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Nellie, 1983

Very often the sun rises
in warm, golden rays
on opening buds,
birdsong and dewdrops,
and the stench of stale death.

Very often the sun rises
Upon mutilated men -
blood drying over their eyes
and gore-caked machetes
rusting in their abdomens.

Very often the sun rises
over hyaenas fretting
over the carrion going waste -
they can eat no more,
nor can the vultures.

Very often the sun rises
on a day already defeated
- shrieking, screeching, screaming,
demanding that it go back
for there was peace in the night.

Published in Tranquil Muse 2018.
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abr-e-inqilab اَبر اِنقلاب

جو اِن جھُلَستی اُمّیدوں پَر آب خَلاس بَنکَر بَرسینگے
کِسی دِن تو فَلَک ظُلم پَر وَہ اَبر اِنقلاب چھاءیں گے

جو ظالِموں کے اِن کاذِب میناروں کو بَہا لے جاءییں گے
کِسی دِن تو وہ اشک مُلازِم ایک عظیم سیلاب بانیں گے

جو بیکَس سونیپَن کو بِکھراکَر صبَح کی ضوء لے آءییں گے
کیسی دِن تہ اُمّیدیں خاک سے اُٹھکَر آسماں کو چھوءییں گے

جو اِس دِیار خوار کو دولۃ و خَیر سے پھِر آباد کاریں گے
کِسی دِن تہ خُشِیوں کے وہ بیحِساب اوقات لَوٹ آءییں گے
جو مَحکوُموں کے سَپنوں کو جَمحوُریَۃ کا نام دِلاءییں گے
کِسی دِن تہ خانہ بَدوش رجاء کے نجم ٹِمٹِماءییں گے

Jo in jhulasti ummeedon par aab-e-khalaas bankar barsenge
Kisi din to falak-e-zulm par woh abr-e-inqilab chhaenge

Jo zaalimon ke in kaazib meenaron ko baha le jayenge
Kisi din to woh ashk-e-mulazim ek azeem sailaab banenge

Jo bekas soonepan ko bikhraakar subah ki zau le ayenge
Kisi din to woh ummeeden khaak se uthkar aasmaan ko chhooenge

Jo is diyaar-e-khwaar ko daulat-o-khair se phir aabaad karenge
Kisi din to khushiyon ke woh behisaab auqaat laut ayenge

Jo …

Ninety nine

It is an interesting number
one short of the one that
is held as a gold standard
for measures of success and failure,
the number that judges everything
from someone's sincerity to
the contamination in a bar of iron.
It is a hungry number, besmirched
by an accusation of incompleteness
though it is so perfect in form,
its twin members so beautifully
illustrating its two divisors
the first one less, the second one more
than that other fabulous number
which multiplied by itself yields
that magic figure all men yearn for.
Perfect and yet always incomplete.
Ever hungry, ninety nine.

(Exactly 99 words)

Published in Amaravati Poetic Prism 2018


Black tea, a new day dawns. Trees dice
the sunlight turning blinding white
into playful delight. The soft tinkles
of the anklets on your feet: is silver's

beauty still in its cold shine? The heart
amuses itself in teaching what it never
understood. Stained-glass window shadows
on the floor paint a fresco: nature also

makes chameleons that contrast with her
butterflies. Smileys on the screen, this
heart enchants itself with your imagined
smile. They're sodium chloride, but by

what chemistry do tears wash away sorrow?
What am I - a body and brain, products of
carbon concatenation chemistry hurtling
into nothingness. I live on coffee and

black depression, neither water nor fire
touch now, of my shell what is left to hurt?
Few thing delight one as fried maida and
petty triumph; my memories have erased you.

Published in GloMag April 2019

The Flying Scotsman

Yontbrattlin clood an seelent glen Tweetlin a-lood the ingine skirls this noisome train wi lanely men hame-comin whaur thair lassies birls whit lends thay awe, an whit dets thirls whit ailin mam, whit seekly bairn thair dreams forby the train-smeuk swirls bi new gless tour or auncient cairn
thay ken nae sang, thaur herts made airn thair mynds full o the twalmonth tack regairdless o loch, pen or tairn thay anely think o whit thay lack ay but thinkna muckle o it ye an a, we're an aw in it

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

To the piece of orange peel in my bag on the trip to Janjira,

You were the only one to stay by my side when all others
Had left me to travel that final stretch homeward alone
And while I had to throw you away after two days
Because of the stench that made me put the bag in the wash
And earn mother's censure onto which she piled older grievances
You did help relive some happy memories of the sea breeze
And the boatmen's chatter and the old bronze cannons’ roar
And cope with those whose IQ is less than yours
And taught me that I was mortal in that ride across the creek
And that like you I too shall one day be stripped of my essence
And confined to the dustbin of humanity

I miss you, orange peel

Published in Lakdi Ka Pul - II The Poetry Bridge 2017 — an international anthology by Twin City Poetry Club

का नाही आलास?

जेव्हा शेतकऱ्यांनी तुला शोधताना
आत्महत्येचे विचार केले
तेव्हा का नाही आलास? बालकृष्णाचे हाण्डी फोडणारे
गोविन्दा चढले पडले हात पाय तुटले
तेव्हा का नाही आलास? गणपती बाप्पा येउन गेले
सागरात प्लास्टरचे तुकडे झाले
तेव्हा का नाही आलास? अाता तुझ्याविना जगणे शिकले
पाउस हा शब्दच विसरले मित्रा अाता कशाला आलास?

Published in Amaravati Poetic Prism 2016
ed. Padmaja Iyengar,
Cultural Centre of Vijayawada & Amaravati