-stick
Boxes sharing space with Severed goats' heads
— their eyes staring glassily at you to match
Your startled glance; the smell of fried flour and
Potatoes, and of withering cabbage stalks;
Taxi smoke, gasoline and soot; Sweat — anxious
Sweat —Whiffing by on hurried steps and a
Quickly muttered apology on pushing
You out of the way; Mysore masala
Dosas frying on a street griddle — all
Beetroot and carrot and tomato flakes;
A promise of naked women in
USB drives, and hard-bodied nude males
Promising fairer skin from giant billboards;
Death of course, lurking everywhere, sometimes
Peering from a bier; Suburban life-forms
In their TV-equipped habitats not
Peering out of lit windows; and I

— I just go home, as I do everyday.

(Published in Setu Bilingual Journal, August 2017)

Halfnesses

Somewhere between the truth,
And our world of comforting lies,
Is the world we seek to live in,
Half earth, half fantasy;
Happiness is what we call it,
Though a stagnating lack
Of worry would do as well,
Maybe it's a race we're running
Against our own aging selves
Chasing a childhood memory
Always a step ahead of us:
A visible phantasm, a mirage
Concocted from our own imagined pasts
With guilt conveniently buried
In the shroud of forgetfulness
And yet - there's always a yet -
There is a listlessness, ennui,
That we never got what we wanted
And the regret, unmessianic,
Of not knowing what that was
Till the commas of life stop abruptly.

Published in Whispers, April 2016 as Commas

Standing Guard to Kamakhya

They've seen much, these statues
Standing guard to Kamakhya's
Dark, mystic sanctum;

There's a nose lopped off here,
An ear eroded there,
By wind, by time, by swords.

They've been nested on by doves:
Love-making, chick-rearing
Guano-shedding doves.

They've seen cows amble around
Bestowing sacred dung
While bulls bestow sacred blood.

They still stand, these statues,
Their medieval silence further
stifled with vermilion and ash.

They see the pilgrims wilt
— lined in their rag-covered faith —
shivering in morning drizzle

Like oleander petals and
mango leaves; temple offerings
to an invisible goddess.

They see the pandas in red
bearings; unbearability
writ large on their pouchy faces,

Against the tall, thin trees
Banana, papaya, margosa,
shading a sacrificial goat.

They see the Brahmaputra
which is always a presence —
a brooding, looming presence.

And they see me, eager tourist
encaging them in camera stills:
Another spectacle to see.